Best Mk7 VW Golf  Mods & Tuning

"All you need to know about VW Golf Mods and Upgrades!"

If you want to know about the best Golf Mk7 Mods this is the page for you. A site visitor recently commented asking for more information on Mk7 Golf  mods, particularly how to tune it up and modify it, so we've created this guide to go over what I rate as the primary upgrades and mods you can do.

You can easily tune a MK7 Golf, but some mods work better than others. We strongly recommend a tune/remap and handling and brake modifications. But there are lots of other MK7 Golf Mods that are worth considering if you want to build the ultimate modified Golf.

I am starting to add more detailed Mod guides for popular cars, and am adding any tips or suggestions left below in our comments section to pass on to future readers of this page.

Best Golf Mk7 mods

Thinking about the best modifications for your Golf Mk7 engine, we are going to focus on the tuning mods that give the best value for your cash.

Tuning tips and articles

Please watch our video which covers the top VW Golf Tuning Mods. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best Mk7 Golf mods

  • Remaps - A remap ensures the most advantage for the money, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and inline Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  • Golf Mk7 Handling Mods (Suspension) - Adding a Suspension Kit dramatically improves Golf Mk7 handling Poly Bushes and Coilovers are typically fitted to achieve this
  • Forced induction upgrades - Adding a turbocharger is the most efficient approach to increase your intakes air supply, ensuring you are able to burn more fuel and make higher power. Typically one of the most challenging mods but provides the best gains.
  • Brake Upgrades - Stopping your Golf Mk7 ought to be near the top of your Mods list.
  • Performance cams are generally the biggest mechanical mod upgrade, but we recommend they be fitted by someone competent and some cams are hard to find but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock cam for you.
  • Flywheel lightening - a reduced weight flywheel will enhance the engines rev changes. Not beneficial for all Golf Mk7 engines.
  • Intake Mods and Exhaust Upgrades - Please be warned on their own these mods won't ADD TORQUE for most setups, but they enable you to release power after other upgrades by removing the restriction.
  • Flowing and porting the engine head - for larger gains, you will get better flow and make a more efficient engine if you do this to support your other mods.

Golf Mk7 Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Suspension (mild drop), Sports exhaust manifold, New Bushes, Fast road camshaft, Drilled & smoothed airbox, Remaps/piggy back ECU.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: high flow fuel injectors, Brake Discs (drilled/slotted or grooved, Ported and polished head, induction kit, fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Engine balancing & blueprinting, Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression, Twin charging conversions, Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Competition cam.

The Volkswagen Golf Mk7 make a good tuning project and with the best sports parts like remaps, turbo kits and camshafts you will positively increase your driving enjoyment.

Please watch our video introduction to VW Tuning.

Our aim here is to look into Golf Mk7 tuning and highlight the ultimate mods that work.

History & Specs of the Golf Mk7 Engine

The Mk7 Golf is a fine car, and had many changes over the Mk7 for the better, and we regard this as a totally new car, rather than just a minor revision to an existing model. Thankfully the GTi model is still a performance hot hatch flagship.

For the MK7 GTI, the MQB platform delivers 162 kW (220 PS) with a 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine (TSI). The EA888 turbocharged inline-four engine that powers the Golf R is a new version of the 1,984 cc  turbocharged engine.

There is increased legroom and shoulder room for both front and back passengers in the Mk7's interior, as well as a larger trunk, compared to the previous model. If you want tips on other Golf models see also our tuning guides for Mk4 Golf Mods, Mk5 Golf Mods, and MK7 Golf mods.

The new Mk7 Golf is more aerodynamic and sportier than the outgoing model. SE and GT variants come equipped with a slew of high-end features often seen on larger cars, including adaptive cruise control.

Because of the lighter front end and all-new suspension, as well as better control and grip, the chassis provides a more dynamic driving experience. It's like driving an executive sedan with the optional Adaptive Chassis Control dampers.

