2013 VW Golf R Gets More R with ECU and Racing Intake [Tuning]

2013 vw golf r apr tune bluewater performance

What to do with a stock 2013 VW Golf R after about 14,000 trouble-free miles?  It’s time to get more performance out of it!  Where do you start and what do you do?  Here is a quick walk-though of one way to do it.

An ECU tuning is the first upgrade to consider.  Manufacturers usually leave a lot of engine power on the table for various reasons that you can unlock with the computer or chip tune.  You need to find a reputable tuner who knows what they are doing.  APR is one of those for the Volkswagen, Audi, and other European cars.  In the case of the Mk6 Golf R, the stock 2.0L has a lot more to give.  Volkswagen claims the engine makes 256 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque on 91 octane fuel.  However, the folks at APR take their own baseline dyno measurements.  They saw 273 hp and 265 lb-ft on 93 octane.

Stage I is the first step in the tuning process, and APR claims 31o hp and 311 pounds of torque can be achieved (again on 93 octane).

vw golf r awd apr power graph
VW Golf R power increase with APR ECU tune only (provided by APR).

The next step is Stage I+ that also includes two hardware upgrades: air intake and a high-flow fuel pump.  This is according to APR.  The owner of this Golf R chose to start with the intake upgrade and postpone the high-flow fuel pump until later.  Air is hard to come by at high elevations of Colorado, and a full air intake system is a logical choice to increase the delivery of oxygen.  The Volkswagen Racing intake system was chosen for this install.  There are many other options, but this system is a genuine Volkswagen part and easily drops in.  The plastic engine cover actually houses the stock air filter, so the whole thing is removed.

Engine bay (Before).


volkswagen racing part golf r mk6
Engine bay (After)

The full potential of the Stage I+ (337 hp and 337 lb-ft) was not achieved this time, because the high performance fuel pump was not part of it.  Nonetheless, the racing intake system adds a lot more induction noise and blow-off valve whistles.  And this whole upgrade makes a huge difference in daily driving.  After all you are gaining a huge 72 wheel horsepower and 61 lb-ft of wheel torque!  Those other hot hatches don’t stand a chance.

The next steps would be to add the fuel pump and then continue on with the exhaust system upgrade and more tweaks to the ECU.  These are relatively straight forward hardware updates and tuning to make big gains in power.  APR tuning can be performed by a licensed retailer or distributor.  In this case, Bluewater Performnace of Denver, CO did the job.

Watch this Golf R in a fully stock form participate in TFLcar hot-hatch mashup.  Somehow, we have a feeling that the upgraded Golf R will be a lot faster.

Andre SmirnovAndre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, software engineer, writer, and reporter. He has been writing and reporting at TFLcar since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – you can find him tinkering in the garage or scouring the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.