- The VW Golf: a coveted tuning base
- Lowering: VW Golf tuning with sport suspensions and coilover suspensions
- Cosmetic facelift for the VW Golf with rims and tyres
- Tuning with exhaust and exhaust gas system
- Interior facelift
- Cosmetic facelift for the VW Golf and the Golf GTI
- Increase in engine performance
- Chip tuning
- Optimisation of aerodynamics
- VW Golf 1 and VW Golf 1 GTI suspension tuning
- VW Golf 2 and VW Golf 2 GTI suspension tuning
- VW Golf 3 and VW Golf 3 GTI suspension tuning
- VW Golf 4 and VW Golf 4 GTI suspension tuning
- VW Golf 5 and VW Golf 5 GTI suspension tuning
- VW Golf 6 and VW Golf 6 GTI suspension tuning
- VW Golf 7 and VW Golf 7 GTI suspension tuning
- VW Golf 8 and VW Golf 8 GTI suspension tuning
- VW tuning companies
VW Golf: Your Tuning Guide
No question, the VW Golf is an icon of the automotive world. And rightly so. The compact model was built over 35 million times since 1974 and has accompanied and inspired generations. Accordingly, the VW Golf is popular in the worldwide tuning scene. Today, the VW Golf offers a wide variety of possibilities for tuning enthusiasts to optimise the performance, handling and appearance of the compact car. In this article, we take a look at the tuning options with a focus on lowering and suspension tuning: our guide to VW Golf tuning.
Let’s get into it, these are the topics at a glance:
The VW Golf: a coveted tuning base
A look back. Way back: to the 1970s. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Golf 1 had to live up to the huge expectations as the successor to the VW Beetle, which had been built more than 21.5 million times, to continue the success story of the most successful car in the world up to that point. It succeeded. To date, around 40 million units of the various generations of the practical VW Golf have been produced since its launch in 1974.
As popular and suitable for everyday use as the Golf may be, there is a strong urge among tuning enthusiasts to customise their Golf and make a desirable one-off out of the volume model. It often starts with proper lowering.
Lowering: VW Golf tuning with sport suspensions and coilover suspensions
One of the most popular tuning measures for the VW Golf and Golf GTI is lowering the vehicle. Lowering the body makes the Golf look sportier and improves road holding. There are various options.
Often, only sports springs are fitted. Sport springs offer moderate lowering of the vehicle and are often combined with the OE dampers. However, this is not recommended. The problem is that the OE shock absorbers are usually not designed for the lower spring travel and harder spring rates. Lowering springs should always be considered in combination with the shock absorbers. That’s why experts like BILSTEIN only offer specially matched complete suspensions.
Drivers who are aiming for a sportier driving style in addition to lowering should go for sport suspensions and coilover suspensions. A sports suspension consists of specially tuned springs and dampers that provide a firmer set-up of the suspension. This improves the Golf’s handling and keeps it stable when cornering. In addition to lowering, coilover suspensions allow the height of the vehicle to be individually adjusted. A coilover suspension allows drivers to adjust the height of the vehicle as desired. Be it for a sportier look or optimised performance on the race track. Thanks to their individual adjustability, coilover suspensions offer great flexibility and allow to adapt the vehicle to one’s own preferences.
Cosmetic facelift for the VW Golf with rims and tyres
In addition to lowering the VW Golf, a facelift is also possible with the help of stylish rims and tyres. They give the vehicle a personal touch. Choosing suitable and stylish rims can significantly enhance the car’s exterior appearance. Different designs and surfaces of alloy rims offer an individual look, while forged rims combine both robustness and elegance. Multi-part rims often give the vehicle a very special, unique visual effect.
Choosing the right rims can highlight the vehicle’s character: sporty, elegant or extravagant. When choosing rims, diameter, width and design are crucial to achieve a successful balance between aesthetics and functionality.
• Light alloy rims, also known as aluminium rims, are lighter compared to steel rims. They contribute to a reduction in the unsprung mass of the vehicle and thus to better driving dynamics.
• Forged rims are made from a single piece of aluminium and are characterised by their high strength combined with low weight.
• Multi-part rims consist of different components that are bolted together. This type of rims provide a high degree of customisation and is often available in exclusive designs.
In addition to the appropriate diameter and rim width, it is important to pay attention to the correct offset and bolt circle to ensure optimal fit.
Being the direct link between the vehicle and the road, the tyres have a direct influence on driving performance and grip in bends. Customising rims and tyres can not only improve the aesthetic features of the VW Golf, but performance and handling can also be optimised. Larger and wider tyres, in combination with a good sport suspension for the VW Golf, can result in better road holding and optimised handling. Special sports tyres such as UHP and UUHP tyres as well as semislicks significantly increase grip on dry roads.
