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The Best Intercoolers for the MK5 Golf GTI

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The revered VW Golf GTI MK5 holds a special place, often hailed for its appealing blend of control, comfort, and power.

But what if there was a way to squeeze even more juice out of this already capable machine? Well, there is!

Behold the aftermarket intercooler.

An aftermarket intercooler can provide additional power, torque and prevent power loss during prolonged periods of hard driving. 

Picking the right aftermarket intercooler is critical, one can be the difference between a ‘meh’ driving experience and a ‘whoa, this is wicked!’ one. 

Your MK5 GTI packed with fun and adrenaline awaits with the right decision.

So, buckle up, hold on tight, and let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of aftermarket intercoolers!

Things To Consider

Before we dive into the best intercoolers, it’s important to take a step back and understand your goals and your budget. This will help influence your decision on what the best intercooler is for your needs.

The first question you will want to ask yourself is, “what power figure am I aiming for?”

Some intercoolers are only good to a certain amount of power where are some may be completely overkill if you are only planning on running nears stock power levels. In fact, many will say that an aftermarket intercooler isn’t required at all unless you are going “Stage 2” (generally 250bhp+).

The second question is, “what is my budget?”

Some intercoolers from reputable big brand names will cost a fair bit more than those on the lower end of the spectrum.

While it’s true that you generally get what you pay for, you may find some of the more expensive intercoolers aren’t needed and you can get away with a lower cost one or even a universal one that you can modify to fit.

Now let’s get stuck into the best intercoolers available to help you make your mind up.


Gravity have a good reputation for aftermarket intercoolers on an affordable budget compared to some of the big boys like Airtec and Wagner.

This front mounted intercooler is designed to improve cooling capacity and reduce heat soak on hot days and on fast road drives/on track.

Fitting instructions aren’t included with this so you will need to have a certain level of mechanical competence. If you aren’t confident, have a local trust garage or mechanic fit it for you.


Airtec has become a well-recognised brand in the aftermarket intercooler scene due to its extensive, high-quality product range.

Their high quality products are extensively tested and have a reputation for being reliable and producing proven results.

The Airtec intercooler’s tend to come in on the top end of the price range for aftermarket intercoolers however if you are after top quality and aren’t on a tight budget then you can’t go wrong.

This intercooler features a 70mm core and comes with a 3 year unlimited mileage warranty for peace of mind.

Airtec’s testing has shown proven gains for this intercooler for both track and road use making it the perfect option if you are after maximum performance and are considering running a larger turbo.


The Mishimoto MMINT-MK6-06 is a high-performance intercooler designed to deliver substantial performance improvements.

It offers power gains of up to 14 wheel horsepower and 12 wheel torque when used with stock tuning.

This intercooler’s evident prowess is due to an 89% increase in core volume and a 162% increase in external fin surface area which reduces the intercooler outlet temperature by up to 23F.

The Verdict

All the intercooler’s on this list will provide performance benefits, especially when combined with other modifications that promote greater flow. Examples of this are intake and exhaust upgrades.

If you’re on a budget, the Gravity intercooler is a solid option. 

However for maximum performance and quality, you can’t go wrong with Airtec who are leaders when it comes to aftermarket intercoolers.

So what are you waiting for?

Go treat your GTI now!