Retrofit Active Info Display / Virtual Cockpit

Nuje

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Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
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2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
There are a few threads existing out there on other forums that go over the steps involved with getting VW's Active Info Display (AID) (aka, virtual cockpit, digital dashboard) into cars that didn't come from the factory that way, but I had a lot of trouble getting specific answers for my situation due to the following:
  • TDI
  • Pre-2016 (came with MIB1 from the factory)
  • Canadian (wasn't sure that made much difference)
  • Most of the retrofitters doing this seems to be in Europe or Southeast Asia

So, here’s what I was able to piece together, and get a successful outcome, thanks to bbusato at the Ross-tech forum, along with a few others there, the vortex, and golfmk7; Aaron at CascadeGerman.com for the hardware; and a tech at my local VW dealership who was willing to dive into this and troubleshoot a whole pile of stuff that is so totally not in their training manuals or seminars.

Step 1: MIB1—>MIB2
Best I can tell, this is a must-have. No way you can get the AID in your car unless it has the MIB2 head unit installed and integrated.
I went with a hacked unit from APG.org.pl in Poland (and eBay, albeit, Polish eBay); if you piece together your own system from wrecks or OEM and get MIB2 working in your car in some other way, I would assume that the rest of the process would be pretty much the same.

So, starting point was here:


Step 2: AID Install Parts List
  • AID Cluster itself (5G1 920 791 A) - special-ordered from CascadeGerman.com
  • Bezel / trim piece that surrounds AID (5G0 857 189 B AAH) - the “AAH” apparently is the color - piano/gloss black in my case
  • MOST splitter cable - I needed a splitter because the Fender Premium in my Highline (SEL) outputs audio to the amplifier under the driver seat via a MOST bus (bus = connector/pathway); if your stereo (non-premium audio, I would think) just uses straight paired wires to output sound directly to the speakers, then you would not need a splitter, but could get by with just a straight MOST connector cable; either way, you’re gonna need to get a signal over the MOST cable from your MIB2 head unit to the back of the new AID cluster
  • Various plastic pry tools
  • VW stereo removal “keys”

Step 3: Take stuff apart.
There are plenty of threads and videos showing how to take apart the dash and remove the MIB head unit from the glove box; pretty straightforward process, provided you have the right tools. Specifically, you’ll need those VW stereo removal keys (2 of them) to get the MIB head unit out and the display (4 needed; might be able to get by with just two, but why?)

Do it on a warm-ish day so that the plastic isn’t brittle, particularly with the trim piece around the centre vent stack and the trim/bezel around the old instrument cluster, as there are some clips there which are stubborn.

…but that’s nothing compared to how rigidly the instrument cluster is held in there. There are two T25 screws at the bottom of the cluster (behind the little plastic trim piece that covers the top of the steering column; it just pulls straight out), and then there are four spring-clips that hold (and by “hold”, I mean “like a death grip!”) the display in there.


There was no way I could pull the cluster out with just my hands, and I was fearful that any more pressure would start snapping things. I got past that by jamming long, skinny flathead screwdriver blades into the spring-clips on the RH side, and it pulled out pretty easily.


The LH side was a bit more challenging as the angle of access was more difficult, but I managed that as well. Putting everything back together, I put some bicycle chain wax lube on the tabs that go into the spring clips, just in case I ever have to take that sucker out again (hopefully not).

Your typical VW instrument cluster connector is on the LH back side of the instrument cluster - flip up the little lever which pushes the connector out of the cluster.

Step 4:
Fish the MOST cable from the back of the MIB2 head unit out the back of the glove compartment, toward the cluster; you pull it behind the display (the only reason you need to remove the display), then into the hole where the cluster will be; the cable I got had about 2” of extra length to it (not a lot), so don’t be too fancy with the path you take with that MOST cable - try to make as straight a line with it as possible.




Step 5: “Installation is the reverse of removal” :D
And actually, it is. One of the few things I’ve done on the car where putting everything back together goes much faster than taking it apart.

But…

(Step 6)
If you install the cluster at this point, it’ll light up, but you probably won’t be able to power on the car (with my KESSY, nothing but the radio would power on); if you have an insertable key, maybe you get ACC power, but you certainly won’t be able to drive.


So, with the old cluster resting in place (not clipped in), head down to your friendly neighbourhood VW dealer because removing Component Protection (CP), adapting keys, pairing the cluster immobilizer with ECU, etc. requires talking to VW’s servers back in der Fatherland.
(I don’t know that all dealers will do this; I know the guys at my shop quite well, so they worked with me on this, recognizing that it’s not “official” service, and I got to watch the whole process - quite fascinating, actually.)

