Editor’s Note: We’re not being terribly clever when we call this latest update to our Project A3 sedan series “Spoiler Alert.” After all, it’s about a unique front chin spoiler and a multi function alert / gauge system from P3. That’s all well and good, but the clever title goes one step further in that we’re also going to tell you how the story ends.
A few weeks ago, owner and author Brian McCauley communicated to us that he would be shifting over to a new car. That he was moving to an S3 sedan wasn’t much of a stretch, and Arizona Audi enthusiasts are probably already aware that he’s shifted practically all of us upgrades over to that new Sepang Blue car. With that, we wish Brian the best because it is a shift to a new car. We don’t really feel the need to repeat these stories all over again for another car, and on top of that we already have an Audi S3 based project series. In as much, we’re going to place an end cap on this very popular project series with this final installment. We hope you’ve had as much fun following along with the series as we have in helping Brian tell it. Brian is a fixture in our forums, so we suspect you can monitor where he goes moving forward with his build in that discussion forum. For now, here’s the final update to one very low A3 S line sedan.
[photos: David Venezia and Brian McCauley]
In todays world of things becoming more and more complicated, there is a reactive trend of simplification. Whether it be smartphones, computers, car electronic systems, or even something as simple as turning on a light bulb, companies are trying to make things simple to use for a wide range of consumers and also in a technologically advanced and connected way. A component as simple as a radio or HVAC controls in a car from the 1990s is now something that might require a touch screen or the basic grasp of a complicated software system in order to use. It is up to companies to provide more info/data/output but in a design that is just as simple to use as turning a knob or pressing a button. This brings us to the next two advancements to Project A3 Sedan. Both of these items are extremely simple in their design, work perfectly, and were easy to install and use.
P3 Vent Guage
Our first item is the new P3 vent gauge system. With subtle design, this bit of kit utilizes the space of one of the A3’s round vents in order to add indicative visual functionality to the car without intruding too much into the streamlined cabin design tone set by Audi.
Located in Ohio, P3’s mission is to bring digital gauges to cars and make them look and work much as if they came from the factory that way. Boost, exhaust gas temp, volt and other gauges have always been available, but were always a slight pain to install. An owner needed to buy the correct gauge, find a place to mount it, have basic knowledge or wiring and vacuum lines, and also know how to partially disassemble their car’s interior in order to make it all work AND look right.
P3 has found an amazing way to avoid all of that unnecessary complexity with their VIDI (Vent Integrated Digital Interface) gauges. These gauges are fully digital and get both their information and power from the car’s OBDII diagnostic port. P3 makes gauges for Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, Porsche, and a few others. In the case of our A3, the gauge came shipped looking like the center circle of the air vent. Everything was already assembled except for connecting the wires.
In this case the driver’s side outermost vent was chosen and can be removed as easily as grabbing the back edge of it with your fingernails and slowly pulling it out of the dash. I performed the install in my driveway as a shop facility was not necessary for this part.
Once the vent is removed, a simple clip in the back is squeezed with pliers, releasing the entire center piece of the vent. The P3 gauge pops right into the existing location and the wires are run through the vent, down the side of the dash and then plugged in to the OBDII port underneath the dashboard. The entire install took about ten minutes and most of that involved taking the photographs along the way. The only tools needed are a flathead screwdriver and small needle nose pliers. No knowledge of tapping in to a power source or running a boost tap is needed. If the owner desires to make the gauge dim with the dash lights then the proper instructions are included. In this case I did not opt to do this and kept the install simple and easy.
The P3 gauge now allows the driver to cycle through Boost, exhaust gas temp, intake air temp, coolant temp, speed, battery voltage, RPM-based shift light, and even record 0-60 times… all at the touch of a button. It really can’t be any easier and offers much more data than any single boost gauge could do. It also has the ability to recall the peak value from any mode, or record and playback 15 seconds of data from the current mode. Temperature peaks are also recorded in the background. Essentially, it offered one solution for all of the main data I could ever need while driving Project A3 sedan. The gauge works flawlessly and is a highly recommended addition to the car for any driving enthusiast.
MORE INFORMATION: P3
FAREAST Front Splitter
The next component was another gem found via social media and Instagram. Instagram is something that has brought the world of cars to many millions of people and in this case a specific S3 sedan from Japan to my eyes. The user @hitotsuyamagmbh was found while doing a #A3 #S3 photo search. Not long after, their Jon Olssen-inspired camo edition S3 popped up on my feed.
