MK6 GTI Aftermarket Intercooler
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Volkswagen MK6 GTI/R Intercooler (FMIC) 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.

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Volkswagen MK6 GTI/R Upgraded Intercooler (FMIC) Guide

Aftermarket intercoolers are probably the most underrated mod for power for not only the MK6 GTI but for any turbocharged engine. If you’re trying to go Stage 1+, an intercooler is essential to reduce the loss of power caused by heat soak. These mods shouldn’t be viewed as a performance mod, but rather an efficiency mod. The main goal of intercoolers is to keep intake air temperatures down to allow the engine to produce colder, denser air. Why? Because colder denser air = more boost pressure = more power. That is the goal!

We would advise not purchasing an aftermarket intercooler if you don’t plan on pushing your MK6 GTI over 300hp. There are better mods out there that will provide more bang-for-your-buck when it comes to power, like tunes. We wrote an entire guide on tuning options for the MK6 GTI here. In this guide, we’ll be going over performance benefits and four different FMIC options based on brand, size,  and types of cores.

MK6 GTI Intercooler Performance Benefits

  • Produces more power/Supports more boost
  • Dramatically decreases heat soak
  • Decreases intake air temperature (IAT)
  • Decreases risk of knocks/misfires

What is heat soak and how does it affect performance?

Heat soak in a vehicle’s engine refers to an engine bay’s heat absorption and dissipation. As your engine gets hotter, the cooling system plays a huge role in ensuring optimal temperature levels for the engine to run efficiently. When you are running a tune and have your turbo operating at higher boost levels, the turbo produces excessive amounts of heat. If you are running an OEM intercooler in conjunction with the tune, you can suffer heat soak as the increased temperatures from the turbo can overwhelm the small stock intercooler.

The end result is the intercooler cannot cool the air fast enough and you essentially end up circulating hot air through your engine which increases engine temps and can harm the engine’s block and internals. The increased air temps flowing through your engine will also affect performance, likely resulting in a decrease of 10-20hp.

MK6 GTI Intercooler Temperature

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

  • Neuspeed Front Mount Intercooler (FMIC)
  • Integrated Engineering Front Mount Intercooler (FMIC)
  • APR Front Mount Intercooler (FMIC)
  • Unitronic Front Mount Intercooler (FMIC)

1. Neuspeed FMIC

Neuspeed is a well-known aftermarket manufacturer that focuses on 5 OEMs, VW and Audi being two of those. With that said, you can rest assured that Neuspeed has put a lot of hours into their system when it comes to R&D (research & development). They strive to deliver a true out-of-the-box Automotive Performance System.

Coming at the middle of the bunch when it comes down to price, Neuspeed provides a great mod when it comes to price and effectiveness. The front mount system features a bar-and-plate twice-thick core design that comes in two finishes (aluminum or black heat emitting coating). This system only fits the MK6 GTI and R and requires no cutting or trimming when it comes to installation.

Price: $799.95 + Shipping
DIY Difficulty:
Buy Here: Neuspeed FMIC for the MK6 GTI

2. IE FMIC Intercooler

Integrated Engineering is a well-known VW/Audi aftermarket manufacturer that focuses on performance parts only for VW and Audi. Since they only focus on those two OEM’s, you can expect top-of-the-line mods due to the amount of time spent researching, tweaking, and perfecting mods for the end consumer.

Coming in at the top of the range in price, this is our choice if money wasn’t an issue. We know it is rather extensive for an efficiency mod, but their patented Flow Distribution System (FDS) is well worth the extra cash. This front mount system features a massive bar-and-plate core that is 54% larger than the OEM intercooler. They have tested this intercooler to over 600hp with room to grow. This system fits an MK5 & MK6 GTI/R and requires no cutting or modifications for install.

Price: $899.99 + Shipping
DIY Difficulty:
Buy Here: Integrated Engineering FMIC for the MK6 GTI


They, like IE, are a well-known aftermarket manufacturer that focuses on German automobiles. APR does a great job with R&D and posts a lot of their research for the end consumer. They produce mods for performance and look.

Coming in at the highest-priced intercooler, this is our close second choice. This front mount system features a big bar-and-plate core with staggered and louvered fins that is 40% larger than the OEM intercooler. This intercooler fits an MK5 and MK6 GTI/R and requires no modification to install.

Price: $1,050.95 + Shipping
DIY Difficulty:
Buy Here: APR FMIC Intercooler for the MK6 GTI

4. Unitronic FMIC

Unitronic is a brand that has been in the aftermarket space and is known for creating quality and affordable options to market. They focus on creating mods strictly for German automobiles like VW, Audi, Porsche, and Lamborghini.

Coming in at the cheapest option of the bunch, does not mean it is a bad intercooler. Unitronic makes great products at an affordable price. This system features a bar and plate core that can support up to 600hp according to them! Make sure the system fits your vehicle because they have systems for Gen1,2,3 EA888s.

Price: $599.99 + Shipping
DIY Difficulty:
Buy Here: Unitronic FMIC Intercooler for the MK7 GTI

MK6 GTI Intercooler Conclusion

In conclusion, if you are in the market for an aftermarket intercooler, our choice would be Integrated Engineering’s FMIC. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t like the other 3 listed above or even any others on the market.

We want to reiterate the point that aftermarket intercoolers are mainly a reliability and efficiency mod. So if you plan on going Stage 1+, we highly recommend getting one to prevent heat soak and to improve the overall efficiency of your engine.

To read more up on what mods we suggest for your MK6 GTI, go to “The 5 Best Mods for the Volkswagen MK6 GTI“.

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  1. You recommend NOT using a FMIC if I’m “not pushing 300hp.” However, I did AutoX and Trackdays in 2021 with a stock engine (‘cept for a K&N filter element and Amsoil fluids) and experienced the dreaded HEAT SOAK after a few laps or 1 session. The vehicle has 130k miles on it and is well maintained, so?? Anyway, thanks for the article. (2013 GTI 4door, EBC brakes, Continental EC Sport tires).

    1. James,

      Thanks for the comment. If you have funds for an FMIC, go for it. We know some of our readers may not have the funds necessary as FMIC’s are on the expensive side of mods for little power gains. Heatsoak will happen regardless if you have an FMIC or not. However, with an aftermarket FMIC, it will occur way later in runs. Let us know what you end up doing!


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