MQB Downpipe Buyers Guide

In the market for a downpipe for your MQB Audi or Volkswagen? We can help!

The MQB platform refers to any of the below vehicles:

What does a downpipe do?

In the most basic form, the downpipe is taking spent exhaust gases from the turbine and delivering it to the cat-back.

The stock downpipe on your MK7 or 8V comes with two catalytic converters and is only 2.5” in diameter. These two factors are big restrictions in the quest to make more power.

The front wheel drive and all wheel drive downpipes are similar in design, the difference being the all-wheel-drive downpipe is longer. Below is the layout of the factory FWD downpipe

MQB FWD Factory Downpipe Layout

What does an aftermarket downpipe do?

As you can see from above the factory downpipe has restrictions in the diameter and use of multiple catalytic converters. Aftermarket downpipes not only increase the diameter but they reduce the number of catalytic converters or even remove them completely. Most aftermarket downpipes are 3 to 3.5” inches. The increase in the diameter helps reduce back pressure which in turn creates more power as the exhaust gasses can escape faster.

How Does a Catalytic Converter affect performance?

The stock downpipe has two very restrictive catalytic converters.  Aftermarket downpipes will typically come in two configurations.

  1. With a high flow catalyst. Typically they are 200 cell catalytic converters which are a good balance between performance and reducing emissions. The higher the cell count the more restrictive that catalyst will be.
  2. Without any catalytic converters. This option removes all catalytic converters from the downpipe meaning you now have a straight pipe directly to the cat-back system. Be aware this option is illegal to sell and install in any state in the US per the Clean Air Act.. We do not sell or recommend the installation of these.

Do I need anything else to run a downpipe?

For the MQB platform, it is highly recommended that you tune your vehicle after a downpipe is installed. The biggest reason is to gain the most power out of your new downpipe! Typically people refer to “stage 2” as an ECU tune and downpipe.

Will I pass emissions? Is it legal?

It is very important to understand your state or county’s regulations before installing a downpipe. If you live in California, any downpipe on the market will not be CARB exempt. This means it is not for use on public roads.

Popular MQB Downpipes

Front Wheel Drive Catted Downpipes

Unitronic IE Downpipe
Unitronic Downpipe – FWD w/Cat (15-16 A3, 15-17 GTI/Golf)
Featuring a 200-cell high-flow catalyst, a brushed matte finish and features a limited lifetime warranty.
Integrated Engineering Cast Downpipe w/Cat (15-16 A3 FWD, 15+ Golf/GTI/Sportwagen)
The IE downpipe is an example of a cast downpipe with a 200 cell catalytic converter, and direct bolt-on fitment

All Wheel Drive Catted Downpipes

AWE Tuning Downpipe IE AWD Downpipe
AWE Tuning Downpipe – w/Cat (15+ A3 Quattro,S3, 15+ Golf R)
This downpipe is on the pricier side but is guaranteed by AWE to not throw a check engine light, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Integrated Engineering Cast Downpipe w/Cat (15+ A3/S3, 16+ TT, 15+ Golf R/Alltrack)
A top quality downpipe with a lower price point than some other AWD MQB downpipes, but is still made from T304 stainless steel and features a 200 cell catalyst.

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