VW Jetta Mk5 hacking – 5 year report

Well my peoples’ car has turned 5 years old. Manufactured in May 2007, and purchased in December 2007 for the express purpose of ferrying MissNow9 to school, it has performed admirably during its tenure as a shuttle bus.

Got it cleaned today, so perhaps it is time to write a review of its performance over the past years and to catalogue some of the minor improvements it has received.

Now, as a project, I think it is complete. So, it should get us to school in style for quite a few years to come.

Update October 2021

The car has been passed to a new owner, who has been making some further improvements as he desires. I guess this is the final update here.

Recently, he took it to the dyno to test and tune.

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Update September 2017

In September 2017 the car finally passed 100,000km, and is approaching its 10th anniversary. Over the past 3 years it has seen fairly light usage (no school run, no track days), so the annual mileage has been fairly low. Perhaps because of this light usage, or because of the VW engineering capability, there have been no issues to speak of since this report was originally written, 5 years ago.


This car started out as a VW Jetta MkV FSi 2.0 with DSG gearbox, leather seats, and alarm.

It looks very boring. It has a huge 527 litre boot. Largest of almost any car sold in Australia.

It is easy to park, and it is easy to drive. Cheap to own.


But, it is actually a Golf GTI in disguise. It has a very nice turbo petrol motor producing 147 kW (200 hp) for motivation, and something like 47 controllers on its CAN bus to manage everything electrical.

Design specification

  1. Always remain reliable – to get to school on time.
  2. Look completely boring – stay inside OEM visual envelope.
  3. Rock on the race track – be very surprising for drivers of track-day sports cars.


Jetta – 240kW ATW – 470Nm – 1430kg – less than 5.9kg/kW


Cayman R – 239kW – 370Nm – 1340kg – 5.6kg/kW

HSV R8 Clubsport – 317kW – 550Nm – 1760kg – 5.6kg/kW

BMW 335i – 225kW – 400Nm – 1510kg – 6.7kg/kW


Building this result is a combination of a number of subtle improvements to the motor, suspension, transmission, brakes, and work space.

A lot of things were purchased from ECS Tuning.

Audvolks is my current garage. Raymond & James fitted the K04 Turbo upgrade. James goes out of his way to help customers with special cars. Take the time to find them.

Pedders South Melbourne people are continually helpful. Ben and Reid, have been great with the car, building the special solutions and fixing all my issues as needed.


The Turbo FSi motor is an enormously tunable engine, that can produce up to 340kW with the right additional components.

My design specification indicated that there should be no obvious variation from the OEM visual signature. Open the bonnet… nothing to see here.


Every necessary improvement has been made to achieve 240kW ATW and, as a side benefit, the highway fuel economy has improved over standard by 1litre/100km to just under 7litre/100km.


Handling of the Jetta / GTI Mk5 is very good, and doesn’t need much to make it better. So we just need to lower the body a little, reduce some on-limit under steer, and deliver a lot more traction (negative camber and reduced unsprung weight).

  • KW Variant 1 coil-over springs, and dampers, to tighten the cornering response.
  • Whiteline rear sway-bar to reduce slight under-steer. Also at the rear, -1.5 degrees of negative camber has been set.
  • Audi TT Mk2 lower control arm, reduces unsprung weight, improves wheel positioning, improves traction, and adds adjustable negative camber which has been set to -2.4 degrees.


240kW through front wheel drive. How can that work? Well, with a little moderation and understanding it can work very well.

The combination of a Torsen differential, stiffened engine mountings, significant negative camber, and very sticky rubber provides necessary grip and control whenever the vehicle is in motion.

However, a standing start using more than about 50% throttle is pretty noisy, smoky, and fruitless. So, we just don’t do it. Wide Open Throttle; only on a race track please!



Ok, we’re doing over 200 km/h at the end of the straight. How do we slow down? We need a pretty good braking solution. Fortunately, the Golf R32 has a good solution, with appropriate improvements of course. And, it all hides behind OEM 17″ wheels.


Golf R32 345mm front brake conversion including


Adding HID inserts into the headlamps was a great improvement, and converting all exterior and interior lamps to LED keeps the feeling fresh.


Unfortunately, the Jetta missed out on DSG flappy paddles. Adding a R32 steering wheel, with appropriate CAN controller keying, provides this functionality.

And a touchscreen DVD/GPS system was also needed.


Detailed Discussion (done better, done again)

Ditched the DBA 4000 rear rotors. They were discoloured (rusted), and didn’t do much to improve braking.

This bad thing happened with the Racingbrake two piece rotor. Keep those special bolts torqued.

One thought on “VW Jetta Mk5 hacking – 5 year report

  1. Hey i’m Running The 06 jetta V 2.0t FSI (Stealth) And iv’e Been Missing alot of answer’s Which i just Recieved all on this page .. !! Thanks For the Post

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