Project GTI: Integrating Speed
The Great Unboxing

This month, I will have owned Project GTI two years.

It doesn’t feel that long, and it’s only when I go through old photos that I appreciate how far it has come in that time. I’m happy that I’ve stayed true to the original plan of making it better, but without compromising its ability as a daily driver. But, there is one, major, final part to this plan, and it’s already underway as I write.

You might remember last year when I wrote about solving the issue of FWD and the associated Wavetrac differential install that took place at Regal Autosport, in Southampton, UK. The Wavetrac LSD released an unexpected level of performance from the car, and it completely changed my idea of what a front-wheel drive car could be capable of.

At the same time, during the same visit, I discovered the products of Integrated Engineering and in particular, their cast intake manifolds. Being involved in the aftermarket world, I was aware of the company, but I hadn’t realised just how good their products were. If you think I’m just trying to shill, take a look at any of their products in person and I’m sure you’ll agree.

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Around the time of last year’s SEMA Show, a conversation was started where IE offered their support to Project GTI, in whatever way they could help. What followed was a considerable amount of discussion with regards to what direction we could go in. Seeing as IE have been involved in building some of the world’s fastest GTI and R street cars, including Iroz Motorsport’s brutally fast MK7 R, and their own 11-second Mk6 GTI, the sky was the limit.


The 2.0-litre TSI (EA888) engine that is fitted from factory to the Mk6 GTI, is an absolute peach. The standard connecting rods, pistons and crank are all forged (but various standards of forging), and are considered to be reliable to around 450hp with standard fuelling. The rods are considered the weakest point of the setup, and it’s only when you venture beyond the 450hp figure that you start playing in the danger zone.

We talked about doing a custom hybrid turbocharger for my car, but I would have needed to do rods at this point for safety and I just didn’t want to have to pull the engine apart. Instead, I wanted to focus on taking what was there and just improving it to its full potential.

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The first piece of the puzzle is IE’s K04 turbocharger kit. Typically found in the Mk6 platform on the Golf R (AWD 2.0-litre TFSI) and the limited run ED35 GTI (FWD 2.0-litre TFSI), the turbocharger is an OEM BorgWarner unit which is modified in-house by Integrated Engineering.

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They machine the compressor housing and fit an adapter plate to allow the diverter valve to fit the in the factory position on a TSI engine. If one was to buy a stock BorgWarner K04, they would have to relocate and rewire the diverter valve into a new position. This does away with that issue and makes the installation much more straightforward. You can see on the turbo’s ID plate that it reads ‘TFSI’ and uses genuine VW lines, proving that it’s a genuine OEM turbocharger.

The K04 is a perfect fit for what I want from the car. It provides a significant bump in horsepower, adds more power at the top end where the current smaller K03 starts to fall away, but still keeps the car drivable. There’s relatively little to no turbo lag, so day-to-day driving remains unaffected as torque still arrives early in the rev range.

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The part that first really attracted me to Integrated Engineering, is maybe my favorite part of this whole development – their 2.0T intake manifold.

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I mean, just look at it.

Assisting the K04 in its duties, this cast intake manifold will replace the plastic factory item and provide a power increase across the entire RPM range, without contributing any turbo lag. Part of this is due to the increased plenum size and design, ensuring a steady flow of air is equally distributed to all four cylinders.

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The runners and velocity stacks are another area where they’ve found more performance. By fine tuning the length, diameter and resonance tuning, they’ve developed the ability for the engine to make more horsepower and torque. Even on a small turbocharger, like a K04, they’ve used CFD to optimise the airflow and power range.

There’s also ports above each runner should I ever want to run a water-methanol setup or even a second set of injectors. For the meantime, they’ll be plugged, however. It’s nice to have the option, all the same.

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The intake manifold also does away with the brittle factory runner flaps, which have been known to break. This particular part of the setup needs to be mapped into the car, to prevent it throwing a CEL and from having rough cold starts. As everything will be going onto the car almost at once, this will be covered under a full new engine tune which will replace the previous Stage 2 software.

