Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission.
If you are a first-time reader, the MK5 GTI was where our love for Volkswagen’s started. A lowered MK5 GTI with a BOV is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but also ear. I mean look at that MK5 GTI above…. Can it get any better looking? Volkswagen introduced the MK5 Golf in 2004, but didn’t roll out the long-awaited GTI until 2006. Although it was only produced 3 years, the MK5 GTI won the 2007 Automobile of the Year by Automotive magazine. This model really transformed the sport hatch for Volkswagen and put the GTI on the map. If you are looking to mod out your MK5 GTI, we’ve made a dedicated post for “The 5 Best Mods for the Volkswagen MK5 GTI”.
The MK5 GTI’s factory suspension was an upgrade from the Golf, therefore the factory suspension and ride quality that the MK5 GTI is actually not that bad. Whether you are trying to go for the stanced look, aggressive street runs, or track your MK5 GTI, coilovers are a must.
MK5 GTI Coilovers Considerations
When the daunting task of choosing the right coilovers arises, they are many considerations, but we’re here to make it easier on you. To start off, there are easily over 15 (if not 30) coilover kits to choose from, so we will be laying out what you should take into consideration and what these things mean. For example, you will more than likely see monotube or twin-tube, spring rates, or dampening when looking for a set. In the following paragraphs, we will go into more detail about what each of those are to, again, make the purchasing decision easier.
Before going into the considerations, we want to express the importance of setting vehicle goals before looking at coilovers. Each kit is tailored to a specific driver or vehicle want. For example, if you are going for a stanced look, more than likely you will not be looking for track coilovers. Vice versa, if you are looking to build an MK5 GTI track car, these coilovers will be vastly different than daily driver coilovers, and more expensive. So, without further ado, let’s jump into the considerations, followed by our favorite setups for different drivers.
Monotube vs. Twin-Tube
We will try to refrain from going into too much detail on this because it can get quite wordy and confusing. However, we will make sure to hit the high-level points to assist in the buying decision. In short, monotube and twin-tube refer to the internals of the coilovers and shock design.
Monotube coilovers feature a single chamber, which contains hydraulic gas and hydraulic fluid that will never mix. Since the gas and fluid won’t mix, you can expect a more stable and stiff driving experience. This is very beneficial for aggressive street drivers and track cars. However, the monotube design is more technologically advanced than twin-tube coilovers, which means it is quite a bit more expensive to produce. Since it is more expensive to produce, you can expect that it would be more expensive to buy.
Twin-tube coilovers feature two chambers: one chamber contains hydraulic gas and the other chamber includes hydraulic fluid. There is a chance that the substances can mix, which leads to ride quality being rougher and the coilovers being less precise. Although this is not ideal for track cars, this isn’t a bad thing for daily drivers. It actually makes the coilovers softer, which yields a more comfortable ride.
Put simply, if you are looking for a daily driver setup, go twin-tube coilovers. If you’re looking for a more precise setup for the track or streets, go with monotube coilovers.
Coilover Spring Rates
Springs are an important consideration because it determines how stiff or soft the springs are. It measures how much weight it takes to compress the springs by 1 inch or 25.4mm. Spring rate can be seen measured as lb/in or KG/mm. A high spring rate, for example 420lb/in, yields a stiffer ride because more weight is needed to compress the springs an inch. Whereas, a low spring rate, for example 220lb/in yields a softer ride.
This is probably one of the most important considerations when it comes to choosing coilovers. Dampening refers to the control of the compression of the springs and how quickly they rebound after compression. So, dampening adjustability refers to the ability to adjust the compression of the spring and how quickly they rebound. Not all coilovers have dampening adjustability because it is mainly found on coilovers that would be on an aggressively modded street car or on the track. However, it isn’t a bad thing to not have adjustable dampening. Many kits have pre-fixed dampening, which means that the aftermarket company put in a lot of R&D hours to ensure the fixed dampening is at optimal levels for the smoothest ride possible. If you are someone that wants to control the amount of dampening, just know you’ll have to pay a little extra, but it will provide a smoother driving experience.
