2008 VW EOS - 500HP Scirocco Front End Conversion

What happens when you give VW's tamest car Porsche 911 Turbo power?

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This 500-Horsepower Volkswagen Eos Is the Ultimate Sleeper

What happens when you give VW's tamest car Porsche 911 Turbo power? We go inside HPA to find out how they make the world's most ridiculous VWs.

For Road And Track
By Brendan Mcaleer  Jul 17, 2017

The Volkswagen Eos would probably be a nice choice for your aunt, the one with the permed 'do and the clip-on earrings. It is a comfortable, somewhat heavy front-driver, with a folding metal hardtop of astounding complexity. Perfect for fun in the sun, brunch with the gals, and spending lots of time at the VW dealership getting to know that dishy service adviser.

Yet, just like those banner ads your aunt is so fond of, there's one weird trick to make this thing really interesting. Add all-wheel-drive, and three times the power.

Holy hell! Drop into the throttle on this Frankenstein's monster of an open-air GTI and it really rearranges the petunias in the front garden. 0-60 times are chopped by two thirds, mid-range passing power is that of a 996 twin-turbo, and stoplight prowess is cartoonish. The big Borg-Warner EFR turbo spools with a Kenworth's whistle, the reprogrammed dual-clutch transmission instantly dumps a gear, and dear ol' Aunty rockets forward suddenly needing a trip to the chiropractor. And, if she keeps her foot in, the chiropractor will have to wait until after she makes bail.

I blast back to the lab on a wave of howling boosted VR6 to quiz chief mad scientist Marcel Horn on what's going on here. The first thing he tells me is that the Eos is still a work in progress. Beyond the mechanical build, the grafting on of a Scirocco front clip provided all manner of challenges. It looks factory, but it took all kinds of custom work, including extending the hood. Further, there's still an interior color change to come, and some exterior changes. It'll be debadged, and rendered a sleeper – you won't know what hit you, just that it left a mark.

“If you think that's wild, come take a look at our twenty-fifth anniversary project,” Horn says, motioning me inside the workshop.

Highwater Performance Auto, better known simply as HPA, has been a force in the Volkswagen tuning field since 1991. R&T last tested one of their builds a decade ago, with an orange 565hp twin-turbo Audi TT that went through the quarter-mile traps in 11.7 seconds at 120 mph. Since then, they've been busy.

The Eos qualifies as a mid-range HPA build, with a single turbo producing 500 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. 2009 was the last year for the 3.2L VR6, which has been reworked to handle the boost. VW's Haldex all-wheel-drive is swapped into the rear, with one of HPA's controllers handling where the power is directed. Finally, a selectable drive mode controller is hidden inside the glovebox.

Certainly, the milder Eos build drove just like a regular Volkswagen product when handled lightly, albeit one with a yet-to-be-damped high-flow fuel pump, and a bit of Cummins-style whoosh and gurgle under the hood. Power, when asked for, was readily available underfoot, and the swapped-in Haldex all-wheel-drive behaved far better than the slip-and-grip standard programming of something like a Golf R.

Beyond big turbo power upgrades, much of HPA's tuning expertise lies in cracking the codes controlling VW DSG dual-clutch gearbox and its 4Motion all-wheel-drive. A software reflash for the DSG is a popular upgrade even for otherwise stock vehicles, sharpening up shifting, adding in launch control, and raising the redline. Further tuning supports 400+ hp builds.

For Haldex, the chief complaint when the Golf R goes head to head with the Focus RS is the system's front-wheel-drive bias. “It's a front-driver with a helper,” Horn says. HPA's controller comes with various suites to get more power consistently to the rear for someone who uses their car on a road course, or engage an all-wheel-drive launch, then switch to front-drive to minimize powertrain loss for a drag racer.

Like the Eos, it's all a mix of the sublime and the ridiculous. Your Aunt would probably cluck her tongue disapprovingly, tell you to stay out of trouble and keep your nose clean. Secretly, however, you know she'd be scheming to jump in the car, drop the top, and go blow the doors off a couple of Porsches.

We tossed the keys to the EOS to Matt Farah from the Smoking Tire. Check out his reaction! 


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Why HPA?

25+ Years of experience tuning VW and Audi.

Designed, Engineered, and Manufactured in Canada.

Attention to detail with an OEM level of fit and finish.