When Volkswagen of America selected us to build a Beetle for the 2012 SEMA Show we had no idea the massive task we'd undertaken.

By now you're familiar with our surf-themed SoCal Beetle we built for the occasion after it was featured in EC 4/13 issue. As good as it looked, it also needed to perform because we didn't want to build a Beetle with all show and no go. We were looking for high performance without any concessions, so we teamed up with our friends at Revo Technik.

Not long ago the prospect of a 400hp VW on pump gas was just a notion rather than a reality. Eclipsing even 300hp would have required massive boost, race gas, a built motor and would have been an uncivilized beast. But a great deal has changed in recent watercooled history, with both VW and aftermarket tuners producing reliable and powerful engines.

Little did VW know what it started when creating the 1.8T motor back in 1996, laying the groundwork for the later 2.0T FSI and current TSI.

Blessed with direct injection, a stout bottom-end, high-flowing 16v head and backed by sophisticated electronics, the 2.0T is as mighty as it is tunable. Although it displaces a mere two-liters, a handful of key mods will see it to 350 or even 400hp and beyond.

As we mentioned earlier, we wanted power without any compromise, so wouldn't accept power spikes, surges, a lumpy idle or or unreliability.

It had to be the proverbial velvet hammer and thankfully Revo Technik unearthed some solutions to answer our questions.


Our first requirement was serious power and Revo's big-turbo kit blessed us with 375hp. Since our car would be center stage, we opted for a few more pounds of boost and high-octane fuel to reach 400hp for SEMA, but have since turned it back to the production 375hp for daily driving duties.

You might imagine it would take extraordinary measures but the affordable kit retails for just $2495 and improved our dyno figures by 157hp at 6100rpm and 164 lb-ft at 4300rpm without expensive modifications to the fuel system. The Revo K04 kit comes with everything needed to make big power without needing a new fuel pump, lines or rails.

The heart of the kit is a K04 turbo without its internal baffle for improved throttle response. Revo goes one step further and machines the compressor housing to accept VW's internal diverter valve, so it works like a factory K04. It also bolts directly to the stock downpipe and is supplied with Revo's renowned software to ensure smooth power delivery.

While the big-turbo kit would have been sufficient, we were going big so also specified the Revo SPS module that would allow us to switch between different boost and fuel maps.

Mechanically, there's Revo's cold-air intake to help the K04 ingest more air, which is chilled by a Eurojet front-mount intercooler to improve flow and avoid heat-soak.

The stout FMIC is a bolt-on part constructed from T5052 and T6061 aluminum with TIG-welded cast end-tanks. The core measures a colossal 23.5x2x16.5" and uses a bar and plate core design with a proprietary internal louver and fin setup to promote efficient chamber balance.

From the driver's seat, cooler and more consistent inlet charge temps means more power. In fact, Eurojet claims the charge remains within 2-6°F of ambient temperature, making it a worthwhile addition.

With so much work on the inlet, it was predictable that we'd de-restrict the outlet with a free-flowing Revo turbo-back exhaust. Designed for the Mk6 GTI, the 3" mandrel-bent system is built from brushed T304 stainless steel with a 0.065" wall thickness and uses modular V-band joints.

The thick wall construction avoids exhaust drone by retaining the sound inside the pipe, and is durable enough to merit a lifetime warranty. Furthermore, the V-band clamps feature self-aligning male and female ends for precise alignment and fit. This makes swapping out the cat-equipped mid-pipe for a race pipe a simple 10min operation.

Larger K04 turbo significantly increases power and torque without expensive fuel system upgrades but with OEM drivability.

Revo SPS device allows user to switch between software maps. Ours has stock, "chipped" and race-gas maps installed

Revo cold-air intake increases power by allowing better airflow. It also sounds pretty good

Revo's stainless steel 3" turbo-back exhaust boasts V-band clamps, thick-wall pipe and high-flow to increase power and produce a great note.

By Justin Fivella
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