Koni ACTIVE Shocks at ECS Tuning for a Demonstration

The most coveted parts of the tuning community tend to be oriented around the best performance options with the highest price tags and the most awards and racing successes. There are times, however, when a car enthusiast can take his or her praise about the most sophisticated parts and eat those words. KONI is a suspension company that has been producing dampers as long as cars have used those suspension designs that definitely has the prowess, acumen, and pedigree behind them to check most boxes for enthusiasts, but this article is not going to center around pure performance parts. The new KONI ACTIVE suspension is something that we just couldn’t leave without sharing with our readership.

We had the pleasure of hosting a few KONI team members here at our facility who brought some of their toys for us to try ourselves. Among their lineup were three F30 320i BMWs with less than 200 miles on the oldest one and two 2016 Mustang GTs that were also infants in terms of mileage. The cars in which we were most interested were, of course, the BMWs. This writer has personally never driven a non-M F8x, so jumping behind the wheel of the automatic F30s was a fairly foreign experience in and of itself. The real trick, though, was what we noticed in the ACTIVE-equipped F30. First, we have to establish a baseline before we get to talk about the greatness that is the ACTIVE damper. The OEM suspension on the F30 is not what we would call harsh by any means. Jumping into a brand-new F30 was everything a prospective buyer would expect: sleek, comfortable, quiet, and engaging to drive. One thing we noticed was how much it ‘rumbled’ over bumps. The stiff suspension translated the road feeling very well into the car, but we could definitely tell the attempt at a good ride quality hurt the performance capabilities of the suspension, and vice versa. Next, we gave the ACTIVE-equipped F30 a spin.

For background, most of this writer’s time is spent either in a heavily modified E30 or in a bone stock WRX, so almost everything about the F30 was very new. The difference between anything BMW or otherwise we were used to was immediately apparent upon touching the throttle. The car felt smooth; there is no other word for it. The ACTIVE dampers use a high number of ports through the valves that can either be all open, all closed, or anything in between to allow the viscous fluid to pass through and compress the damper. The variability with the number of open ports through the valves allows the compression force to change based on the conditions of the road. The changes happen whether you are accelerating, decelerating, or cornering to maintain a silky driving feel. This immediately begged the question of how applicable they were for performance vehicles. According to the KONI representatives, the ACTIVE dampers were featured on a car that just won some high-level autocross championships, but to our expectation, were not something he would recommend on a car that sees any extended track time. These dampers perform exceptionally well on the road, however, as an excellent sporty choice that goes miles above the factory comfort. The road felt like glass, which is good, but another aspect that many performance drivers will consider is how it affects the inputs to the driver. We expected the feeling to be more muted than the stiff factory suspension. It wasn’t. Since the car did not pitch forward, backward, or side to side as much, and it did not react to changes in the road surface, we felt less like we were hanging on to the wheel and more like we were planted in the seat very stable. The suspension did more than just provide a comfortable yet sporty ride in that it seemed to ‘even out’ all the minute changes you may not think about correcting as you do with normal suspension. If you hit a small pothole and the wheel jerks, how do you react and how does that reaction translate through the car’s movements? These are questions I normally have in the back of my mind that were not present with the ACTIVE suspension, which made it all the better for a daily driver. Less thinking, more driving, and more comfort.

While the ACTIVE suspension might not offer the best performance capabilities, it does offer equal performance to the factory suspension mechanically speaking as well as a significant improvement to overall driveability and ride quality. The convenience of driving an ‘unmodified’ car cannot be beaten by anything modified for racing, so having a car that you can depend on that offers sportiness yet refined comfort is something most would consider out of reach for a normal budget. KONI ACTIVE dampers definitely gave the impression that the car could be double or triple the value as a result of the ride quality alone. The only thing left for us to wonder is how they will feel compared to abused, high-mileage, outdated suspension and really feel a difference! After all the driving, I can say I am disappointed to jump back into a car that does not sport ACTIVE dampers for my jaunts around town or on road trips. Look out for these dampers as they are set to be released in the coming weeks!

