Integrated Engineering’s update to their intercooler for the Mk7 GTI / R provides a number of benefits according to the product description. This post will review the claimed benefits and assess the likelihood of them being delivered to an end user based on supporting evidence.
Noteworthy benefits claimed are:
- IE’s newest Flow Distribution System (FDS™) intercooler is a revolution in boost cooling performance.
- It’s strong cast architecture, breakthrough flow technologies, and 137% larger next-gen, heat soak defeating core size makes it the world’s ultimate VW/Audi intercooler upgrade.
- …keep you in the highest power output possible from your ECU tune and performance hardware upgrades.
- IE’s Flow Distribution System (FDS) is light years ahead of other intercoolers, …
- … the IE FDS intercooler has been proven to drastically reduce intake air temperatures more so than any other units available on the market -offering the largest power gains possible.
- By greatly increasing the core size and useable area of the core with FDS technology, we have eliminated the heat soak, keeping the intake air temperatures consistently lower than OEM and competition intercoolers.
The highlighted benefits will be reviewed to determine if there is credible data to substantiate the claims.
Frame of reference – truth in advertising
For some idea about the standards that exist for advertising the Federal Trade Commission has created guidance for Small Business advertising. A few notable standards are:
- Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive;
- Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims;
Describing “What makes an advertisement deceptive?” An ad is deceptive if it contains a statement – or omits information – that:
- Is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances; and
- Is “material” – that is, important to a consumer’s decision to buy or use the product.
Describing “What kind of evidence must a company have to support the claims in its ads?”
- Before a company runs an ad, it has to have a “reasonable basis” for the claims. A “reasonable basis” means objective evidence that supports the claim. The kind of evidence depends on the claim. At a minimum, an advertiser must have the level of evidence that it says it has.
The Integrated Engineering web page that describes the V2 Mk7 Intercooler does not contain data that logically supports the above highlighted vendor claims. The was covered previously in a summarizing post.
Without finding evidence to support the claims on the product page a request was submitted through the Integrated Engineering support page for additional information and data related to the product performance claims.
Note: So as not to misinterpret the answers received I am providing the text of the discussion that took place in reference to each claim. The product related claims are numbered and in bold text. The reply from IE begins with Response and is in bold, my follow up is in italic.
Hello, I am conducting some research on the intercooler that has recently been updated for the Mk7 GTI. I have questions about the conclusions you have for the product performance. Can you provide additional information about how you made the conclusions listed below, and do you have data that you can provide showing the product performing as stated on the product page?
1) A revolution in boost cooling performance.
Response – It is the largest intercooler on the market for its application
The claim relates to cooling performance – the size of the product does not show what the change in cooling performance is, or why it is a complete change (revolution) in performance.
Response – Jeff you make a compelling point here, it would probably be a good idea to do a comparison between our previous design and this design. I believe we have this data but didn’t publish it as to not cannibalize previous model sales for the intercooler as they were offered at the same time for a short period.
2) Breakthrough flow technologies
Response – It has been entirely redesigned for superior fitment and cooling over our previous version
What is the “breakthrough” flow technology? This says that there has been a sudden advance related to the technology involved with airflow.
Response – Unfortunately without sharing proprietary technical drawings I don’t believe I’ll be able to substantiate this claim for you, however, I can say that with each generation of FDS and casting, we learned more than the previous model and have made design changes to further utilize the technology to take advantage of the core volume which is increased on this model.
A breakthrough technology is not a refinement of an existing technology. It sounds like you are making incremental improvements, that’s a good thing, it’s just not a technology breakthrough.
3) The world’s ultimate VW/Audi intercooler upgrade.
Response – See #1
The rationale for it being the world’s ultimate intercooler upgrade is the extra 1/4″ in depth over the closest alternative?
Response – The rationale here is that it’s the largest overall core volume, and our previous model held the world record and this is an improvement over the previous model.
