The top was down on her Mercedes and she wore a tan visor. She was in her 40s and after driving behind me on the freeway for a few uneventful miles shaking her head, the lady in the SLK55 AMG pulled alongside just as I was entering the off ramp of my exit. She proceeded to get my attention and only upon looking over did I notice her hand with her pointer finger extended toward her open mouth…with a exaggerated “gag me” motion and look of disgust on her face. Yep. It’s not for everyone. The color…and now you can check off the sound box also. As we wrapped up the introduction of Project Glut S5 a few months back you might recall the focus of this Audi. OE++. A little lower, louder, more powerful. We can now cross the latter two of these items off the list.
Louder: AWE Exhaust and Downpipes.
Within a week of getting the S5 I had placed a call to California based Pure Motorsport, an official AWE distributor. One Youtube search for Audi S5 AWE will provide you with ALL the reasons you could ever need to make the same call. Louder? Oh yeah, AWE can do louder. After some brief dialog with various enthusiasts, I had a decision to make – Downpipes or No Downpipes. AWE shows a dyno proven +18 hp and +12 lb-ft with this system, none of it thanks to the downpipes. Todd Sager, president of AWE made it very clear that the downpipes do not add any performance, just a deeper, evil, visceral note that cannot be accomplished with the AWE exhaust alone. But this sound he stated “might be too aggressive for some”. So what do you think a guy that owns an orange S5 does when he’s not nauseating wannabe cougars in SLKs?
Downpipes, please. Thank you.
The install was easy enough, with no issues of note – straightforward and to the point. Looking under the car now, the resonators are gone. The rear silencing cans are gone and only a small version of the OEM center muffler remains. Wow. I watched as the car was lowered on the rack and noticed service techs, sales reps, managers and even a few clients stop what they were doing and gather around to hear it for the very first time.
Uninhibited. Fierce. Angry. It’s the R8 4.2 exhaust note dialled up and turned to 11.The only thing better than the sound of the 4.2 FSI V8 singing as the needle sweeps up the rev range is lifting and hearing the over run, with the crackle and popping soundtrack.
First driving impressions showed a much more fluid and aggressive engine response above 5000 rpm. The car just sounded like amplified thunder. I was grinning like an eight-year old. Not only was the sound and the performance great, but in the visuals were improved as well. The beautiful slash-cut polished AWE tips fill out the lower valance better than stock and I chose to stagger the the 100% adjustable tips for added flare.
Verdict? If you own an S5 and you aren’t shy…this is the system for you. It simply transforms the car to a WHOLE other level. Inside the cabin, you enjoy the sound and notice very very little drone. AWE makes a top notch product and backs it up with top notch service. You cant go wrong. It’s not the cheapest system on the market. Far from it But, it is worth every penny. Thanks to Michael at Pure Motorsport, Todd & Alex at AWE and Kevin at Audi for the awesome install work.
Faster: APR Engine Tune.
Unlike many of the B8 S4 enthusiasts out there that are having so much fun tuning their 3.0T motor, 4.2 FSI guys can’t unlock quite the same power with a normally aspirated mill. However, that doesn’t mean V8 owners are short on options! Look no further than famed Alabama-based Audi tuner APR.
APR is the gold standard when it comes to engine tuning in the Audi community. APR offers premiere tuning options for the nearly every engine in the Audi line including the 4.2 FSI V8. Gains? Dyno proven +15 peak HP and +14 TQ. Cost? $700. Worth it? You betcha.
With my S5 in the hands of Keith from APR, the tune took all of about 15 minutes. Simple. Straight forward. No issues, hiccups nor check engine lights.
How does it drive? The biggest difference over stock is how buttery smooth the power is now. The peaks have smoothed out and the throttle response at 4000 rpm in 3rd gear is literally neck snapping. The smooth refinement of the V8 coupled with the bark out back from the AWE exhaust is really awesome. Big thanks to Keith and Stephen at APR.
Minor details are what make a car in my opinion. Those small key items that, in-and-of-themselves don’t amount to much, combine to really drive home the final product and overall effect. With the S5 I have started to add a few subtle touches…because its all about the details!
First and foremost I added some DRA Trak+ wheel spacers from H&R and, after countless discussions and pictures, the consensus was 20mm front and 25mm rear to give the car a solid stance that really fills out the wheel wells.
It’s true. The spacers really add a lot to the car and the before and after difference is quite noticeable. I also removed the V8 badges from the front quarter panels and had 20% black metallic tint added all around.
Inside, a Valentine One radar detector has been hardwired into the S5 and sits above and to the left of the rear view mirror. Further, just in case the police have a hard time locating the orange S5 in case of emergency, Lo-Jack has been added.
Last, I picked up a beautiful Carbon Fiber plate frame from the Audi Collection that goes perfectly with the subtle Carbon interior touches of the S5 and lastly, a simple low-key black license plate was added to complete the rear.
Looking back now from where this project started, I am very pleased with the development thus far. I would support and buy each of these products if I had to do it all over again. Great companies, products and people have really made this a lot of fun. For the final installment of this project car series…we will focus on rounding out the car with suspension and wheels.
Oh and to answer the question many of you are wondering. I have NOT been pulled over or ticketed. *knocks on every wooden item around me* So, are you eager to see what comes next and how we put the whipped cream and cherry on this sundee? As am I. Stay tuned!