Spring is here and will be gone before we know it. With it comes the best time of the year for enthusiasts, from cars coming out of winter storage, to perfect turbo weather. While you should be considering your vehicle’s maintenance if your car has been subjected to winter stresses, you should also consider that it is the perfect time of year to upgrade your ride's performance. While the parts discussed here are mainly focused on the incredibly broad MQB platform, you can find all of these parts for your car’s platform on our site and we are more than happy to help you find the one that fits. Here are 4 mods we want to install before the summer heat hits us fast.
Springs & Coilovers
A favorite mod of any car enthusiast, coilovers and springs improve your car's center of gravity, improving responsiveness and cornering by reducing body roll. Beyond that it also will rid your car of excessive wheel gap which a lot of enthusiasts agree is a much better look than stock. The question is, which one is right for you? Springs are a very affordable option that will certainly achieve the look you want with the added performance benefits, yet they lack adjustability. We are in an area where the winter puts a lot of stress on the roads and our cars, while you can throw your stock springs on as needed, that is not always a quick job. Coilovers are definitely a step up in price, however when you compare the added benefits it seems like an easy choice to us. Coilovers can be adjusted at will, and offer much more customization from day to day. Not only can you choose the height drop you would like, but you can also dial in each corner of the car to maximize performance, and when the time comes, with a few wrenches on each coilover you can bring your car up to a more safe driving height, or drop it as low as it can go.
However there is one other option, MSS, a performance spring kit that gives you the best of both worlds. MSS springs are a combination of lowering springs with a unique coilover seat. Working with Eibach, MSS kits are built to work with adaptive suspension systems on newer vehicles, giving you customization while also retaining your car’s OEM ability to absorb road conditions. By utilizing the factory shock absorbers, MSS kits provide the performance upgrades and ride height you want without facing the issue of an unbearably stiff ride. You can find their kit here for the MK7 and MK8 platforms but they offer kits for a variety of platforms, and for us it seems like the right choice. You can find coilovers and springs as well for your car on the site and we suggest doing your own research to pick the part that suits your style best.
Wheels & Tires
Okay, so maybe not the most performance enhancing mod on this list, but definitely an important one nonetheless. Even if you aren't living in a place where the roads get covered in salt, snow, and sand, your wheels are bound to take more of a beating in the winter months. It is always wise to have a spare set in the garage ready to swap for a show or event. Lots of enthusiasts are breaking out the summer shoes, and trading in their all season tires for something a bit softer and grippier, and what better way to have them ready with some lightweight performance wheels waiting in the garage.
On our list is the Racingline R360 and the Cup Edition wheels. The Cup Edition alloys are developed specifically for performance and are a great option if your goal is a durable wheel that will also shave a few pounds off from stock, not to mention the gunmetal finish looks good on just about any paint finish or body style. These are the newest in their lineup but have been tried and tested behind the scenes for years. The R360s are derived from that same formula, lightweight for serious track use, and extra strong for daily road use. You won’t have to worry about potholes, and you won’t have to worry about finding a lighter wheel with an OEM+ style. On top of that, the R360s are available in multiple finishes so you can personalize your ride’s style exactly to your liking. We may be biased but honestly we want a set of each in our garage.
As with any performance car, air flow is an important part of the recipe for success. A cold air intake does a better job of delivering more air, and colder air, to the engine, increasing the power and tweaking the audible sound of your engine breathing. There is a myth that intakes only offer minimal gains, but when done properly, and paired with additional mods, it is just a part of the puzzle of unlocking the most power from your ride. While you may have other aftermarket parts, they can only do so much if the engine is struggling to breathe. By upgrading the surface area of the actual air filter, and a larger more direct route to the engine, it can give your car all the air it needs to keep up when being pushed.
Intakes are usually more model specific as it is important to have a direct flow, however depending on your engine there may be more options than you think. APR offers an amazing carbon air intake that will pair with almost all 2015+ VW and Audis with 1.8L and 2.0L engines. This model does away with a closed air box, which when maintained, offers maximum flow to the massive filter. The oversized filter limits pressure drop while maximizing surface area, and the carbon fiber housing works as a heat shield to keep engine heat away from the cold air coming in. Additionally it also looks great in any engine bay. Some don’t like the open air box system, and for that we have the Racingline R600 intake. A little less versatile than the APR option, this intake will pair more with the Golf line and a handful of Audi A3 models, however it is the peak of intake design for those models. This giant filter fits like a factory part, and lasts like one too, it's no wonder why it is a favorite across the industry. Essentially a plug and play model, it looks like an OEM part but performs like a track made part, and is a vital tool to get the most out of uprated Golfs.
At Home Tuning
Lastly, on top of all our other mods, we need the final tools to make sure we are utilizing them to their full potential. Tuning your car used to be the end all be all for performance gains. This meant taking your car to a professional or a tune dealer to get everything dialed in. Now the ability to flash your car at home with shelf tunes is easier than ever. Three of the biggest names in this trend are 034Motorsports, Unitronic, and Integrated Engineering. By utilizing a flashing cable, such as 034Motorsports here, Unitronic’s here, or IE’s here, you can get access to the ECU and TCU of your car. Depending on your list of mods, they offer a variety of tuning options which can be purchased separately and installed via the flashing cables at home. On top of that, you also have access to data logging, troubleshooting, fuel octane tweaking, and even re-flashing the car back to stock if needed. While most tunes require other work to your vehicle, there are also OEM+ options to get more out of your car with stock parts.
IE, 034, and Unitronic offer tunes for Audi and Volkswagen that when paired with the correct parts can offer upwards of a 50% power increase. Instead of getting small gains from an intake or exhaust, these tunes tell your car that it is free to open up and has the necessary parts to do so. What was once a very long process and difficult to reverse, can now be done in an afternoon in your garage, with immediate results. When paired with everything else in this list it will take your car to the next level and make it that much more of a joy to drive.
You never want to install one part that will put heavy stress on an OEM part, but we assure you that when done properly, it takes your car from an object, to something you can really connect with and make it your own. By no means is this an end all list, because let’s be honest, we want to do it all. However, if we had to pick the most important ones to us, these are the ones we recommend to have installed before the summer season of car shows and cruises hits us fast.
And of course if you have questions or need help finding the right part to fit your vehicle, we are always here to help.