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The Volkswagen MK6 GTI was first introduced in October 2008, which essentially was a face-lifted MK5. It was produced until 2013 in Europe and 2014 in the United States. When stanced and with an aftermarket exhaust, the MK6 GTI will for sure be a head-turner. The fast hatch features a 2.0t TSI with a K03 turbocharger that puts down 210hp & 207lb-ft of torque. With a curb weight of about 3,000 pounds, the GTI is a go-kart with a few modifications. Given the GTI is a performance-oriented Golf, it comes with upgraded sport suspension. However, we recommend coilovers for increased suspension performance, providing a more comfortable ride, and lowering the GTI up to 4″.
Whether you are looking to get coilovers to get that stanced look, for street performance, or track purposes, this post will guide you in the direction of your vehicle goals.
MK6 GTI Coilovers Considerations
When it comes to coilovers, there are a few items that should be considered before choosing. This does go back to your vehicle goals, but we’ll go into a little more detail about the components that make up coilovers. These components are tube design, dampening, and spring rates. While not necessarily a component of the coilovers themselves, ride height is something to take into consideration as well depending on your vehicle use.
When it comes to the “best” coilovers, it depends on what you’re going for. Are you going for stance or building a track car? It also depends on what your budget looks like, and ride comfort. So the highest performance coilovers may not be the right fit for you.
Monotube vs. Twin-Tube
This is probably the biggest consideration when it comes to choosing coilovers. We’ll go into a little detail and then hit you with some highlights near the end. So what does monotube or twin-tube mean? Monotube and twin-tube refer to the internals of a coilover and how the shocks are designed.
Monotube shocks have a single chamber that contains hydraulic gas and fluid that will never mix, which will provide a stable support system for the vehicle. So a monotube shock design is what many track cars use because they need max stability when taking turns at 60mph or more. Monotube coilovers will be stiffer, more sensitive, and will provide a more consistent dampening force. So if you are looking to build a track car or are wanting better performance coilovers in your daily driver, then monotube is the way to go. Although, something worth mentioning is that these will be more expensive.
Twin-tube coilovers have, as it sounds, two chambers, one that contains hydraulic gases and one that contains hydraulic fluid. A pitfall with this design is that when speed bumps or potholes are hit, the substances can mix, which will impact ride quality substantially. Twin-tubes tend to not be as precise or sensitive, which actually makes ride quality more comfortable. These are ideal for the daily driver that doesn’t need track-quality handling. These also offer the biggest bang-for-your-buck because they will typically be cheaper than monotube.
Coilover Dampening Adjustability
We’ve mentioned adjusting dampening quite a bit above, so we’ll go into a little detail about what this is. Dampening regulates the amount the springs compress and how quickly they “rebound”. Dampening adjustability, is as it sounds, is having the ability to adjust the compression and rebound of the coil springs to ensure the driving experience you are going for. For an easier way to put it, it’s adjusting how stiff or soft you would like the suspension. Typically you’ll see coilovers with two dampening options: pre-set dampening or adjustable dampening. Pre-set dampening coilovers are not a bad thing because companies that offer these strive to make coilovers that provide the best driving experience. Adjustable dampening coilovers will be more expensive because it allows you to choose your driving experience or performance.
Lastly, when it comes to MK6 GTI coilovers, spring rates are an important consideration. Spring rate refers to how much weight or pressure it takes to compress the spring by 1 inch. You will typically see this measurement in pounds per inch. Spring rates essentially tell you how stiff the springs will be. For example, 250lb/in in the front and 220lb/in in the rear will be softer than 400lb/in in the front and 420lb/in in the rear. So the first example will typically be ideal for daily drivers or stanced drivers, where the latter example will more than likely be found in track setups. However, if you are wanting to go low, you will want to find a good balance between ride height and spring rates because the last thing you want is soft springs from an inch off the ground. Nobody loves bottoming out, so make sure you have stiffer springs if you are going low low.
MK6 GTI Coilovers vs. Lowering Springs
This is a common question when budgets come into play. When we were younger, we would’ve gone with lowering springs, but that was without the knowledge we now have about coilovers. Essentially aftermarket lowering springs will replace the factory coil springs only, whereas coilovers typically come with upgraded struts, shocks, and springs. A downfall with lowering springs is that they don’t allow for ride height adjustability or dampening adjustment.
