When we last left you, the humble little SportWagen was fresh from the development process with our friends at AWE Tuning, sporting a new downpipe, exhaust and intake, allowing things to breathe a bit easier. The car sounded great, but there was no getting around the fact that our wagon was still quite, well, slow. While we realize that nothing we do to the Golf SportWagen at this point will make it a race car, we still felt compelled to do something. To put it bluntly, we had a fever, and the only cure was more power.
Flash forward a few hours, and we found ourselves at Waterfest, staring down APR's palatial spread and the numerous tuned vehicles surrounding it. Earlier in the year, APR had hinted to us that their 1.8 TSI files would be quite impressive, and based on what they were able to do with the 2.0 TSI found in the new GTI and our time in their Golf R, we knew it'd be worth the wait. So with this in mind, we lined our GSW up behind their tent and waited patiently for our turn with their engineers.
With the Golf SportWagen now in one of their flashing bays and our paperwork turned in, the APR staffers got to work, plugging a cable into the OBDII port, and clicking a few icons on their laptop. It's a pretty slick process, and for those unfamiliar, it may all seem a bit underwhelming. To be honest- it is. There's no cutting. Air ratchets stay silent. It's strictly a plug-and-play operation. Much like that album you just torrented, a progress bar is the only indication that something is happening. A few comments on how we liked the car (we do), and the weather conditions in New Jersey (it's hot) later, the job was done. I was told to enjoy it, and sent on my way.
The first drive with this newfound power was a slow cruise back to our setup at the far end of the vendor area, where the car would remain parked until sun fell low in the night sky. To be honest, it was an excruciating few hours of waiting. Much like a child dragged to brunch on Christmas, we just wanted to play with our new toy. And when we finally got the chance, we took full advantage.
APR claims to reveal an extra 85hp and 101tq with their Stage 2 file, and we believe it. The first time really getting on the gas, our previously timid Golf SportWagen struggled to keep traction through the first two gears and into third. What once was a slow sweep towards redline, was replaced by a surge through the rev range, and the blinking traction control light that accompanies it. The soundtrack became a bit more aggressive as well, as the intake sound and turbo spool became quite a lot more pronounced, and is now accompanied by a DSG-fart like noise from the rear during high rpm shifts.
As you can see from APR's chart above, the car's newfound power is much more than simply impressive dyno numbers. The high five-second run to 60 certainly won't set anyone's hair on fire, but the fact that it comes a full second and a half sooner than stock will raise quite a few eyebrows. It should come as no surprise then, that we've had a difficult time keeping our right foot off the loud pedal.
When it comes to fuel economy, we've noticed that it is largely unchanged from the figures seen during our initial road trip from Chicago back to central Pennsylvania. The 1.8 TSI's consistent ~36mpg figure is enough to please just about anyone, although the tune does require 93 octane fuel, which is a bit more expensive than the 89 you could get away with on the stock car. Still, we think the trade off is well worth it.
So what's next for the SportWagen? Well, we'll be tackling some interior bits with help from Volkswagen Accessories, and adding some much needed protection to the rear bumper.