Mk7 GTI Aftermarket Intercooler
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Volkswagen MK7 GTI/R Intercooler Upgrade Guide

Chandler Stark

Meet Trey

Trey is an automotive enthusiast and has a huge passion for Volkswagen and Audi vehicles of all kinds. His enthusiasm started with the MK5 GTI, and he has massively expanded his knowledge over the years. When Trey is not delivering high-quality and in-depth content, we can usually find him working in his garage on his modified Genesis coupe. Trey created VW Tuning several years ago, and he is the primary visionary behind the content.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission.

Volkswagen MK7 GTI/R Upgraded Intercooler (FMIC/DF) Guide

If you are wanting to take your MK7 GTI to Stage 1+, an often overlooked mod is an upgraded intercooler. Now it isn’t necessarily a mod for power, but it allows you to build a more aggressive setup and push more power. FMIC’s are seen as reliability and efficiency mods as opposed to a performance mod. The main goal of an intercooler is keeping Intake Air Temperatures (IAT) down because colder, denser air = more boost pressure = more power.

Although they may seem hard to justify at the price, intercoolers are crucial when you start getting up to Stage 1 or 2. Regardless of where you live and what temperature it is, an aftermarket intercooler will always have your engine running cooler. With heat soak being a real issue in turbocharged vehicles, an aftermarket intercooler can help prevent 20hp+ loss.

Direct Fit Vs. Front Mount

When it comes to options for an aftermarket intercooler for the MK7 GTI, there are really only two options: Direct Fit or Front Mount. To be honest, there really isn’t much of a difference in the sense of performance or function. The real difference is the visibility of the unit in your grill and effort/cost to install. We typically like the aggressive look of FMICs, but this all comes down to preference.

MK7 GTI Intercooler Performance Benefits

  • Produces more power
  • Prevents loss of power (heat soak)
  • Decreased IAT’s (intake air temperature)
  • Decreased risk of misfires/knocks
  • Supports more boost

When it comes to intercoolers, you MAY gain 5-10hp, but the real benefit is the consistency of power and reducing heat in the engine. Heat is one of the biggest downfalls in an engine. It reduces power and your engine’s reliability/longevity. There are many different brands on the market, we just picked some of our favorites. This is a great resource to compare all of the intercoolers available.

We’ll be covering these brands more in-depth:

  • APR Direct Fit (DF) Intercooler
  • Integrated Engineering Direct Fit (DF) Intercooler
  • Neuspeed Front Mount Intercooler (FMIC)
  • ARM Motorsports Front Mount Intercooler (FMIC)

1. APR DF Intercooler

APR is a well-known aftermarket company that is known for building high-quality products for German OEMs and putting a big focus on R&D (Research and Development). They are saying this mod is effective for OVER 500hp.

This is tied as the highest-priced out of the group, but for good reason. We believe this is one of the best aftermarket direct fit intercoolers on the market. It features a bar-and-plate core with staggered louvered fins with a core volume of 877.5. This is a direct fit mod, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble installing. This mod fits on the 1.8t and the 2.0t engines. See the diagram below for the IATs tested at APR’s facility.

APR MK7 GTI/R Intercooler

Price: $899.95 + Shipping
Performance Gains
: +21hp
DIY Difficulty:
Buy Here: APR DF Intercooler for the MK7 GTI

2. Integrated Engineering DF Intercooler

Like APR, Integrated Engineering (IE) is another well-known company that is known for creating high-quality products and putting a lot of time into R&D. The thing that we like with IE is that they solely focus on VW/Audi’s, which means the majority of their time and effort is spent perfecting products for those vehicles.

This is tied as the highest-priced product on the market, but again, for good reason. This system features a bar-and-fin core that is the “single largest intercooler on the market today.” Something we like most about this mod from IE is the patented Flow Distribution System (FDS) they use in their systems. This intercooler fits the MK7 & MK7.5 GTI and is a direct fit, which requires no modification for install. See below for the performance gains.

Volkswagen MK7 GTI IE Heat Stroke Graph

Price: $899.95 + Shipping
Performance Gains
: 74% Lower IATs
DIY Difficulty:
Buy Here: Integrated Engineering DF Intercooler for the MK7 GTI

3. Neuspeed FMIC

Neuspeed is an aftermarket manufacturer that focuses on a handful of OEMs, VW and Audi being two of those. They are a popular US Based manufacturer that focuses on delivering true Automotive Performance Systems.

Coming in the middle of the pack when it comes to price, this is a good alternative for $170 cheaper. It may not be to the standards of the above systems, but we understand that cost is big for a lot of people. This system features a front mount design with a bar-and-plate core. Neuspeed allows you to choose Stage 1 or Stage 2 and which color you would like to go with (Standard Aluminum or Black coating).

Price: $829.95 + Shipping
DIY Difficulty:
Buy Here: Neuspeed FMIC for the MK7 GTI

4. ARM Motorsport FMIC

ARM Motorsports may be a lesser-known aftermarket manufacturer, but that does not mean they provide low-quality parts. In fact, it’s just the opposite, they are known for providing great mods for a great cost.

Coming in at the lowest priced, ARM provides a great bang-for-your-buck option. This system is a front mount design that features a bar and plate core. ARM allows you to customize their system by providing 4 colors (sport silver, stealth black, trophy gold, or graphite). This system fits the MK7 GTI ONLY, but fits a 1.8t and 2.0t.

Price: $497 + $244 (ADD FULL CHARGE PIPING UPGRADE – Highly Suggest) + Shipping
Performance Gains
: +24hp & 74% Lower IATs
DIY Difficulty:
Buy Here: ARM Motorsport FMIC for the MK7 GTI

MK7 GTI Intercooler Conclusion

Overall, if you are in the market for an aftermarket intercooler, our suggestion would be to go with IE for direct fit and Neuspeed for FMIC. With that said, this is our preference, and we HIGHLY encourage doing your research to make sure the mod you choose fits your setup the best.

We want to reiterate that aftermarket intercoolers are not necessarily for the hp gains, they are mainly for lowering the overall temperature of your engine and preventing heat soak. If you are going to Stage 1+, this is definitely a top 3 mod you need to get.

To read more up on what mods we suggest for your MK7 GTI, go to “The 5 Best Mods for the Volkswagen MK7 GTI“.

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