Bought a 13 year old Laura 1.8 TSI as a project car: Modifications done

The car has aged perfect to 2023. I feel it looks simple, subtle and elegant.

BHPian saichandanraj recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

This is my first post on Team BHP, and this is about my recent acquisition, a used Skoda Laura 1.8 TSI

A bit about myself. I am a marketing professional, with experience in launching new products in the Automobile and FMCG industries. I have worked with brands like Harley Davidson, Ducati, Maruti Suzuki, PepsiCo and currently working on a project with Reliance.

I used to stay in Gurgaon all my life and used to drive a Stage 1 2011 VW Polo 1.2MPI 6R. The car was one of the last analog experiences of driving, with minimal electronics (NO ABS & TC ) but the downside was being underpowered (Quite a lot!)

I’ve recently moved to Bangalore and sold the Polo in Gurgaon to a friend of mine. With a void in my life now, I set out looking for a replacement of the Polo with three critical points of requirement.

1. It had to be a sedan – I’m a sucker for low slung sedans/coupes. Have grew up having posters of BMWs, Audis and Mercs, ogling over E46 M3s, W212 E63 AMGs and C5 Audi RS6s. Always wanted to own a sedan!

2. Needed something with >100HP – With the Polo being underpowered, I wanted to gradually step up in the power ladder.

3. Had to be Black – My Polo was Bright Red in color and attracted a lot of attention when modified. This time around, I wanted a car that wasn’t so flashy (Albeit black is flashy )

So, my search begins. These three were my preferred cars after scouting the entire secondhand market (Online + Offline)

  • Suzuki Baleno 1.6 (The OG)
  • Skoda Laura VRS/TSI
  • Mitsubishi Lancer/Cedia

The Suzuki Baleno 1.6 – My love for the Baleno dates to the time I was working with Maruti Suzuki. While reading through the books and talking to many senior MSIL R&D members, I’ve wanted to experience the car at least once. My friend Akarshak, whom I go to for anything and everything about cars, gave me an example to drive. Man was I impressed with the seating position and the power the car had. The thing was so happy to be driven hard, I could imagine how the well-maintained ones would’ve driven. Found an example in Bangalore that was maintained pretty good and had a couple of modifications which I intended to do. Turns out, it was expiring at the end of May, and I was skeptical if BLR RTO would extend the vehicle. So, Baleno is out of my Picture.

Mitsubishi Lancer/Cedia – The story of my love for Lancer starts in Delhi. Akarshak is a proud owner of a 2002 Lancer LE called Bagheera. The car was black in color and sported a Mugen spoiler, a custom body kit, custom short shifter and rear disc conversion, with a completely rebuilt stock 1.5L 4G92 engine with JDM parts. Due to Delhi’s stupid NGT rule, the car was sitting in his office garage collecting dust, when suddenly, he planned to bring the car alive and take it out for a spin. That day, he also gave me a chance to drive her. And my god was that car crazy!! I mean, literal goosebumps. After this, I went out to scout for a Cedia Sports (Especially the 2010 one with OZ rims and EVO9 MOMO steering wheel). These cars were in so much demand that I couldn’t find one in decent condition. Hence my dream of Owning a Cedia comes to an end.

Skoda Laura VRS/TSI – as mentioned above, I’m still a sucker for German Cars. I was lucky enough to witness Prithwi Ray’s Stage 3 Skoda Laura VRS (aka Tabahi) and Stage 1 Skoda Octavia VRS245 (Aka Tabahi 2). After a spin in both the cars, and digging more into the history of these cars, I was sure that this car could be one that suits me. Also, suhaas307 had bought a secondhand Laura TSI around the same time, and his car blew my mind!

Thus began my search for the car.

After about a week of continuous searching, I found a friend of mine, selling his 2010 Skoda Laura TSI, which had done 61,000 KMS IN 13 YEARS!!! The car was primarily used to commute across town, and was driven by his father.

Initial Impressions – WOW!

This is the first petrol turbo car I’ve owned. And the way this car pulls after 2500RPM, is mind blowing!

  • Engine – The EA888 Gen2 in this car is the party piece for this car. It is butter smooth when its driven lightfoot. Step on the accelerator in the right gear, and the power comes gatecrashing! Overall, I would rate the power at 8/10 considering its competition (Hyundai Elantra, VW Jetta hasn’t come close to this power levels at 2023.
  • Gearbox – The MQ350 in this car shifts perfectly to your inputs, how it’s meant to be.
  • Exterior looks – The car has aged perfect to 2023. I feel it looks simple, subtle and elegant.
  • Interiors – True to its age, the interiors look classy and elegant. My friend made sure the car looks clean to this date. He got leather seats done for the car before giving it to me.
  • Features – This is where the car feels subpar. The Laura came in the Ambition variant for 2010, where it misses out on features like touch screen, steering mounted controls, xenon lights etc. You get the drill.
  • Space – This car is best for average sized people. I mean people who are <6ft, so that 4 people can sit comfortably. The central hump makes it uncomfortable for the 5th passenger to sit in the middle. The boot space is AMAZING! I mean, why book a hotel, when you can fold the rear seats and make it a cozy space for you to sleep  (Don’t try it).

All in all, a good car considering I got it for a steal price!

Mods on the car –

  • Bilstein B8 with 25mm lowering springs – I’ve wanted to lower my car ever since I bought the Polo. I hated the huge wheel well gap and wanted a perfect stance. Lucky me, my friend gave me the car with this suspension setup which he had installed a month before. The setup is comfortable and has the right amount of height drop. I’ve done a 500km roadtrip with battered roads, and the suspension did its job pretty well.

  • 17in Skoda Octavia VRS 1Z Neptune alloys – suhaas307 was kind enough to forego a set of these alloys that he bought as a spare set.

  • BMC Replacement Air Filter – Bought it from Torque Block. Makes such a stark difference in my efficiency figures and throttle response.

Brembo Drilled Rotors (F) and Brembo Rotors (R)

Japan Racing 15mm Spacers – Rear

Planned Mods for the car

  • Clutch change
  • Milltek Catback Exhaust
  • APR Coilpack and NGK IX Iridium Spark Plugs
  • Stage 1 Tune
  • Downpipe (Down the line)
  • Timing kit upgrade

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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