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Volkswagen’s MK7 GTI was introduced in 2012 and production ran through 2021. It was the first European car to ever win the Car of the Year Japan Award. There was a first-generation (2015-2017) and a second-generation (2017-2021), often referred to as MK7.5 GTI. You have probably seen a lowered MK7 GTI on the road and it is by far one of our favorite Volkswagen vehicles when stanced. Out of the factory, the MK7 GTI comes with Autobahn-tuned sport suspension which makes its handling outstanding from the get-go. However, a set of MK7 GTI coilovers can transform your ride.
The MK7 GTI is one of the most sought-after Volkswagen vehicles to mod and for good reason. It’s one of their most sporty and modable vehicles to date. All it takes is a few simple bolt-on mods to turn the MK7 GTI into a 300hp machine. With 300hp, a set of coilovers will make it stand out. Whether you are going for the “stanced” look, better street performance, or a track car, the suspension is crucial to the aesthetic and performance of a vehicle. In this guide, we’ll be going over the benefits of coilovers, factors to choose the right coilover for you, and the best coilovers on the market (in our opinion).
MK7 GTI Coilovers Considerations
When it comes to coilovers there are many things to take into consideration. Dampening adjustability, tube design, and spring rates are some of the few things to look at when purchasing a new set of coilovers. We will also dive into the differences between lowering springs and coilovers for those wanting to find the pros and cons of both.
When it comes to lowering your vehicle, it’s important to lay out what your goals are. Do you want function over form or form over function? In other words, are you looking to get the stanced look (form over function) or are you wanting to increase handling for the track (function over form).
Monotube vs. Twin-Tube
When it comes to aftermarket coilover options you will likely run into the choice of monotube shock design or twin-tube shock design. So what is the difference? For starters, monotube and twin-tube refer to the internals of a shock and how they’re built. Monotube shocks have a single chamber that contains hydraulic fluid and gas that never mix, which provides reliable stable support for the vehicle. Twin-tube, as it sounds, has two chambers, one contains hydraulic gas and one contains hydraulic fluid. A downfall with two chambers is that they can potentially mix if any road bumps or potholes are hit violently. When the fluid and gas mix, it can seriously impact ride quality.
So now that we got the mechanics of these two out of the way, you’re probably wondering which one is better? Well, short answer, it depends. If you are not planning on taking your MK7 GTI to the track anytime soon, go with twin-tube. However, if you are wanting to make your GTI a track machine, go with a monotube. The reason being is because monotube coilovers are more stiff, sensitive, and provide a more consistent dampening force. While twin-tube are less sensitive, less precise, and therefore happen to be less expensive. So going back to function over form or form over function, monotube would be function over form.
Coilover Dampening Adjustability
Dampening adjustability has been mentioned a few times above, so we thought we should go over this quickly since it is a big component in purchasing a set of coilovers. Dampening regulates the amount the coil springs compress and how quickly they bounce. Adjustable dampening, is as it sounds, is adjusting the compression and bounce of the coil springs. In Lehman’s terms, it is just a way to adjust the stiffness or softness of the suspension. Aftermarket coilovers can come with two different dampening options: pre-set dampening or adjustable dampening. Adjustable dampening tends to lean on the expensive side, but is typically what would be used for track cars.
The final component to look for when it comes to aftermarket MK7 GTI coilovers, is spring rates. Spring rates refer to how much pressure or weight it takes to compress the spring by 1 inch. Usually, you will see this measurement in pounds per inch. For example, one of our favorite aftermarket coilover sets has a spring rate of 205lb/in in the front and 210lb/in in the rear. Essentially what spring rates tell you is how stiff the springs are going to be. The example above is not too stiff, so it would be ideal for form over function. However, another example is an aftermarket coilover set that has a spring rate of 700lb/in, which is made for the track.
To wrap this up, if you are building a track car, you’ll want to have stiffer spring rates for performance. Street cars will want a balance between performance and comfort. Lastly, stanced cars will want low ride heights, but stiff spring rates to avoid bottoming out on the road.
MK7 GTI Coilovers vs. Lowering Springs
Coilovers come as a set with upgraded struts, shocks, and springs. Whereas lowering springs will just replace the factory coil springs and leave the struts and shocks as is. If you are looking to lower your GTI at a low cost, then maybe springs may be the way to go. However, aftermarket lowering springs don’t allow the driver to adjust the dampening or ride height and they tend to be harder to install.
