Carbon fiber as aesthetic improvement is a common theme at the highest level of the Audi brand. There are whole styling packages for cars like the R8, RS 6 and RS 7. So why not cars like the A3 and S3 sedan? Turns out Audi Accessories (Audi Original Zubehor to those of you in Europe) has the answer to that question.
First up are carbon fiber mirror caps. Audi has been installing these on its perch-mounted rearview mirrors since the first R8 and subsequentally on the second-generation TT, the RS 6 and RS 7. Given the A3 has a similar perch-mounted exterior mirror, these provide effectively the same look.
Whether your A3 or S3 has side assist is immaterial. Audi offers caps compatible with both configurations (and we’ve got part numbers for each at the bottom of this story). Given this is an Audi part, you can elect to have your dealer install them. However, if you have more of a D.I.Y. leaning, the process isn’t terribly difficult. Following the directions included with the mirror caps, we managed to get them installed on the car in under an hour and with two people performing the job. Should you attempt this, we’d highly suggest you invest in a good set of trim removal tools available at most car part stores.
Next up is a matching trunk-mounted spoiler. Made by Audi to fit this car, fit and finish is naturally very good. Worth noting, this is made to fit flush with the trunk lid, so if you’ve got an S3 you will likely have to remove the smaller lip spoiler fitted to that car from the factory. Since our car had no such spoiler, we are unable to verify this based on our experience.
The look of the spoiler is impressive. Larger and more aggressive in design than the subtle lip spoiler on the S3, the appearance isn’t necessarily for everyone. Reactions were mainly positive, but mixed, when we first showed the spoiler temporarily affixed to the car while on display at H20 International back in September. For some attendees, the look was too aggressive and “not factory enough”. Interestingly, since then, we’ve noticed that the in-stepped design of the spoiler’s edge looks to be entirely inspired by the rear upper spoiler on the European market Audi RS 6 Avant and new RS 3 Sportback. In as much, one could say it is entirely factory looking… just more RS look than S look when comparing that of the S3.
Your local Audi dealer can also readily perform this installation, but it is again fairly straightforward with included instructions and adhesive. We elected to install the spoiler ourselves. Again, we worked with a team of two to help keep it fixed while the second person temporarily positioned it with masking tape in order to hold it in place while the adhesive set. Installation took no more than 15-20 minutes.
If installing the rear spoiler yourself, make sure to follow all instructions regarding adhesive setting process. In particular, take note of how long the car needs to sit stationary and then further how long you should wait to drive it at any high rate of speed whereby downforce could cause it to shift before being fully dry.
Worth noting, real high quality carbon fiber components are not cheap. MSRP on the mirrors is $780 and the rear spoiler is $1,080. While a significant investment for an A3 or S3 owner, these prices are highly reasonable compared to what replacement carbon fiber mirrors or an equivalent spoiler for the TT or R8 will cost you. For those who love the look but want something a bit more affordable, Audi Accessories also offers similar pieces and even more components like chin spoiler and side skirts in plastic.
Another option for those trying to stay on a budget is the advantage offered in these parts originating from the Audi Accessories lineup. Someone buying a new car could order these through their dealership and take delivery with them already installed. In doing that, the cost of the parts can be spread out over the life of the car loan or lease.
Overall, we love the look of these new components. We suspect the more aggressive rear spoiler would look even better on the more voluptuously kitted S3 or S line models with their deeper chin and more aggressive side skirts. We’ll know better soon as we have also just installed these parts on our Project A3 sedan series that is based on an S line model. Look for more on that car in the coming days.
Back to our Project OE A3 with its silver paint and less aggressive non S line bumper, we wish it had some sort of carbon fiber at the front in order to draw it all together and balance out the look. Audi does sell the aforementioned chin spoiler painted gloss black from the dealership, but what we’d really love to see is for someone to design a set of stick-on frames for the lower faux brake ducts in the non S line bumper that would mimic the look of the RS 7 and RS 6 with carbon fiber winglets. Audi has no plans to make such a product at this time, so maybe that’s a tip for the aftermarket.
Carbon fiber mirror caps, for vehicles without side assist: 8V0072530 3Q0 MSRP $780
Carbon fiber mirror caps, for vehicles with side assist: 8V0072530A 3Q0 MSRP $780
Carbon fiber spoiler: 8V7071645 3Q0 MSRP $1,080.00