Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Golf GTI Edition 30 REVO Stage 1 remap review

For a long time I have been running APR Stage 1 on my 57 plate manual Edition 30
My original Edition 30 : APR Stage 1 review has all the info for that decision.

At the time I decided that the combination of APR and AwesomeGTI suited my needs best using some factors I think you should consider for a map/tuner :

Customer base (size)
customer feedback
type of customer profile
distance from you
development time and resource to produce product
are they VW specific or other makes too?
time in business for this specific car make
dyno plots (both from company and from forums , they differ greatly). shape is as, if not more important than ultimate numbers
AirFuelRatio data, EGR temp data etc
ability and type of switching , stock vs mapped mode

all well and good, I was happy until October 2010 when the folllowing bombshell dropped from AwesomeGTI HQ

"For nearly 10 years, Awesome have been responsible for the sales, marketing and distribution of all APR software and hardware products in the UK. Over a number of years, Awesome have suffered due to 'internal politics' at APR and we have decided to terminate our business relations. As from 3 PM on Tuesday 12th October 2010, Awesome terminated its partnership with APR LLC and signed contracts with Revo Technik as an approved dealer. "

full AwesomeGTI press release

and heres the carrot.....

28 Day Amnesty starting Monday the 18th of October.
This will allow any existing APR software equipped vehicle to be re flashed to REVO software with no charge

as you can imagine I was over the moon at this :happy2:

Now this puts any Awesome supplied APR owner in a quandry.

3 choices
a) move onto REVO software to ensure continued support.
b) keep APR but have no idea where to get support from or indeed how far away from your location it will be.
c) flash back to stock

For me it was actually very easy, and confirmed that backup and support is worth more than ultimate bhp/map name.
Even if Awesome had moved to Id probably have gone with that to keep the support.
But as we all know REVO is the main player in the UK so to be honest it was a no brainer.
Others I'm sure had slightly different decisions, but for me going to REVO on a K04 is not a worry, but theres lots of other maps out there (K03, early 1.8T cars etc)

Offering free changeover was a masterstroke by AwesomeGTI to keep the customer base. Im sure if it had cost then a much larger % would just have said 'fine,Ill keep APR and do without support'.
Not withstanding that Im sure more than a few SPS units have been sold to go with the 'free' remap ;-)

So here I am full circle, originally considering APR vs REVO, choosing APR, then by a quirk of fate moving onto REVO.

I feel pretty lucky as given the cost of a remap, few of us switch between tuners, we mostly make an informed decision then stick with it.
Having had a few discussions it seems that the support just wasnt there from APR, I have experienced this after having misfire issues, where it became patently obvious that Awesome were spending vast amounts of time logging my car (not at my expense I hasten to add) to eventually find an APR map fault.
I also believe that theres an issue with APR stg1 ED30 file and high flow intakes (Forge Twintake/ITG Maxogen) that APR have no inclination to resolve.

however I digress.

For over 30000 miles I have thoroughly enjoyed the APR stg1 K04 ED30 map, but circumstance means Im now REVO...

timeline for maps on my car
0 - 12,000 miles : OE std map
12000 - 31000 miles : APR stage 1 flash
31000 - 42000 miles : APR stage 1 v2.2 update
42000 - to date : REVO stage 1

well that would be from AwesomeGTI, Manchester

REVO quote the following figures/gains and costs
2.0T FSI 230bhp/221lbsft 300bhp/310lbsft trial=yes £499 (stage1) £549(stage2) £599(stage2+)

for stage 1 the relative gains are 2.0TFSi +35-60 bhp +50-80 lbft torque
if you have stage 1 its £50 to upgrade to stage2

for me the map and logging/setup itself was free under Awesomes offer.

If you are the tweaking kind or want the ability to switch to stock , or want to activate the antitheft feature you also need the SPS switch which is £99.
With APR I could switch maps using the cruise control stalk. With that no longer available I needed to buy the SPS unit to perform the same function
(and allow me to 'play' with the settings)
Best have a look at what the SPS can do

Simples, turn up reflash and some on road logging to set the Boost/Timing/Fuel parameters (which are set initially but you can then alter with the SPS)
As it turned out I'd filled with BP Ultimate 97RON which isnt good enough for the usual timing settings.
So mine was pegged back to B6T3F9 (normal on 99RON would be something like B7/T5/F9)
I did not request dyno runs, which I'll get done later once I've tweaked the settings with VCDS AND fitted my new THS engine mounts(now fitted see my other review)

Heres a sample APR vs REVO graph for an Edition 30 (stage 2 I think) that awesome had in recently

plenty of choice, just do the research first
APR (lol)