Step 7:
Let the VW tech do what he do.

The tech at my VW dealer was great - the kind of guy who took his 2007 Audi A4 and made it into a TDI…just ‘cause it seemed like it’d be a fun project - and he was as excited to see how(if?) this would work as I was.
(Aside: by far, this was the part of the process that made me the most apprehensive, and that I had the most questions that I couldn't get solid answers on. Being that I have a "hacked" MIB2 unit in my car - a car that VW's servers say should not (and maybe CANnot) have MIB2 installed, what was going to happen when the VW servers scanned my car's modules and saw something so..."wrong"? The MIB2 (module 5F) ships from APG with some coding so that it's "hidden" from scans by default; I have to go into the "Green Engineering Menu" (GEM in some forums) to enable it so that I can make the changes listed below. I wasn't sure whether to leave it "exposed" or not - would all of the VW ODIS coding and Component Protection over-rides totally mess up my MIB2 - in which case I'm trying to get remote troubleshooting from Poland - yikes! Or would it leave it alone? I did get one answer from a forum user in the UK who'd done this on his 2014 TDI (same deal - from APG), and he said he'd left his "open", with no issues, so I figured I'd take that chance, too. And as it turned out, same - no issues.)​

The big hurdle here is that VW’s servers know for a certainty that my VIN was never supposed to have MIB2, let alone a AID, so as soon as we got past the IMMO and key pairing (probably half an hour), there were component protection blocks (that’s my interpretation anyway) on probably half a dozen modules in the car - ABS, CAN Gateway, ESC / Steering, front assist, etc. (basically, everything in red here, from what I remember).


I asked if I’d just be able to clear those with VCDS and he said “Reeeeeally don’t think so.” Some “Basic Settings” stuff had to be done (which I’m sure VCDS could’ve handled), but there were a bunch more that required the tech’s login to VW’s servers to do some “hard” over-rides.

I was there for 2.5 hours, which is a bit longer than what I’ve read other people experienced, but certainly within reason for a process for which there’s absolutely zero documentation.

Step 8: Drive home with your new AID!! :D
…pull out the VCDS, and commence to do some coding. (Of course, you could also let the VW tech do all of this stuff with ODIS, but at $2/minute, I’m more than happy to do it at home).

Shout-out again to bbusato for figuring most of this stuff out.

Module 17 (Instruments) - CODING - Long Coding Helper
Byte 2, Bit 0-2: Fuel Tank - Variant 2 as that gave the longest range in my “distance to empty”. Might have to adjust that - see how it seems to jive with my actual DTE.

Byte 2, Bit 3-6: 50 Model: Variant A (this sets what your car looks like in the instrument cluster - 50 is a wagon)

Byte 12: Check the box for Bit 2 - "Alternative Dimming Function active"

Close the long coding helper, save the coding - should be accepted nice and easy.


Module 17 (Instruments) - ADAPTATIONS
IDE02489-Display depiction; adapt from Version 1 to Version 2
(apparently, this enables NAV in the AID screen)

ENG153766-Tube_version; adapt from variant_0 to variant_2
(This determines the look of the instrument cluster dials and fonts - again, I might play around with this to see what I like)
Then head over to…

Module 5F (Information Electr.) - ADAPTATIONS
ENG122230-ENG142097-Dashboard_Display_Configuration-ability_switch_nav_maps; (make sure this is OFF; bbusato had this as adapting to ON, but with that setting, I had no maps in the AID; changing it back to OFF gave me maps in the AID)

ENG122230-ENG122343-Dashboard_Display_Configuration-call_picture; adapt from OFF to ON

ENG122230-ENG127501-Dashboard_Display_Configuration-fastlist_most; adapt from OFF to ON

ENG122230-ENG122338-Dashboard_Display_Configuration-navigation_map_compression_mode; adapt from RLE to H264

ENG122230-ENG127005-Dashboard_Display_Configuration-navigation_map_transmission_mode; adapt from OFF to MOST_streaming

and...
 
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Nuje

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
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2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
And that, my friends...is it.

We finish up looking like this:
And that...is it! (the pics below are hyperlinked to short (<6sec.) non-YouTube videos of startup and shutdown sequence).


(No - I didn't take a photo while driving 260km/h; that's the needle sweep at start-up).

 
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ESmith813

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
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Poconos, PA
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2015 Manual GSW TDI SEL
Impressive work!



What would you say was your total cost for this project if you don't mind sharing?
 

