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2012 VW Jetta 2.0 - Project Jetta 2.D’OH

We pick the brains of some industry leaders to look at adding power upgrades to our Mk6 Jetta 2.0L.

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Yes it’s affordable, will probably last a long time, has good gas mileage and, if you let somebody borrow it, they probably won’t do anything dumb. However, to say it’s “slow” is an understatement. And that’s the biggest problem with the 2.0L four-cylinder in our 2012 VW Jetta 2.0 project car.

So we’ve been trying to figure out the best way to improve the looks and performance of our Mk6 Jetta. To date, we’ve added the Volkswagen Accessories body kit, 18" VW Motorsport wheels, OE RNS-315 navigation and H&R lowering springs. But what performance upgrades are available to make our Toffee brown slug faster than its 9sec 0-60 time?

Engine

This 2.0L 8v will be remembered from the Mk3 and Mk4 models. And while it was deemed inappropriate for the Mk5, it’s now an option for the Mk6…

The Mk6 version has the same 82.5mm bore and 92.8mm stroke of the older Mk4 engine, giving it a displacement of 1984cc. In its newest form, the naturally aspirated 2.0L engine only puts down 115hp and 125 lb-ft (compared to 115hp and 122 lb-ft for the Mk4).

“The Crossflow head on the Mk6 was designed to optimize emissions and is about the only difference over the earlier models,” Adam Ligon from Black Forest Industries informed us.

Superchargers

With its similarities to the older 2.0L engines, Neuspeed is able to offer several options to Jetta owners. And while we were admiring the various new plastic parts VW had added, Aaron Neumann disappeared in search of a few things that might work.

He returned with a beautifully machined supercharger they offer as a performance upgrade for the Mk3 and Mk4 2.0 models. “We developed the blower for reliability and dependability,” Aaron stated. “You just fit it and drive it. It’ll give 50hp with decent response and is CARB-exempt for ’99-2000 throttle-by-cable vehicles!” The kit has never been fitted to a Mk6 Jetta 2.0L before but, surprisingly, it wouldn’t appear to need many modifications to make it work…

As a kit, the supercharger comes with an intake manifold, mounting brackets, head shield, belt, tensioner-pulley and hardware. Adding it to our Mk6 would only seem to require a Mk4 2.0L lower aluminum manifold to bolt the blower to the head.

In addition, a Mk4 2.0L fuel rail with either OE or aftermarket 200cc injectors would be up to the task. Getting the injectors wired to the new harness would need adapters, which Neuspeed offers for a clean install. And once everything is buttoned up, 91-octane will now be the button of choice at the pump.

For the tune, Aaron informed us the MDB 17.5.6 ECU is a new unit very few people have worked on. However, the engine is set-up with a ULEV parameter system, giving it flexible parameters for engine and software tuning. So if somebody was to install the kit, Neuspeed would need to first send the ECU to Germany for coding.

The Neuspeed supercharger kit costs $2500 plus $500 for the P-Chip tuning, and you’ll need the additional hardware mentioned. And while the price is high, Neuspeed appears to be one of few companies theoretically able to offer attractive horsepower gains over stock on the Mk6 Jetta 2.0-liter engine.

DIY Turbo Kit

After hearing about a possible turbo kit for the Jetta’s 2.0L 8v, we scurried over to Godspeed Projects. The company is better known by the JDM crowd for offering everything from turbo kits to intercoolers, piston, rods and radiators, etc. However, its Euro inventory is growing, with bigger turbos and intercoolers becoming available.

Its existing 2.0L turbo kit was designed for the Mk3 and Mk4 2.0 using a T2871 with 50-trim turbo, exhaust manifold, wastegate, oil lines, side-mount intercooler, BOV, piping, silicone couplers and hardware. For the Mk6 application, it would be expected to need injectors, custom intercooler brackets and piping as well as a custom exhaust.

Danny Chung from Godspeed suggested that running the T2871 at 5-7psi should give an estimated gain of around 50hp. Being among the first to inquire about installing this existing kit on a Mk6 Jetta, we would need to find a company able to tune the software before we could embark on the project, but the Godspeed hardware would cost around $900.

It’s worth noting that Aaron Neumann advised us that because a turbo absorbs engine heat, fitting this sort of kit might prevent the cats from heating properly. This could have an adverse affect on emissions, but since it would fail a visual inspection anyway, we assume such a conversion is for the hardcore Mk6 Jetta 2.0 owner!

Custom ECU Tuning

We assumed that custom software for a DIY turbo system would be relatively simple to obtain. So we called Unitronic Chipped for advice since its custom programs for big-turbo upgrades made them a likely candidate.

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