APR Ultralink Brings Flash Tuning to DIY Enthusiasts

02/21/2024

APR Ultralink Brings Flash Tuning to DIY Enthusiasts

02/21/2024

Leading European-car performance brand APR is introducing a revolutionary way of performance tuning your vehicle with APR software. This new system, called Ultralink, allows you to install custom performance tunes to your car right in your own garage, giving you greater control over the process and dramatically cutting the downtime required compared to having a professional tuner or shop perform the work.


Previously, the only way to access APR’s vast array of performance tunes was by visiting one of the company’s authorized dealers – customers had to schedule an appointment, leave the vehicle at the shop, and then pick it up when the work was done. But performance-car owners today demand greater convenience and more input on the process. “At this point, customers are starting to say, ‘I want to be able to do this myself,” says APR’s Arin Ahnell. “And that’s where Ultralink comes in.”


The Ultralink system is built around a dongle that lets you install APR engine and transmission tunes. This pairs with the Ultralink Marketplace, an online store that offers tunes for popular European-brand cars, including Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini, and more.

Hassle-Free DIY Performance

Designed to connect to the vehicle through the OBD-II port and interface with a laptop via USB, the Ultralink system gives enthusiasts the opportunity to tune their vehicles on their own, without the exhaustive research and guesswork that are often associated with at-home upgrades.


“This allows you to browse the software that’s available for your vehicle, buy it, and apply it to the vehicle without ever having to call or email someone, add ‘credits’ to the device, or anything like that,” Ahnell says. “When you plug the device in, it will automatically identify your car and show you what’s available. Or you have the option of going through a configuration wizard to tailor it for your particular vehicle and any modifications you may already have. And it won’t let you load the wrong file for your car, so there’s really no way to mess things up.”


Learn more about APR Ultralink and what it can do for your car!

Tunes are ‘married’ to your vehicle’s VIN, but a single Ultralink device can be used to load tunes into multiple vehicles. And if you’ve purchased software from APR in the past, Ahnell notes that those software licenses will carry over to the Ultralink system as well.


“You’ll have access to our different stages of performance, and you’ll also be able to do things like choose tunes for different octanes, or change the vehicle’s speed limiter,” continues Ahnell. “For some platforms we’ll also offer a feature that allows you to adjust torque levels to limit wheelspin for better launches. And for some vehicle platforms there will be a feature available that lets you change the character of the exhaust system. For example, some people prefer not having the crackles and pops that have become common in factory tunes, and we’ll have options to turn those characteristics on and off.”

Late-model Volkswagens like the MK7 GTI and Golf R will be among the first vehicles supported by Ultralink, and the performance gains that the system can provide to these vehicles is nothing short of stunning. “A MK7 GTI ECU Upgrade offers up to an additional 115 horsepower over stock with just a tune and no other modifications, and you can get gains of up to 254 horsepower over stock with our Stage 3 drop-in turbo kit and tune,” he says. “And the MK7 Golf R ECU Upgrade offers up to an additional 92 horsepower over stock with just a tune and no other mods, or 228 horsepower over stock with our Stage 3 drop-in turbo kit and tune.”

Ultralink offers useful transmission-related features as well, like the ability to disable some vehicles’ automatic upshift feature, which in turn prevents the gearbox from selecting the next cog when RPMs reach redline without your say-so. This provides true manual control over the transmission, a feature that can prove particularly useful when you’re hustling down your favorite backroad, searching for tenths on an autocross course, or hunting down apexes at a track day. The system also offers features like adjustable launch control, which will allow the user to fine-tune the RPM range used for launches to maximize performance for different surfaces and conditions.


“One of the things that makes APR unique in this realm is that we offer software as well as hardware,” Ahnell points out. “We aren’t just a tuner or just a parts manufacturer, and that has enabled us to create an entire performance ecosystem. That means if someone buys one of our tunes, it’s going to work with our exhaust, our intercooler, our turbocharger and fueling upgrades, and so on. These products are designed to work together seamlessly, and Ultralink is designed to be adaptable to those hardware upgrades as they’re added to the vehicle. And even if a vehicle has modifications from another manufacturer, the Ultralink system can leverage those modifications to bolster performance.”

Ahnell also notes that Ultralink’s design will make it much easier for APR to introduce additional features and functions to vehicle platforms as time goes on. “This system was designed with flexibility in mind. Previously when we wanted to make a new file for a type of vehicle, it had to be completely custom-built by an engineer for a specific car, and that made it very difficult to keep up with demand when it came to user requests for new features. Ultralink makes it much easier for us to add things like that. Since the system is basically building a new custom file for the vehicle when a customer loads a tune, it makes it much easier for us to offer new functionality down the road. We’re always listening for feedback from our customers, so if there’s something that you want to see added, let us know.”


Learn more about APR Ultralink and what it can do for your car!

An Evolving Platform

The Ultralink system’s library of vehicle support is expected to ramp up dramatically in the coming months, along with the features and adjustments that are available for these platforms. Ahnell says that the feature set of the Ultralink device itself will grow over time, too.


“Our ultimate goal with the Ultralink system is to provide support for virtually all of the vehicles in our catalog from the past 20 years. This is a living product that we intend to keep adding features to. Wireless functionality will be built into the device at launch, and that will eventually allow you to connect to Ultralink using an app on your iOS or Android mobile device without buying any new hardware. And that will give us the ability to do things like add gauge readouts on the mobile device, data logging, and many other things that our customers have been asking for.”


The Ultralink system is available now. Platforms like the MK7 Volkswagen GTI and Golf R will be among the first that will be supported by the system, and many more are expected to join the fray shortly thereafter.

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