Slammed to the Arctic: Official Update

The Rallywagen has now made its full journey to the Arctic Circle, all the way from Wadsworth, Ohio to Alaska, and the Street Shield survived. We did our best to put the protective belly plate through the roughest environments we could imagine our MK5 Jetta Sportwagen would experience, but nothing could break through the shield. Our LIQUI MOLY Molygen oil stayed right where it should have been (for the most part) as the trip concluded with the wagen triumphantly driving to its final destination on time, no truck of shame needed.

The stops since our last update included a trip to APR’s facility in Alabama, where new wheels and big brakes courtesy of APR found their way onto the VW. The new shoes then took a trip to KW Suspension, where the suspension gurus dialed in our V2 coilovers for the best possible ride out to Pikes Peak for the International Hill Climb. We were fortunate enough to not only get exclusive access to the action but also to witness the Volkswagen factory team shatter several records with their insane hill climb car. After being allowed to run the peak ourselves a few times, we hit the road for Las Vegas, where we showed some of the local attractions what LIQUI MOLY and ECS Tuning are all about.

After Vegas, we continued west before heading due north for the border. A sketchy border crossing into Canada and miles of empty highway brought us back to the border with Alaska, and the final leg of our trip. The 8,500 miles full of adventure and incredible cars is nearly finished, but the Rallywagen will live on forever in ECS lore, glorified like the old Norse gods for its bravery and courage at the face of adventure. Take a look at all our wacky encounters below and catch up with us as soon as we return later this week. Don’t forget, at Waterfest on the 22nd of this month the GTI winner will be announced LIVE, so stay tuned to see if you are about to be a part of ECS Tuning’s next adventure.

The APR Facility

Our tires before the new APR wheels… don’t try this at home, kids.

On the Road

Pikes Peak

KW Facility

More road trippin’ and car spottin’

LIQUI MOLY Facility

The Last Leg

New Product: Volkswagen MK4 1.8T (Transverse) Ignition Coil Harness Replacement Kit

The Volkswagen 1.8T found in the MK4 generation is a staple in the European tuning community. This engine spanned almost a decade in one version or another and found its way into a number of different VW chassis that benefit from its awesome low-displacement power curve and turbocharged goodness. As the engine ages and phases out of parts production, however, those of us who still stick to the tried and true 1.8T are left with fewer and fewer replacement options from the factory. That’s why our engineering team has developed yet another headache cure for VW MK4 owners in the form of our new MK4 1.8T transverse engine Ignition Coil Harness Replacement Kit.

This kit is a must for any aging 1.8T as either a replacement for a failing factory harness or a preventative maintenance measure to keep your engine firing on all cylinders. The OEM harness is both no longer available (NLA) and requires a full replacement of the harness section. Our kit allows you to replace the ignition harness itself with OEM-like fitment but additional heat shrink wrapping and beefy construction for added protection against dust, grime, and other contaminants that can cause misfiring issues and short circuits in aging factory harnesses.

The procedure is almost no different than a regular replacement, as the ECS kit includes the full harness but does not require you to replace the entire section. Included in your kit is a specialty crimping tool for proper installation as well as extra small parts in case you make a forgivable mistake in replacing these tiny components in your VW.

This kit is perfect for anyone wanting to maintain or restore their 1.8T powered MK4 by offering an OEM-like segment but with the added protection of heat-hardened ignition coil harnessing and improved quality materials for peace of mind. Keep your VW MK4 1.8T happy and firing regularly with this preventative maintenance harness that fills the gap in VW’s parts catalog without any extra steps seen in similar kits.

Interested in purchasing?

MK4 1.8T Ignition Coil Wire Harness Replacement Kit

SHOP NOW

Carbon Fiber Visual Upgrades for Audi B7 S4

The Audi B7 S4 succeeded the B6 S4 in 2005 with minor mechanical changes and a redesigned exterior. The more contemporary styling, paired with the 4.2-liter V8 engine, made the all-wheel-drive sedan a popular choice amongst business executives and performance enthusiasts alike. While it has become dated as the B8 and B9 have respectively succeeded it, the aftermarket community continues to provide excellent products for those who still rock the B7. Brand new from ECS Tuning, we have two additions that are sure to tickle the fancy of any B7 owner: our Carbon Fiber Rear Diffuser and Carbon Fiber Lip Spoiler add a more aggressive element to the B7 S4 styling that subtly hints the decade-old autobahn cruiser still packs a punch.