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Staying on the intake side of things for a moment, we’ve also chose to increase intake volume with a full new cold air intake system. I was previously running an aftermarket filter and air box with the stock piping, but this CAI replaces pretty much all of the previous setup.

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The first part is a custom heat shield which features an oversized 5-inch bell-mouth.

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The heat shield attaches onto the factory mounts with pressure fit grommets, and draws air in from the factory grill but with the benefit of sealing to the bottom of the bonnet, ensuring that no hot air is drawn in from the engine.

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What was key for me was that this kit maintains the factory location for the MAF. Other kits on the market relocate the MAF to the back of the engine bay, which has a derogatory affect on the MAF’s performance as it ends up receiving turbulent air after the bend in the intake piping.

Speaking of which, the intake piping is secured at all the factory locations and required no modification to fit. It was so straightforward, that I actually had it fitted during the last service at Stone Motorsport. I couldn’t help myself.

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It’s hard to tell of any power differences over the previous setup just from the driver’s seat, but I can say that it sounds pretty damn amazing. The sound of even the K03 turbocharger is much clearer as its spools and even the distinctive flutter when lifting off the throttle sounds amazing. Yes, I’m a giant man-child who loves turbo noises, but it does make the driving experience more visceral when getting on it.

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Another piece of the puzzle was IE’s TSI Recirculating Catch Can kit. I did previously have another catch can kit on the car, but was advised by its manufacturer that there were reports it was drawing oil from the engine and to closely monitor its performance. Sure enough, a couple of months later and mine started to develop the same issue so it was time for a replacement.

The principle remains the same, with the fumes from the valve cover breather being vented into a baffled can, which then separates the oil mist from the escaping gas, preventing it from being recycled through the engine. In turn, this prevents carbon build up on the valves along with oil building up in the turbo and intercooler piping.

As an aside, I love how the hardware is divided in the branded plastic packets.

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The final and largest piece of the puzzle is something which is mandatory at the power levels we’re aiming for. With extra power, comes extra heat, which in turn reduces power if it’s not effectively cooled or dissipated.

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IE’s intercooler features a 54% larger core than the OEM intercooler, along with their Flow Distribution System which distributes air flow evenly through the intercooler from the inlet side, rather than relying on natural air flow across the core. The ‘cooler will reduce intake temperatures, prevent heat soak and the associated power loss and due to the better flowing core, a decrease in pressure drop will also be achieved.

Into The Night Once More
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Now, I sit in the office here at Regal Autosport, following an overnight journey which saw me arrive a couple of hours before they opened their doors. The drive was routine. Following a late night arrival into Pembroke, Wales off an Irish Ferries sailing, it wasn’t long before I was practically alone on the near empty roads, save for the occasional truck or late-night worker.

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With just some downloaded Spotify playlists and a couple of podcasts for company, I find this sort of drive incredibly therapeutic. There’s no real work to be done; I can’t be bothered or distracted as everyone I know is asleep. It’s just me, my car and the open road.

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Caffeine stops were surprisingly irregular, despite only arriving back from Formula Drift New Jersey a few days before.


After 11 hours practically non-stop travelling on the road and seas, I arrived into the dead quiet trading estate that Regal Autosport call home and grabbed a few minutes of rest before heading for a Speedhunters-style breakfast and awaiting the friendly and familiar faces of Regal to arrive.

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I won’t lie, I’m exhausted, but it’s a price worth paying to have avoided the inevitable traffic and queues on England’s motorways that form during the day. At the same time, excitement is proving an effective antidote to the fatigue.

The – considerable – Integrated Engineering shipment has already been unloaded from the car, and Ben has started straight into the task at hand. It’s estimated that it should take around a day and a half to two days to complete the install, along with tuning.

As always, I’ll be on hand to document the install and any issues that may arise. I know that I’m in good hands, though. If all goes to plan, I’ll be back with you again this week to bring you footage of the car on the dyno and to reveal just how significant a power increase there has been. To put my cards on the table, I’m hoping for 300whp.