Coilovers vs. Lowering Springs
A common question when it comes to lowering a vehicle is, “Should I go with coilovers or lowering springs?”. If you are on a budget and just want a set of springs that will lower the vehicle a set amount, go with lowering springs. However, although a couple hundred dollars more expensive, coilovers provide many more benefits on top of lowering the ride height. Coilovers typically come with upgraded struck and shocks, allow you to adjust ride height, adjust dampening (if you choose to go with an adjustable dampening set), and drastically improve handling. So if we had to choose between coilovers and lowering springs, if cost wasn’t an issue, 10 out of 10 times we would choose coilovers. However, everyone is different, so we would understand if lowering springs was the right you choose.
MK5 GTI Coilover Benefits
- Ride height adjustability (up to 4″)
- Increased handling
- More cost-efficient option for replacing factory suspension
- Dampening adjustability
- More Comfortable driving experience
Best MK5 GTI Coilovers
We feel that the “best MK5 GTI coilovers” is rather subjective because as we stated earlier, the setups depend on your goals. However, we have picked out 3 different setups that are tailored to a stanced and/or daily driver, mild to aggressive street driver, or aggressive street driver or track star. 98% of our readers may lean to the first, stanced and/or daily driver, but we want to make sure we include the higher tier setups for the enthusiasts that like to take corners fast on the track or streets. With that said, let’s jump into it.
1) Raceland MK5 GTI Coilovers
We will start off the “Best of” list with Raceland Coilovers. We like featuring them first because they will provide you with the biggest bang-for-your-buck coilover kits on the market. Starting at $419, these are just as expensive as replacing the old factory suspension with a new OE suspension. They provide 3 different setups that are tailored to specific drivers. Whether it be stance or street, their cost-efficient coilover kits are perfect for either situation. They provide a lifetime warranty, a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, and excellent customer service. These twin-tube design coilovers feature anywhere from 1-4″ drop in ride height, fixed or adjustable dampening, comfortable spring rates, and optional upper strut mounts. Raceland’s are the best setups for daily drivers, period.
Driver: Stance or Street
Buy Here: Raceland Volkswagen MK5 GTI Classic Coilovers
Ultimo Raceland Volkswagen MK5 GTI Coilovers (Lowering 2-4″)
Primo Raceland Volkswagen MK5 GTI Coilovers (Lowering 2-4″)
2) Koni MK5 GTI Coilovers
Koni coilovers are very well-known in the Volkswagen enthusiast coilover market. Although rather expensive, Koni’s are the best mid-level coilover set you can get. On top of providing a lifetime warranty, they feature progressive spring rates, ride height adjustability, and dampening adjustability. The 1150 Series is specifically for mild to aggressive street drivers. Coming in at $1,281, this is a great setup for the streets that don’t go too low, but provide all the handling benefits anyone can ask for.
Buy Here: Koni Volkswagen MK5 GTI 1150 Series Coilover Kit
3) Bilstein MK5 GTI Coilovers
Bilstein once again making an appearance on one of our coilover guides because of how well known the company is in the suspension industry. They are well known for multiple reasons: they’ve been around for decades, they put a lot of time into R&D, and they build high-quality coilover setups. The PSS10’s listed below are specifically for aggressive street drivers and track usage. However, they are cheaper Bilsteins, like the PSS B14’s, that suit mild to aggressive street drivers. The PSS10’s feature a monotube design, provide a 1-1.75″ drop in ride height, 10 levels of adjustable dampening, progressive spring rates, and more benefits. If you are looking to build a track MK5 GTI, these are the coilovers for you.
Driver: Street or Track
Buy Here: Bilstein Volkswagen MK5 GTI PSS10 Coilover Kit
MK5 GTI Coilovers Conclusion
To wrap this article up, this is the last time we’ll say it, but go into the coilover purchasing decision with defined vehicle goals. This post will help you drastically in determining if you want monotube vs twin-tube, stiffer or softer spring rates, adjustable or pre-fixed dampening, or even if you are deciding between lowering springs and coilovers. To put it simply, if are planning on daily driving, go with a softer low-tier reliable coilover set, like Raceland. If you’re wanting to build an aggressive street build or track star, go with the Bilstein set. Again, there are over 100 different coilover setups out there, so after reading this post if you don’t feel comfortable ordering a set, keep doing research until you feel like it’s the right decision.
Let us know what coilovers you are looking at or are currently running in the comments! Also, if you want to read up on more MK5 content, here is our article on “The 5 Most Common Volkswagen MK5 GTI Problems.”