If the data that established the previous version as the world record product can be published that may help. Where is that record established? Is there an organization that tests these products to determine the world record holder? I don’t follow the logic that increasing the core volume with V2 equates to increased performance, because a previous design performed well does not prove this update does also.
4) The highest power output possible from your ECU tune and performance hardware upgrades.
Response – Simply marketing based to follow along with IE’s suggestion for an aftermarket intercooler to take full advantage of the software
In this case I read marketing to mean an opinion, but no factual basis for the claim.
Response – It’s proven that the stock intercooler gets heat soaked after a single pull and that with an upgraded intercooler the car is able to maintain more consistent repeatable power. It is fact, and not opinion.
That’s a different subject from this intercooler allowing the highest power output possible from the tune, which is the claim.
5) Flow Distribution System (FDS) is light years ahead of other intercoolers.
Response – FDS is an IE Exclusive design, while other manufacturers have copied since we released it on our Mk5/Mk6 Intercooler.
This explanation does not address why it is light years ahead of other intercoolers.
Response – I suppose if we want to get technical “light years” is a stretch, however for a long time it was something no other manufacture had until later years when it was copied. However IE was the first to implement the internal ducting / air channeling fins internally to the core and thus making it a technological advancement over those without it.
Integrated Engineering was the first company to incorporate internal ducting in an intercooler since they were introduced to automobiles in the ’70s? I’m interested to learn more about that, but back to the claim that FDS is light years ahead of others, how do you know that other manufacturers have not improved on the feature you invented?
6) Proven to drastically reduce intake air temperatures more so than any other units available on the market.
Response – See #1
This explanation does not provide any proof, the claim is that the superior performance against others has been proven. The extra depth of the core does not prove the air temperature produced by the product is different than any other unit available.
Response – In house testing on both the road and dyno has yielded greater cooling and reduced IAT’s over our own previous model.
As I said previously, there isn’t any proof of this on the product page.
7) Offering the largest power gains possible.
Response – Superior cooling will help make the best power.
There is no proof the claimed result occurs.
Response – Again, this comes back to the previous model holding the world record and this unit is an improvement over the past unit.
Providing proof on the product page for how the previous model was the world record holder, and how this one compares, would be helpful.
8) Eliminated the heat soak.
Response – Of course this is entirely a marketing statement as I’m sure you can slap some massive turbo on a car and make it heat soak, however for the OE turbo applications its all but eliminated.
The request was to know if there is data to support the claim. The IAT chart on the page shows a single pull and the description describes heat soak as occurring after several back-to-back power pulls.
Response – We have data to support this, however, the tune and turbo being used are a development project and we’re unable to release any data for a file that isn’t publicly for sale. This has also been tested on the road with consistent abuse while climbing up 7% Graded and ascending from 4200′ to 7600′ elevation
Showing these would be helpful to support the claims of eliminating heat soak.
9) Keeping the intake air temperatures consistently lower than OEM and competition intercoolers.
Response – This is simply a fact that our intercooler outperforms the OEM.
The statement is that it also outperforms competition intercoolers.
Response – Starting to feel like a broken record, but again. It’s an improvement over our previous record holding unit and this unit has superior performances as tested in house. Primarily on data that cannot be released due to it being an ongoing development project.
Selling a product based on the premise of performance gains that cannot be substantiated does not seem like a good approach.
Thank you for the responses, they have helped my effort.
Note: The following link was provided to substantiate the claim of the intercooler holding the world record:
I was not successful at obtaining data from Integrated Engineering that would support the product performance claims.
The thread of logic that starts with a drag strip run in 2017 concluding with this 2020 release of Version 2 being the world’s ultimate intercooler upgrade is flawed. The product used in 2017 was different from version 2, and the validity of the method used to proclaim the 2017 model the best in the world is dubious.
The lack of evidence to support the product claims leads me to conclude that it is unlikely that a purchaser will obtain the benefits claimed.
When measured against the FTC truth in advertising guidelines the information presented by Integrated Engineering for the V2 intercooler is lacking.