When choosing tyre size and width, it is crucial that the new tyres match the rims from a technical point of view, but also look good on the vehicle and suit the individual requirements.
Tuning with exhaust and exhaust gas system
Some like it quiet, while for others a distinctive sound is intrinsically tied to a sporty vehicle. When tuning the exhaust and exhaust gas system of a VW Golf, both options are available. By optimising, the vehicle’s sound can be adjusted to match personal preferences. High-quality sports exhaust systems not only offer a more powerful and distinctive sound, but also underline the vehicle’s sporty identity. An improved exhaust system can increase the performance of the VW Golf by optimising the exhaust flow and reducing the back pressure. This results in better “breathing” of the engine, which in turn results in increased performance and improved torque.
The look of the exhaust system also contributes significantly to the vehicle’s overall impression. The tailpipes, for example, are characteristics of a high-quality exhaust system. Exhaust systems and individual tailpipes with a motor sports look give the VW Golf a more dynamic appearance. They can be made of different materials such as stainless steel or also of titanium or carbon and come in different shapes and designs. Customised tailpipes give the vehicle a unique and unmistakable personality and perfectly complete the tuning. When modifying the exhaust system, it is important to pay attention to the permissibility and only install systems with a TÜV certificate or type approval.
Whether it’s a BMW, Audi, Opel, Skoda or Volkswagen, the cockpit is the place where drivers spend most of their time. It is therefore all the more important that the interior creates a pleasant ambience and meets individual needs and preferences. Sporty drivers design their interiors dynamically with references to motorsport. Comfort-oriented tuning fans may focus more on noble materials and tuning elements that make a visual difference.
Drivers who like their VW Golf to be sporty on the road usually opt for sports seats. These seats are specially designed to provide optimum support and comfort for a sporty driving style. Thanks to pronounced side bolsters, they offer support during fast cornering or strong braking manoeuvres and convey a feeling of safety.
In addition to the sports seats, there are many other options for interior upgrades for the VW Golf, whether a GTI or a normal Golf. No matter whether it’s a Golf 1, 2, 3, 7 or 8. Sports steering wheels are often more compact and have a better grip than conventional steering wheels. They are often made of high-quality materials such as leather or Alcantara® and are available in various designs and colours to enhance the appearance of your BMW’s interior. Gear knobs and pedals are other elements that can enhance the interior both visually and functionally. Racing style gear knobs made of aluminium, carbon or leather offer a more pleasant grip and can add some feel to your gear changes. Pedals with a race look, mostly made of stainless steel or aluminium, provide better foothold and increase control over the vehicle.
Cosmetic facelift for the VW Golf and the Golf GTI
A facelift for a VW Golf offers the possibility to design the vehicle according to your own preferences and to give it an individual character. The spectrum ranges from subtle changes to eye-catching modifications. It is important that the parts used have a TÜV certificate or a type approval to ensure safety and legality of the modification.
Front and rear skirts with a motor sports look give the vehicle a dynamic appearance. Spoilers are other facelift elements that influence the appearance.
VW Golf body kits are usually comprehensive packages that contain various parts such as bumpers, spoilers, side skirts and fender flare extensions. They enable a comprehensive facelift for the compact Volkswagen and can be designed to be subtle or eye-catching, depending on taste.
Various options are available when selecting materials for such cosmetic changes: GRP (glass fibre reinforced plastic), ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and carbon. GRP is an lightweight, but stable material that is often used for tuning parts. ABS is a high-quality plastic that is characterised by shock resistance and durability. Carbon is an extremely lightweight and stable material that is often used in motor sports. From the race track to the road: carbon gives tuning parts a noble and sporty look.
Increase in engine performance
Tuning the engine performance is a central aspect for many car fans. Performance enhancement refers to any measure that can increase engine power, resulting in improved acceleration and top speed. Options for performance enhancement include chip tuning, the use of sports air filters or turbocharger upgrades.
Chip tuning aims to increase the performance of the modern VW Golf by making adjustments to the electronic engine control systems. Specifically, chip tuning refers to the modification of the engine control system to optimise the vehicle’s power and torque. This involves adjusting factory-set parameters such as fuel injection, ignition timing and boost pressure. Chip tuning can be implemented in a multitude of modern VW Golf models that are equipped with an electronic engine control unit.
Tuning boxes are external control units that connect to the existing engine control unit of the VW Golf and make adjustments to the engine parameters in real time. They are a simple option to increase performance that is quickly implemented.