The diffuser is a perfectly fitted aesthetic improvement designed to accent the existing body lines while adding a hint of sporty flair. The carbon fiber weave gives the rear of your car a transformative feeling and the stubby fins make for a more dynamic look not present on the factory rear bumper. This diffuser is an excellent choice for anyone with a B7 S4 who wants to have one more reason to look back every time they park their car.

To compliment the diffuser, our rear lip spoiler similarly accentuates and amplifies the factory contours of the trunk. Once again, a touch of carbon fiber is all it takes to provide a new theme that makes for a more race-inspired vibe than the original contours offer.

These visual upgrades are some of many still being produced for the B7 S4 that are ensured to give you a new appreciation for your Audi. Grab some carbon fiber and give your car the flair it wants with the race-inspired upgrades from ECS Tuning.

New From ECS Tuning: The Volkswagen MK6 Golf R Carbon Fiber Front Splitter

The VW MK6 Golf R is the baddest form of that chassis around. Everyone in the tuning community is readily aware of the peak-performing hot hatchback, but that isn’t to say they would hate visual improvements. That’s why we have added yet another way to make your MK6 R stand apart with our 3-piece Front Splitters, brand new for your VW!

These splitters offer an aggressive look and ground-hugging appearance with a simple installation and perfect fitment. The 3-piece design ensures the fit and finish will match perfectly with the existing contours of your front bumper cover, and includes the mounting tape and hardware so all you have to do is open the box and install the splitter for an instant front-end transformation.

These 3-piece splitters for your MK6 R come in either gloss Carbon Fiber or Gloss Black painted fiberglass for whatever your taste may be. These choices give you the freedom to match your existing aesthetic options or begin your build theme with some flexibility. Make sure your next upgrade list includes one of these splitters for the ankle-biting look we all know and love from every ground-kissing VW!

New Product: Volkswagen MK7 Golf R400 Style Body Kits

When it debuted at the Bejiing Auto Show, the Golf R400 concept immediately became the most aggressively styled VW hot hatchback since the reintroduction of the Scirocco. The MK7 R400 concept was designed to be a 395-horsepower Golf R alternative with an appearance so overly in-your-face Dominic Toretto himself would take a step back. The unfortunate reality of Dieselgate sealed the fate of the R400 edition Golf, but did not entirely kill off the styling. Enthusiasts around the world and here at ECS spoke up and demanded the unique and eye-catching body kit be available to those who were interested in transforming their MK7, so here it is: the MK7 R400 Concept Conversion Kit is now for sale to make your Golf, GTI, or R resemble the concept kit that so very nearly made it to production.

This aggressive design is perfect for an OEM-plus build in its full kit, or, with individually available parts, an excellent way to throw a new spin on other kits by piecing elements together. Each piece of the kit can be purchased separately or as a full conversion, so each order can be tailored to your idea of what your MK7 will become. The kits come primed and ready for paint and provide all necessary mounting hardware and brackets for the factory fitment you would have expected on a real R400.

This is your chance to have your MK7 look the way you want and the way the R400 should have been made. With other tasteful performance upgrades, your GTI or R can easily surpass the respectable 400-horsepower output predicted for the now dead R400 while matching the intimidating looks offered by the concept car.

This kit is exactly what your MK7 needs if you are interested in having the most unique version around while retaining an OEM-like appearance. Take your MK7 to the next level with the full conversion or mix and match these pieces with other available body kits to create a personal visual upgrade package unique to your car. Stay tuned for more excellent products to make your MK7 the best it can be!

Interested in purchasing?

MK6 R400 Concept Kit

SHOP NOW

Vendor Spotlight: Rennline Performance Porsche Parts

An amazing aspect of the aftermarket car community is that as new generations carry the torch for enthusiasm. We are given new products and manufacturers provided by a number of new enthusiast innovators. These enthusiasts, like the folks up in Vermont at Rennline, are the next wave of household names to emerging in the European aftermarket industry. ECS Tuning is now proud to offer Rennline products and is excited to add yet another enthusiast-driven company to our roster of supporting manufacturers.

