When VW announced the specs of the MkV R32, cries for more power could be heard within minutes. The 3.2 liter six-cylinder is certainly no dog, but who doesn't want more power? Enthusiasts have become spoiled with huge power gains on forced induction engines, forgetting that tuning naturally aspirated engines is a far greater challenge. We test three new products on VW's newest creation. Keep in mind that the dyno is only half the story and can't represent driveability and other qualitative factors.

*Baseline
Peak wheel-hp 199.6 @ 6380 rpm
Peak wheel torque (lb-ft) 192.2 @ 2806 rpm

*Vehicle data
Engine: 3.2-liter VR6, factory rated 250 hp @ 6300 rpm and 236 lb-ft of torque @ 2500 to 3000 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed DSG
Drivetrain: all-wheel drive
Mileage: 1053
Testing octane: 91

*Dyno data
Dyno type: 4WD Mustang Dynamometer
Outside temperature: 61 degrees (morning)/65 degrees (evening)
Transmission test gear: Fourth

*Note:
This R32 had a strange dip in the power curve at about 6000 rpm. This is something of an anomaly, since other R32s tested on the same dyno have not shown this. The dip was apparent on the preliminary dyno run and not caused by any subsequent modifications. All tests were performed in all-wheel drive mode, not front-wheel drive.

Milltek cat-back exhaust
Peak wheel-hp 204.1 @ 6357 rpm
Peak wheel torque (lb-ft) 195.1@ 2984 rpm

*Construction:
Type 304 aircraft-grade stainless steel
Piping Diameter: 2.75 inches
Tips: Dual, 100 mm

*Pros:
2.75-inch mandrel bent stainless steel tubing is optimal size for maximum flow with no decrease in low-end torqueVacuum-actuated flapper is removed for constant throaty tone throughout the entire rev range
Dual muffler configuration ensures no obnoxious drone100-mm tips fill the bumper cut-out

*Cons:
Slip-joint construction and adjustable rear muffler hanger requires some tweaking to get everything lined up
Once muffler clamps are tightened, the system is difficult to remove or adjust

*Parts:
Latex gloves, exhaust sealant, pipe extender, resonated center section, rear silencer and Milltek sticker
*Tools:
13mm and 16mm socket, ratchet, WD-40
*Price:
$999
*Installation time:
30 minutes

*Notes:
The stock exhaust has some definite restrictions and the Milltek system cured this issue. The only real way to maximize the potential of the exhaust would be to decrease the restrictions prior to the beginning of the system. The sound is definitely a crowd-pleaser.

GIAC Engine Management software upgrade (91 octane)
Peak wheel-hp
207.1@ 6369 rpm
Peak wheel torque (lb-ft)
200.2 @ 2983 rpm

*Install process:
OBD port flash
Options: Pocket-size U-Select Flashloader allows any combination of options with the installed software upgrade. Options include stock, performance, race gas, kill/no start mode, valet mode and privacy firewall to lock out all other Flashloader hand-held switcher devices.

*U-Select breakdown:
91- to 93-octane performance (required with purchase)
100-octane performance (higher ignition timing and fueling optimized for 100 octane or greater)
Valet mode (no full throttle)
Stock mode (OEM-level programming)
Kill mode (theft deterrent/injectors won't open, preventing the car from starting. GIAC ECU programming prevents users from switching into this mode if revs are greater than zero)
Privacy firewall (creates user-selected PIN that must match the ECU)

*Pros:
Increased throttle response
Removes top speed governor
Array of options

*Cons::
Without the U-Select program switcher and the extra stock program, only 91-octane fuel can be used

*Price: Software ($395):
Optional equipment: U-Select Flashloader handheld switcher device ($150), Flashloader switcher software freeware (no cost-downloadable, requires laptop and specific OBD Ross-Tech cable)
Optional programs: 100 Octane ($100), Valet mode ($50), Stock mode ($50), Kill mode ($50), Privacy firewall ($100)

*Installation time: 30 minutes:
Notes: The unfortunate aspect of naturally aspirated engines (unlike turbocharged engines), is that they don't show huge horsepower and torque gains after a software change. Naturally aspirated engines increase throttle response and smooth the power curve-things that don't always show on a dyno graph. It's a different story on the street: the effect the chip has on overall driveability is unmistakable.

VF Engineering short ram cold air intake kit
Peak wheel-hp 212.2 @ 6157 rpm/
Peak wheel torque (lb-ft) 201.4 @ 2981 rpm

*Construction::
Plastic, steel and aluminum
Filter type: Cotton gauze filter

*Pros::
MAF-to-throttle body pipe is manufactured of Roto-molded, high-temperature plastic intake plumbing, offering reduced heat retention
Washable and reusable cotton air filter
High-temperature air deflector/heat shield directs air from factory fresh air inlet while blocking radiant heat, ensuring air entering the filter is as cool as possible
Factory intake amplifier pipe removed for increased throttle response
Roto-molded plastic venturi air duct feeds cold air to the filter area, acting like a cold air intake without the risk of water ingestion
100 percent reversible

*Cons::
No support bracket for intake pipe

*Parts::
Throttle pipe, MAF-to-air filter connector pipe, cotton filter, silicone couplings, hose clamps and air deflector/heat shield with mounting hardware

*Tools::
Phillips and flathead screw driver, hose clamp pliers or adjustable pliers, 5 mm Allen, 10 mm socket, ratchet and extension
*Price: $300
*Installation time: 30 minutes

*Notes::
The intake sounds vicious. Horsepower gains are an added bonus. Installation is straightforward with no modifications required. The cool air venturi duct is a nice touch, directing as much cool air as possible to the filter area.

*Conclusion:
There's a lot more to tuning than just horsepower and torque. The question is: do the parts make the vehicle better as a whole? These upgrades make the car more enjoyable to drive. There isn't a single part installed that was money wasted. From the factory, the R32 is a bit underpowered. This set of upgrades has brought it to the level a VW premium sport hatch should be.

*Total power gains at all four wheels::
Peak wheel-hp 12.6/peak wheel torque (lb-ft) 9.2

SOURCE
GIAC
www.giacusa.com
VF Engineering
Stratmosphere/Milltek
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