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Old 05-19-2014, 11:11 AM   #1
nec9
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Stage2 2004 STI vs. Stock 2010 GTI

So since I came directly from a Stage2 modded STI, I thought I would shed some light on my experience with both of these cars and how I feel they compare. First, some pics:

MY04 STI





MY10 GTI






Disclaimer: I know a stock GTI can't hold much of a candle next to a Stage2 STI, but this is more of an overall driving experience transition than raw power transition. For me anyway. I will continue to update this as I upgrade and mod my GTI to Stage2 and beyond.

Alright so first lets talk about the obvious. The power difference. When I test drove the GTI, I was pretty impressed. Acceleration is clean and the powerband (while not as aggressive as the STI) is smooth as butter (not hard and stutter-y like the STI). While carshopping, I was looking for a more-affordable/practical-but-just-as-fun-to-drive vehicle. I think the GTI definitely hit that nail on the head in that regard, especially when I tried the other comparable cars (BRZ/FRS, Fiesta ST, Focus ST, Mazdaspeed3, Civic Si, etc). This is my first Euro car and I am pretty damned impressed. I have been a hardcore JDM guy for quite some time and this VW has definitely opened my eyes.

Though, after having the GTI for a couple weeks now and doing a few WOT pulls on the on-ramps, I can now clearly see what I had in the STI. The initial pull from 30 or so MPH is actually great. But the highway cruise torque just isn't there anymore. Passing is just a tad bit more of a chore than it used to be and I find myself constantly muttering "easily could have had that in my STI". Not to mention the absence of AWD. It's really weird being able to break traction so easily. Still getting used to clutch finesse in the rain... But It's a phase and will pass soon, though. Which brings me to the reasons I won't miss my STI.

The interior. Oh my god the interior. First of all, going from any car 6-years older is going to be a significant improvement. But, in my case, going from a 6-year older RALLY inspired bare-bones interior to the GTI is like going from an early 90's civic to a brand new Mercedes. I felt like a caveman discovering fire. Road noise, rattles? Gone. I can hear myself think...and it's scary. Stereo? What is this sorcery?! Touchscreen?! Bluetooth?! Wireless audio playback?! Cup holders?!?!?!


Yeah...the quality of life in the GTI is 1000x better. And I love it. This also goes hand-in-hand with maintenance. People warned me about expensive repairs in Euro cars...but to be honest... I don't think I've owned a car more expensive to maintain than my STI. If I went 3 months without an issue, it was cause for celebration. The STI eats oil, coolant, and just about anything else it can get its grubby hands on. It was a constant uphill battle and in my 3 years of owning it I spent more than $10,000 just in repairs and maintenance. Including a new short block. Didn't have my car for most of the summer of last year.

Being able to eat most other cars for breakfast just wasn't worth it in the end. Especially as a daily driver. There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't think about the car breaking down on my way to work. Stress levels were intense. The price was too high and I was too broke. We had some good times but I'm happy with what I have now and I foresee a great future with this GTI!
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:15 PM   #2
wireless
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Get a tune.

You'll love it.

I also heard of the fabled "Euro car repairs" that everyone seems to be OH SO KNOWLEDGEABLE about. I've been told a brake job for my GTI is a $1000 job. lmao...

I love this car.
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:27 PM   #3
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Brake job should be no more than $150-$200 for completely swapping out the front brakes .
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:38 PM   #4
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now i can see the sti or even an evo being a very exspensive brake job if you need pads and rotors. brembos are sexy and all untill you need to fork out the money to overhaul them lol
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Old 05-19-2014, 02:50 PM   #5
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How much does a Stage1 tune cost? Is it really a noticeable improvement? What all is involved? On the STI it was just an ECU flash.

Also, yeah... I had to buy new front calipers on the STI. $1000 alone. And they were used with 70k miles on them. Definitely not cheap.
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Old 05-19-2014, 03:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nec9 View Post
How much does a Stage1 tune cost? Is it really a noticeable improvement? What all is involved? On the STI it was just an ECU flash.

Also, yeah... I had to buy new front calipers on the STI. $1000 alone. And they were used with 70k miles on them. Definitely not cheap.
Stage 1 is just an ecu flash with no hardware required and it's around ~$600. Companies like GIAC, Unitronic, APR, Rev0...etc. all offer great tunes.

Stock -> stage 1 is like night and day.