This is a great hot hatch, and we'd rather have the GTi than the R model since it's a better value. A modified GTi can easily outperform the R despite its four-wheel-drive and higher performance on paper, making it difficult to justify the additional cost.

Three- and five-door hatchbacks were available, as well as a station waggon estate model, for the Golf Mk7, which shares its MQB platform with the Audi A3, SEAT León, and Octavia of the third generation. Launched in Paris, France, during the 2012 Motor Show, and sold for the 2013 model year, with sales continuing until 2019.

A new look for the Golf Mk7 was unveiled by Volkswagen on November 10, 2016 which comprised a minor facelift and some minor revisions including a new 1.5Tsi engine replacing the 1.4 which was phased out, and the GTi saw a power bump to 306hp.

The easiest way to distinguish the facelift model is the sweeping rear indicator lights and fully digital dashboard display (offered as an option).

Here are the Golf MK7 engine codes and power specs

Model Power Torque
1.2 TSI BlueMotion 85 PS (63 kW; 84 hp) @4300–5300rpm 160 Nm (118 lbft) @1400–3500rpm
1.2 TSI BlueMotion 105 PS (77 kW; 104 hp) @5000rpm 175 Nm (129 lbft) @1550–4100rpm
1.0 TSI BlueMotion 115 PS (85 kW; 113 hp) @5000–5500rpm 200 Nm (148 lbft) @2000–3500rpm
1.4 TSI BlueMotion 122 PS (90 kW; 120 hp) @5000rpm 200 Nm (148 lbft) @1400–4000rpm
1.4 TSI BlueMotion 125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp) @5000–6000rpm 200 Nm (148 lbft) @1400–4000rpm
1.4 TSI BlueMotion 140 PS (103 kW; 138 hp) @4500–6000rpm 250 Nm (184 lbft) @1500–3500rpm
1.4 TSI BlueMotion 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp) @5000–6000rpm 250 Nm (184 lbft) @1500–3500rpm
1.5 TSI EVO 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp) @5000–6000rpm 250 Nm (184 lbft) @1500–3500rpm
1.6 FSI 110 PS (81 kW; 108 hp) @3050–4800rpm 164 Nm (121 lbft) @3400–4700rpm
1.8 TSI 172 PS (127 kW; 170 hp) @4800–6200rpm 270 Nm (199 lbft) @1600–4200rpm
GTE GTE Hybrid mode—205 PS (151 kW; 202 hp) @3750–6000rpm
Electric Motor—100 PS (74 kW; 99 hp)
Petrol Motor—150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp)
350 Nm (258 lbft) @1500–4000rpm
GTI 220 PS (162 kW; 217 hp) @4500-6200rpm 350 Nm (258 lbft) @1500-4400rpm
GTI (with Performance Package) 230 PS (169 kW; 227 hp) @4700-6200rpm 350 Nm (258 lbft) @1500-4600rpm
R 300 PS (221 kW; 296 hp) @5500-6200rpm 380 Nm (280 lbft) @1800-5500rpm
R (Facelift) 310 PS (228 kW; 306 hp) @5500-6200rpm 380 Nm (280 lbft) @1800-5500rpm
R (Update) 300 PS (221 kW; 296 hp) @5500-6200rpm 400 Nm (295 lbft) @1800-5500rpm
Diesel engines
Model Power Torque
1.6 TDI BlueMotion (CLHB) 90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp) @2750–4800rpm 230 Nm (170 lbft) @1400–2700rpm
1.6 TDI BlueMotion (CLHA) 105 PS (77 kW; 104 hp) @3000–4000rpm 250 Nm (184 lbft) @1500–2750rpm
1.6 TDI BlueMotion (CLHA) 115 PS (85 kW; 113 hp) @3000–4000rpm 250 Nm (184 lbft) @1500–3200rpm
2.0 TDI 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp) @4400rpm 320 Nm (236 lbft) @1750–3000rpm
2.0 TDI BlueMotion (CKFC) 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp) @3500–4000rpm 340 Nm (251 lbft) @1750–3000rpm
GTD (CUNA / DGCA / CUP) 184 PS (135 kW; 181 hp) @3500–4000rpm 380 Nm (280 lbft) @1750–3250rpm

I have provided some detailed tuning guides and mod tips for most of the VAG group engines on the links below if you require more specific tips and guidance on your Golf Mk7 tuning project.

