VW Golf AllTrack “R” Build – The DadMobile

Welcome to our Stratified AllTrack Build – lovingly known as the DadMobile!

The Car: 2019 Golf Alltrack (Canadian Model) DSG. Top trim. Bone stock purchased with 40,000km. We got this badass wagon in August 2022.

Why This Car?

The main reason we acquired this car was for development purposes when COBB released support for the Mk7 1.8T. We needed a medium to build our experience and tunes with. We have quite a few VW development cars in our shop including a two-door Mk6 GTI, a four-door Mk7.5 GTI Rabbit, and a four-door Mk7 Golf R. It only made sense to change things up and go with a wagon. It is pretty rare to see a wagon on the road in North America these days which is surprising because wagons have such a history here. Before there were SUVs everywhere there were minivans and before the minivans there were wagons. We have Europe to thank for keeping the wagon alive, lovingly referred to there as the “Estate Car”, even if they don’t send us all the cool variants they get across the pond. Comparing a wagon to an SUV or a minivan doesn’t excite many car enthusiasts but this wagon has something to be excited about: a strong turbo motor, DSG transmission, AWD, and the bones of a hot hatch.

The Vision:

One variant of the Golf that never made it to our shores was the Golf R wagon. Not everyone has to love wagons but we all have to admit that turbo all-wheel drive wagons are cool. The Golf R wagon has the compromise between take your family camping or to soccer practice while not having to drive a minivan or an “SUV” that looks just like every other “SUV” on the road. So if we can’t have the Golf R wagon in North America then we must build it and build it we shall. The goal is to improve power and handling to Golf R levels to really crown this Alltrack a “built not bought” Golf R wagon.

September 2022: First Mods and Impressions

The car drives pretty well stock. The power and chassis are well-matched with one another. At stock power levels the car struggles to accelerate past 160km/hr (100mi/hr) – (which is probably well matched to the soft, floppy OEM suspension – but we will get to that later). First, let’s add some power.

Here is our first impressions and intro video and first mods on the car as we install new spark plugs, do some coding using VCDS and install the COBB Accessport.

Parts Installed:

Brisk ER12s Plugs

COBB Accessport and Tunes

VCDS software

Base Line:

After changing the plugs, we ran a baseline to see what power the Alltrack makes with the stock tune. The results were not impressive but in line with our expectations and first impressions when driving the car. Power delivery was quite smooth but very tame on the stock tune. The car made 148 hp to the wheels and 187 ft/lbs of torque on our mustang dyno which is respectable when considering drive train losses as the car is rated at 170 hp to the crank from VW. One thing everyone who drove the car stock could agree on is that it needed more power.

October 2022: Dyno Tune Time: Pump Gas and E30

Here is a video of our results tuning the car with 93 octane followed by E30.

Bone Stock Tuning Results:

Above is the comparison between the stock tune and the Stratified tune on the car. Both of these pulls were done with 93 octane fuel and nothing else was changed other than the tune. We saw an impressive increase of 89 ft/lbs of torque and 52 hp to the wheels. With only a tune we were able to bring this little 1.8T up to stock GTI power levels. An impressive 30 percent increase from the stock tune and one step closer to our goal of making Golf R power.

Above is the results of our E30 tune compared to the 93 tune shown previously. We can see the car was still hungry for more and with the help of some corn juice, we broke the 200hp mark. The car made an extra 13 hp and 33 ft/lbs of torque more on the ethanol mix bringing our peak power figures to 213 whp and 310 ft/lbs of torque. Peak numbers are one thing but the real difference is shown in the area below the curve, it isn’t just 13 more peak hp it is on average 13 more horsepower along the entire power curve.Another way to understand just how much more power the car is making is by comparing the time it takes the car to accelerate through the rev range. We took the cor from 2200 rpm to 6200 rpm for each pull on the dyno. The average time for each pull is as follows:

Stock: 12.1 seconds

Pump 93 tune: 8.4 seconds

E30 tune: 7.7 seconds

The acceleration change from stock to tuned is more than we could have predicted and is evidence this car wants to go faster and that journey has only just begun.

December 2022: Suspension

After the horsepower increase, it was evident that the suspension and handling did not match the newfound speed and engine performance our Alltrack was now capable of. The car handled like a boat before but the body roll was exaggerated even more. Under heavy acceleration, the car would shift all its weight backwards before it decided to take off. When cornering the car would understeer more than you would like an AWD car to understeer.

After some research, we decided on the following parts:

  • Airbag suspension

Just kidding, the list comprised of these parts which are affectionately referred to as the CUP kit:

  • Bilstein B8 Performance Plus Front Strut x 2
  • Bilstein B8 Performance Plus-Shock Absorber Rear x 2
  • Eibach Pro-Kit Lowering Springs
  • Whiteline 24mm Solid Rear Adjustable Sway Bar
  • SuperPro Premium Front Upper Fixed Camber Offset Plates

Here is part 1 of the installation on the car:

The shocks and springs allowed us to drop the car to a much more acceptable ride height and would have solved 90 percent of our handling complaints about the car. It was the Whiteline rear swaybar and the Superpro Camber plates that really dialled in the last 10 percent. The rear sway bar prevents body roll in the rear making the car more tail-happy and helping it rotate when you ask it to rotate. The camber plates added some much-needed camber to the front wheels furthering their grip when cornering and eliminating a lot of unwanted understeer.

Lowering Results:

All in all the kit transformer the handling of our wagon significantly and we well worth the cost, time, and effort of installation.

The exact CUP kit can be found on our website here.

March 2023: The DadMobile goes ice racing

In this video, we put the new CUP kit to the ultimate test and take the Alltrack ice racing. If you think ice is always going to be a smooth surface you would be wrong. There are bumps and ruts and potholes in the ice that make it the perfect torture test for the Alltrack’s new suspension and we are happy to report that it held up beautifully. The event was held by our friends at Speedy Goat Motorsports Club and sponsored by Stratified!

The Alltrack was the fastest non-studded car on the ice in a pool of about 30 other cars. Not bad for the old grocery-getter wagon.

Can you guess what we have planned next for the DadMobile?