For Audi enthusiasts

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7 June 2012

When it comes to styles of European car modification, there are any number of routes you can go. “Stanced” will get you plenty of looks at the summer car shows while boosted performance will likely help you at the track be it quarter mile or circuit. The varying philosophies can often differ greatly, their proponents debating away on the pages of any given discussion forum covering the subject, but we find one broad brush that tends to be embraced by all is that of OE+.

Search the web and the term OE+ is hard to pin down. With the original M… as in OEM+… you’re likely to dig up a company in Southern California with the term as its name and url, or a fan page on Facebook that posts things that are more often than not decidedly not OEM+. Poll car folk on car sites and you’ll likely get a wide range of answers as well. To this website, OE+ is the use of OE manufacturer parts from other models and other markets to tailor your car to your own taste. Go a step further and parts that mimic OE designs such as a carbon fiber replacement component that is identical in design or maybe a plus-sized replica wheel all qualify as well. Quality in the replica wheel field can and does vary… and maybe that’s where Belgian Audi tuning house RS QUATTRO and their RS 5 demonstrator come into play.

As RS QUATTRO’s Youry Bioul tells us, he ordered this stunning Sepang Blue RS 5 coupe just as soon as it became available in his home country of Belgium. The car was specced fully loaded with black optics, Audi Ceramic Brakes, navigation, Bang & Olufsen sound, carbon fiber engine trim, 20-inch Rotor design alloys and Recaro shell seats with Sepang Blue color-matched shells.

When the car first arrived at the RS QUATTRO shop, it was quickly apparent to Bioul that, though it was already quite good, there was plenty left for his firm to do in order to tailor it into one very unique car while holding to the company’s strong OE design/looks philosophy.The tailoring of the RS 5 began literally with a needle and thread when the car’s steering wheel was removed and a fatter flat-bottom unit custom-trimmed in black pearl suede was installed… though this was just the beginning. The entire interior was next stripped, first replacing the headliner with matching dark grey Alcantara.

Harkening back to early RS cars, the seats were re-skinned with bold blue Alcantara segments paired with matching blue stitching… something even quattro GmbH no longer offers. Interestingly, Audi product planners once told us that the blue suede-like material was dropped at the beginning of the B7 era when Sprint Blue replaced Nogaro Blue as an S and RS-car staple because the colors no longer matched – a shame though because the setup looks fantastic with this car’s Sepang Blue configuration.Black leather portions in new leather were pain-stakingly died to match the pre-existing black leather components that remained in the car in order to assure a more finished OE appearance.

While the interior was being replaced, the RS QUATTRO team took the time to upgrade the “near-perfect” Bang & Olufsen audio system. In order to reinforce the lower frequencies, where they saw room for improvement, an Alpine MONO amplifier (PDX M12 1200 RMS Watts) was paired with two Alpine 10-inch subwoofers (SWX-1043D) with special enclosure, side panels and Rockford Fosgate CAP all trimmed in Alcantara.Performance was improved starting with the installation of an HMS XPIPE – central and rear mufflers that offer a valve that can be controlled by the OE buttons inside the car. The setup was further modified by swapping in a Capristo remote because it allowed Youry to bypass the need to set all car settings to Sport and activate the exhaust solely via the push of a button. It’s all held in place by a magnet installed to keep the remote close at hand while driving.Youry describes his HMS exhaust as the best setup available, making the car sound “ridiculous” for a V8 engine. He also reports noticeable improvements in torque. Perhaps there’s more deviation from the OE+ mantra here, but it was preferred and specced to his taste.

Another place for improvement under the hood was the intake. RS QUATTRO reports that the stock paper filters blocked about 20% of the air flow so they created a less restrictive filter setup that is both affordable and good for a 6 hp gain on the dyno. The engine also benefitted from an ECU upgrade, remapped for European 98 Octane fuel that saw an increase of 20-25 hp.
Looks were improved, but subtly so in keeping with the OE+ theme. The engine bay received a carbon fiber airbox made to match the carbon engine cover, while an R8 aluminum oil cap was also installed. Literally topping off the carbon fiber treatment is a roof re-skinned in the weave and blended with tinted windows all around.

Of course, the most radical change to many a modified car are the wheels and the RS QUATTRO Audi RS 5 is no exception. Frankly, it is in the wheel department that this car’s OE+ style migrates from addition to multiplication because these are no mere mortal replica wheels nor are they OE units.

RS QUATTRO had the idea back in 2010 to create their own brand of wheels. Not a fan of the kitsch styles one might encounter at SEMA, they wanted something more in keeping with Audi Design, flexible for ease of ordering a specific size and all while being the best quality possible. They decided that a forged multi-piece design would be necessary to achieve this… but at the same time they wanted to mimic the RS 5’s Audi Rotor design alloys without being direct knock-offs. This was no small feat when you consider the Rotor from Audi is a 1-piece design.

In early 2011 the team travelled to visit ADV.1 in Miami. A contract was signed while they were still in Florida and the partnership was official. Not long after that, the very first RSQ1 wheel (21”x10”) with specified offset and maximum concavity to the face was delivered to the RS QUATTRO facility in Belgium.

The final product was most impressive. ADV.1 implemented a stepped lip that added several benefits. First and foremost, the design eliminates water retention in rainy conditions to avoid unwanted vibrations at his speeds. Visually, the spokes of the RSQ1 extend beyond the rim register to the stepped lip to maximize diameter appearance and effectively capture the look of the Audi Rotor – a trick necessary due to the use of a modular design.

Bioul and his team are most proud of the flexibility the modular design from ADV.1 offers. Each customer order can be tailored to their fitment and finish needs – re-engineered to match the specific width, diameter and also offset. Each wheel piece is forged for higher durability. Standard finishes include high-polished outers, raw inners, brushed, gloss black, or matte black. The set on this RS 5 came with two-tone centers – matte gunmetal finish combined with polished + clear coated “waves” on the spokes and polished + clear coated lips. The inner barrel was also painted matte gunmetal. Even the cap size was designed to both accept the RS QUATTRO center cap or an OE cap from a V10 S8 for those who prefer to go even more stealth.

Reception to these wheels was very good from the outset. Even before a production set had been fitted to the RS 5, two customers had ordered their own based simply on the CAD drawings. One of those first two orders went to another RS 5 and the second set was fitted to a B7 RS 4. Since the production wheels have been fitted to their RS 5 demonstrator and are live in the alloy, their success has only multiplied.

Studying the final appearance of this particular RS 5, we’re inclined to categorize it as an ultimate specimen of the OE+ philosophy. Taking a model that is already king of the hill from the factory and improving upon it to such a detailed degree is most impressive and might just be textbook material… math or otherwise.

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