Tuning the Volkswagen Golf Mk7 and best Golf Mk7 performance parts.

How Mk7 Golf Mods affect your quarter-mile times

We are assuming a 1400kgs Kerb weight, & Manual transmission for the performance tuning figures in the table below

Base power Quarter Mile Tuned to Kerb Weight Quarter Mile
115hp 18.29 120hp 1400kg 18.12
150hp 16.78 170hp 1400kg 16.12
185hp 15.68 225hp 1400kg 14.72
640hp 1400kg 10.99
550hp 1200kg 10.98

4motion or rear-wheel drive is essential at 225hp or more, otherwise, you'll have traction issues. 

To build a 10 second MK7 Golf you need around 640hp or 550hp if you drop the total wight by around 200kgs.

Golf Mk7 Handling/Suspension Upgrades

The Golf Mk7's handling is generally the very first thing to tweak when going to drive it. In many cases, the first step in modifying a Golf Mk7 is to adjust its control.

There have been some reports of issues relating to noise from the Sachs rear suspension area on some batches. An upgrade to a decent set of coilovers will usually mitigate this problem. A rear subframe damper will also help reduce this noise and is only a 30 minute DIY fix.

Improving the Golf Mk7's handling is a common first step. Most MK7 owners agree that you need a little more camber on the fronts, and this is achived by fitting camber plates and revised control arms. (Aim for camber settings of around -1°30' to -1°40').

Rear toe in should also be set a little lower than the fronts, but this is often a matter of personal taste and preference but 1.5 degrees of camber is a good starting point and you can adjust from there.

Coilovers that allow you to alter your ride height to fit your driving style would be the best option for you.

Improving the roadholding of your Golf Mk7 is a common reason for upgrading the suspension. However, the same problems recur again and time again.

Is your Golf Mk7 an everyday driver? What variables should you keep in mind when setting up and picking your bushes?

Upgrading your Bushes

Rubber bushes may be used to attach the car's suspension components to the chassis of the Golf Mk7. As they degrade, the rubber ones will stop working as effectively causing the Golf to be crashy.

Your vehicle's performance may be considerably enhanced by installing new OEM rubber bushings in their place or fitting upraded bushings, and to compensate for the harsher ride, we note that polyurethane bushes will last longer and preserve the vehicle's control for longer.

Deterioration of suspension components  may be accelerated by increased vibration and play in suspension components. Please also note that softer bushings can reduce the camber angles when loaded up, so this can actually hamper your cornering grip in some situations.

Although polyeyurothane bushings might be difficult to come by, most people can easily get their hands on the basic mounts and more suppliers in more regions are offering the secondary mounting points in upgraded poly bushes. Polyurethane bushings may be produced to your specifications should you want more or less flex allowing you to tailor your ride quality.

How low should you go on the Golf Mk7?

TorqueCars research and testing indicate that the maximum suspension drop for most road going Golfs is 26 - 36 millimetres, whereas the maximum suspension drop for the R and GTi (with lower OEM suspension) is around 19 millimetres. Bear in mind that a drop will alter the camber angles, especially when under load.

These tolerances may be drastically reduced if the wheel size is changed. Even with 17" wheels and stock suspension, lowering the vehicle too much can result in lots of problems.

Antiroll Bars on the Mk7

These will negate body road, but I've found them to be too hard for roads. If I was building a track focussed MK7 then this would be on my mod list, but a decent set of coilovers will make sufficient difference to the handling otherwise.

Upgrades to the Mk7 Golf Brakes

There are new braking systems available for the Golf Mk7 and we considering braking mods and essential part of any car tuning project.