Am I being optimistic considering I have to run a cat and 95-octane?

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos

Project GTI on Speedhunters



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Man Paddy, you have no idea how jealous I am of your setup. There just isn't the same level of aftermarket performance available for the 1.4L Chevy Sonic/Holden Barina. We've literally got one offering for air suspension (AirREX), three LSD options (Wavetrac, Quaife, and M-Factory), and only one "stage kit" (Bad News Racing) that upgrades the turbo to a GTX14 unit and an optional LS7 coilpack upgrade.

Granted, I love my little hatchback to death and enjoy the challenge of making something unique out of such a limited platform. Part of the bonus is you don't see a lot of them being modified so you are guaranteed to stand out. But would it honestly have killed Chevy/Holden to make an SS trim of the car? Preferably without the ludicrous 5x105 PCD of the US-spec cars?

Anyway, I always love reading about your adventures with your GTI and draw inspiration for my own plans. Keep up the awesome work! #hatchlife


Cheers, mate. Although you could use this as motivation to live up to your username ;-)


Yeah, stuffing a 13B into a 300ZX was one of my original goals in life. Fortunately for the purists, life has a way of changing plans.




It's already had a base run on Regal's dyno so we can see what gains it makes according to them. It made 250hp / 250lbs/ft on the previous setup.


A friend of mine has a K04 GTI making around 320whp/360wtq. It's a pretty insane setup (he actually has a stage 2 power-level tune that he runs for the track because K04 is too much for the stock brakes). The K04 is mainly used for embarrassing people on the highway :D


I'm going to make a random guess that your new parts will add about... 15-20 HP. Not sure what that converts to in Kw.


I've no idea how kWs work.


*Project GTI for 2 years? Would that make abit more sense?


No. Spell out whole numbers less than 10, unless you subscribe to Chicago or MLA styles.




They are talking about the first line. More specifically the writing styles used.
One school of thought is "This month, I will have owned Project GTI two years." the other is as suggested "This month, I will have owned Project GTI for two years."


You know, I just picked up a 2015 Jetta SE and you sure aren't helping me keep it stock. Darn you, Paddy!


Life is too short for stock cars.


I have a GTI as well.. I've been following your build since the beginning and I love it! I have IE's intake on my GTI as well and overall I love their products!! At the moment I'm trying to save enough to have the first Golf R in Central America with IE's 450 Turbo Kit.. Your Build is such an inspiration.! Keep it going!


Amazing, I'm super happy with how everything has gone so far. The products are amazing.


Major jealousy speaking here, but damn the parts bill on Project GTI is adding up. Looking at Mk6 GTI prices they don't seem too bad, but costing out all these mods and knowing that a stock GTI would never be enough, things start getting unaffordable very fast.


Even a MK6 with stage one software will blow you away, they're cars with such huge potential. I'm very fortunate to have so much support around me on this car, because it wouldn't exist as it is otherwise.


always a pleasure to see yr GTI further evolving and with those upgrades ( i guess 308whp/ 312wtq ;) )
throttle response should really be great


Hi Paddy,
I must admit, I'm not a fan of VWs. Or even VAGs at all. But I really love reading stories about yr GTI. Its Just such a complete project, looks right on players show, giving fun at track day and still driveable on daily basis. LOVE IT!


Thanks, Rob!


Dead serious, since my enthusiasm for cars is almost strictly online:
What's the point of a CAI on a turbocharged vehicle? I've read they don't do much besides make a cool noise. Also, what makes it cold? the placement?


Colder air is denser, so it does help on a turbocharged vehicle. I think IE's CAI has dyno proven gains on even stock cars, but I'll have to dig that link out. The amount of air that mine is now taking in is insane, I'll share the data in the next post.


Primary benefit is the cool whooshing noise. Placement is supposed to help prevent the intake from ingesting hot engine compartment air and shorten the overall distance of air to the intake manifold. But to be honest this is not one of those mods you will see a lot of gains from without a tune. Even then, they tend to work better if you install a ram scoop of some type (like a headlight cutout) with hard piping to actually force-feed fresh air into the compartment.


