Tiguan Tuning

"All you need to know about the perfect Tiguan upgrades and mods"

The Tiguan is unusually placed as a fun family oriented SUV, many other manufacturers have seen the success of this niche and have created potential rivals to the Tiguan. But the Tiguan still outshines them all.

Described in the press as a soft-roader it has the practicalities of an off roader when it comes to load space and access but the running costs are similar to a family car. On our speed bump and pot hole infested roads it is a sensible buy indeed.

The looks whilst controversial are generally appreciated and VW have virtually created a new model for their ever-growing line up. We look at Tiguan tuning and report on the best modifications. Volkswagen Tiguan are popular cars and with a few sensible performance modifications, you can greatly increase your driving enjoyment.

The Tiguan is a good project car to try. If you do your planning then you can create an awesome Tiguan but don't be fooled there are lots of performance upgrades out there that will simply not suit it read our unbiased guides first.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Tiguan Engine Tuning.

Please watch our video introduction to VW Tuning.

The following performance mods are usually installed by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you start.

Gasolene EA211

1.4 TSI 125 125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp) 200 Nm (148 lbft)
1.4 TSI 150 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp) 250 Nm (184 lbft)
1.5 TSI 130 130 PS (96 kW; 128 hp) 220 Nm (162 lbft)
1.5 TSI 150 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp) 250 Nm (184 lbft)
2.0 TSI 180 4Motion 180 PS (132 kW; 178 hp) 320 Nm (236 lbft)
2.0 TSI 190 4Motion 190 PS (140 kW; 187 hp) 320 Nm (236 lbft)
2.0 TSI 220 4Motion 220 PS (162 kW; 217 hp) 350 Nm (258 lbft)
2.0 TSI 230 4Motion 230 PS (169 kW; 227 hp) 350 Nm (258 lbft)
2.0 TSI 320 4Motion (Tiguan R) 320 PS (235 kW; 316 hp) 420 Nm (310 lbft)

Diesel engines EA288

1.6 TDI 115 115 PS (85 kW; 113 hp) 320 Nm (236 lbft)
2.0 TDI 150 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp) 340 Nm (251 lbft)
2.0 TDI 150 4Motion
2.0 TDI 190 4Motion 190 PS (140 kW; 187 hp) 400 Nm (295 lbft)
2.0 TDI 240 4Motion 240 PS (177 kW; 237 hp) 500 Nm (369 lbft)

Engine swaps are quite popular mods for this model, here are engine guides to all the VAG engines we've covered.

Getting the right uprated mods for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 motor sport parts just won't work well on the road making the car difficult to drive.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best mods for your Tiguan

  1. Mapping - A remap provides the most advantage for the money, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be setup by someone who knows what they are doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake Upgrades and Exhaust - NB: on their own these mods won't ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Tiguan Suspension Upgrades - Replacing worn bushings and shocks dramatically improves Tiguan handling Adjustable coilovers and better bushings are what is needed here.
  5. Braking Mods - Enhancing your stopping power ought to be near the top of your Mods list.
  6. Turbo upgrades - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. Typically one of the most costly upgrades it offers big gains.
  7. Internal engine mods - crank, pistons, conrods & compression ratio including balancing and blueprinting

Tiguan Tuning Stages

So we will break these usual recommendations down and see if these 'best mods' are appropriate for your car and we shall look in detail at the mods that will work for you and your needs.

Tiguan Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Remap, Panel air filter, Alloy wheels, Sports exhaust, Lighter flywheel, Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm).

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Power/Sport clutch, Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam, high flow fuel injector.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Sports gearbox, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Competition cam, Engine balancing.

You need to keep as much low end torque as you can and aim to achieve a wide power band rather than a narrow top end power spike.

The point of our guides is to give a starting base of modifying mods and point you in the right direction, our forum is the place to go for detailed advice and tips on your modified car project, the best uprated mods and all aspects of modding cars.One of the biggest mechanical motorsport modifications you can do on your NA (naturally aspirated) engine is to fit a fast road camshaft .

The exhaust & intake durations play a large part in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car difficult to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a camshaft upgrade with other mods and finish with a reflashed ECU to fully realise your gains.

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to uprate the fuelling.

If you find you suffer from flat spots and surges after your modified parts you should check the fuelling and try a higher octane fuel as well. Larger injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine.

A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to uprate this if your injectors are demanding more fuel.

Volkswagen Tiguan intake and exhaust modifications.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Air induction kits only help to increase power if the air intake is restricted!

Adding an induction kit to most low power engines will see LITTLE LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL.

If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

Derestricting the airflow into the engine is the primary part of car tuners so get a better flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean. Induction kits can sound fun but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not add noticeable power and often rob you of power.

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow out of the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too wide or you could very well end up with a reduced flow rate. So generally speaking, keep to 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

Getting the cylinder head gas flowed will help get more air into each cylinder. This is definitely a job for a pro with a flow bench. When you start tuning your Tiguan you will discover that the standard clutch starts to slip so get an uprated clutch.

The best mods that we recommend for your Tiguan are Suspension upgrades, Remapping the ECU (especially on turbocharged Tiguans), fast road cam and finally air intake and exhaust.

Tiguan Suspension Mods

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many Tiguan owners uprate the handling of their cars with performance suspension parts as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

If you set the toe out to around 1.5 degrees on the front, and add a bit of negative camber then cornering will usually benefit.

Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 27mm - 37 mm and fit sports stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

When you drop a car you need a stiffer spring and this can make the ride quality unbearable.

The Tiguan doesn't look very good dropped anyway as the high suspension is part of the character of the car so fit slightly stiffer springs and uprated components for better corning. An anti-roll bar to the rear will also help. If anything Tiguan owners are jacking up the suspension for the full off roader look!