Brake pads may make a big impact in your Golf's ability to stop. Your Golf Mk7's braking system may suffer if you drive with dirty or worn-out brake pads, so be sure to replace them as soon as possible.

When going at a high rate of speed, the ability to stop quickly is vital, which is why you need brakes. To stop a car, a brake works by pressing a friction pad against the disc and dissipating the heat generated by the vehicle's motion.

High quality brake fluid should be used along with braided brake lines to help it cope with the heat, which might cause it to become spongy if the lines bulge. TorqueCars recommends this even for fast road applications on the Mk7 Golf.

Because brake fluid is hygroscopic (attracts water particles) and may boil at high temperatures, it is vital that the Golf's brake fluid be changed periodically. Because air bubbles in brake fluid may make it spongy at best and completely stop it at worst, it is necessary to change it.

Brake Disk Mods & Upgrades.

The high-friction nature of racing brake pads allows them to work effectively even when heated to extreme temperatures. At lower temperatures, they may be too noisy and ineffective to use. Race-grade brake rotors, on the other hand, are not suited for road use if utilised on cold brakes or in short bursts, since their effectiveness is limited by their temperature.

Both Pagid and Black Diamond provide high-performance brake pads that are acceptable for fast road use. For the track, I prefer a race-spec pad because of the higher working temperatures. I've tried both and was pleased with their performance in both low and high temperatures.

It is true that the manner you drive impacts the life of your brake pads and discs, however certain high-performance brake pads make very little dust and last significantly longer than the conventional pads I was using.

Cheap Mk7 Golf  Brake Upgrade Mods.

You may be able to find inexpensive ways to upgrade your car in the VW Group parts bin (Seat,VW, Skoda, Audi and Porsche. Before acquiring a new disc for your car, you should measure the diameter of the disc. The 312mm wheelbase of the 2.8 Golf and the 334mm wheelbase of the R32 are perfect for your Golf.

As a starting point, You may easily improve a Golf with smaller brake discs by sourcing parts from high-performance variations at your local salvage yard or wrecking yard. It's possible that parts from a high-performance model in the same family may be used to save money. It's often less costly than getting an extra-large brake converter kit.

It's important to watch out for RS, S, and R versions of the brakes since they tend to be bigger and more powerful than standard brakes from other members of the VAG Group and will often swap in if the hubs are interchangeable.

Golf Mk7 Camshaft Upgrades

Fast road cams perform better at higher RPMs and are often recommended as a major mod for petrol engines, and as a supplemental mod for diesels. Performance camshafts on most engines will result in an increase in top-end horsepower. So changing the camshaft on your Golf Mk7 will affect the engine's power band. The power of an engine may be increased by using a higher-performance camshaft profile.

Fast road camshafts normally push up the torque throughout the rev band, you might lose a little low down torque but your high end rpm power will be better.

As a consequence, the vehicle will not idle smoothly and low end power almost always suffers when using racing camshafts.

Using a Race cam while driving in a congested area is a bad idea.

If you drive a vehicle on a regular basis, it's best to keep it on a fast road profile  with its torque band optimised for your driving style.

Different Golf Mk7 engines respond differently primarily due to the airflow when cams are fitted depending on the cam being less aggressive cam durations than others as unique due to manufacturing tolerances and quality variations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The map and fuel delivery and fuel pump and injectors also will say much on the bhp gains you'll make.

Altering valve durations can adjust the bhp range, and on most engines there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations and valve lift.

Review your options and then source your parts and set yourself a power target to save yourself from expensive mistakes.

ECU Mapping Improvements for the Golf Mk7

ECU flashing will help fully realize the full potential of all the tuning parts you've installed on your Golf Mk7.

(Sometimes flashing the ECU is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and most of these exceed the specs and performance of your factory ECU's but check it has knock protection and that you get it installed right.) It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but the outcome may differs on the tuning parts you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

Air Flow improvements on the Golf Mk7

It is vital to any engine tuning job to push air into each cylinder

Intake manifolds transmit the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be fed into the engine cylinders.

