New Beetle Tuning
"Penny (fast) Lane is in your heart!"
The Beetle is a fantasic car loved by it's owners. Buying one brings you membership to an exclusive club of drivers.
Now that it uses many VAG group parts there are plenty of car tuning parts around for them and some serious performance can be yours for a relatively small outlay.
Many were somewhat concerned when VW announced they were going to remake the VW beetle. Die hard fans of the classic original were never going to approve of it. If this is you then try viewing this as a totally new car rather than a replacement.
(We have a mini site for Vdubbers who are fans of the classic beetle here.)
There were a couple of popular engine options.
The NASP 1.8 - forget this it really is quite lifeless and the only way to make substantial power gains is to do an engine swap with the Turbo. Even adding a turbo to the NASP 1.8 is an engineering nightmare.
So the 1.8T is the engine of choice and can be very easily tuned without requiring extensive mods. A later 3.2 RSi model was released showing just how much performance this capable chassis can handle.
You can have either the 150ps or 180ps in the 1.8T guise but both offer similar tuning potential, the injectors and intake ports are slightly better on the 180. (Other performance choices include the extremely rare 3.2 RSi and the silky smooth 2.3 V5 engine). A fuel pressure regulator will help deliver enough fuel to your tuned Beetle engine especially if you had the 150ps version.
The new beetle didn't get the powerful diesel engines with a maximum of the 1.9TDi 105bhp which can incidentally be chipped easily to around 130bhp.
Handling is a little skittish, probably due to the height of the car, we would therefore advise that you lower the car with stiffer springs and shocks. Get adjustable shocks so you can set this up to suit your driving style.
Most of the modifications we see are visual mods, and this car lends itself nicely to the depiction of a trendy lifestyle. Engine mods are easy to find as the 1.8T VAG engine is shared with so many other models from Skoda, Seat, Audi and VW. A remap is the best value modification, with the addition of a sports exhaust and induction kit you can create a more aggressive sounding car.
The following modifications are usually performed by our members, decide how far you want to go before you begin.
Getting the right mods for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 (competition) mods just don't work well on the road.
Stage 1 mods: Exhaust, Panel air filter, Remap, lighter flywheel
Stage 2 mods: Ported and polished head, Fast road cam, fuel injector & fuel pump upgrades,power clutch
Stage 3 mods: Engine balancing, adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), competition cam, sports gearbox.
The large arches are just crying out for bigger wheels but we suggest that you read up on the pros and cons of wheel mods in our tuning section.TorqueCars suggest a maximum size of 18" wheels (with 225-40 tyres) but, have seen larger rims fitted with no adverse affects with a few other modifications.
TorqueCars recommend that you uprate your brakes as one of your first modifications. You will probably find that the Audi TT, RS and Golf VR6 larger discs will fit quite happily and there are plenty of aftermarket brake upgrade kits around now for the Beetle.
Join us in the forum to discuss all aspects of Beetle tuning and modification with our friendly and enthusiastic members. We have quite a few VAG owners among us who are absolutely moddin mad!
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Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.