DSG TCU tune for the Mk7 GTI


In my list of the top three modifications to perform on a Mk7 GTI is the DSG TCU tune.  The other two are the ECU tune and suspension modifications, namely coilovers.  These three changes make what I believe to be the most significant difference in how the GTI drives.

DSG Transmission

Having his and her GTIs in my household provides a regular opportunity to judge how much of a difference some modifications make to the driving experience.  Going between an APR DSG TCU tune on one and a Eurodyne DSG TCU tune on another it became very apparent that different vendors approach tuning the DSG in different ways.


Starting with a comparison of street logs from the APR and Eurodyne TCU I decided I would try and find a DSG tune that best matches my driving preferences.


The ultimate criteria for this search would be how often I found myself supplementing the TCU tune while in Drive (D).  Supplementing the TCU tune means that I am switching to manual mode because I am dissatisfied with how the TCU is managing gear shifts.  It also occurs when I decide to momentarily intervene with a manual gear shift.

Of course manual intervention can occur just to mix things up during a drive, but for the purposes of the search for an ideal TCU tune it refers to making an intervening action when I am expecting the TCU to handle gear changes.


DSG TCU tune candidates will be pitted in a king of the hill competition, the first face-off winner takes the top of the hill and stays there unless another challenger can knock it off the top place.


Round One: Eurodyne vs APR

The street logs from the APR versus Eurodyne comparison paint a clear picture of how differently these TCU tunes manage the gearing shifts for the DSG transmission. The Eurodyne TCU tune shifts at the same engine speeds all the time, the APR tune adjusts when shifting occurs depending upon how much acceleration the driver is requesting.

With the Eurodyne TCU tune I found myself engaging manual mode often and staying in manual mode a good amount of my drive time.  I found myself in manual mode so frequently that I purchased these:

DSG Paddle Shifters
Mk7 GTI Paddle Shifters

Winner: APR

Future Candidates

  • 034 Motorsports ($360 + $150 for flash hardware, no guarantee)
  • 5150 (insufficient information)
  • Cobb Tuning Accessport ($1075, multiple DSG tunes)
  • Equilibrium Tuning ($150 via Cobb Accessport)
  • HPA Motorsport ($700 + $260 for flash hardware, no guarantee)
  • Integrated Engineering ($539 + $150 for flash hardware, guarantee does not appear to apply)
  • Revo ($400 30-day guarantee, no dealer nearby)
  • Stratified Automotive Controls ($125 via Cobb Accessport)
  • United Motorsports ($700 no guarantee – 100 mi to dealer)
  • Unitronic ($700 – 15 day guarantee minus labor fees)

Round Two: Cobb Tuning vs APR

To facilitate pitting more TCU tunes against the APR tune I acquired a Cobb Accessport with DSG Flashing.  The Accessport comes preloaded with several DSG tunes and first I tried the Cobb Sport tune.

Cobb Sport was similar to the Eurodyne tune and picking the APR tune over Cobb Sport was an easy choice.

Cobb OEM+ is similar to the stock TCU tune with higher torque limits and the gear displayed in D mode.  I find the stock mode shifts to the next gear a bit earlier than I would and this tune does the same.  Again the APR tune comes out on top.

Winner: APR

Round Three: Stratified Automotive Control vs APR

Moving onto the next contender is the Stratified Automotive Controls TCU tune.  What I found with the Stratified tune is that it has gear shift trigger points that need to be met for the gear shift to occur.  It is better than the Eurodyne and Cobb Sport, but I still found myself intervening more often than I would expect and more often than with the APR tune. The Stratified tune will hang onto a gear until the trigger is met, which causes it to maintain a higher engine speed than I would under similar conditions.

Stratified upshift and downshift charts

Winner: APR Stratified v2.0

[Note: Stratified developed an update to this tune and I feel the beta version I have tried is superior to the APR tune – preview here]

Round Four: Equilibrium Tuning vs APR

Another TCU tune option that can be installed with the Accessport is the Equilibrium Tuning DSG Base map Tune.  Timing of my purchase of this tune was such that I installed the v2 version of this tune.

The EQT tune was similar to the Stratified tune.  Being similar it exhibits the same behavior of needing to meet a trigger point before it will shift.  Over time I would devise strategies to manually bump the shifter to get to the next gear and then often I could maintain the next gear, but compared to the APR tune this is an unsatisfactory accommodation.

EQT upshift chart

EQT downshift

EQT Summary Data

Winner: APR

Remaining Contenders

  • 034 Motorsports ($360 + $150 for flash hardware, no guarantee)
  • HPA Motorsport ($700 + $260 for flash hardware, no guarantee)
  • Integrated Engineering ($539 + $150 for flash hardware, guarantee does not appear to apply)
  • Revo ($400 30-day guarantee, no dealer nearby)
  • United Motorsports ($700 no guarantee – 100 mi to dealer)
  • Unitronic ($700 – 15 day guarantee minus labor fees)
  • New candidate -TVS Engineering ($800, no dealer nearby)

In the cases of United Motorsports, TVS Engineering, and Revo they all require bringing my GTI to a dealer to have the DSG software installed but none have a dealer near me, so they have taken themselves out of the running.

This leaves:

  • 034 ($510, no guarantee)
  • HPA ($960, no guarantee)
  • IE ($689, no guarantee)
  • Unitronic ($700, 15 day guarantee)

The 034 DSG tune was selected based on the competitive price.

Round Five: 034 Motorsport vs APR

The initial impression with the 034 DSG TCU tune was that it was not much different than stock.  If the comparison were to stop there this would be another win for APR.

One of the perks that had swayed my to choose the 034 tune was the willingness of 034 to do some fine tuning if I was not satisfied with how the software performed.  I drove and logged the car with the tune as delivered and then contacted 034 with my suggestions for how the tune could be more to my liking.  Within a couple of days they had an updated tune ready for me and I tried it out.  The changes substantially transformed the tune response and were very positive.

After driving longer with the 034 tune I recognized some additional areas that could be improved upon.  034’s willingness to change the stock behavior of the tune began to wane and the process of improving the tune has ceased altogether.

Note: While the customized tunes available to me are much improved, I cannot recommend the 034 tune to others because they would be purchasing the base tune without the improvements.  The tune as it is sold by 034 is indistinguishable to me from stock D mode and I do NOT recommend purchasing that version of the tune.

Current Favorite

The revised Stratified TCU tune is my favorite daily driver, of those that I have had the chance to test drive.

There are a number of tunes that I haven’t had the chance to try, but the lack of a “satisfaction guarantee” makes it unappealing to try any others, especially given how satisfied I am with the Stratified tune.