For Audi enthusiasts

054seasons5 exhaust photo



12 October 2009

13,605 miles -14,998 miles

When living life with the Audi S5, it’s hard to find room for complaint. The car is comely enough to illicit a regular parade of admiration on the street and so refined, especially with Audi Drive Select set to Comfort, that you can easily forget its sporting intentions or the pedigree of its 4.2 liter heart if you care to.

A few days in an Audi R8 reminded us though of just how incredible Audi’s V8 FSI engine can really sound. When it was developed, the exhaust of the R8 was certainly tuned with more of a ‘Look at Me’ priority. Not so with the S5. It’s meant to bridge the gap between attention-getting and the refinement closer to an Audi A8. We suspect the S5 falls a bit on the A8 side of the fence when it comes to actual exhaust note.

Okay, so we were looking for a little bit more audible intensity as the R8 had wet our collective whistle. We saw room for improvement in the S5 and moved to remedy that through a quick call to STaSIS Engineering.

In the world of the Audi aftermarket, STaSIS is a bit unique. The company is headquartered at Infineon Raceway, just a stone’s throw from the Audi Driving Experience. More importantly, the firm has developed comprehensive packages of upgrades sold by Audi dealerships that are even warranteed. Though we wanted more growl, we also didn’t want too much of a loud drone like you might hear emanating from some tuned boy-racer BMW M3 and we suspected STaSIS’ Signature Series exhaust would have that refinement given its distribution through Audi dealerships.

What is changed? For one, the exhaust is a larger diameter and a mandrel-bent system made of polished T-304 stainless steel paired with custom-built, resonance-tuned chambered mufflers. The Napa-based firm claims less back pressure and a power increase of 10-15 hp and lb-ft of torque and improved sound for a price of $1695.

The exhaust is shipped in two pieces, making it very manageable for packaging. Once it arrived, we dropped our S5 and new stainless pipes off at APT Tuning in Lebanon, PA for a quick install.

On the car, the overall look is subtle. The polished 3.25” tips are a bit more eye-catching than stock. They also stick out just a bit more, helping show off the engraved STaSIS logos on the end of each exit.

Fire up the S5 and the burble, bassy tone of the car is immediately different. Out on the road, the changes continue. Many non-stock exhausts for Audi 4.2-liter V8s tend to have a bit of a drone early in the rev range and we did hear some evidence of this in our new exhaust. The drone isn’t considerable, but it is there from about 1200-2200 rpm. Above 2200 rpm, the system gets surprisingly quiet and OE-like with a slightly more aggressive growl under throttle.

The car feels ever-so-slightly more responsive, but this perception may also be fueled by the great new engine note. Adding an exhaust to a normally aspirated car won’t net you gains like a hotter ECU for a turbocharged engine, so we suspect gains are conservative but consistent with STaSIS’ claims.

In the end, we’re happy with the change. The stainless exhaust offers improved performance, looks and won’t rust in the long-term. Yes, there is a bit of a drone early in the rev range, but this is minimal. More importantly, the larger diameter system helped our S5’s 4.2-liter V8 find its voice. Not surprisingly then, we’ve changed our usual afternoon drive home to include a route with a short tunnel under some railroad tracks where we can lower the window, downshift, lean on the throttle and listen to the S5 howl.

4 Season Audi S5 Main Page
STaSIS Engineering

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