For Audi enthusiasts

05feature mtm s4 photo



16 December 2009

There was a certain magic about the B5 Audi S4, the twin-turbo V6-powered generation built up until 2002. Forced induction in an all-wheel drive sedan was a novel concept in the days before the rally-inspired WRX or EVO hit American shores. The car was fast, agile and, most important, you could dial up the power to supercar levels without breaking the bank thanks to a burgeoning Audi aftermarket. When the S4 moved to big V8 power it became a much better turnkey grand touring sedan but those looking for a more refined take on the rally genre were left cold. Fortunately forced induction has returned to one of the most tunable and agile S4s ever and the aftermarket has just begun to catch on. One of the first to market with a line of upgrades is MTM and we just recently had a chance to test their surprisingly fast B8 S4 Avant and log some time on the nearby A9 autobahn.

From the outside MTM’s Ibis White S4 Avant is just what we’ve come to expect from the firm. Exterior modifications are minimal with no aerodynamic clutter. A bit of silver trim has been resprayed red and there are the Porsche GT3 RS style decals on the sides letting people know it’s both from MTM and supercharged. Wheels have been upgraded to the 20×9” machined, forged and oft-copied BiMoto alloys. An offset of ET42 combined with 10mm spacers makes for the perfect filling of the fenders.

You’ll note a lower stance as well. MTM’s suspension development partner is KW so the Avant sports the latest coilovers from that firm with settings co-developed with MTM. Height is adjustable from 10-40mm front and 15-45mm rear.

Under the hood there are only two real modifications performed to bump the car’s power levels. First is a tuned ECU wearing the M-Cantronic name. The new designation is a trademark for MTM, deriving its nomenclature from the CAN bus system within the S4 that networks various ECUs within the car. M denotes engine changes, while F-Cantronic is used for suspension software changes and further packages are planned for elements like the butterfly flaps used in exhaust system.

The MTM demo car paired the ECU with the firm’s own exhaust upgrade – a freer flowing cat-back stainless system featuring quad pipes and throttle-linked valves for on-demand roar. With just these two components in place MTM rates the new S4 at 430 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque.

The setup is significant for two reasons. A ‘chip’ and exhaust are the basics and what most owners who casually modify their cars will likely do. Even before we hit the starter button, we were fairly certain those casual owners won’t be disappointed.

The setup is also significant because this means that effectively a ‘Stage 1’ upgrade will get owners within spitting distance of the expected 450 hp rating of the upcoming Audi RS 5. When aftermarket firms like MTM begin to develop higher staged systems with further increased boost via pulley hardware, lower compression and increase fuelling… well, there’s even more room to grow.

To cope with the added power, MTM has also upgraded the brakes on this particular Avant with their own eight-piston 380mm setup sourced from Brembo and stainless brake lines.

Firing up the S4 the more aggressive exhaust note reminds us this car is no longer powered by the melodic V8. There’s more of a bark and, while we’re admittedly very picky about loud aftermarket exhausts, we were very surprised at just how composed the MTM exhaust note is. This may be in part due to the as-advertised valves aiding in the minimization of any drone or obnoxious sound level.

On the road and the no-speed-limit A9 the power is very impressive. Delivery is smooth and thus deceptively fast on up to 120 mph which is about where we were when we hit traffic. The car is notably quicker than a stock V8 S5 we drove earlier in the day. Avants aren’t quite the sleeper they are in the States and the wheels and graphics don’t do much to lower the car’s profile so we get more stares of admiration than surprise as we bomb the left lane of the autobahn in near rush-hour traffic.

MTM claims 0-62 mph times of 4.7 seconds, an improvement of 0.2 seconds over th elast generation RS 4. MTM also notes they can remove the top speed limiter on the car as well, something more likely geared towards their German clientele than Americans with our 55 or 65 mph speeds on most major highways.

No doubt demand for S4 upgrades like the MTM parts we sampled in Germany will be wide. The S4 has just hit the ground running in the States, complete with extremely competitive pricing. Combine an improved chassis and an updated quattro system and add in a few more dollars for a basic power bump and it appears that consumers will be able to have RS 4-beating performance at a price south of even the previous S4.

Given MTM headquarters’ proximity to Audi’s own in Ingolstadt and owner Roland Mayer’s own history and connections within the Audi factory, we’re not surprised to see the firm come forth as one of the first with a package for the new S4. No doubt their competitors are not far behind.

MTM operates with multiple distributors in markets outside of Germany including two in the United States. Check out the MTM website linked below for more information for a distributor near you.


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