MattRabbit

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Joined
Nov 12, 1999
Location
Orlando, FL, USA
TDI
2015 Golf SE TDI, 2014 Beetle TDI, 1981 Rabbit Diesel
Wow, nice! I'm hopeful for a day when swapping MIB2 into a car won't be so stupid expensive and difficult. It's something that shouldn't be rocket science that's made incredibly difficult.



That looks great, btw! You're going to wind up with a unicorn there if you aren't careful!
 

Nuje

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
Impressive work!
What would you say was your total cost for this project if you don't mind sharing?
MIB2 conversion from APG in Poland was just under $2K USD. That's pretty much plug-and-play; had to do one simple little VCDS tweak because I stuck with the MIB1 amplifier.

Parts for the AID came to around $1200USD.

2.5 hours labor at the VW dealer.
 
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Cuzoe

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May 24, 2017
Location
Los Angeles
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MK7 Golf S
I think folding mirrors are my favorite mod so far. MIB II being a very close second. The AID is beautiful thoooo... Now to convince myself I need it.

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Cuzoe

Veteran Member
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May 24, 2017
Location
Los Angeles
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MK7 Golf S
I just installed Osram full LED headlights, justified as a safety upgrade. Is the AID safer than the standard cluster? If the answer is yes, then I have no choice, haha.

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adjat84th

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Joined
Dec 13, 2008
Location
Virginia Beach, VA
TDI
'01 Jetta TDI/'15 Golf TDI
Over $3k...oof! I couldn't do it. That's a nice turbo, clutch, and tuning.
That certainly is awesome though. A friend of mine has an Atlas and I love that display.
Can you get performance gauges/info on it?
 

Nuje

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Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
Over $3k...oof! I couldn't do it. That's a nice turbo, clutch, and tuning.
I did consider that aspect actually, but here's the thing I've noticed with the performance upgrades on my Mk4 - I put all of that extra power and torque to use maybe 1% of my driving time (probably much less), so, while it's nice to have it when I want it, it's mostly dormant as I'm driving 120km/h down the freeway.

Whereas with the AID and MIB2 and larger display - I get to enjoy that literally 100% of the time I'm driving.

As for Performance Monitor, I haven't figured out a way (or if there's a way) to get that showing up on the AID, but it does show up on the MIB2 head unit (although it doesn't read the coolant or oil temp sensors properly).
 

Cuzoe

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May 24, 2017
Location
Los Angeles
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MK7 Golf S
I started sourcing the parts to do this after looking at your pictures over and over again for the last couple days. I don't know if anybody else here is even looking to do this but I'm seeing the display for 20% off MSRP at the usual online vendors (Ecstuning, DAP) and even at my local dealership. Just over $900 shipped.

I have a Golf S and as far as I can tell there's no brushed "aluminum" AID bezel. Expensive option is replacing all the trim. Cheaper but possibly more annoying option is getting the bezel wrapped to match my current trim, which I like because it doesn't really show dust or fingerprints. I'll have to go into the interior forum on GolfMk7 and see if someone has found a vinyl that matches well.

Question Nuje... Do you think the AID is worth it if I don't have Nav? When I did the MIB 2 retrofit I did verify that my car has the right connectors and a GPS antenna installed but I would need to replace the glove box unit and have all my features activated. I got an okay deal on the non-nav unit on eBay so I wouldn't feel too bad replacing it. But it does mean spending more money. Here in Los Angeles I like Google Maps' ability to suggest new routes based on rapidly changing traffic conditions.

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Nuje

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Joined
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Location
Island near Vancouver
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2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
I would say "yes" on whether or not the AID is worth it without NAV - without hesitation! Kinda like (going back ~25 years): Is a color computer monitor worth it, even if I'm not a hardcore gamer? :D

Every time I get in the car, whether I have the NAV showing in the cluster or not, I'm delighted.

(On pricing, you can give Aaron at Cascade German a call - if prices have come down on the hardware, he can usually meet or beat.)
 

Cuzoe

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May 24, 2017
Location
Los Angeles
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MK7 Golf S
Eurozone tuning actually has brand new MIB 2 nav units for $300. Used eBay units are around the same price so that's an easy choice. Next problem... if I have a Nav unit I want the Nav button beside my screen... and if I'm getting a new screen I may as well get the larger 8" matte screen.

To be fair the 8" screen is something I was interested in already so I won't consider it extra money due to the AID. Which means I won't blame that expense on you, haha. I'll have to reach out to Cascade.

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Nuje

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Island near Vancouver
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2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
Just to be sure - you've read up on what's involved with swapping in a MIB2 unit...? It's not a straight-up plug-and-play.

This thread at GolfMk7.com probably outlines options and process as well as anything else.
 

