Banging flames bouncing off a two-step isn’t something the average four-door family saloon is probably accustomed to. Patrick Marshall and his tuned VW Bora on the other hand…

From Performance VW. Words & Photos: Jimbo Wallace

s the Precision turbo really comes on song and the 7800rpm two step limiter kicks in there’s a series of almighty explosions inside the central London tunnel that absolutely scares the crap out of Thursday night revellers who happen to be wandering around Shoreditch.

It’s relaxed Covid lockdown times (tier 2) towards the tail end of 2020, but this Bora is definitely sick. It doesn’t even need to go for a test centre – a drunken passer-by has just confirmed it. Not everyone understands why we’re taking photos of what on the surface, to many at least, appears to be a fairly humdrum looking VW family wagen. “Give it a rev mister,” and “What’s so special about that,” We hear on more than a few occasions. Little do they know that earlier that day Patrick was out chasing down RS6s for fun around his favourite North London hunting ground.

Then, from around the corner, we hear bass – lots of it! Patrick’s mate and all round R32 turbo legend, Darren Francis from VW Enterprises in Brixton has most definitely arrived – 12-inch Orion sub announcing his presence in decibels long before his 580hp Audi S3 R32 Turbo physically materialises. Some photoshoots are more fun than others and this is turning into a memorable night out already. Plus, having been cooped up indoors for a few months we’re like caged animals waiting for any reason to relive our beautiful hobby and have a chinwag about cars.- socially distanced, of course.

Tuned VW Bora

“I’ve had it for a few years now,” Patrick explains, “You know I’ve always liked my VR based VWs and I’ve owned a collection of Mk2 Golfs, R32s and 4mo’s over the years.”  This Bora though, it’s more than a little bit special to me now.”

It was as the need arose to replace a stolen silver Mk4 R32 that Patrick actually found him scratching his head thinking about what to pilot next. Some time ago now, probably around 2004, a VF Engineering supercharged VR6 Mk2 Golf was Patrick’s big love, so the interim R32 was a welcome return to what he calls, “Turn key motoring without any hassle.”

Alas with values for the Mk4 R32 heading north relentlessly he was somewhat priced out of the market when it came to renewing it, “I needed a cheaper car initially that I could still have fun in, live with and modify – it had to be family friendly as well.” Armed with his sound knowledge of the narrow angle V6, and with a few parts already in stock, the choice was clear. “I’d started ordering parts before the Bora even arrived,” Patrick laughed. The resulting Indigo Blue Pearl (LB5N) 4Mo was a pretty tidy effort for something that was about to be ripped apart. Just two short weeks into ownership the 2.8 was stripped out as Patrick  and his mate Alex sourced and swapped a secondhand 3.2-litre VR6 lump from a Porsche Cayenne which was then fully rebuilt to a forged, lower compression spec by an anonymous engine ‘specialist’ who, as Patrick delicately puts it, “totally cocked it up. We had the car up on axle stands for three weeks waiting for the engine to come back so we could check everything fitted around it.” It wasn’t until the car was flat-bedded over to Darren at VW Enterprises to have the Emerald K6+ ECU wired in that the engine mishaps came to light.

Tuned VW Bora

Enter stage left Charlie from CTM Performance who worked his magic bolting together a forged long block capable of taking serious abuse that’s truly built to last. 84.5mm low compression Wossner pistons (9.0:1) are now matched up to PEC steel rods (with ARP bolts) in an overbored (0.5mm)  block taking capacity to 3227cc with a 95.9mm stroke. The VR6 head was also ported, gas flowed and optimised using Mk1 TT DSG 3.2 camshafts – believed to offer a slightly smoother variable valve timing progression, all in preparation for the icing on the cake that is the addition of the Precision 6266 Gen2 turbocharger with the T4 flange. Initially mounted on a eBay special cast turbo manifold, it has since been uprated to a tubular top mount exhaust manifold from Gravituned due to the flow and power restrictions imposed since final mapping has taken place, but more on that in a minute.

Tuned VW Bora

“We also used a generic 600×300 eBay intercooler, but changed the angle of the outlets so that it’s invisible behind the Golf front end swap and the R32 front bumper,” Patrick points out. Upto 1.3bar of compressed air is now forced into the combustion chambers by a colour coded Rothe Motorsport intake. Custom 4-inch intake pipework is fed by a K&N universal filter, while the hot side pipework was fabricated by SAS Autoworks to incorporate the monster 50mm Tial Blow off valve. It really is a work of art beneath the bonnet and every detail is highly considered, “I didn’t like the look of the injector loom entering from the right and over the oil cap, so I extended the loom and ran it under the Mk5 R32 fuel rail,” auto sparkie Patrick revealed. Even the AN-8 braided fuel lines had to be adapted via an Aeromotive fuel pressure reg to allow for a return to the tank, while custom made coolant, oil breather and power steering fluid tanks also inhabit the bay to tidy things up. 1100cc fuel injectors now reside within the head giving Patrick plenty of head room to expand the duty cycle when he inevitably craves more, and thanks to the high flow Deatschwerks OEM lift pump and a Bosch 044 413 in line fuel pump the supply of 99 octane is sufficient to support some really big numbers, “It makes one hell of a buzzing noise when I get below a quarter of a tank though,” chuckles Patrick. Thanks to a single Tial 44mm external wastegate (now changed to twin external 50mm Turbosmart wastegates – ED) and a 4″ back custom exhaust setup with a discrete downturned tailpipe the noise this thing makes can only be described as sexual.

