MK6 GTI Upgraded Intake Guide
If you’re serious about modding out your MK6 GTI, then the air intake should be on the top of your list. The MK6 does have a great intake out of the box, however an upgraded intake can sometimes provide up to 50% more airflow. Some people advise putting in a drop-in filter to save money. This is fine IF you aren’t planning on doing much more upgrades. The more stages you plan to go, the more important an aftermarket intake will be. The image below perfectly depicts the progression of stages and airflow, thanks to APR.
Aside from increased airflow, upgraded intakes also provide some other benefits: better-sounding induction & a better-looking engine bay.
MK6 GTI Upgraded Intake Performance Benefits
- 2-4whp (10-15hp) gains depending on manufacturer
- Increased induction sound
- Slightly increased throttle response
- Increased air-flow
If you are getting an intake for the performance benefits, we highly advise pairing it with a tune. You can see +10hp increase strictly from having more airflow. Increased air low = increased boost = increased power! If your vehicle is tuned without an upgraded intake, the turbocharger will have to work harder, which in turn lowers durability. As expected, there are plenty of intake options on the market, but we’ll try to go over our favorites based on price, look, and performance.
We’ll be covering these brands more in-depth:
- K&N Cold Air Intake
- APR Stage 1 Cold Air Intake
- Injen Short Ram Intake
- Integrated Engineering Cold Air Intake
K&N is a brand that has been around in the automotive industry for over 50 years, mainly known for their filters. When you buy a K&N cold air intake, it not only comes with a whopping 1,000,000mile/10-year warranty but also with a filter that only requires cleaning every 100,000 miles (under normal driving standards).
This system is comparable in price to most of the others but may not have the best appearance under the hood. However, the sound from this intake is mean and aggressive, as you can hear in the video below, which is why this one was included.
Price: $374.99 + Shipping
Performance Gains: ~9.19hp @ 4853 RPMs
DIY Difficulty: Easy
Sound Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOTA_AA8NtE
APR was founded in 1997 and has been a very reputable aftermarket manufacturer for German vehicles since the beginning. We like them as an option because of the in-depth R&D (Research and Development) that goes into their parts. Not only does this system look sharp under the hood with the carbon fiber, but it also sounds pretty sweet.
Now you’ll see the wide range in price below, that is because they separate the airbox from the rear turbo inlet pipe. We HIGHLY suggest getting both, the airbox and the rear turbo inlet pipe, components if you are serious about modding out your MK6 GTI. When you combine both parts, it can be very expensive for an aftermarket intake, BUT it is well worth it as APR states the intake supports 500hp!
Injen provides the cheapest out of the bunch, but this is just a short ram intake that will be a little more restrictive than the others, but certainly less restrictive than the OEM intake. Just because it is cheaper, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a solid option. Injen is very well known in the automotive industry for their affordable and reliable intakes.
This system features Injen’s patented MR (Mega Ram) tuning technology, which essentially allows the intake to control the fuel trims. This is a true plug-and-play system that has a slightly louder induction sound than the OEM system.
Price: $215.43 + Shipping
Performance Gains: ~6hp and 7tq
DIY Difficulty: Easy
Sound Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRl4hpZYPBs
Like APR, Integrated Engineering (IE) is also a well-known aftermarket manufacturer for German vehicles. The people behind IE are the real deal. They too put in a large amount of time in the R&D phase ensuring they put the best products out to the market. We really like them because their parts are very reliable and built at an extremely high quality. Something worth mentioning is that their parts have been featured in many record-setting GTI’s/R’s.
This system features a custom heat shield with a high flow filter that will certainly turn heads because of the induction and blow-off sound. The price is comparable to two others on this list and honestly is one of our favorites.
Price: $379.99 + Shipping
Performance Gains: ~10hp
DIY Difficulty: Intermediate
Sound Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIoFQeUt6nI
MK6 GTI Intake Conclusion
Many argue that aftermarket intakes are not worth the money, which to some extent is true IF you don’t plan on putting a lot of mods into your GTI. But if you plan on going to stage 2 or higher, it is a MUST because of the increased airflow it supplies to your turbo.
As you can see, we gave many choices to choose from. Out of all of the options provided, we would suggest going with the APR if you don’t mind ponying up the money AND are serious about modding your GTI to Stage 2 or 3. A close second, and cheaper option, would be IE. Now, if you were going just for sound, we would recommend the K&N as it sounds like it’s the most aggressive. Saying this does not mean that Injen is not a great option either, it’s just everyone is held to their own opinion and vehicle goals.
To read more on what mods we suggest for your MK6 GTI, go to “The 5 Best Mods for the Volkswagen MK6 GTI“.