For Audi enthusiasts

05blakep a4 photo



6 April 2009

We at Fourtitude are of the camp that believes a set of HRE Monoblok wheels raises any car’s attractiveness to the next power. In some cases, the right set can even boost it by a factor of three. The B8 A4 isn’t one of those cases. In fact, Audi’s latest, most beautiful A4 ever leaves such little room for improvement that the addition of M40 model HRE wheels to Blake P’s Quartz Gray A4 2.0T ups its sexiness by a small, basic-math percentage. The fact that he opted for the S-line package made his project of improving the car even more difficult.

Blake would probably give us quite a choking if we didn’t make a big deal of his wheel choice in person, though. Behind the stunning surface hide a good amount of time, money, and frustration. You see, HRE M40s weren’t actually available for the B8 when Blake P went to order up a set. However, he wasn’t willing to settle for less. His two previous projects, a Mercedes-Benz C230 coupe and a C230 sedan (he’s a recent convert to the Audi world, swayed from his family’s M-B collection by Audi’s latest onslaught of performance cars like the RS 4, R8, and this latest A4) involved a series of less expensive modifications that resulted in frequent changes, frequent headaches, and more money spent on piles of cheaper parts than it would’ve cost to do each project right from the beginning.

Older and wiser, our B8 owner practiced patience and persistence with his latest car. He went straight to HRE and worked with the manufacturer to create an ideal fitment for the 2009 A4. The first attempt was a bit off – chis rear wheels were rubbing the stock fenders, so he dismounted them and returned the two rears to HRE in order to have the offset machined down by five millimeters. The second time around, the A4’s stance was just right and the rear edges were saved. We think the extra effort was well worth the wait.

Of course, tires rubbing fenders wouldn’t have been an issue at all with the stock suspension, but the factory ride height obviously wouldn’t do. Blake P did his research and decided a set of KW Variant 1 coilovers would be the best option to bring the A4 lower to the ground without completely sacrificing comfort. Plus, this option would give him some added adjustability. But again, there was a catch. Like the wheels, the suspension wasn’t available yet, at least in the U.S. The solution came after a visit to K1 Motorsport in Los Angeles, who special ordered the suspension straight from Germany. For good measure, Blake also added a STaSIS rear stabilizer bar; goodbye, body roll.

The body of this A4 is, for the most part, unchanged from stock, both because Blake was going for a clean look and because again, parts are still hard to come by. “Very few exterior enhancements are available,” Blake told us, “But I liked the look of Rieger’s trunk lip spoiler since it is a subtle piece that integrates well with the stock lines.” We agree–from far away, it almost looks like it’s part of the trunk. As with some of the other parts, Blake turned to K1 Motorsport to get the spoiler shipped from Europe since the piece isn’t currently sold in the U.S. Blake’s addition of window tint–ceramic-type to cope with 100-degree Fresno days–complements the Quartz Gray paint well.

Inside, this brand new A4 is stock because it’s hard to do much better than the S-line seats with Alcantara inserts. This A4’s owner also spec’d his car with navigation and attractive brushed aluminum. The combination of options, Blake says, “provide for the best interior of any car in the entry luxury segment I’ve ever seen.” He has made one very subtle addition, however, hard-wiring in his Valentine One.

Finally, BlakeP did one simple thing that any owner should do, and that we’ve done to our own four-seasons S5 test car – VAG-COM re-coding. He used his friend Quan’s cable to eliminate the seatbelt chime, activate the key fob window and sunroof operation, and edit the LED driving light controls. They’re now fully brightened and remain on when either blinker is activated.

So what’s next for Blake’s beautiful B8? Well, he’s got his list drawn out and he plans on sticking to it. Once more body add-ons are available stateside, he’s thinking a carbon fiber splitter and rear diffuser would add the final touch his car needs. Inside, he’s hoping to add a DVD player to the MMI that will work while the car is in motion, and of course, he’s also thinking about the 2.0T under the hood. Chip tuning and exhaust are at the top of his list, and he figures on making plans beyond that once he’s got all of his current goals accomplished. Best of luck, Blake. You’ve already got one of the best B8 A4s on the road, and we’re sure it will only get better. We’ll be watching it eagerly in the B8 discussion forum.

Blake P would like to thank the following people: K1 Motorsport and SonicMS for support in dealing with HRE Wheels, Jose for helping with the V1 install, and Quan, for owning a VAG-COM.

For more discussion on this story, click on the link to our discussion forums to the left.
For more photos of the car in this story, click on the link to our gallery at the right.

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