At first inspection it was the camo that caught my eye, but upon closer inspection a nice black front splitter was also identified. None of the pictures really focused on this piece, so I had to find out more. I sent them a Direct Message asking about the front splitter, what it was made of, where he got it from, and where could I get one. In the meantime I also looked at their webpage link in their Instagram profile and was brought to a Japanese site which luckily had a translate button built into it. After a few minutes, I landed on the pictures of this splitter which they called the “FAREAST Front Splitter” specially for the S3 and A3 S-Line front bumpers. I found their email address and sent over an inquiry including a few questions and how I could purchase one.
The next day I had a reply email waiting for me from Ryoji at Hitotsuyama GmbH. I was surprised that in the first sentence he said he knew who I was (well he knew my car) and that I was the owner of the Project A3 Sedan on Fourtitude. He seemed very excited that I contacted them and was very happy to sell me the first one of their front splitters to make it outside of Japan. When cars can bring people together from opposite sides of the world to share a commonality, it is a truly beautiful thing.
This was a company in Japan that I had never even heard of before, but through the power of the internet and Instagram they knew my car and had read the articles on Fourtitude. To me that is pretty damn cool and something special that put a big smile on my face when reading his email.
The splitter then began its journey from Japan to Arizona and arrived in less than two weeks of placing the order. The splitter is made of very durable matte black ABS resin and can also be painted body color or made to match the matte grey of the S3 front grill or aluminum-look of the S3 mirrors for an extra cost. I ordered the matte black one to match the black and red theme of my A3.
The piece came in packaging that was very well done and kept the contents safe and secure. Once unwrapped, I brought it out to the car and did a test fit. MIND BLOWN.
I’ve never had an aftermarket body piece fit as well as this did right out of the box. The splitter held itself onto the bumper by simply putting it in place. This wouldn’t work to drive around with, but for the part to stay in place as a test fit and everything line up and fit correctly is almost unheard of in much of the aftermarket. Many times have I had to trim, cut, and make holes in bumpers and body pieces to get parts to fit right, but that was not the case here.
The splitter comes with three brackets already attached to it. There is one on each end that is secured by an existing screw that holds the front fender liners to the front bumper and the third is one on the bottom middle of the splitter and attaches using an existing screw that holds the belly pan to the bumper. The splitter also comes with pre-installed doubled sided tape to attach the rest of it to the bumper. I found this more for snugness rather than for anything structural. But, the fact that install was three screws that were already on the car, plus tape, and it fit this well. That was simply a breath of fresh air.
Although this would be a very simple install in your driveway with the car on ramps or on two jack stands, I made an appointment with Jason at Parts Score to do the install. Jason likes helping out on the car and knew this would be an easy install and it would also allow us to take better pictures during the process.
Jason and his new tech Derek put the car up on the lift and test fitted the splitter so they could see how it fit before install. Both of them were very surprised by it’s quality and fitment without even bolting anything together. Some rubbing alcohol prepped the bumper areas where the tape would adhere, the three screws were removed where the brackets would attach to, and within 10 minutes the process was complete. Most of that time was used again for taking pictures, but it never hurts to take your time and get it right the first time.
No knives, blades, or saws are needed for this install. Just a torx bit and rubbing alcohol are all that are required and the result is a much more aggressive front end to your A3 S-Line or alternatively an S3 bumper.
I think the best part is the aggressiveness that the splitter adds without making the front end too dramatic. Many times I’ve seen front splitters that are so over the top that they either look too gaudy on the car or just seem like a pure hassle to drive with. This one keeps itself tidy against the body and shouldn’t be an issue for most normal speed bumps or driveway entries. One benefit I have is the Air Lift setup and the ability to make extra clearance room so as to not hit the splitter on anything. Another benefit is that when the car is fully aired out, the splitter sits just an inch or so away from the ground and gives the front end a very aggressive and low visual.
This FAREAST splitter has been the perfect compliment to the overall look of the car. It visually flows with the bumper and adds to the aggressiveness of the quad exhaust and carbon mirrors and rear spoiler. It keeps the look simple and clean, but still lets people know that it didn’t come like that from the factory but looks like it did.
Hitotsuyama GmbH has also allowed me to the be the sole importer and distributer of the FAREAST front splitter for the United States. If you would like to inquire about a purchase please send me private message to username ProjectA3 on the Vortex Media Group forums.