Project CC Part 1: ECU and Intake Upgrades

ecu_tnECU tuning. It’s a tried and true upgrade with great results for just about every turbocharged car. The VW/Audi 2.0T engine is a great example of this with huge gains to be had with just an ECU re-flash. There are many ECU tuning companies that could provide a new tune for my ECU, so I just had to make the simple decision of which one.

As many of you know, NGP Racing has been working with APR Tuning for over a decade, and I can say without a doubt that every product of theirs has installed and functioned perfectly. So when it came to picking the the tune for my 2009 2.0T CC, the answer was clear: a Stage I ECU upgrade from APR Tuning.

Daily driving a CC is a very comfortable and smooth experience and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t detract from that when choosing upgrades . This is one of the reasons that I chose to upgrade my car with APR software. APR strives to make sure that no matter what, their software will only improve the overall driveability of your vehicle. Other tuners will often focus solely on wringing the most power out of an engine, which can lead to broken parts and an unsmooth driving experience. APR spends countless hours tuning and testing their ECU software to ensure that it will not push your vehicle’s engine beyond it’s physical limitations. Their rigorous testing also ensures that their tune will enhance every possible aspect of your driving experience. This includes both hard driving on the street and track as well as your daily commute.

IMG_0932Our service technicians are fully trained to install the entire line of APR software, and were quick to connect my car to APR’s secure server to begin the programming. Once the technician had connected the car to APR’s secure software servers, program selection could begin. The ability to switch between multiple programs through APR’s proprietary EMCS (Enhanced Modular Chipping System) is one of the best features of the APR software. This allows you to easily switch between either stock, valet, 91, 93, or 100 octane modes in addition to throttle body alignment or fault code erase programs as well. With a few changes in the APR server browser, our technician was able to start the loading process. The whole process takes about an hour and is available at either our Aberdeen, MD or Lorton, VA location.

IMG_0823APR’s Stage I software is adaptive, which means if you install an upgrade such as an intake, it will detect the increased airflow and increase the engines power output as a result. To take advantage of this extra power gain, I chose to install an APR Carbonio Stage I and Stage II intake. Each Carbonio intake is engineered specifically to each engine so that it will get the most possible airflow available. Engineering the intake in this manner also insures that it will install perfectly into each application without the need for modification. In addition to fitting great, the carbon fiber finish looks amazing and really does bring a more refined look to the engine bay. Installing the intake was quick and easy thanks to the great hardware and detailed instructions that APR provides for each specific Carbonio application.

chucky_CC_dyno1After programming the ECU and installing the intake, we strapped the car down to our in house Dyno to see what gains had been made. We first ran the vehicle in stock mode and put down a respectable 194.7 WHP and 214 LB-FT; good numbers for a 2.0T TSI with just an intake installed. Next we switched the car over to 93 octane mode and were able to make 239.2 WHP and 282.4 LB-FT. For those not doing the math, that’s a gain of 44.5 HP and 68.4 LB-FT at the wheels. Gains such as these are immediately noticeable throughout all areas of the car’s powerband. The power increase is so much that under full throttle, the car is unable to get traction until 3rd gear. In addition, the increased torque output is more than enough to throw you back in your seat and hold you there as long as you keep your foot on the pedal. As mentioned earlier, the daily drive-ability is perfect; even showing increased fuel economy gains as high as 4 MPG on the highway when driven normally.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the performance gains from the APR programming and the Carbonio intake system. Acceleration is now effortless and the car now feels much more alive and capable in every possible driving situation. The Carbonio intake adds a very nice growl to the engine sound that is especially noticeable under hard acceleration. The sound of the turbo spooling up is also more noticeable as well, another added plus.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, please be sure to keep checking for more articles on varying projects going on at our shop. If you’d like to have your own ECU upgraded, have a Carbonio intake installed, or would just like to talk about any of the other great products and services we offer, please feel free to contact us.

Links to the upgrades installed: