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2011 VW Golf TDI - Beach Cruiser

Michael Tao shows off his VW Golf TDI.

The advantages of VW’s frugal yet torquey 2.0L turbo-diesel engine are well documented, and while it was only available in the previous Jetta, Michael Tao from Chino Hills, CA, perked up when he discovered the current Mk6 family would get a Golf TDI. He couldn’t help dreaming about a “hot hatch” project, even ordering wheels three weeks before purchasing his 2011 Golf TDI.

Once the color and accessory package was selected, Michael looked through the OEM catalog for more options. As a result, he added LED tail lights from the Golf R and a GTI spoiler. These were followed by replica European dual-projector HID headlights from DC Auto in Canada.

Michael was dedicated to his OEM+ direction until he saw Rieger’s body kit with its carbon splitter, diffuser and inserts on the skirts. His mind raced with the possibilities, fitting it in combination with a vented carbon hood from Osir. It was all sent to Auto Network in San Gabriel, CA for paint.

Upon the car’s return, the pre-ordered 19” DPE R16 V2 wheels had arrived, completed with matte dark-gold centers and polished lips, wrapped in Toyo T1-Sport tires. Michael then visited DTM Autobody in El Monte, CA to install KW V3 coilovers to improve the Golf’s stance.

For a couple of weeks, Michael dialed-in the damping adjustments, adding H&R’s 24mm rear sway bar to get it spot-on. He then fitted H&R wheel spacers to achieve a more aggressive offset.

Engine & Brakes
Modifications for the TDI engine were becoming available. Michael opted for Revo Technik’s stage 1 ECU flash, an aFe Power intake and GTI cat-back exhaust.

The Revo software added grin-inducing mid-range punch, which the owner reports to be utterly addictive. The claimed figures are 45hp and 53 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. However, we only saw 20hp but 48 lb-ft when similar software was fitted to a Mk5 Jetta TDI at

The TDI exhaust was swapped because the Reiger bumper needed GTI tailpipes to fill the apertures, but the stock tips lacked girth when positioned. So slip-on Akropovic tips were added to fill the void.

With the extra torque, DTM Autobody improved the braking response with slotted discs from Adam’s Rotors. The pads were swapped as well for Akebono Euro ceramic pads plus stainless steel lines.

To bring the outside in, Michael wrapped the dash and seat trim in white carbon vinyl. He then made carbon panels for the side of each seat frame from carbon, embedded with a metal TDI badge. A subwoofer box was trimmed in gray carpet to match the trunk, spitting out tunes thanks to an Alpine amp.

After investigating the interior further we found the four dummy switches beside the traction control button had been cleverly swapped for sonar, shields and missile commands. Michael laughed when we asked about their functionality and warned not to touch them!

Until the warranty expires, Michael’s content with his TDI’s setup. For the future he’s planning stage 2 upgrades and a big-brake kit to fill the space behind his pre-ordered wheels that continue to define the direction of the project.

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