Rennline offers several specialty products they design and manufacture for performance and competitive use. They are well known for their fire extinguisher mounting systems and various Porsche parts, but their catalog extends to cover several applications over a wide range of European vehicles and is constantly expanding.

Perhaps one of the more universal products, Rennline offers competition wheel stud conversions, which is designed to replace your inconvenient lug-studs with sturdier and more agreeable wheel studs and lugs. This upgrade is required by some racing leagues for its durability and additional safety, while it is also the perfect way to make removal or installation of wheels a breeze.

On the topic of regulations and requirements, Rennline also provides folding tow hooks, tow decals, their well-known fire extinguisher bracket, and RS-style door pulls for the track enthusiast. Make sure your competitive vehicle meets all the rules with Rennline products while ensuring quality, durability, and style are congruent with the rest of your build.

Of course, there are protective parts as well. The Rennline skid plates protect your car from road hazards that would otherwise spell disaster for your exposed underbody components. These durable shields are the best protection for your car and absolutely necessary for any lowered vehicle that sees rough roads or hard driving.

Rennline is a wonderful addition to our roster from whom we look forward to seeing new and exciting products in the near future. As the Rennline catalog grows, stay tuned for more information about new products that might be for your Audi, BMW, Mini, Porsche, or VW.

Vendor Spotlight: IRP Germany Performance Parts for your Track BMW

If you plan on driving your BMW at a track event, for an Auto-X, or competitively at all, the importance of setting up your car to handle the extra stress is critical. IRP Germany produces some of the best driveline components to help stiffen your BMW for performance use with high-quality mounts, flex discs, control arms, solid shifters, and more.

For keeping the camber angles of your BMW within optimal ranges on lowered vehicles, you need adjustable camber arms. IRP Germany Adjustable Rear Control Arms mitigate camber issues caused by excessively lowering your BMW and bring the contact patch back to its most effective size. The durable stainless steel construction assures enthusiasts that their new parts will last and provide an increase in rigidity while still being relatively lightweight. Finally, the monoball bearing used in place of BMW’s factory rubber bushing eliminates deflection and helps maintain proper suspension settings under hard driving.

Solid or polyurethane drivetrain mounts, like IRP Germany’s engine and transmission mounts, keep your driveline from excessively moving and deflecting. The reduced movement and increased rigidity provide a better transmission of torque to the wheels and keep everything in line where it should be. Stiffer or solid mounts are also necessary should you want a direct shifter rather than the factory indirect style.

IRP Germany produces a Solid Short Shift Kit, which is one of the best available universal direct short shifters. The kit features a reverse lockout, smaller shift gate, and bolts directly to the transmission tunnel. This gives you more precise shifts with a shorter throw but a tall enough lever to reduce the amount of time your hand spends off of the steering wheel.

They also offer a range of upgraded solid and polyurethane components like their performance guibo (flex disc,) adjustable front and rear strut bars, polyurethane rear shock mounts, and aluminum subframe bushings. This helps improve rigidity all around the vehicle to reduce torque losses through deflection you would otherwise experience with soft rubber bushings and mounts.

Finally, IRP Germany is one of few producers with a direct swap Performance Steering Lock Out Kit for dramatically increasing your suspension adjustment capabilities and steering angle. These kits increase the length of the control arms with sturdier replacements. These durable control arms are significantly lighter and give you more control over your suspension settings.

If you are just out to have fun on an open track day or looking to compete for top times in your BMW, IRP Germany provides nearly everything you need to help cut those precious few milliseconds off your lap times.

Interested in purchasing?

IRP Germany Performance Products

SHOP NOW

 

 

 

 

A Month of VW MK7 Performance: Brand New Carbon Fiber Products

Winter has kept us indoors, but we haven’t been idle. Here at ECS, we have taken advantage of that time to produce a slew of parts for the MK7 platform. The MK7 Golf, GTI, and R are fantastic cars in their own right from the factory, but they can always be improved. Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing our new line of MK7 visual and performance upgrades which will help take your stock hatchback and turn it into something unique. So what have we been developing, exactly? Let’s take a look at some upcoming products hot off the ECS design tables headed straight to your doorstep.

