VW Passat tuning performance mods

Tuning guide "VW Passat Tuning"

VW Passat Tuning Guide

The VW Passat was based on the very successful floorplan from the A4. Originally intended to be an executive saloon it makes a great family car to people who are interested in driving. The chassis and handling are superb and a car of this size handles like a much smaller car would.

Because it comes form the VAG stable it has a large range of aftermarket parts around for it and there are a lot of specialist tuners around.

The car is also a good practical size, big enough for a family or executive but still small enough to be fun to drive. There was little suprise when the Passat won a car of the year award.

Lets have a look at the tuning potential of the Passat range.

You can still perform the modifications we recommend to the NASP petrol engines but you should only expect a modest power gain of 10-20%, for the same amount of money you could do an engine swap and get a 150% power hike. Car Tuning Tips would focus on improving the handling and braking of these NASP models.  This will create a fun car that is good in the corners.

Car tuning tips really rate the  1.8 Turbo engine as they have a lot of tuning potential and a simple remap is all you need to raise the power from the base of 150bhp to around 225 bhp. If you want a bigger power gain than this then fitting a larger turbo is the answer. There are a number of aftermarket options around along with a few hybrid options where you take a standard turbo and uprate the internals for your chosen characteristics. If you want to stick with VAG parts then either the KO4 or KO3s will really raise the potential as the standard KO3 runs out of puff quite early on.

On these engines it also pays to get a recirculating diverter valve and we would also uprate the intercooler. The 1.8 Turbo engine has been used in a number of powerful applications and can cope with power figures of upto 300bhp on standard internals.

There are are some very good engine configurations in terms of power like the R36, a 4.0 W configuration engine. Sadly this engine has had some reliability issues.

The 1.9 Turbo diesel engines are good for around 200bhp on standard internals and with a revised head and remap (from the 150bhp unit) you can see power figures in the region of 200bhp. If you just did a remap to the lower powered engines you can still see power figures approaching 150,160 bhp without sacrificing fuel economy either.

Many early VAG Petrol engines have had trouble with failing coilpacks but if you are buying a car that is a few years old then you will find that the faulty coil packs have been replaced.

Tuning tips and articles Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Car Tuning Tips would add that should a coil pack fail on you then it would be a good idea to replace the other coilpacks. Often they will all fail within a very short of each other.

Other modifications you should consider for your Passat engine. Fast road cams, air intake and sports exhaust & port matching.

For the power mad you always have the option of fitting a supercharger or turbo or both as used in the VW twin charge engine. Another option you may consider is adding nitrous injection kits, this alone can add 50bhp more power to your engine.

What other modifications?
Brake upgrades are popular. We have seen some Passat owners using the larger brakes from the VR6 Golf models along with a few Porsche brake conversions. We suggest you check the offset and clearance behind your alloys before purchasing a much larger brake kit.

You can usually pick these up from a breakers yard quite cheaply.

Handling mods are also worth considering for your Passat, we would recommend that you go with a fully adjustable suspension kits so you can set this up to suit your driving style. Although the car is great at handling it can be improved quite a bit with some slightly stiffer springs, the standard ones are a little too soft for enthusiastic cornering. If you are lowering the car then stick with a drop of 20-35mm depending on the standard drop already on your Passat. You will find that the sporty models have a 20mm drop already on them.
Further reading.
We suggest that if you want a bit more information on Passat Tuning you consult the following sources. TorqueCars have a comprehensive  Passat tuning article and also a very active, friendly and helpful Passat forum.

If you have any tips to pass on please use our comments box below and we will update this article, after all we are all here to share knowledge. Please also let us know if we’ve missed out an engine or performance mod that you feel should be included in here.

Check out TorqueCars new YouTube channel, and see their awesome new content...


Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

Help us improve, leave a suggestion or tip

Your Constructive comments on this article