HIGH PERFORMANCE by VANCOUVER WEST MOTORS
As an Audi and Volkswagen specialist for over twenty years, I can say with a great deal of confidence that owners of these vehicles are starting with great platforms to begin with when it comes to making modifications to increase performance.
Sport & High Performance Models
You have to remember that even vehicles designed by the Audi and Volkswagen factory engineers to be marketed as sport and high performance models are built to attract as wide a consumer base as possible. This means that there are inevitably compromises made in terms of handling and engine performance to enhance ride quality, reliability, drivability and fuel economy.
For the motoring enthusiast who wants even greater performance from their Audi or Volkswagen we usually suggest one of two strategies at Vancouver West Motors. The first strategy is to decide on a budget and then do your performance upgrades in stages over time, as your budget can afford. The second strategy is to decide on an overall performance upgrade, once again with a certain budget in mind, and then have all the upgrades done at once.
Owners of Audis and Volkswagens have a huge array of high performance aftermarket suppliers with an incredible range of products to choose from, everything from wheels and tires, to suspension parts, to engine parts including turbochargers and superchargers. Please check out our Links List to see some of their products. It’s also worthwhile to see how other Audi and Volkswagen enthusiasts have upgraded their vehicles on one of the many Audi and Volkswagen Club websites, also see our Links List.
Aftermarket Wheels & Tires
If you are going in stages or simply want to personalize the appearance of your Audi or Volkswagen while enhancing it’s handling performance, my recommendation is to start with aftermarket wheels and tires. Alloy rims are often significantly lighter and stiffer than stock units and this will result in a performance benefit because your suspension will have less unsprung weight and there will be less flex between suspension components.
By going to a wider tire with a lower profile, your car will have a larger contact patch of tire rubber on the road. The benefit to you is less vehicle “roll” during cornering, sharper and crisper turn-in and handling, greater traction in both wet and dry road conditions and better braking performance. Best of all, there should be no compromises in your fuel economy and there are no factory warranty issues! The compromise is that while you still have excellent reliability and driveability, your ride may be somewhat stiffer.
My next recommendation to increase your Audi’s or Volkswagen’s performance is with suspension upgrades. Aftermarket springs and shocks can offer tremendous benefits. You may want to consider one of the handling kits available, which offer new springs, shocks, sway bars, control arms, new bushings and other suspension components. The benefit to a kit is that all the components have been engineered to work together. Once again, ride quality will usually be stiffened, but reliability and fuel economy should not be effected and neither should there be warranty issues.
Absolute Best Value for Your Money
The next step in high performance modifications is the power train. My first recommendation, and the one that we consider the absolute best value for your money, is a new exhaust system. Engines are after all air/fuel pumps and anything you can do to increase the efficiency of that process will result in greater engine performance.
Aftermarket Exhaust Systems
Audis and Volkswagen, despite their reputation as high quality, sporty cars, have notoriously restrictive exhaust systems. For example, the Volkswagen Passat comes stock with 1 1/4 inch exhaust piping. An aftermarket exhaust system using sport mufflers and 2 1/2″ exhaust piping can result in a 15% increase in torque, particularly at lower RPMs and a 10% increase in horsepower. The best part? The changes will not greatly increase your fuel consumption. You will also not effect your vehicles warranty, ability to pass exhaust emission examinations and reliability and drivability are not compromised.
Engine Control MODS
The next upgrade we suggest is an ECM (engine control module) chip upgrade from APR. This is a new program that will alter the parameters controlling your vehicles air/fuel mixture. A new chip by itself can offer you significant performance enhancement, resulting in torque and horsepower increases, sometimes as much as 15% torque and as much as 15-20% horsepower in a best case scenario. A new chip installed in combination with a new exhaust system can often result in torque and horsepower increases of as much as 35-40%, depending on the vehicle. The chip also has the capacity to be switched off, for example if the vehicle is being Valet Parked, driven by someone else (can we say teenaged sons) or for trips to the dealership.
Changing Engine Components
Finally, the last stage in high performance upgrades comes from changing actual engine components, such as changing camshafts, intake manifolds, etc, or having engine components machined. This is a very serious step and not one that we recommend taking lightly. This kind of upgrade will require the engine to be removed from your vehicle and costs can run into the thousands and thousands of dollars.
We do not recommend making these kinds of performance upgrades to a vehicle that you are using as a daily driver and depending on for reliability and drivability. And once you start making these kinds of changes to your vehicles power train you will be voiding your vehicles warranty. There may also be a question of whether or not your vehicle could pass an emissions test such as Air Care.
Turbocharger & Supercharger Kits
If you are looking for significant increases in horsepower without making internal changes to your vehicles engine, you may want to consider looking at a turbocharger or supercharger kit. These are often designed to be used on relatively stock motors that have no other engine performance changes other than exhaust system upgrades. In many cases, a turbocharger or supercharger kit is capable of nearly doubling the horsepower of your vehicle. However, vehicle warranty issues may arise and you will seriously need to consider the effect on your vehicles reliability and drivability. And these kits will cost several thousand dollars at a minimum. You will also have to consider making significant changes to your vehicles suspension and drive train in order to handle the increase in torque and horsepower.