Initially mapped by Emerald it made a very fruity 586hp with 490ft/lbs of torque, but further live road mapping around West Drayton at 2am by Club GTi legend, Adlai Phillip, has since netted 626hp at 1.4bar of boost – the old cast style manifold being the limiting factor here. With the new Gravituned tubular manifold and larger turbo hot side Patrick is confident there’s 750 – 800hp on the cards as soon as the TTV Racing twin plate clutch makes its way inside the 4mo gearbox. Speaking of which…  hooking it up to the tarmac is a fully reworked 02M DRW gearbox with Quaife Helical LSD, shot peened SQS gears and steel shift forks with TDi 5th and 6th ratios. “It’s not been built as a drag car, I’ve seen too many people blow up their transmissions – this thing is a third gear motorway specialist. Even as it stands it has the potential to embarrass RS6s and also I’ve had a memorable tear up with a Lambo Urus, which must have had something wrong with it the way I left it behind,” a jubilant Patrick beamed.

Repainted in 2019 by Andy at AMC Coachworks the car now benefits from a US spec front bumper, de badged grille and Leon Cupra lower splitter, “I really wanted it to look like it could still be a family wagon. It had to be a sleeper,” Patrick laughs. To that end only the eagle eyed Bora pervs will spot the half and half US spec GLI top half of the boot grafted to a euro spec lower half, while Pat’s contact at TPS, Ricky G, managed to source him the last ever genuine Bora R-Line rear bumper that resided in the UK. The only real concession to flamboyance on the outside comes from the totally reworked headlights by George Seamons with demon blue sidelights and the intense Xenon upgrade for dipped and main beam. Due to the stance and handling prowess afforded by BC Racing BR coilovers that feature adjustable height, camber and 30 point adjustable compression damping, it’s hard to call the car subtle, but then only the trained eyes would also notice the 9×19-inch OZ Racing Ultraleggeras wrapped in 235/35 x 19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber, “It handles beautifully  and just seems to hunker down at speed, it really does mask how fast you’re going.” Patrick tells us, and once you open the door you can easily see why…

Having retrofitted the original Konig Mk4 R32 front pews and a genuine R steering wheel he also extensively sound deadened the interior in preparation for a banging system, which now comprises a Kenwood DNX-9250 double DIN headunit, Focal 6.5” components in custom door builds and a single, mother humping Sundown Audio 12” sub in a massive ported enclosure in the boot. Joined by a pair of Precision power amps and an AudioControl active crossover, like everything in this build the sound is substantial and unavoidable! Is it loud? Incredibly so. Is it fast? “Err… let’s put it this way,” says Patrick, continuing, “I’ve seen a GPS verified 174mph at 5500rpm in sixth, so… yeah, it’s fairly nippy.

Hauling up such prodigious urge is left to a set of Porsche Cayenne six piston stoppers that now clamp 360mm two-piece J hooked discs from AP Racing, so all bases are covered when it comes to woah and go.

There can be no doubt that this is tuned VW Bora has all the bases covered. Here’s hoping the 750+ version that’s imminent within the next few weeks will continue to destroy unsuspecting Lambos and RS6s for many years to come. “Just wait until I’ve got the 2.5bar map, then I’ll really be able to play with big boys,” smirks Patrick.

Tuned VW Bora

Tech Spec: Tuned VW Bora


3227cc VR6 24v; custom 4” intake pipework; Precision 6266, Twin Scroll, dual 45mm wastegates; Tial 50mm BOV; Gravituned tubular manifold; Wossner pistons; PEC steel rods; ARP studware; Rothe Motorsports inlet manifold;  custom coolant tank with Stant cap; 1100cc Injectors; custom engine harness; custom front mount intercooler; custom oil catch, power steering tank and all boost pipes by SAS Autoworks; Aeromotive fuel pressure reg; DW in tank pump; Bosch in line 413 motorsport pump; Mk5 fuel rail with AN-8 fittings; 02m gearbox; Quaife LSD; 4th gear support; steel forks and SQS gearset built by Martin Emment @gasngears


8×19-inch OZ Superleggera wheels; 225/35/19 and 235/35/19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S; fast road geometry aligned by Luke WRM @geobyluke, BC Racing BR range, damping and camber adjustable coilovers; pillowball top mounts, Porsche Cayenne six pot calipers; custom caliper carrier brackets; Reyland 360mm J hooked two piece discs and bells


Fully refinished in Indigo Blue Pearl (LB5N); Mk4 Golf front end conversion; R32 front bumper US spec; reworked headlights; Leon Cupra front splitter; debadged grille; bonnet notch filled; US spec Bora GLI rear boot top half; euro spec bottom half boot lid; genuine Bora R-Line rear bumper


Konig Mk4 R32 front seats; R32 steering wheel; AVC-R Boost controller; custom centre vent Zietronix Zt-2 controller display, Full colour MFA conversion; R32 pedals; carbon fibre surround trim; Candy Cane rear lights