Cuzoe

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Location
Los Angeles
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MK7 Golf S
I have MIB II retrofitted already, but I didn't go with a Nav unit... I don't remember finding any for less than about $500 at the time. My non-nav was only around $130, found on eBay.

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Nuje

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Ahhh - so you're good then. Curious as to how much extra hassle you'd be in for in switching in the Nav. Thing with the Nav is that (I think?) it outputs audio via the MOST cable, to the amplifier (which you probably don't have). But the Nav (Discover Pro) unit I have does also have the regular speaker output pins for all of those coloured paired wires, so I'm guessing it'll output sound over that if there's no MOST connection available.

Either way, you wouldn't need that MOST splitter cable in the instructions - you'd just need a MOST cable that goes directly from the head unit to the cluster. (MOST doesn't like having an empty connector)
Something like this maybe (?)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dension-Re...-Cable-Cable-Gateway-500-GW51MO2/222161033175
 
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Cuzoe

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Los Angeles
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MK7 Golf S
I had Jack (the gentleman from Poland mentioned in the GolfMk7 MIB retrofit thread) perform all my CP removal/activation when I upgraded. He did so remotely, took about an hour. So I have App Connect FEC tied to my VIN. I would need him to remove CP, re-enable my App Connect and add the Nav FEC. I already reached out to him, just waiting for a response (he does this work on the side).

My understanding is the same as yours for the audio output. If it doesn't default I would guess it just needs to be coded. There must be cars with nav and without premium audio so it shouldn't be an issue. I'm running a Helix Soundbox (with my own sub) so no MOST amp. I figured I would need a straight through MOST cable so thanks for the ebay link. I need to determine a good length for the MOST cable. I'm an aircraft electrician by trade so I have thing for clean routing.

Is the MOST connection on the cluster the same as the one on the amp? If so, maybe I could just source that cable. I know it will be long enough. Any excess length can be secured wherever space allows.
 

Nuje

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2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
I haven't taken a look at the amp since I did my first digging around, but I imagine it'd be the same. And yes - you'd have PLENTY of length (having said that, there's a fair amount of space behind the display where you could coil up a bunch of it).
 

Cuzoe

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MK7 Golf S
So I want to begin this post by saying that Nuje is a bad influence. With that out of the way, ordered AID and bezel from vwpartsvortex. They are associated with a dealership in NJ, have source plenty of parts with them before. Came out to under $950 shipped 2-3 day express.

Ordered 4 different brands of brushed aluminum vinyl on Amazon. Hopefully one of them is a close match for the stock Golf trim. If not I'll go to one of the mini expensive custom shops here in Los Angeles and have them find something to match and get the bezel wrapped. Figure it won't be too expensive since it's just the one piece. Also ordered a 2 meter most cable for $25 bucks. Only a few dollars more expensive than the eBay cables but guaranteed delivery Saturday instead of 4 Saturdays from now.

MIB 2 unit with nav was delivered yesterday. I will be setting up a session with Jack from Poland to get that taken care of.

Found an 8-inch matte display on eBay, sold as is but working when removed from the car. From a dismantler a few hours north of me. Listed at $175 or best offer. Offered 100 and they accepted. Fingers crossed it works. If it does I'll order the proper bezel. Haven't been able to find them for less than $160 but that would still put me under $300 for the upgrade. If it doesn't work I'll hold off on me 8" inch screen for now.

I'm getting excited now. Had to resist the urge to pay for next day shipping on everything. Every time I paid for super fast shipping I get busy and don't get anything install for a month.

Did I mention Nuje is a bad influence?

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Cuzoe

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Los Angeles
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MK7 Golf S
You mentioned that your dealer was really good with this sort of thing. Especially considering that none of the things in your car are supposed to be there, much like mine will be. I'm actually going to ask Jack if he can do immo/key coding. He has Odis access so I suspect he can and he really knows his stuff when it comes to these retrofits. That would make my life really easy, especially since I'm already going to have him setting up my new nav unit.

There's also a guy on the golfmk7 forum, username doctor. He offered to have a go at enabling drive modes for me. He has them enabled on his European 1.6 TDI that did not come with them so we're hopeful. If Jack can't get me straight I might try him before I go to the dealer. hopefully he's like Jack who wouldn't even let me PayPal him until the work was done successfully. Although I have no problem paying for time spent doing something that is out of the ordinary.

I'm wondering if I'll need to upgrade my cann gateway and or body control module to finish all the retrofits I have in mind. Heated seats is one of them but also front and rear fog lights (I have the dynamic tails, left and right with fog, but not the proper harness or wiring to BCM). I also have everything on hand to install ambient lighting, not sure if my body control module has enough outputs to control it though.

