The Ultimate Daily Driver
The MK7 and 7.5 Volkswagen Golf have become some of the most popular cars to modify in recent years, and the Golf R sits at the top of the totem pole. The Golf R is an all wheel drive 5 door hatchback, available with either a manual or DSG transmission, and its turbocharged inline 4 spits out 288 Horsepower and 280 LB Feet of torque in factory trim. On top of that there is a never ending stream of aftermarket performance parts to address nearly every concern and improve all aspects of the car.
The options are so abundant that it can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know where to begin. Intake, exhaust, ECU and DSG software tuning, suspension, brakes, aesthetics, the list goes on and on and on.
With a few modifications and the right expertise, the Golf R can be transformed into the perfect daily driver.
The intake is one of the easiest modifications to do, which makes it a first for many. While it doesn’t provide crazy performance gains on its own, it isn’t a waste of time. An intake is necessary to fully take advantage of other modifications such as downpipes and tunes later on. A nice side-effect of an intake is that the noises from your turbo will be much more noticeable, which is always welcome among enthusiasts.
The exhaust is one of the most important parts of a car to get right. From a performance standpoint, a larger and less restrictive exhaust relieves backpressure, allowing your turbo to spin more freely, thus freeing up untapped horsepower.
An exhaust system can make a good car sound cheap, or make a cheap car sound good. A low quality exhaust or a cut up factory muffler will usually sound metallic, raspy, and have a lot of drone in the cabin at speed.
A high quality exhaust will have a nice, deep tone that growls when you’re on the throttle, but doesn’t make your ears bleed when cruising on the highway. It’s not as simple as making it less restrictive. The ideal sound is achieved with the size and types of mufflers, and the size, thickness, and material of the tubing, so it’s best to leave it to the experts and invest in a proper system.
Tuning is easily the best bang for your buck when it comes to modifying a turbocharged car. The gains can be enough to make an enormous difference, even without any intake, exhaust, or engine modifications. VelocityAP, Malone Tuning, and APR each make several different tunes for the VW Golf R that fit every power goal and budget. Anything from a simple Stage 1 tune on a fully stock Golf R, to a Stage 3 tune accompanied by an upgraded turbo, ignition system, intake, and exhaust. Even the transmission on the DSG models can be tuned to improve shift speed and quality as well as driving behavior to accommodate for all the extra ponies under the hood.
Brakes are one of the upgrades that won’t affect you nearly as much on a simple daily driver, but for a car that spends time on track, or even if you just like to hit the backroads for some spirited driving, they can be a valuable investment.
HPA makes a front big brake kit for the Golf R that adds 6 piston fixed calipers, performance pads, 2 piece rotors, and stainless steel braided flex hoses. This setup will dramatically improve your brake performance, resistance to fade, and pedal feel. Brakes play a critical role in a car’s performance, so it only makes sense to give them an upgrade along with other performance parts.
The suspension is another great place to start, and often the first mod to go onto a vehicle. Aside from the obvious aesthetic benefits of lowering your car, a proper suspension setup will greatly improve how your vehicle handles. Lowering the center of gravity as well as firming up the compression and rebound will result in the car feeling more planted, predictable, and responsive.
A set of lowering springs from H&R on your OEM struts are a great option for those on a budget, and allow you to keep the adaptive dampers that come with the car from the factory. Most coilovers do not feature any electronically controlled adjustment and will require an additional adaptive suspension delete kit to disable the system. Lowering springs are also very often more comfortable than coilovers, making them an excellent choice for daily driving, while still giving you that improved look and performance over the stock suspension.
If you’re looking to go a step further, you can spring for a set of fully adjustable coilovers. The Ohlins Road and Track coilover kit is the perfect addition to the Golf R. Each coilover can be manually adjusted to soften them for street driving, or firm them up for track use.
These are ideal for someone who likes to drive hard, at the track or an autocross event. The height adjustability also makes them ideal for anyone who likes to push the limits and see just how low they can go, or how much tire width and wheel offset they squeeze under their fender arches.
Thinking Of Doing Some Mods Of Your Own?
They always start as a relatively tame daily driver, but once you’ve been bitten by the performance bug it becomes hard to stop. A few simple modifications can completely transform how the Golf R, or any car for that matter, performs on the street and on track. This information isn’t exclusive to the Golf R of course. Any and all makes and models can be improved and upgraded. If you’re ready to do something for yours, reach out to Motorwerke and let us guide you through your next modification, slowly but surely creating the ultimate daily driver of your own.