The installation of a tuning box usually requires no specific knowledge and can be carried out independently by technically experienced vehicle owners. One advantage of tuning boxes is that they can be removed again if necessary without leaving any visible traces of changes. Mapping aims at a targeted adjustment in the software of the engine control unit to adjust the engine parameters to the individually requirements of the driver. This can lead to increased performance and improved responsiveness. However, mapping requires specialist knowledge and should be carried out by an experienced chip tuning expert. Unlike using a tuning box, the changes made with mapping are usually permanent and can only be reversed by re-installing the original software.
Chip tuning can lead to a remarkable increase in the performance and significantly improve the driving experience. At the same time, potential risks are associated with this method. Improper adjustment of the engine control system can lead to engine damage, increased wear or problems with the exhaust system. It is therefore of great importance to pay attention to the quality of the tuning solution used and the provider’s expertise.
We would like to expressly emphasise: Pay attention to quality, to TÜV certificates or general operating licences and individualise the performance of your VW Golf according to your personal preferences through targeted tuning.
Optimisation of aerodynamics
Optimising the aerodynamics can reduce air resistance and improve the vehicle’s stability. Popular tuning measures in this area include the installation of front spoiler lips, rear skirt attachments and sillboards. These add-on parts often only improve aerodynamics to a limited extent, but are more likely to be classified as a facelift.
VW Golf 1 and VW Golf 1 GTI suspension tuning
The VW Golf 1 was launched in 1974 and laid the foundation for the cult compact car. The first generation of the Golf quickly became a top seller. In 1976, Volkswagen launched the legendary Golf 1 GTI, which achieved impressive performance figures by the standards of the time with its 1.6-litre engine and 110 hp. The Golf 1 GTI is credited with establishing the compact sports car segment known as “hot hatches” and is still very popular with tuning fans today.
For the VW Golf 1 and Golf 1 GTI, we have the BILSTEIN B12 Pro-Kit sports suspension in our range, which scores with a lowering of approx. 30 to 40mm at the front axle and approx. 30-35mm at the rear axle (varies depending on equipment variant and engine).
VW Golf 2 and VW Golf 2 GTI suspension tuning
The VW Golf 2 was introduced in 1983 and took over the successful features of its predecessor. With a wider range of engines and a revised design, the Golf 2 offered more versatility and performance. The Golf 2 provided a solid base for tuning enthusiasts to further enhance performance and customise the vehicle. The Golf 2 GTI went on sale in 1984. In the beginning, it produced 112 hp, later 139 hp as 1.8 GTI 16V. The iconic GTI G60 with 160 hp was available as of 1990.
For the VW Golf 2 and Golf 2 GTI, we offer the BILSTEIN B12 Pro-Kit sports suspension. This lowers the vehicle by approx. 30 to 40mm at the front and 30 to 35mm at the rear (varies depending on equipment variant and engine). The VW Golf 2 1.8 GTI 16V can be lowered by approx. 20 mm at the front and rear with the B12 Pro-Kit.
In addition, we have the adjustable coilover suspensions B14 (lowering approx. 35 to 50mm at the front axle and 10 to 30mm at the rear axle) and B16 (lowering approx. 30 to 50mm at the front axle and 10 to 30mm at the rear axle) in our portfolio for the Golf 2. Also in this case, lowering varies depending on the equipment variant and engine.
VW Golf 3 and VW Golf 3 GTI suspension tuning
The VW Golf 3 was launched in 1991 and featured a number of innovations. The Golf 3 set new standards with an improved suspension geometry and a modern look. In the tuning sector, too, the Golf 3 opened up options to optimize handling and customise the exterior
For the VW Golf 3 and Golf 3 GTI, we offer the BILSTEIN B12 Pro-Kit sports suspension. This provides for lowering the vehicle by approx. 30mm at the front and rear (varies according to equipment variant and engine). The BILSTEIN B12 Sportline allows for even more lowering.
In addition, we offer the height-adjustable coilover suspensions B14 (lowering approx. 30 to 50mm at the front axle and 10 to 30mm at the rear axle) and B16 (lowering approx. 30 to 50mm at the front axle and 10 to 30mm at the rear axle) for the Golf 3. Also in this case, lowering varies depending on the equipment variant and engine.
VW Golf 4 and VW Golf 4 GTI suspension tuning
The VW Golf 4 was presented in 1997 and was characterised by an improved quality of workmanship and a higher level of comfort. The Golf 4 offered a wide range of engine options and also provided an excellent basis for tuning measures. The suspension in particular could be optimised by installing sport suspensions or coilover suspensions.