Front and Rear Adjustable Sway Bar End Links

The theme of MK7 Performance is continued with the addition of our Adjustable Front and Rear Sway Bar End Links! For lowered MK7 owners, adjustable end links are an absolute must. Any performance-oriented MK7 will benefit from the ability to fine-tune suspension settings and more.

Our new end links help eliminate preload on the sway bar and assist in corner balancing, as the 11mm of adjustment can account for even the lowest of modified MK7s. These links improve your sway bar effectiveness and reaction times, which are translated through steering inputs. Best yet, these heavy-duty links are more resilient and durable than their factory counterparts so you can trust these links to be the weakest part of the chain!

Clutch Pedal Stop

To improve your driving experience this spring, get rid of all that dead pedal travel on your clutch! Our new Clutch Pedal Stop allows you to adjust the bottom position of your pedal so there is no more extra travel past engagement. This gives you faster shifts, quicker launches, and a more engaging driving feel. Confidently know each shift will be perfect when your pedal stops by never having to feel for that engagement again.

This fully adjustable stop lets you position the clutch pedal travel to your liking in seconds. Simply install behind the clutch pedal at the factory clutch stop location, adjust the height for your preference, and that’s it! Simple and effective often make for the most enjoyable modifications, and give you instant gratification with a noticeable change in driving dynamics.

ECS Carbon Fiber Fuse Box and ECU Clamshell Cover

Our theme is very Carbon Fiber heavy, so the newest product is no surprise. We are proud to offer a Carbon Fiber Fuse Box Cover! Our ECU cover fits immaculately over the unsightly fuse box and clamshell to provide a congruent theme of tastefully modified goodness. Our exceptional quality, hand-laid carbon weave, and uniquely styled cover follows the factory contour lines for an unparalleled fitment and perfect finish. Complete your build with the subtle touches that set your car apart from the rest!

ECS Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Carbon Fiber Intake and Air Duct

Next, we have developed a pair of carbon fiber engine performance upgrades. The Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Carbon Fiber Turbo Inlet is designed to improve the airflow to your turbo and pair with your aftermarket intake and software tuning. The factory corrugated inlet fails to provide proper airflow to the turbo, especially under increased turbo suction. Our hand-laid carbon fiber inlet tube is a smooth tube engineered for maximum efficiency in delivering enough air to maximize the effectivity of your turbo.

This inlet was designed and engineered in-house for the best fitment and attractive styling to provide both an aesthetic upgrade to your engine bay and a smoother transition of air to your turbo. Thanks to our countless hours of research and testing, we have found this inlet to provide the most consistent airflow in order to maximize the potential of your turbo’s performance.

With the improved airflow through your turbo inlet handled, the new weak point becomes the Intake Ducting on the core support, which is the first site of air induction for your engine. For factory performance, the stock duct is adequate. Any tuning will require improved airflow. We designed our Carbon Fiber Dual Intake Duct to improve the airflow to your engine by increasing the volume by 285%. That massive size difference between our duct and the OEM duct provides a drop in intake air temperature up to 26 degrees (F).

 

Your MK7 will benefit from lower temperatures, more consistent airflow, and a greater volume of inducted air in order to let your engine breathe as well as possible. Improving your performance increases your engine’s demand for air, so this pair of upgrades are perfect to take full advantage of any supporting modifications and give your engine bay an attractive carbon fiber theme.

The performance increases and visual improvements from our carbon fiber Turbo Inlet and Air Duct are just the beginning. Over the next month, we will release a number of unique products designed in-house to personalize your MK7 and improve your driving experience. Stay tuned for each update to learn more about everything available to modify your VW MK7 Golf, GTI, or R.

Interested in purchasing?

ECS Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Turbo Inlet and Air Duct

The highest quality in engine performance upgrades!

