The MK7 GTI (2013 – 2020) came with an impressive 2.0t TSI engine and an IS20 turbo that puts down 217hp and 258lb-ft out of the box. With stock numbers like those, VW enthusiasts want more, as with every car enthusiast. So, when it comes to upgrades on the MK7 GTI, you should be looking at a downpipe for one of your first mods. We’re writing this guide to give you the information to make an informed decision for your upgraded MK7 GTI downpipe.
First off, what is a downpipe? A downpipe in the MK7 GTI, connects the turbocharger to the rest of the exhaust system (Cat-back). From the factory, the downpipes come with two catalytic converters to ensure that it meets emission standards. However, these catalytic converters truly limit the hp gains a downpipe can truly provide.
Upgraded MK7 GTI Downpipe Performance
Now, why would you want to upgrade your downpipe? To get more airflow and reduce backpressure, because aftermarket downpipes are less restrictive and provide the most upside in power gains in out of all of the exhaust system. If paired properly with a tune, your MK7 GTI can gain upwards of 80+ hp. Something tricky about downpipes is do you go catted (with catalytic converters) or catless (without catalytic converters).
As expected, a catless downpipe provides more airflow, which in turn produces more power, spool, and torque. They are much cheaper also because they do not have a catalytic converter. However, if you are in a state that doesn’t take emissions lightly (California is the first that comes to mind), you will fail the emissions test and have a hefty fine. With a catted downpipe, you won’t get the same performance as a catless, but it will still be less restrictive and pass emissions.
Upgraded MK7 DP Benefits
- 10-20whp catless (5-10hp catted)
- 10-20lb-ft catless (5-10lb-ft catted)
- Exhaust Sound
- Improved turbo spool
- Typically lighter weight
When you see the above power gains, this may not solely be from the upgraded downpipe being installed. There are many factors that go into the power gains seen: increased turbo spool, 200 cell vs 400 cell catalytic converter, increased boost, or a tune. You will get the most out of your downpipe with a stage 2 tune, but there are more bolt-ons needed for stage 2 if that’s how far you want to take your MK7 GTI. Now to the part you’ve been looking for, which upgraded MK7 GTI downpipe is the best.
Best Aftermarket MK7 GTI Downpipe
After scouring the internet for hours, these are the 3 best aftermarket downpipe options we came up with. To mention, these are not the only ones on the market, there are tons more, we just wanted to provide insight on our favorite. We made sure to include catless options and catted options to appeal to both enthusiasts.
1) Integrated Engineering MQB 3″ GTI Downpipe
Integrated Engineering (IE) is known for its great quality and high-performance parts. The high-flow cat downpipe that they manufactured for the MK7 GTI doesn’t disappoint. It features 3″ tubing with a 200-cell high flow catalytic converter, which is the least restrictive cat you can get. Something that is common with downpipes is a drone sound, but IE has an aggressive and drone-free sound. Plus if you are a DIYer, they have a complete guide on how to install the downpipe over on their website.
Integrated Engineering GTI DP Price: $799.99 + Shipping
Buy Here: Integrated Engineering MQB GTI Downpipe
2) Milltek 3″ Downpipe – MQB | MK7 Golf GTI
Milltek is a cheaper, but still high-quality, downpipe that we like because it gives the customer the choice of catted or catless. In fact, they give 3 options: Catless, Race Cat, or High Flow Cat. The 3″ stainless steel tubing features a direct fitment to the OEM catback exhaust or even most other catback exhaust systems.
The Milltek downpipe can range from $432 – $1,775. This goes to show the range you will get when you go from a catless to catted downpipe. This goes without saying, but even though it is substantially cheaper than IE’s or Unitronic’s system, that doesn’t mean that isn’t a solid option. When it comes to choosing any aftermarket part, it is all the end users’ preference.
Milltek GTI DP Price: $432 (Catless DP) – $1,775 (Race Cat) + Shipping
Buy Here: Milltek 3″ Downpipe – MQB | MK7 Golf GTI
3) Unitronic 3″ Downpipe For 2.0 TSI Gen3 MQB | MK7
Unitronic is another well-known aftermarket manufacturer for German OEMs. Their 3″ stainless steel downpipe also features a 200-cell high flow catalytic converter with direct fitment to the OEM catback. It also comes with 3in to 65mm reducer which gives the end-user the ability to match up a Unitronic downpipe with another catback system. Once again, if you like to tackle these projects in your garage, they also provide an in-depth guide on installation.
Their downpipe comes in at the same exact price as IE’s and as we said, it’s all about preference. So, compare the two sound clips and see what your favorite is!
Unitronic GTI DP Price: $799.99 + Shipping
Buy Here: Unitronic 3″ Downpipe For 2.0 TSI Gen3 MQB | MK7
MK7 GTI Downpipe Conclusion
Aside from a tune, an upgraded downpipe will give you the biggest bang for your buck on a vehicle with a turbo. If you’re looking for a downpipe that is going to be the best performing, go with catless. However, if you are worried about emissions, go with a 200-cell high flow catted downpipe. IE and Unitronic both supply great choices for a high-flow catted version. Milltek gives you the option to go with the catless version, much cheaper and less restrictive, or two catted versions. You can’t go wrong with any of the systems, it just all comes down to preference.
There are a dozen more options of MK7 GTI downpipes out there, so let us know which downpipe you went with! Drop a comment below with your MK7 GTI setup or even what you would recommend!
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