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VW Scirocco R Tuning Guide For Power

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Table of Contents


The Scirocco R is an exceptional car for power upgrades, primarily due to its robust and versatile 2.0-liter TSI engine. This turbocharged powerplant provides an excellent foundation for modifications, as it can handle increased performance with ease.

The engine’s strong internals and advanced technology enable tuners to extract additional horsepower with eases through intake mods, exhaust upgrades and software tuning. 

Let’s take a look at the most proven and cost effective ways to tune your Rocco and extract as much reliable performance from it as possible. 

Aftermarket Exhaust

A sports exhaust system is designed to optimize airflow, allowing your engine to breathe better. It reduces the backpressure and expels exhaust gases more efficiently. The result? Your engine can now inhale more air, mix it with fuel, and produce more power.

Adding a sports exhaust to your Scirocco does more than just improve its performance – it also gives your ride a unique, throaty growl that’ll make heads turn. The carefully engineered design of a sports exhaust creates a symphony of sound, making your engine’s voice heard loud and clear. If you’re into your exhaust burbles too then a sports exhaust is a must.

You have a few different options when it comes to your exhaust. Many manufacturers like Scorpian and Cobra offer superb exhausts for the Scirrocco R. They are sometimes branded “cat-back” or “turbo-back”. 

Cat-back exhausts essentially just replace the standard backbox section and this mod if primarily done for sound gains although you will find some power gains as well from moving to a more free flowing backbox. These are cheaper systems than turbo-backs.

Turbo-back exhausts replace the entire exhaust system all the way from the manifold. This will include the cat-back backbox section, along with the downpipe and either a sports cat or decat depending on what option you go for. Turbo back exhausts will yield the highest power gains since they open up the exhaust all the way from the downpipe out. 

There is also the option of solely replacing the downpipe and standard catalytic converter with an aftermarket option and keeping the standard backbox. This will still produce some nice power gains and will be cheaper than going for a full turbo-back system.

Whatever you decide to go for will depend on your goals and budget. It’s also worth remembering that the decat systems are sold for track use and won’t pass an MOT/road test so it’s important to keep that in mind. 

Cold Air Intake

Installing a cold air intake on your VW Scirocco R can provide both audible and performance enhancements that will make you grin ear to ear.

By drawing in cooler, denser air, a cold air intake can help to increase your Scirocco’s power and torque throughout the rev range. The cooler air contains more oxygen, which leads to improved combustion  and a more responsive driving experience.

Of course many people don’t just get a cold air intake for the performance benefits. In fact many opt for one just for the sounds they make alone!

The cold air intake system amplifies the natural induction noise, creating a more aggressive and sporty tone and unmuffling all of the turbo noises and diverter valve “whooshes”.

The Revo induction kit tends to be a fan favourite amongst owners, who vouch for the excellent sound and performance it produces. This excellent kit comes with the cold air intake along with the intake pipework. This replaces the standard airbox and turbo intake piping to deliver the highest performance possible.


One of the simplest yet most effective tuning mods you can do to your Scirocco is to have the engine remapped. This is often the first mod on the list for many owners due to the excellent power gains you get for the money.

On a healthy engine you can expect power gains of over around 20%, taking it to around 315bhp with a remap alone. Impressive!

Of course, if you’re reading this article then you are probably looking at fitting other mods as well such as an exhaust or intake to maximise your power gains. The good news is that a custom remap can also make the most of these supporting mods. If you’re thinking of adding physical mods such as a free flowing exhaust or intercooler, it’s a good idea to fit them first and then have the car remapped. This way you will get the best power gains possible.

If your Scirocco R is equipped with a DSG transmission, then you can also take advantage of the tuning potential with this as well. Many tuners who offer engine remaps can also remap the TCU to enhance the performance of your car’s shifts.

By optimizing the TCU, the time it takes to shift gears is reduced, leading to smoother and quicker gear changes. This allows for a more responsive driving experience, particularly when accelerating or overtaking. Additionally, tuners may also be able to increase the torque limit of your transmission, adjust the redline and reduce wear on the clutch by minimising the amount of time the clutch is slipping between shifts.

Upgraded Intercooler

Aftermarket intercoolers are often larger and more efficient than their stock counterparts, which can help to reduce heat soak. Heat soak occurs when the intercooler becomes saturated with heat and can no longer effectively cool the intake air. By reducing heat soak, an aftermarket intercooler can help maintain consistent performance during spirited driving or track sessions. 

This is a modification many tuning companies will recommend if going Stage 2/3 with them, especially if you are upgrading to an aftermarket turbo with significantly increased air flow. 

There are some different options available to you from reputable manufacturers such as Wagner Tuning, Airtec and Forge who all supply bespoke kits for the Scirocco. Airtec is a popular choice among owners and features a 55mm core and 64mm piping for maximum airflow. You can purchase it online from Awesome GTI here.

Hybrid Turbo

Upgrading the turbo on the Scirocco R is a significant modification that needs numerous supporting modifications to ensure optimal performance and reliability. This isn’t just necessarily engine mods such as an intercooler and exhaust, but other components as well such as the brakes and suspension. This is especially true if you are going for a big turbo kit putting down lots of power.

The extent of the supporting mods you require will depend on what turbo you are going for and what power figure you are aiming to achieve. You should speak with your tuner in regards to estimated power levels on the turbo you are going for to decide whether any internal engine upgrades like rods or cams may be required as this can be costly. 

The standard turbo on the Scirocco R is the KO4-064 which leaves a fair bit of room out of the factory for power gains and responds well to intake/exhaust mods and a remap. As such, you may find that it’s not even necessary to upgrade to a hybrid. 

If you are going down the upgraded hybrid turbo route, check out Venom Hybrid Turbos and the TTE420. These are high quality hybrid turbo setups that can produce good power reliably provided all the supporting mods are in place.

Silicone Hoses

Boost leaks can be a significant issue for performance cars, particularly those running at higher power levels than their standard configuration. One effective way to combat these leaks is by upgrading to silicone hoses. These can help protect your precious power gains by ensuring all the vacuum piping remains intact and isn’t leaking air.

Boost leaks can be common in cars that have been modified for increased power, as the increased pressure can exacerbate weak points in the stock hose system. 

In addition to their durability, silicone hoses can withstand a wider range of temperatures compared to rubber hoses. This is particularly important in tuned cars, where engine bay temperatures can become extremely high under spirited driving sessions. The increased temperature resistance helps to prevent hose degradation and failure, which can lead to boost leaks.

Finishing Thoughts

Upgrading the performance of your Scirocco R can be an exciting and rewarding experience. We’ve discussed some of the best performance upgrades, such as ECU tuning, exhaust systems and intake mods which are all proven ways of increasing performance reliably. 

It’s also worth noting that when increasing the power of your Rocco significantly, it is important to consider upgrading the brakes and handling to maintain optimal balanced performance. With increased power you will likely want increased stopping power too!

To help put the power down better on the corners, you may also want to look at upgrading suspension components like shocks/springs, sway bars and bushings to stiffen the car up a little. 

Happy modding!