For the VW Golf 4 and Golf 4 GTI, we offer the BILSTEIN B12 Pro-Kit and the BILSTEIN B12 Sportline. These lower the vehicle by approx. 30mm at the front and rear (BILSTEIN B12 Pro-Kit) and approx. 45 to 50mm at the front axle and approx. 30 to 35mm at the rear axle (BILSTEIN B12 Sportline). Lowering varies depending on the equipment variant and engine. In the case of the VW Golf 4 GTI, the lowering is somewhat more comfortable.
In addition, our portfolio for the Golf 4 includes the adjustable coilover suspensions B14 (lowering approx. 25 to 45mm at the front axle and 20 to 40mm at the rear axle) and B16 (lowering also approx. 25 to 45mm at the front axle and 20 to 40mm at the rear axle). Also in this case, lowering varies depending on the equipment variant and engine.
VW Golf 5 and VW Golf 5 GTI suspension tuning
The VW Golf 5, introduced in 2003, once again set new standards in design and handling. With a sporty look and a wide range of engine variants, the Golf 5 was very popular in the tuning scene.
For the VW Golf 5 we offer the BILSTEIN B12 Pro-Kit sports suspension. This provides for lowering the vehicle by approx. 30mm at the front and rear (varies according to equipment variant and engine). The BILSTEIN B12 Sportline offers even greater lowering with approx. 45 to 50mm at the front and approx. 30 to 35mm at the rear. Also in this case, lowering varies depending on the equipment variant and engine
In addition, we have the coilover suspensions B14 and B16 (lowering approx. 30 to 50mm at the front axle and rear axle) in our portfolio for the Golf 5. Also in this case, lowering varies depending on the equipment variant and engine.
For Golf 5 GTI we offer the BILSTEIN B12, B14 and B16. Lowering is somewhat more moderate in this case. Furthermore, our range includes the BILSTEIN Clubsport coilover suspension, which is uncompromisingly designed for use on the racetrack.
VW Golf 6 and VW Golf 6 GTI suspension tuning
The VW Golf 6 was launched in 2008. It combined sporty design with a high efficiency. The Golf 6 offered various engines with turbocharging and direct injection, which were ideal for performance increase.
For the VW Golf 6 and Golf 6 GTI, we offer the BILSTEIN B12 Pro-Kit and Sportline. These lower the vehicle by approx. 30 to 50mm at the front and 30 to 35mm at the rear (varies depending on equipment variant and engine).
We also offer the B14 and B16 coilover suspensions for the Golf 6. Lowering in this case up to approx. 50mm.
VW Golf 7 and VW Golf 7 GTI suspension tuning
The VW Golf 7, introduced in 2012, came as a modern and versatile compact car. With a wide range of engines and high-quality equipment, the Golf 7 is now a very popular tuning vehicle – especially as GTI with 220 hp These models are also particularly exciting:
- GTI Performance with up to 245 hp
- GTI Clubsport with 265 hp
- GTI Clubsport S with 310 hp
- GTI TCR and the Golf R with 290 and 310 hp respectively.
For the VW Golf 7 and Golf 7 GTI, we also offer the BILSTEIN B12 sports suspension. This provides for lowering by approx. 35mm at the front and up to 30mm at the rear (varies according to equipment variant and engine).
In addition, our range for the Golf 7 includes the coilover suspensions B14 and B16 (lowering up to 50mm at the front axle and rear axle). Also in this case, lowering varies depending on the equipment variant and engine. And with the BILSTEIN EVO S, we have another coilover suspension in our range that lowers the VW Golf by up to 50 mm.
VW Golf 8 and VW Golf 8 GTI suspension tuning
The current generation of the VW Golf, the Golf 8, was presented in 2019. The Golf 8 sets new standards in the compact class with state-of-the-art technology and a contemporary design.
For the VW Golf 8 and Golf 8 GTI, we also offer the BILSTEIN B12 sports suspension. This provides for lowering by up to 40mm at the front and rear (varies according to equipment variant and engine).
In addition, our range for the Golf 8 includes the coilover suspensions B14 and B16 (lowering approx. 30 to 50mm at the front axle and rear axle). Also in this case, lowering varies depending on the equipment variant and engine. And with the BILSTEIN EVO S, we have another coilover suspension in our range that lowers the VW Golf by up to 35mm at the front and up to 40mm at the rear.
Furthermore, our range includes BILSTEIN EVO R, a state-of-the-art motorsport suspension. The Clubsport motorsport suspension is another option for the GTI version of the Golf 8.