Please note that any specs, claims, measurements are all my own opinion and may or may not be related to actual science. If I've got any parts anyone wants to ask questions about or any questions about what I have included, please feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer.
Likely the first upgrade most will go for. A Cupra / R will easily make 300ish bhp from just a software update alone. What’s not to like? The Cupra is pretty fast to begin with and this just makes it so much better. You’ll get used to it after a while, but you’ll definitely miss it when it’s not there. First time I had a flat battery and lost the settings, I found myself leaning forward into the acceleration wondering where the kick had gone.
Most likely everyone will be wondering which map to go for. I went for Revo which is a pretty safe map compared to most. But then, I’ve spent all my savings on this engine and I need it to last.
I’ve read much advice about skipping Stage 2 and going straight to 2+. Having done it, I 100% agree with it. The only good point is that Revo charge you a £50 software update fee. Ok, you’ll need an intake and downpipe as well making it slightly less value for money. My butt liked to think for the £100s I spent that it was worth it. The exhaust noise was slightly more pleasing (downpipe), but performance wise it actually felt maybe slightly more pull but slightly slower off the line. And at high revs felt completely flat.
Which brings me on to Stage 2+. This requires at least a HPFP. For those that don’t know, Stage 2+ is a way of linking your injectors directly to your fuel gauge. This is evident as whenever I floor it, I can watch the fuel gauge go down another notch. But, it also links the accelerator pedal to your face muscles. Evident by the smile on my face every time I plant my foot. It just pulls and pulls in every gear up to the red line. Previously 1st and 2nd had been fun. But this now adds 3rd gear to the line-up. It also makes you lazy because you can now overtake easily in 6th rather than having to change down.
As much as I love the power and torque, there are 2 downsides. 1:- My fuel economy was never great. I can now easily knock another 6-7mpg off when on boost. 2:- I can now break traction in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. So it actually makes the car more difficult to get off the line fast as more skill is involved.
Likely the first bolt on upgrade will be an intake. I went for Revo because it seems to get the best reviews. I’ve never really felt the intake itself makes any difference directly to the performance or feel of the car. But it’s a necessary upgrade for Stage 2 onwards. Most intakes will be very marmite. You’ll either love the sound or hate it. Personally I love it, you get a whoosh on boost that’s audible from your glove box as well as outside the car that shouts “look, I’m fast”. But also, on quick shifts the guy your overtaking gets to hear the “randy owl noise”. This technically may be the quick dump of air through the dv, but again, you either love it or hate it. And I LOVE IT!!
To go Stage 2 onwards, you’ll need at least a downpipe (turbo back). To pass an MOT, you’ll need this downpipe to have a cat (usually a 200 cell performance cat). From what I’ve read, a decent cat back adds 5-10bhp on as well. So a full exhaust system may be the best option. I went Milltek purely because the previous owner had kindly fitted the catback. Again, it’s a necessary upgrade for power, but definitely pleasing in making the throttle sound more throaty. And as my mom would say “I know when your in the street, I can feel the house shake”. I went resonated because I wanted to avoid motorway drone. But I’ve not heard non-resonated. So you take your chance and I’d listen first. Also, it’s shiny. And I like shiny.
Do I need an intercooler? No, of course not, cause you’ve already spent a fortune and this is a good way of saving another £500+. I convinced myself of this for several months before getting the Dynodaze WellyCooler. This is one of my fav upgrades. I recall tfsi groups threads “is it me or is my car slow this summer?”. I couldn’t reply as It’d just be mean saying “Nope, I’m running great”. I’ve found with the WellyCooler that the hotter the weather, the more efficiently it does its job. I measured it on a 30 degree day, and as soon as I floored it at lights, my IAC dropped to 32 degrees! It also looks pretty awesome IMHO.
To answer some concerns I had: Yes you can keep your aircon. And yes, the aircon still works as well with the intercooler in front. I’ve come to think of it as this. You may make whatever bhp, but every run, every degree of outside temperature is taking that bhp away from you. A decent intercooler not only keeps your turbo happy, it keeps that smile on your face.
If your going 2+, you’ll need a HPFP. I went LOBA because 1:- I wanted a sealed unit and 2:- my original HPFP would be 7 years old with ok only 40k miles on it. But I wanted to go for the best solution possible. The LOBA claims to be able to supply 50% more fuel and I concur. The Stage 2 had been quite flat in places. I assume because the fuelling had literally just maxed out. But with the 2+ and the HPFP, if you’ve fuel in the tank, it’ll throw it in. The unit itself seems really well made.
Technically not a performance mod, but related to one. How many times have I opened the engine bay to find the bolt and washer holding the intake have vibrated free!? Hmm, about 3-4 times. I have a selection of metal washers, rubber washers and 2 bolts somewhere loose in there. First thing I'd do after getting it fitted, put a load of threadlock on it!