Suspension plays an important part in quick cornering on the track. Due to the track's forgiving nature, you may apply really aggressive suspension and drop your car to boost aerodynamics as well lowering  its center of gravity and get away with it.

However on the road, this is a different story,  you may experience squeaks, rattles, and bumps. And dealing with potholes and speed bumps with low suspension will try your patience and resolve, this is why TorqueCars urge a more subtle approach to Tiguan suspension mods.

The Bushings should be your first port of call when upgrading your Tiguan.

When the rubber suspension bushings on the Tiguan degrade. The suspension may not be as firm as it should be.

As a result, replacing the rubber bushings with polyurethane ones is a great place to start.

As a result, what factors and aspects should you take into account when customizing and choosing the suspension for your daily driver?

For a vehicle's suspension, designers must consider for a variety of factors, including the ride quality of the vehicle's passengers as well as road noise.

A Tiguan straight off the assembly line is almost always equipped with relatively soft suspension and not focussed on improving the cars handling pleasure. A driver's personal preferences and style play an important role in determining the ideal setup for a track car.

The appropriate angle of the tires on the road is maintained by a suitable suspension system, resulting in maximum contact area of the Tires.

Aims of suspension upgrades on the Tiguan

The vehicle's center of gravity must be maintained low, and body roll must be kept to a minimum. So slightly lower and slightly stiffer, is the way to go here. These are typically options you'll be provided by a decent set of coilovers.

Torquecars recommends around a 30mm drop for the Tiguan. Any more than this and you upset the car's handling, although your rim and tire choice will bear on this as well.

Brake upgrades for the Tiguan

Brake pads are just as important as discs, if not more so, and if they're neglected, your Tiguan's performance might suffer.

Due to the fact that traveling quickly implies a need for more beefy stopping power, brake mods are vital!

A brake operates like this: In order to convert motion into heat, a friction pad is placed between the disc and the piston.

The car's forward speed is slowed by this heat which the disc dissipates.

The brakes heat up a lot when you apply a lot of pressure.

When you apply pressure to the brake pedal, an electronic device known as a servo multiplies the force you provide. This creates a pleasing sense of progression and allows you to have a proper feel of your braking rather than just pressing as hard as you can.

The friction pads are subjected to increased pressure through a tube filled with brake fluid (liquids do not compress like air).

Near the conclusion of the hot brake pad, the braking fluid might get quite hot. The braking fluid is placed under higher stress as a result.

High temperatures may cause brake fluid to boil because it is hygroscopic (attracts water particles) and when it gets older it typically contains more water.

For this reason, it is recommended that you replace your brake fluid at least once every few months to remove any air bubbles from the fluid. Dot 5.1 fluid if available in your area significantly outperforms OEM brake fluds, but check the instructions on application and use.

Tiguan Remapping

Why is the factory map so easily improved upon?

To account for temperature fluctuations, minor issues, and adverse weather, manufacturers create timing maps with a wide margin of error. Some nations' CO2, HC, and NOx emission targets vary, necessitating the employment of a "fudged" approach.

When it comes to automobiles, manufacturers ensure that there is little scope for things to go wrong so are ultra-conservative.

Because various regions use different kinds of fuel and have different forms of adverse weather, an ECU mapping fudge needs to be made to keep all cars running well wherever it is used or whatever fuel it's given.

Depending on how effectively the pieces are machined and assembled, the horsepower of each Tiguan from the factory flloor might vary optimally somewhere in the region of 20bhp. In instead of creating a customized timing map for each vehicle, they utilize a one-size-fits-all strategy.

To cut insurance premiums and increase fuel efficiency, manufacturers employ remaps to generate multiple power versions of the same engine.

Assuming you're a regular reader of TorqueCars, you know we are staunch advocates of proper maintenance and using high-quality parts and upgrades on your Tiguan.

Factors such as improper maintenance, unclean plugs, poor leads, clogged filters, injectors that are only partially blocked, and others are taken into consideration by the manufacturer so if you tighten up the map you must be prepare to look after the car properly.

Who should remap their Tiguan? Remapping is a good idea for anybody who has made modifications to their vehicle's engine and on turbo engines both diesel and petrol.

Modern turbocharged engines may get 20-30% more power with remaps as well.

A note about peak power claims on remaps

In the image above which map would you prefer? The 200hp in red or the 175hp in Green? This illustrates you can't focus on the peak power claims made by mapping companies, and must instead look at the whole power band.

A good remapper will be able to provide a dyno chart for their work, if not you have to question if they have actually tested the map out and properly optimized it.

Turbo engines are just begging to be flashed. You will see big power gains on most modern turbo charged cars including diesels making a remap one of the most cost effective and big modifications for your money.

The most significant power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction but this is NOT AN EASY MOD OR UPGRADE. Turbos are generally harder to add than a supercharger. Turbos increase power in increasing proportion to th engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

It is more straightforward to map a supercharger because the boost is proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. Alternatively you could add water injection to control knock.

Volkswagen Tiguan Wheel modifications.

The benefits of alloys include reducing your unsprung weight and better brake cooling via the extra air flow they allow. Pay attention to your choice of tyres (tires) for your car, a good soft compound tire can really enhance your cars handling.

The downside to large rims on your Tiguan is that you're changing your effective final drive ratio and this will have a detrimental effect on performance.

Although some people have fitted larger wheels we would stick to a 18 inch rim size as the maximum. 19's may look very cool but they really ruin the ride of the Tiguan in our opinion.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Tiguan options in more detail with our Tiguan owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased VW tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below. We love hearing about our website visitors projects, especially the mods done and which work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these articles which are kept updated and constantly revised.

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