If you happen to be somebody that just wants to lower their vehicle and don’t care about adjusting ride height or dampening, then springs may be for you. But just remember that the struts and shocks will still be factory. A typical good set of lowering springs will run you about $200, which is great for just lowering the vehicle. However, for $200 more, as we stated above, you not only get upgraded struts, shocks, and springs, but also can adjust ride height and dampening. Let’s say you were to get new wheels and the lowering springs don’t fit the new wheels, then you have to purchase another set. Whereas if you had coilovers, that wouldn’t be an issue.
Also, lowering springs don’t offer near as many handling benefits that coilovers do either. So our recommendation would be to go coilovers because it will be your best bet down the road.
MK6 GTI Coilover Benefits
- Increased handling performance
- Ride height adjustability (up to 4″)
- More comfortable driving experience
- Dampening adjustability
- Cost-efficient option for replacing factory suspension
In the bottom bullet, we are referencing if the factory suspension gets worn or fails, replacing the factory suspension with aftermarket coilovers will cost about the same and will provide much more benefits than the factory units.
Best MK6 GTI Coilovers
As we spoke about in considerations, the “best” coilover kit depends on what you are going for. But we will provide an option for everyone below: stance, street, and track. The first option will provide will more than likely fit 90% of the consumers reading this, but we also want to make sure to include street and track performance for those looking to build a beast MK6 GTI track car.
1) Raceland MK6 GTI Coilovers
We can’t recommend Raceland coilovers enough. They are easily the best bang-for-your-buck coilovers on the market. If you’re looking for the stanced look and improved handling for the streets, you can get the best of both worlds. On the MK6 GTI, Raceland offers three different tiers of coilovers at a VERY reasonable price.
The first is the classic coilover kit that features twin-tube shocks, can lower the vehicle anywhere from 1-3″, and have spring rates of 250lb/in in the front and 220lb/in in the back. Coming in at $419, it doesn’t get much better than that. The next tier is the Ultimo coilover kit that features twin-tube shocks, can lower the vehicle anywhere from 2-4″, and have a spring rate of 285lb/in in the front and 250lb/in in the rear. Coming in just $30 over the classic kit, you can get an extra inch of drop. Lastly, the Primo coilover kit features twin-tube shocks, has the same specs as the Ultimo kit, but the dampening can be adjusted. This means you can adjust your ride the way you want to or need it for only $519.
If the prices listed above are out of your budget, don’t worry, you can finance through Affirm. On top of that, Raceland has great customer service and offers a lifetime warranty.
Driver: Stance or Street
Buy Here: Raceland Volkswagen MK6 GTI Classic Coilovers
Ultimo Raceland Volkswagen GTI MK6 Coilovers (Lowering 2-4″)
Primo Raceland Volkswagen GTI MK6 Coilovers (Lowering 2-4″ with dampening adjustment)
2) KW MK6 GTI Coilovers
Although the coilovers provided by KW may not give you the stanced look you strive for, they make up for it in function. The high-quality components in these coilover kits provide the best mix of driving comfort and performance. They allow the vehicle to be lowered from 0.8-1.6″, but allow the driver to manually adjust dampening. This set will more than likely be for a daily driver on the streets. We rate KW highly because of their customer service and the R&D they share on their site that goes behind each one of their products.
Buy Here: KW Volkswagen MK6 GTI Street Comfort Coilover Kit
3) Bilstein MK6 GTI Coilovers
If you are familiar with coilovers, you have probably heard of Bilstein’s. They are a well-known performance suspension company in the automotive space. The PSS10 coilover kit features mono-tube shocks, can lower the vehicle ~1-2″, and have 10 different levels of dampening adjustment to suit any occasion. Bilstein uses their upside-down technology, which makes them stand out from the rest. Coming in at ~$2,000, these are for the big spenders that go to the tracks on the weekends and sometimes daily drive their MK6 GTI’s.
Driver: Track or Street
Buy Here: Bilstein Volkswagen MK6 GTI PSS10 Coilover Kit
MK6 GTI Coilovers Conclusion
To summarize this post, choosing the best coilovers really depend on the goals you are going for with your MK6 GTI. If you are someone that wants to go to the track or have high-performing coilovers on the streets, go with mono-tube. If you are just going for stance and enhanced driving comfort, go with twin-tube. Again, the best bang-for-your-buck will definitely be Raceland as they are the cheapest, but are high quality, built for the everyday driver, and can provide the stanced look many strive for, especially with three different tier options to suit every driver.
We hope you have learned about important components that go into coilovers and this makes your buying decision easier for you. If you are just daily driving the MK6 GTI, go with twin-tune shocks. If you are building a track car, go with monotube. Finally, if you want to read up on more MK6 GTI content, here’s our write-up on “The 5 Best Mods for the Volkswagen MK6 GTI”.