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1 December 2010

As good as the fifth generation of the Volkswagen GTI may have been, there are always those who are looking for something a little more – perhaps a little more power. Perhaps a little more braking capability. Or, perhaps a little more sporting ride. Then, of course, there are those who want a lot more, and AWE Tuning, of Willow Grove, PA decided to build themselves a MKV GTI to demonstrate to their customers just how much more a “lot more” could be. The result was the car that they refer to as the 370R, for reasons that will soon become apparent.

AWE has been in the business of tuning VWs and Audis for 19 years now, and they are able to offer a wide range of both in-house developed products as well as select goodies from other vendors. In order to be able to demonstrate the full range of products that they carry, the AWE crew made improvements to nearly every major system on the car, and the result is a very well rounded GTI that is the sum of its parts and something more besides.

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The obvious first place to go for improvements was the engine. AWE has a long history of developing bolt on turbo kits for VW applications that make use of the BorgWarner K04 turbo, and that’s where they started here. The AWE K04 kit consists of a K04 turbocharger, new silicone hoses, a diverter valve relocation kit, and all assorted gaskets and hardware as well as a new ECU program developed specially for AWE by long-time partner G.I.A.C. To help handle the increased boost from the K04 turbo, they also installed their diverter valve replacement kit, which includes a Porsche factory valve as well as all required fittings to adapt it to the VW engine.

To allow for better breathing, AWE’s CCB (Cold Cone Box) air intake was fitted. This kit includes not only a long life cleanable cone air filter, but a fully enclosed carbon fiber airbox to ensure that only cool exterior air reaches the filter, as well as all required fittings and larger, 2.75 inch stainless steel pipes to move the air from the filter to the engine. Of course, part and parcel with having a larger turbo is more heat, and that means loss of air density and power. To help cool off the charge air after it moves through the turbo, AWE has designed a set of adapters and hoses to allow for fitting of the larger, more efficient intercooler from the Audi S3, which was a natural addition to the 370R.

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Finally, to allow for easier breathing on the exhaust side of the engine, AWE has fitted their “R32 style” 2.5 inch stainless steel turboback exhaust, including a HJS metal catalytic converter. The R32 style exhaust moves the tips from the stock location at the driver’s side of the car to a dual pipe exit at the center of the car, in the style of the MKV R32. This requires fitment of an R32 lower valence, and gives the car a subtly different look for a GTI. The choice of the 2.5 inch diameter for this exhaust was made after initial development testing of a 3 inch exhaust showed that due to the larger volume of the 3 inch piping, there was a loss of torque at low engine speeds with very little top end gain when compared to the 2.5 inch tubing.

The sum total of the K04 turbo kit, intake, exhaust, and G.I.A.C. software is a 2.0T engine that produces 319HP and 315 lb-ft of torque at the front wheels. When compared to the stock numbers that AWE produced with the same car on their Mustang dyno before modification of 207HP and 229 lb-ft at the wheels, the massive power gains are quite clear. Correcting for an approximate 15% drivetrain loss, the sum of AWE’s modifications mean that the car now produces a massive 370HP and 375 lb-ft at the crank, a gain of 160HP and 155 lb-ft, or an amazing 75% over stock.

To allow the driver to monitor the pressure of the air being fed to the monster under the hood, AWE have designed and fitted to the 370R a boost gauge kit that mounts in the AC vent on the driver’s side of the cabin. The mounting panel was CAD designed in-house, and allows air to flow around the gauge, preserving the utility of the vent and the comfort of the driver. A Votex body kit sourced from VW, which includes a front valence, side skirts, and (to accommodate the R32 style exhaust) a rear valence designed for the R32 was also fitted, to give the car some differentiation in looks to go along with the differentiation in performance.

Of course, the old truism about power being worthless without control still applies, and AWE offers product lines that address turning and stopping as well as going, so examples of each were fitted to the 370R as well. Bilstein PSS-10 coilovers were fitted in place of the stock suspension components. These coilovers give the user complete control over ride height and offer 10 different dampening settings. An H&R 28mm rear swaybar was also fitted to tie things together a little tighter at the back of the car. Custom made lightweight 19×8.5” and 19×9” HRE C20 wheels shod with Dunlop Sport Maxx tires replace the stock wheels and offer higher grip levels as well as looking extremely smart. Filling out the inside of those wheels is Stoptech’s 328mm big brake kit. The kit is made up of red painted 4 piston Stoptech calipers, two piece lightweight AeroRotor rotors, high performance pads, braided stainless steel lines, and CNC machined anodized aluminum caliper mounting brackets. The brake kit has been designed specifically to preserve the proper brake bias while still increasing stopping force and offering much greater heat dissipation and fade resistance than the stock GTI brakes.

The sum total of the modifications that AWE have made to the 370R is impressive – by giving proper attention to the entire car, they have built something that is more than just a hotter hatch with huge power – it is a balanced, complete machine that aptly demonstrates for the GTI owner who wants that “something more” exactly what AWE are capable of providing.

A few final notes – obviously, all of the parts and modifications discussed in this article are available from AWE tuning via their website, http://www.awe-tuning.com. AWE have also informed us that they have completed building a sixth generation GTI to similar spec, so MKVI owners will want to check in for coverage on that car in the coming weeks.



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