Dino's got some catching up to do with the gtr lol.


They're very different beasts, to be fair.


I'm a little disappointed that I sold my Seat Leon Sport R in 2015 before discovering IE as a company. The amount of products they still develop for the elder 1.8 turbo engine was beyond amazing.
Having said that, I'm happy to see someone actually putting their products to test, and I'm able to witness the results right here! Fingers crossed for you to reach your hp goals!

Omer Carrothers

I have GTI envy. My own recently acquired MK6 is now looking at me and saying I am a bad owner for not doing things like this.

Philip burdock

Looking good Paddy ,That Manifold looks tempting .


I have a similar childish love for my Unitronic CAI. Can't wait to see the power this bad boy is going to be pushing when it's all said and done!


Love your stories of Project GTI. Gives me more inspiration towards my vision with the Mk3 Jetta GT I'm currently working on. I don't have much done to it yet except the important part. Which is getting it running. Getting the other motor built to either an all-motor set up or low boost turbo set up is going to be the biggest issue for me. The other motor is a ABF clone. Luckily I bought an OBD1 ABA block and was able to source a 16v head from a Mk2 GTI.

I'll get there someday with my Jetta but life has taken a twist and currently have to save up for a new place to rent. Once I'm settled down and what not I'm going to start making build vlogs and videos of the Jetta. I look forward to the next story in Project GTI. keep it up!!


Thanks, Gian. Best of luck with yours, good things come to those who wait.


Very impressive packaging and quality control with these parts, good stuff. My guess is the car will easily make 300whp, and more importantly, with a safe, pump gas, daily-driven tune. The K04 will not have to work as hard to move the same amount of air if you were to really peg the K03. Combined with the bigger FMIC, yes more power, but better still, more efficiently and less strain on the motor.


You've pretty much nailed our goals with the car. Reliable, efficient and drivable power.


It is obvious that you did a lot of reading and talking before settling on these parts, so kudos to you for doing the legwork to sort out the right bits. Too often people forget that even singular modifications have a systemic effect, which is why we see so many mega power cars with janky suspension and anemic brakes.


Paddy, I am really not a fan of anything coming out the VAG factories, but your take on the Golf works really well. I love cars that are built to do it all. Have you done or are you planning on doing any track work in the Golf once you got all this extra power?


I've done a couple of track days already, but will try do more again in the future. Looking at doing a runway event later in the year for a change too.


Yeah, I have been looking for one of those too. I think it will probably be next year though. You want to check out some of the events at Harewood hill climb Paddy. Be a really good feature for Speedhunters :)


Great car getting nothing but the best. Really enjoyable to follow these updates and see the car grow into what is a perfect daily for you. Keep the updates coming :)


More coming soon!


Paddy, do you get any grief from the constabulary for not running a front plate?


I usually just take it off for these photos and run it day-to-day. It stayed off most of the time in the UK (out of laziness) and I never had a word said about it.

Christopher Sulouff

I'm nearing two years for my GLi as well and can only dream of doing all that stuff lol. I do think I'm gonna have to go back to the garage as my car vibrates when the a/c isn't on.


Do you have a plan to manage oil temperature?

I have been following your project for some time - fantastic MK6!


I haven't had issues with oil temps at all, highest I've ever seen is 110c / 230f on track.


Maybe dyno with K04 and with and without the IE manifold?
Interested to see what gains that manifold makes alone with other mods.
What tune it will have?


We performed before and after dynos, but not ones after each part was installed. That would have just added unnecessary complication to the process, as a tune would have to be written with and without the manifold.

It's running custom Integrated Engineering software.


I understand the extra work. That manifold is just interesting, since we all know what power k04's make in these engines and in S3/R /Cupra engines. Also would have been nice comparison in some way to the Supercopa setup. Does this have stock intake cam or S/R/Cupra one?


I'm still running standard cams, didn't see the need to upgrade them. Only thing holding me back at the moment are the injectors, so that's next on the to-do list.