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Tuning/Chip FAQ Thread: Which One Do I choose?


Automotive Engineer
This guide is to hopefully help newcomers to the VAG world ECU tuning, or even the veteran members to ask questions and chat friendly with people needing help about their software modifications. There is much debate as to what is preferred or even, which is the best but ultimately, its up for you to decide. We will hopefully be able to provide information that will objectively help you make your decision.

What is Chipping/Tuning and why wasnt it provided from the factory?
That's an awesome question. Chipping was more of the type back in the day, where people would break open their ECUs and solder on chips to help their performance gains. Even though the term is still used, the methods are much more advanced and evolved. Tuning is the common term used in today's world where most vendors will hook up to your OBDII port and rewrite your stock software with their proprietary work.

As for factory offerings, there are literally endless amounts of reason. Some say safety and reliability factor was a concern during development. Others point to under powering the engine to not upstage other engines in OEM lineups. Nevertheless, the power is THERE and can be unlocked through various tuners.

What do I need for tuning?

Stage 1
Stage 1 requires NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. Its as simple as swiping your credit card to pay for the tune, hooking up to the vendor's computer, and rewriting your software. Normally this takes a few minutes, but you're back on the road in no time. People often say an intake is needed, but it is NOT. It will increase throttle response and give minor gains up top, making it a beneficial modification.

Currently, with the MK6, the ECU must be pulled from the vehicle and opened to flash. No soldering is done, but with the encryption, there are extra steps needed. Afterwards, it can be flashed subsequently through the OBDII

Stage 2
A high flow downpipe is REQUIRED for Stage 2 software. Although an intake is not needed, it is highly recommended to allow the engine to be running at its most optimal conditions. Plus, added gas mileage never hurts any one.

NOTE: You'll see a lot of places say Stage 2+ tuning. This is NOT relevant to TSI engines. The older (06-08.5) engines had high pressure fuel pump issues that would need to be replaced at this stage. A tune with this new HPFP was considered to be Stage 2+

K04 is an OEM solution for an aftermarket special. The K04 turbocharger (Developed and Made by Borg Warner) is a completely OEM replacement for your Factory IHI turbo. Not all vendors provide this upgrade, but those who do, offer a very simple and easy replacement for the factory turbo and provides excellent power across the rev band. This turbocharger was/and still is included on many of the performance variants throughout the VAG lineup. (IE: Golf R, S3, etc. etc.) At this point, if you do not have a full Downpipe/Intake/Intercooler setup, you would be VERY highly reccomended to get one to ultimately enhance the experience. Never hurts to get everything out of your engine!

Big Turbo and Beyond
Big turbo software is for those extreme people who want tones of power. Normally, people are running GT28 or GT30 turbochargers made by Garret and are seeing some extrodinary gains (~500hp+!) Some companies offer tun key solutions, while others take a more custom approach. Its up to you to decide what you want to do at this point because it is certainly water that is not traveled often!

Vendors and Their Claims
This section just lists the TOP vendors that support the forums and offer stageing software to suit your power needs. Although, there are many more tuners out there who can probably chip your car. These are just the few that support the community and are backed by threads all over the net.

Stage 1 (Crank Numbers):
91OCT: 250hp 294TQ
93OCT: 254HP 303TQ
100OCT: 273HP 337TQ

Stage 2 (Crank Numbers. Exhaust and Intake)
274BHP 313TQ

K04 (Crank Numbers, Intercooler, Exhaust, Intake)
366BHP 380TQ

Stage 3
405BHP 403TQ

Stage 3+
451BHP 391TQ 93OCT
501BHP 432TQ 100OCT

GIAC (Offered Through AWE as well)
Stage 1
+41HP +48TQ Gains

Stage 1+ (Stage 1 + Intake)

Stage 2 (Intake, TBE, S3 Intercooler)
+74HP +80TQ Gains

K04 (Intake, TBE, S3 Intercooler)
360BHP 370BTQ


Stage 1
2.0TFSi +35-60 bhp gain +50-80 lbft torque gain

Stage 2
"Typically you can see another 10-15% on top of the gain from stock to stage1 when using the recommended hardware upgrades." -Website

Stage 3
"Revo Stage 3 software has been developed to compliment cars running more extensive engine modifications. Revo Stage 3 software is tuned to suit proven hardware upgrade packages. Tuning is adjustable and can be tailored to suit your needs; depending on your chosen specification you can yield up to a 200% gain over standard horsepower figures. For this software to run efficiently and reliably, a strict hardware build list must be adhered to. Furthermore, a Revo SPS is highly recommended to guarantee optimal performance gains. Contact your nearest Revo dealer for further information."