I went straight from stock to stage 2 (tune, downpipe, intake). Passing at highway speeds is so much easier as you'll have a lot more power through all the gears.
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newcarsmell View Post
Brake job should be no more than $150-$200 for completely swapping out the front brakes .
hahaha was sarcasm, i know a brake job isn't that much X)

Quote:
Originally Posted by nec9 View Post
How much does a Stage1 tune cost? Is it really a noticeable improvement? What all is involved? On the STI it was just an ECU flash.

Also, yeah... I had to buy new front calipers on the STI. $1000 alone. And they were used with 70k miles on them. Definitely not cheap.
Let me put it into perspective...
Going from stock -> Stage 1 is like going from Stage 2 -> K04

(I did both)

Best, most absolute amazing jump you can do on this car. IMO this car's power sucks ass without a tune. Yes, it helps that much.
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:14 PM   #8
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One of the great things about this car is how advanced the ECU is. You don't need a tune to take advantage of an intake or IC installation. Or even a basic W/M installation (which makes the failsafes of such installations a non-issue). You could even de-cat or fit an aftermarket downpipe and see a 10+ HP improvement, though buying a dp should really be coupled with another OTS tune (stage 2) to get the full 25hp benefit over stage 1.

If you want to get this thing to handle well, though, you really need a rsb.

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Old 05-20-2014, 12:47 AM   #9
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If you want to keep your options open in terms of upgrades, like BT/WMI/F23T/etc... I'd go either GIAC, Driver Motorsport or Unitronic. Maybe Eurodyne but I dunno.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:37 AM   #10
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I appreciate all the info guys. I think if going stage1 is as much as a difference as you all say it is then it has definitely shot to the top of my mod list.

As far as brand... I hear a lot about APR. But I also hear that it is the most expensive brand as well. Is it worth the money? I live in the Seattle area so the only place I know of around here that does tuning is Achtuning in Bellevue. And I believe they are APR vendors. I was thinking of checking them out soon.

Basically my mod list so far is: Stage1 tune, catback, golf r tails, wheels, coilovers, downpipe, intake, stage2 tune. Probably in that order too.

Sidenote: how easy is it to go back to stock tune on the car? With the STI I had a Cobb Accessport and was easily able to flash any OTS map at any time. The GTI doesn't have a piggyback flasher correct? So would I need to take it back into the shop to go back to stock if I ever needed to? Also, do downpipes, intakes, etc throw codes if I don't have the tune for them?

Last edited by nec9; 05-20-2014 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:11 AM   #11
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sounds like a good plan.

The initial tune will require your tuner to remove the ECU, crack it open and then re-seal / re-install after tuned. Subsequent tunes can be done via OBD-II port. Loaded tunes can be switched via the cruise control stalk or manufacture specific device (APR has a bluetooth dongle).
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nec9 View Post
I appreciate all the info guys. I think if going stage1 is as much as a difference as you all say it is then it has definitely shot to the top of my mod list.

As far as brand... I hear a lot about APR. But I also hear that it is the most expensive brand as well. Is it worth the money? I live in the Seattle area so the only place I know of around here that does tuning is Achtuning in Bellevue. And I believe they are APR vendors. I was thinking of checking them out soon.

Basically my mod list so far is: Stage1 tune, catback, golf r tails, wheels, coilovers, downpipe, intake, stage2 tune. Probably in that order too.

Sidenote: how easy is it to go back to stock tune on the car? With the STI I had a Cobb Accessport and was easily able to flash any OTS map at any time. The GTI doesn't have a piggyback flasher correct? So would I need to take it back into the shop to go back to stock if I ever needed to? Also, do downpipes, intakes, etc throw codes if I don't have the tune for them?
make sure you put a clutch at the top of your list if you plan on tuning the car. the stocker cant hold the power past the factory levels for too long.
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:05 AM   #13
nec9
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make sure you put a clutch at the top of your list if you plan on tuning the car. the stocker cant hold the power past the factory levels for too long.
Ah yes! Definitely. Which one would you recommend? Do you think I'll need one for stage1 or can I hold off until I go stage2?
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:35 AM   #14
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Ah yes! Definitely. Which one would you recommend? Do you think I'll need one for stage1 or can I hold off until I go stage2?
i couldn't tell you, i went right to stage 2 and my clutch started slipping within 2k miles. that's one of the reasons i'm going back to an sti and ordered a 2015 lol.
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