I have always believed that if something is worth doing, in any aspect of life, it’s worth doing right – otherwise why bother – and, ensure that you love what you do and you’re passionate about it. The results will speak for themselves. During the span of owning nine Audis, only one person has ever laid hands on these cars. Kevin Wallace is a friend and someone I highly recommend to Houston area Audi owners as he these same ideals and does things the right way. Rare is the occasion to find another person that you can develop this kind of automotive technical friendship with – but when you do, you aren’t surprised to learn these guys go way back.
It’s 134 miles from Houston to that of Brink Motorsport in Austin TX. A chance interaction with fellow VAG enthusiast and owner, Michael Brink has set our Project S7 well into motion as we prepare our new Sportback and aim this car squarely at SEMA come November. Michael and the aforementioned Kevin Wallace of Momentum Audi in Houston TX go back to the days of Millennium Audi (now Sewell Audi) in North Houston when it opened in the mid 2000’s. As time passed, both moved to different dealers with Mike most recently working with Audi in Austin TX.
After 13 years as an Audi Master Tech, Mike went all in, followed his passion and opened Brink Motorsport. While still in its infancy and just two years old, Brink has a developed a loyal following from owners of Audi and other European marques all over the state of Texas. His work is exceptional, reviews of his work glowing and he is truly doing what he loves.
Valentine 1 & Programmable Settings
Shortly after receiving the car, we immediately installed a Valentine 1 radar detector system, and hardwired it into the S7, taping the fuse box and running the V1’s cable up the a-pillar and into the headliner, eventually exiting at the detector location above and left of the rear view mirror.
We also went to work with the VCDS program and made several personal preference changes to the S7 which mostly centered around lighting, LED brightness, turn signals, amber marker lights and other “euro” lighting options. Interesting side note: the Full LED headlights on the S7 come from the factory at an effective level of 11% brightness. 11%. Remember the Audi 2012 Super Bowl commercial featuring the S7, #SoLongVampires ? If 11% brightness makes vampires combustible, I wonder what 100% will do… – I’ll report back.
H&R Suspension Module
Speaking of VCDS, it is the topic dejour on the the Audi S6/S7 forums these days. Why? Those familiar with the subject know that D3 Platform A8, owners had the ability to manipulate code (bits and bites in VCDS Speak) within the air suspension module to “trick” the car into moving well lower than the factory “Dynamic” setting. In essence, without tools, labor, sweat, busted knuckles or money, you could lower your car. Many did it and many still hope to do so. Unlike the D3 A8, the C7 chassis does not cooperate in the same fashion. A few people and shops have been able to enter specific security override codes and effectively change the coding to allow for a lower stance – yet, many more people have gotten stuck, had trouble, problems, gotten locked out or just got frustrated. It wasn’t worth it in the case of Project S7 – to try to manipulate the air suspension module.
For those of you with an S6/S7 and an interest in improving handling, lowering the center of gravity on the car and vastly increasing cosmetic appeal, H&R Springs has developed the “ETS” module application for the Audi S6/S7. Like the VCDS programming, the H&R ETS module allows you to lower the car’s factory air suspension up to an additional 40mm beyond factory dynamic settings, without tools, labor, sweat or bruised knuckles. It comes packaged in a box about the size of an iPad while the “module” itself is encased in metal and checks in at a svelte 4”x 4”.
Mount the box is designed to be mounted in the trunk, behind the fender liner on the passenger side of the car with eight hex screws. The system comes with a 5-prong wiring harness, which plugs into the module and the remaining four are utilized to replace the two Audi OE plugs, while the now unattached OE Plugs mate to the remaining two from H&R in order to complete the circuit.
That’s it. Really. No cutting, no splicing, no modifications. The factory wiring harness is completely intact and the simple action of unplugging the component returns the car back to stock settings.
Once plugged in, the ETS unit is preset to its lowest levels giving you the full 40mm drop. If you would like to fine tune and adjust the suspension, you have the ability to do so as well via two screws on the unit. The screw with the single “dot” above it controls the front axle and each ½ turn of this screw will adjust ride height by one millimeter. Likewise, the second screw with two dots will adjust both the front and rear with the same parameters of ½ turn per one millimeter in height change. Once you fine tune the car to your taste, H&R supplies double sided Velcro to mount in the trunk for accessibility.
Module installed, the ride of the car is still very complacent and comfortable, straight and true. The entire installation process took less than ten minutes with no problems, issues, or codes. It has run flawlessly in the time since installation. This new lowered suspension setting is now your “dynamic” mode level for the car. All other adjustability and suspension level functionality remain in place and are still adjusted via the MMI controls. For anyone looking for a truly clean, plug-and-play solution with adjustability and all factory settings, equipment and no manipulation, H&R has a solution for you.
Planning for a Tailored Exhaust
Brink Motorsport has big plans for the Audi aftermarket, eying specific gaps that they feel have been neglected and seeing an opportunity in filling them. Audi’ new 4.0 TFSI is squarely in the firm’s crosshairs, as few exhaust options yet exist for these cars. One intake for the S6 is out there. APR, as always, has stepped up with the benchmark tune for the car – but variety is the spice of life and choice is something most craved by rabid owners of these new S-cars crave. I don’t like being told there is no intake for the S7 or that there is no truly bespoke exhaust made from exotic materials for a car like the S6/S7 – cars just begging the be uncorked.
Project S7 recently spent some time in the hands of Brink. The aforementioned Mike Brink, together with welding guru Anthony Calvo (former engineer at COBBB Tuning and designer at Boost Logic) began to develop what they promise will be a series of world class offerings for the S6/S7 crowd.
We’re told the designs of these systems will be totally modular. Pick materials. Sizes. Tips. Finishes. The whole process will be much like going to a fine tailor for a bespoke suit and hand-picking the material, the jacket lining and the fit. Expect more details on this in our next installment, including weihgts, dyno runs, videos. Stay tuned.