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Nuje

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2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
In doing some of my retrofits (e.g., folding mirrors), it certainly helped that I had Highline ("SEL" in US-speak), as the control module for the mirrors were simply missing wires - and once I wired in the lights, I was able to flip the bits in VCDS and get everything working without hassle.

The next retrofit i'm looking at is adaptive cruise control (ACC), and with my GSW already having the front assist radar sensor in the bumper, and the right ABS control module (I think), it should be do-able in software (albeit requiring non-dealer kung-fu from someone like "doctor", with whom I've similarly been in contact). And if that goes well, then next up is blind-spot monitor/alert (maybe?).

If you can find DV52 on the Golfmk7 or Aussie VWwatercooled (he's Austalian) forum, he seems to be the most knowledgeable I've come across in assessing what electronic needs retrofits might require, as well as being able to read and decipher wiring diagrams.
 

bizzle

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May 21, 2013
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Southern California
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2015 GSW SEL (totaled), 2013 Touareg Executive
Now I'm finally getting tempted to do this.

Cuzoe, what leftover parts do you have that I could use to upgrade to MIBII?
 

Cuzoe

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May 24, 2017
Location
Los Angeles
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MK7 Golf S
Interesting about your door modules. I had to replace mine when I installed the power folding mirrors but I didn't add any wiring and everything works.

bizzle... According to USPS my eBay special 8-inch screen will arrive tomorrow. I'll test it when it arrives. If it works I will be ordering the vent surround for that which shows in stock in quite a few places so I would expect to have it by the end of this coming week.

I am having my nav unit programmed on Tuesday so the non-nav unit will be available at that time. So if all goes well end of next week I'll have the main unit and 6.5 in screen available. The 6.5 inch screen doesn't require a new vent surround so you're already good there.

Without going through everything that's in the thread on golfmk7, all you will need is the aux-in Port/harness. I sourced mine from AliExpress for about 40 bucks iirc. You will also need the vas5054 tool if you're going to have it remotely activated. I think that was about 70 bucks, or you can borrow mine for the cost of shipping once I get my AID programmed.

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Nuje

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2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
Oh right - the wiring I added (to my SEL-level door modules) was for the puddle lights (see below). The folding mirrors were indeed plug-and-code-and-play.

 

Cuzoe

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May 24, 2017
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Los Angeles
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MK7 Golf S
Gotcha. I'm also impressed with the way that logo looks. I have puddle lights waiting to install, along with the additional wiring required. I was afraid to order the VW logo even though it actually looked good in the pictures on AliExpress. Looks just as good in your picture.

I have rear puddle lights waiting as well but in one of the threads I have saved somebody in Europe with a GTD eventually had issues with rear door lock indication. I know there's no controller back there so the lights were tapped into something else, can't remember what. I don't think I'm going to install them. And so far exactly one person has ever been in my backseat.

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bizzle

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May 21, 2013
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Southern California
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2015 GSW SEL (totaled), 2013 Touareg Executive
Cuzoe,

Let me know. I'm near SD but I travel to LA for family frequently.
Do I still need vas5054 if I've got VCDS?
 

Cuzoe

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May 24, 2017
Location
Los Angeles
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MK7 Golf S
Yes, the vas5054a device is a Volkswagen dealer/service level tool. Using it requires a (paid) account and logs into VW's system to allow maintenance. It allows things like removing component protection, enabling features, module replacement/updates, etc. Things that people without knowledge of the system probably shouldn't play with. I imagine someone could royally screw up their car if they somehow logged in and started messing around.

The guy that did the coding for my retrofit had me set up a virtual environment on my laptop. I then set up a TeamViewer session and he did everything remotely. The vas5054a plugs into the OBD port and then USB to the computer. The tool is more capable than vcds but its advanced capabilities aren't ones typically needed. After he got my equipment programmed I still used vcds to play with coding (changing the startup logo, setting the proper vehicle type, etc.).

And to be fair, he offered to set all those things for me so that I wouldn't even need vcds when he was done. I just wanted to play around.

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Nuje

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Feb 11, 2005
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Island near Vancouver
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2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
"Basically, if you have to ask if you need ODIS, then you don't. Get VCDS." :D
(read that in another forum)

For this type of stuff, obviously, you do need it (remote dealer-level access), but for typical "enthusiast"-level tweaking and coding, VCDS is by far, the better option, if only because it's a simpler/cleaner interface, and you're going to have access to the manufacturer's (Ross-Tech's) support.
 
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