Ok, so in the morning I drive in on APR , in the afternoon I drive out on REVO (B6T3F9).
Immediately I notice the idle is better, and dont push the car too hard. First impressions are good
I subsequently pottered about and got a full tank of Shell VPower in and SPS'd the settings on Performance Map1 to B7T4F9.
Now for some fun, the throttle modulation feels different much more progressive.
APR improved the throttle control when I got the updated v2.2 map, allowed much better control but REVO improves it even further.
You can actually hold for example a small level of boost e.g. 5psi consistently whilst accelerating (this is actually quite hard on APR)
Acceleration feels 'clean and crisp' is the best way to describe it. The engine inertia feels lighter as if flywheel has been lightened.
I have a DEFi boost guage which has been invaluable for comparison (without which my assumptions and feelings would have been wrong...), I can cross reference butt dyno feel with actual psi.
(yes, I know psi isnt everything but its a reasonable bencmark here)
For a while my APR software had a peak of 20psi (early files had a higher peak) but dropped quickly to 16psi then back up as revs rise
(this is due to APR reducing boost from 3.5 - 4.5krpm for surge they believe occurs),
ironically this means that APR 'feels' faster than REVO but isnt by a long way.
REVO software peaks higher initially (23+psi) AND then holds it higher for a longer rev range.

There are 2 areas where they differ the most
1) 3500-4500 rpm boost levels : APR dips REVO stays put
2) 4500rpm to redline boost levels : APR boost is much lower with an ever increasing psi gap to the redline wrt REVO

in short they are NIGHT AND DAY, when driving the car it feels different but the boost guage also tells a story.
Driving cars back to back you would think "REVO more linear and pulls harder top end", but if you look at the boost levels the gap is even wider than it feels.

And so we get onto hardware protection mapping, basically VW's effort to protect your engine.
Failsafes exist in the OE map, if the exhaust gas temperature levels get too high or maybe the airfuel ratio gets too lean then the ecu overrides any requests and tries to put more fuel in.
Much debate has ensued on various forums with it now into urban myth status, last time I saw any meaningful data was that both APR and REVO have protection mapping still present.
(some early REVO tunes may not but i cant substantiate that)

APR put a lot of emphasis on playing smarter by getting similar power to other tuners but also keeping within AFR and EGT limits.
Whilst I believe them, you also have to balance this with how many REVO cars are out there and havent had issues.
(Also consider that whats relevant in other countries isnt necessarily relevant here, fuel type/RON , climate conditions etc ALL effect a tuners ethos and the results)
REVO have also had issues with some tunes (misfires on certain cars), so neither is whiter then white.
I try to be unbiased.

TODO additional data links
some notes from Arin@APR about tuning philosphy

Plus Points (compared to APR)
software settings are optimised and can be adjusted for each individual car.
idle quality seems better
the way the car revs 'feel' different and almost lightened if that makes sense. throttle response modulation has altered
car seems to spool earlier but ramp rate is reduced (probably effected by the boost setting in SPS)
boost builds then holds in a linear fashion there much less of a torque spike, this also helps the tyres keep grip and doesnt shock them loose as much.
tunable upgrade path to suit your mods
complimentary DSG software is available should you wish it

Minus Points (compared to APR)
you need an external SPS switch to swap maps (as opposed to cruise stalk for APR)
clutch was marginal on APR, on REVO its quite clearly on borrowed time! (although you could argue that linear delivery although higher stresses the plates less than a peaky lower delivery)
fuel economy is slightly worse

I have ran APR stage 1 ED30 software for 30,000 miles with no issues (few early teething troubles aside!) and good economy to boot.
I would have no hesitation recommending APR again where the individual wants support over ultimate hp for a local APR tuner.
Bottom line is, Ive tried it and it runs well and i loved it, and my car never broke.
(If Awesome switched back to APR I would quite happily switch back for the support aspect and acknowledge I'd lost some performance)

moving onto REVO, I love the new found ability to tweak the settings via the SPS.
I prefer the delivery style and the sheer increase in acceleration, its a great product, my feelings seem to echo just about every other REVO user Ive spoken too.
Is REVO running at safe boost and AFR values? I dont know, I hope so.
Is REVO running so far above safe levels that APR indicate? I doubt it otherwise we would have seen more failures.

My advice at the moment would be

If you want ultimate performance : get REVO
If you live close to a trusted garage that supplies APR : get APR and be happy you have a good tune
If you like to be 'safe' and worry about crossing the road at night : get APR

I'm no REVO or APR fanboi and i hate the forum rubbish that I regularly see spouted about both companies.
Do the research and make your own mind up. Its more likely that some other factor will ruin your car (poor quality oil/low oil/ dont let it warm up etc)

I was happy before, and I'm even happier now.
Based on my experience REVO is a faster, linear tune for a UK ED30 stg1 than APR in the same environment on the same fuel (UK 99RON Shell VPower)
If for some reason it goes bang or REVO is proved to be unsafe in the future this statement would be untrue and APR would have been proved to be right.

you pays your money, you takes your chance ................

thanks for reading :happy2:

future stuff
TODO : add logging new settings
TODO : add actual dyno plots of my own car

[EDIT : Nov 2015 car on 88000 miles : still running REVO Stage1 after all these years, BTF settings slightly reduced to keep the torque ramp up lower to make the clutch last as long as possible.
I have not updated the map version, nor got the 'linear settings' maybe at some point. Still love it, car runs great]

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