Shape and flow characteristics of the Intake manifold can make a noticeable change to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the Golf Mk7.

It's not uncommon that intake are improved through aftermarket parts, although a few manufacturers provide well optimised intake.

Fitting big valve kits, doing some port matching and head flowing will also lift torque, & importantly will raise potential for increasing the torque increase on other upgrades.

Golf Mk7 Turbo Mods & Upgrades

NA (naturally aspirated) engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you with this mod and look at the pros and cons of going this route on your Golf Mk7.

When it comes to Golf mods, the more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn. So uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes excellent power gains adn there are quite a few turbo swaps around and upgraded turbos.

When the engine is turbocharged, upgrades are more reliable and you'll see that turbo engines use uprated components.

However engines have weakspots. Discover these restrictions and fit forged components to cope with the power our detailed engine tuning guides are where I put the tips and pointers I've discovered over the years.

There are many drivers spending loads on turbo charger upgrades on the Golf Mk7 only to have the motor throw a rod when it's used on the roads.

Larger capacity turbochargers tend to experience low end lag, and smaller turbochargers spool up quickly but don't have the high rpm engines power gains.

Thanks to progress the selection of turbo chargers is always evolving and we are seeing variable vane turbo chargers, allowing the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust gases into 2 channels and direct these at differently profiled vanes in the turbocharger. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there is a limit in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the Golf Mk7 when considerably more air is being fed into the engine.

We note 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor sapped torque at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large performance gains, although more difficult to setup. We have this article on twincharging if you want to read more.

Avoid atmospheric dump valves on all VAG group engines, they will cause limp home mode and flat spots as the ECU's are setup to compensate for the dumped air returning to the intake, which also helps with turbo spooling to a small degree.

Golf Mk7 Fuelling Upgrades

Don't omit to improve the fuel delivery when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty. Performance fuel pressure regulators can can provide a better throttle response.Don't forget to over specify your flow rate on the injectors.

The accepted safe increase is to add another 20% when buying an injector, which takes into account injector deterioration and allows a bit of spare capacity should the engine require more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

Golf Mk7 Performance Exhaust Mods

You may need to upgrade your exhaust if your current exhaust is creating a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you'll see the flow rate is ok even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Don't go with the widest exhaust you can buy this will slow the exhaust rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

For road going cars mods such as a sports catalyst pretty much remove this restriction, mainly due to it's larger size and surface area, and will effectively raise the performance to levels you would expect without having a catalyst installed, but keeps the car road legal. And will flow much better due to it's higher internal surface area and design. The alternative decat or cat removal should be considered an off road only mod, as removing a catalyst is illegal in most territories and regions for road registered cars (and in some you can't even replace a working catalyst).

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the Golf Mk7

The Golf Mk7 engines are generally reliable and solid as long as they are regularly serviced.

There have been some reports of issues relating to noise from the Sachs rear suspension causing a vibration or rumble on some batches. An upgrade to a decent set of coilovers will usually mitigate this problem. A rear subframe damper will also help reduce this noise and is only a 30 minute DIY fix.

Carbon build up in the head, particularly around the valves which will reduce power, this is a very common problem on direct injection engines but should be looked out for on all engines. We have tips on intake cleaning guide By avoiding short journeys where the engine doesn't warm up and using good quality fuel you can reduce this risk.

Service time oil changes are vital on the Golf Mk7, and more so when the car is modified and will help maintain the long life of the engine.

If you want to learn more, or just get tips on Tuning your Golf Mk7 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Golf Mk7 tuning options in more detail with our Golf Mk7 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Volkswagen tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love to know what our members have got up to and which mods work best for them on each model of car. We use your comments and feedback to improve the accuracy of these Golf Mk7 tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

Please Check out my YouTube channel, we're regularly adding new content...

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