If you are someone who is looking to just lower your MK7 GTI a fixed amount, springs may be the way to go. Just remember, if you happen to get some new wheels and the springs lower the vehicle too much, you will have to buy more springs to fit the wheels. Whereas, coilovers easily adjust ride height to match whatever needs you may have. We highly recommend getting coilovers if you plan to lower your vehicle at all. We’ve spoken about the many benefits above, so we won’t harp on it anymore. For $419, you can get a full set of coilovers that will be a better investment any day of the week than lowering springs.
MK7 GTI Coilover Benefits
- Better handling and performance
- Ability to adjust ride height
- Provide a smoother and more comfortable driving experience
- Cost-efficient replacement for worn suspension
- Dampening adjustability
Some may be confused by the fourth bullet, but just to clarify. If the factory suspension happens to go out, it will be about the same price as a new factory set with many more suspension benefits.
Best MK7 GTI Coilovers
Okay, let’s get into what you are here for, the best coilovers for your MK7 GTI. We want to first state that these companies are our opinion and there are many companies on the market that provide exceptional coilovers. The “best” depends on what your vehicle goals are. Most of the readers reading this will be looking for stance or better street driving performance. However, we won’t leave out the enthusiasts that are building their bada** project track MK7 GTI’s. With that said, we will provide three different options to appeal to different drivers: stance, track, race.
1) Raceland MK7 GTI Coilovers
Raceland coilovers are going to be by far our favorite coilovers to get the biggest bang-for-your-buck. Coming in at $419, these are well priced and are high quality. They feature twin-tube shocks with pre-set dampening so they are ideal for the everyday driver that is going for the stanced look we all know and love. Raceland has exceptional customer service and offers a lifetime warranty on all coilovers. You can adjust the ride height with these by 1 to 3 inches. The front set has a spring rate of 205lb/in while the back set has a spring rate of 210lb/in. Therefore, these provide an optimal street driving experience for comfort and performance.
Driver: Stance or Street
Purchase Here: Raceland Volkswagen GTI MK7 Classic Coilovers
2) BC Racing MK7 GTI Coilover Kit
BC Racing has made a name for themselves when it comes to coilovers. These street-and-track capable set are affordable and effective. The monotube shock design provides a highly customizable driving experience with the customer being able to choose spring rates, extreme low, and swift springs. This set features 30 different levels of dampening adjustment and provides a drop of minimum 2 inches to 3+ inches. If you are trying to go extreme low, but keep function the BR Series is very popular among MK7 GTI enthusiasts.
Driver: Street and Track
Purchase Here: BR Series MK7 GTI Coilover Kit
3) VWR TrackSport MK7 GTI Coilover Kit
Lastly, Racing Line has developed a coilover set perfect for track usage, but still usable for everyday vehicles. If you are looking to spend this much money on coilovers, than you mean business. This set of coilovers has been developed directly from Racing Line’s full race kits and contains the same damper bodies, rear dampers, and “thick-stem” fronts from their Full Race suspension Kit at a fraction of the price. It provides 12 different levels of dampening adjustment and a 45mm inverted front damper. This monotube coilover set is stiff for the track, but Racing Line claims that a lot of their customers use these as daily drivers as well.
Purchase Here: KW V3 Series MK7 GTI Coilovers
MK7 GTI Coilovers Conclusion
To wrap this post up, coilover options depend on your vehicle wants. For the stance or street driver, go with a twin-tube coilover set because they provide most of the performance benefits at a portion of the price. Not only will they provide performance benefits, but they will also give you what we all love to see, a stanced MK7 GTI. For these drivers, we can’t recommend Raceland enough as they are affordable and provide the biggest bang-for-your-buck. If you are turning your MK7 GTI into a track beast, then a monotube set of coilovers is the way to go. Although more expensive, they offer adjustable dampening which you will want to fine tune your suspension for different track circumstances. They tend to have stiffer spring rates, but also provide flexible dampening for the street and track.
We hope you have learned about important components that go into coilovers and it makes your buying decision easier for you. If you are just daily driving your MK7 GTI, go with twin-tune. If you are building a track car, go with monotube. Also, if you want to read up on more MK7 GTI content, here’s our write-up on “The 5 Best Mods for the Volkswagen MK7 GTI”.