SHOP NOW

Aftermarket Cold Air Intake Mythbusted: Audi B9 A4 Luft-Technik Intake

If you have ever modified a car, then you are most likely well aware of the age-old argument “do aftermarket intakes add any real power gains?” Several YouTubers, bloggers, and self-proclaimed experts have weighed in on the argument. Despite miles of information regarding the subject, there is still a distinct divide between camps. There are those who insist the factory airboxes in vehicles perform identically to aftermarket intakes, and those who claim horsepower and torque are trapped in the restrictive factory designs. We at ECS have been drafting, designing, engineering, testing, and producing performance intakes since our earliest foray into aftermarket modification world, so we decided to share our data to settle the debate conclusively.

Our most recently developed performance induction system is the B9 A4 Kohlefaser & Luft-Technik Cold Air Intake. The 2.0T TFSI-powered B9 A4 produces a respectable 249BHP and a whopping 273 LB-FT of torque without any modifications and utilizing a factory tune. Our Dyno numbers confirmed those figures over an average of identical tests to determine a scientifically accurate baseline. While the B9 A4 2.0T pushes the upper limits of what should be possible from such a small displacement, we felt improvements to the induction system would provide power increases.

Our Objectives

The goal of this intake development and all other intakes we design is primarily oriented around functionality. We design our induction systems to function at optimal efficiency and demonstrate peak output for the intended use. In this case, our intakes are engineered to provide the highest power gains, most consistent pressure, and to minimize the temperature of induction air. These intakes are then tested in simulations, on the Dyno, and finally, on the street. Our combination of rigorous and thorough research and development procedures ensure the collection of accurate data in all situations, including the often unpredictable real world.

A secondary goal which shares nearly equal importance to functionality is the appearance of our intake system. A part that functions perfectly should also look as though it is the pinnacle of function. Our designs include a fit and finish to give the intake a functional, yet incredibly attractive, style. Even hardware and fastener locations are taken into consideration in order to grant easy access without compromising the aesthetics of the intake, heat shield, or beauty cover.

Of course, all our intake kits include every necessary nut, bolt, washer, fastener, and all other hardware for a complete and total installation out of the box. While this does not speak to our design, exactly, it does demonstrate our interest in ensuring your car is equipped with everything needed to improve performance without the headache of tracking down bolts or resorting to zip-ties in order to install your new parts.

Stock versus Luft-Technik

Returning to the question at hand, what did we find about our B9 A4 intake from all that development, simulation time, and testing?

Our final iteration of the intake post-development was put to the test against the stock assembly. We established yet another average between several successive recordings on the Dyno in order to guarantee accuracy in the factory figures with which we compared our intake. The next Dyno session, which immediately followed the previous stock runs, included our Luft-Technik intake. With the stock tune and otherwise stock engine, our induction system gained +11WHP and +10 FT-LBS WTQ when averaged with all recordings on the Dyno. Impressive numbers, to say the least, which can be observed on the Dyno sheet below.

These noteworthy gains were consistent across the usable power range on stock management, as well as an APR tune. The APR software tune alone significantly increased the horsepower and torque at the wheels on our Dyno, but there was more left to squeeze from the little turbo four-cylinder. After successive back-to-back runs on the APR tune with the factory airbox to establish our baseline average, we switched to the Luft-Technik intake and were once again presented with average gains of +5 WHP and +9FT-LBS WTQ with the APR Stage 1 ECU upgrade. You can observe our Dyno figures for these runs below.

Pressure Drop Data

With the most pressing question of power increases measured and accounted for, we believe we have seen definitive, empirical, and surprising evidence in favor of a properly designed intake which utilizes improved flow, decreased induction air temperatures, and a more consistent atmospheric pressure across the intake filter. While all intakes and engines perform slightly differently, these figures are within the range of consistent averages found on all our Luft-Technik intake systems across all supported models. Of course, there are distinct differences in performance where some outliers produce comparatively low power increases, and some offer relatively high power gains, but on average, consistently improved figures on our products match closely to the Luft-Technik Intake System designed for the B9 A4 2.0T TFSI.

Have you found something different? Do you have a question, comment, or suggestion? Let us know in the comments below or on social media! We encourage you to share this information with your friends using the buttons below and hope to see your input as we build a better blog.

 

Interested in purchasing?

Luft-Technik Intake

Better sound and proven performance!
SHOP NOW