Stage 1 (91 Oct)
245BHP 280TQ

Stage 1+ (93 OCT)
260BHP 295TQ

Stage 2
280BHP 325TQ

Stage 2+ (K04)
355BHP 355TQ

Which Chip Do I Use?
Well, thats tough. You will have to weigh your options by the following:
  1. Location: Pick a dealer that you feel comfortable driving to. Understand their tuning practices and locate a local shop that flahses the vendor's proprietary software.
  2. Customer Service: Always, ALWAYS pick someone you can trust to get the job done and will answer ANY questions you have regarding their products.
  3. Proven Claims: Check for independent dynos and figure out if everyone is ACTUALLY making the established gains
  4. Product Support: Use a company that will cater to your modification needs. If you choose one company, normally you'll need to use their products. Some vendors actually have the flexibility of running other hardware.
  5. Market Quality: Obviously go with the tuner that has fewer issues. Normally on the web, you'll see many threads about certain tunes not working and such, but take it with a grain of salt. The more you see, the more customer base that company probably has. Meaning, the more troubleshooting they have experienced.

How does the Software Switch Tunes?
APR ECMS Tutorial:

REVO SPS Switching:

GIAC Flashloader Switching

Price (Stage 1 Only)
APR: $600 + Addons
GIAC: $550 + Addons
REVO: $500 (Includes stock + 3 Programs and switching) + Addons
UNI: $550 (91oct), $600 (93oct)

APR Add Ons:
APR addons:
2 programs (i.e. stock, 91, 93, Valet, etc.) $150
3 programs $220
4 programs $290
Fault Code Erase/Throttle Body Alignment (FCE/TBA) $100
Security Lock-out $60
Anti-Theft System $200

GIAC Addons:
Stock $50
Race 100-104 octane $100
Kill $50
Valet $50
Security Firewall $100
Handheld Flashloader (to allow switching) $150

REVO Addons:
Revo SPS Controller $200

Forum Contact (Arin@APR or Evan@APR) (Chris@RevoTechnik or RevoTechnik-GM) ( (Todd@AWE or Joe@AWE) (Austin@GIAC)

3rd Party/Independent Tune Logging
Last edited:

Chris@Revo USA

Go Kart Champion
Our only add on is the SPS which is 199 and has all the functionality of the SPS Select plus. Feel free to edit the post and then delete mine


Go Kart Champion

In the very beginning it's implied that Stage 1 is just done through the ODB and only takes a few minutes. On the MK6 you need to have the ECU removed (for all vendors), and it takes a shop about an hour to do the job. Many, but not all, shops charge labor for this.

After stage one, you can usually (but not always) do additional stages through the ODB.


Ready to race!
Just chiming in to say.....

Excellent Thread!!!!!!
We need more like this!!!!!!!


Ready to race!
you know what would put this over the top... what do company's alter in their tuning? ..and what do the factory maps look like?

good write up. :thumbup:


Go Kart Champion
you know what would put this over the top... what do company's alter in their tuning? ..and what do the factory maps look like?

good write up. :thumbup:
So would a coupon for a free K04 upgrade, but that won't happen either. Why on earth would a company give their intellectual property to the public? Why would they let other tuners know what they are doing? :iono:

It makes no sense (for them), and it'll never happen (but yeah, it'd be cool).


Automotive Engineer
Updated OP with requests.

Chris, I also would like to put some REVO dynos on there so it doesnt look so lopsided. Do you have any?


New member
I honestly think they are all the same. While driving a gti stage 2 u feel the power on the whole rpm very smooth. While revolution u feel the aggressiveness of the car on wot