Fact Check: IE Software vs Custom Tunes


Integrated Engineering (IE) provides ECU software for the Mk7 GTI that is referred to as “off-the-shelf” (OTS), which implies being ready to use upon installation without any changes being required. It is purchased as a finished product.

An alternative to OTS tunes is custom tuning. This process entails revisions being made to an initial file supplied to the customer. Based upon customer vehicle performance that is recorded and provided to the software tuner updates are made to the tune. A custom tune can take several revisions to reach a desired level of performance.

IE made a comparison of the two options providing their opinion of which tuning method they believe produces a better product.

This post is a review of the claim made by Integrated Engineering and the supporting information they provide to support their claim.

IE Claims:

Integrated Engineering Claims
Integrated Engineering Claims

IE suggests that we will learn the “truth” about tuning; whether an IE tune or custom tune is a better product.

The two paragraphs below the first image emphasize the attribute of quality, mentioning “higher quality“, “highest quality“, and “equal quality“.

Quality – “degree of excellence”


How well does Integrated Engineering support their claim that their tune is “higher quality” than custom tuning?

Claim Analysis:

IE begins with a table of features and their assessment of whether or not each tune option provides a feature:

IE Claim - Table
IE Claim – Table

Features do not demonstrate the product is of high quality. A low-quality product can possess all of these features.

IE then states:

IE Claim - File Revisions
IE Claim – File Revisions

In this paragraph, they mention updates are offered “when improvements can be made“, which contradicts the opening statement that their product has been rigorously tested to provide the “highest quality possible“. It also mentions new features, which as previously stated, does not equate to being a high-quality product.

Neither of the points in this paragraph demonstrates the IE tune is of higher quality than a custom tune.

Next, they state:

IE Claim - Hidden Costs
IE Claim – Hidden Costs

The claims about product cost, and features that can be purchased, do nothing to support the claim that the IE tune is the “highest quality possible“.

Tuning limitations are addressed next:

IE Claim - Limitations
IE Claim – Limitations

IE does not explain how the supposed tuning device “limitations” affect the product quality.

Note: It’s not clear what IE means by a “handheld tuning device” or what tuner would be using one. I’ve purchased the HP Tuners suite (one screenshot below) which is only a couple of hundred dollars and gives access to more ECU variables than I can easily count.

IE Claims -Handheld Device
HP Tuner Suite Screenshot

IE next addresses “matching hardware”:

IE Claim - Hardware
IE Claim – Hardware

This paragraph does not provide any information to support the claim that the IE tune is the “highest quality possible“.

Next, they address “myths”:

IE Claim - Myths
IE Claim – Myths

None of the myths that IE claims to debunk do anything to support their claim that their tune is the “better product“.

Finally, they ask which tune is right for you:

IE Claim - Choice
IE Claim – Choice

Having failed to address the “higher quality” claim for their product, they conclude by saying, “these are several reasons why IE tunes are superior“, apparently oblivious to the fact that they have not made any case for the “quality” of their product.


Integrated Engineering claimed they would provide the “truth” about ECU tuning and explain why their product is higher quality than a custom tune.

The company did not make any argument for the quality of their product, beyond a baseless claim that their product is of higher quality.

A number of claims that they did make, unrelated to product quality, are unsubstantiated.

Rather than providing the truth about ECU tuning, the company has presented an “opinion” article that is short on facts.

Integrated Engineering has failed to make a sound argument for their IE tune being a better quality product than a custom tune.

3 thoughts on “Fact Check: IE Software vs Custom Tunes”

  1. I think IE should have stuck with “Our OTS tunes are simple plug/play and provide safe power without the hassles of back/forth revisions (often requiring dyno time/$$$ or using on-road logging that can be risky) to achieve similar power levels” or similar. I get what they are trying to do…break the myth that only custom tunes are safe (as is promoted by many using the Cobb AP custom tuners). Maybe a good one for you to chase down is the common perception that custom tuning is “safer” and provide more power/driveability than OTS for straight-forward setups involving OE turbos and standard bolt-on hardware.

    1. Are the purported advantages of custom tunes published by Cobb tuners somewhere that I can reference?

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