VW Vortex - Volkswagen Forum banner
  • Mwerks and Fourtitude have rejoined VWVortex. For more info, see this thread.

1 - 20 of 217 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,649 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I decided to wait for a few months to write this one up as I knew that the car would be changing pretty rapidly at first, and its more fun to read about the transformation in retrospect than some long, drawn out protracted series of posts (to some extent, going forward obviously things will happen more in real time). Suffice to to say, I picked up a 2018 RS3 back at the very end of July. Remember my buddy who gave me the smoking deal on the 2017 ZCP M3? Well, he’s an Audi manager now. So I got about ~10% off the sticker price. Mine is average as far as options, I would say. Nardo Gray is a stunning color, exclusive to the RS3, and is free. Easy choice. I got the technology package (LCD gauges, B&O stereo, etc), dynamic package (active exhaust, staggered tires, etc), Black optics package, and some other little odds and ends I’m forgetting about. Honestly, I would say that the car is about 10% overpriced as far as MSRP goes. I really don’t feel like this is a 60k+ package, but in the mid-ish 50s, it becomes a more compelling piece for what it is capable of, not what it is out of the box.


This brings me to my next point. After bouncing from M3 to 911 to M3 to 911, I had sort of forgotten what it was like to own a car that doesn’t do everything nearly perfectly. Yes, those cars are amazing, and arguably the pinnacles of their respective categories, but part of what makes cars for me at least is their quirks and areas that they don’t do perfectly, which allows me to put my own stamp on them. The M3 and 991.2 Turbo S have absolutely incredible engines that make quite a bit of power running a lot of boost that they somehow manage to calibrate to feel nearly naturally aspirated. The 991 in particular really felt more like a huge engine under the hood rather than a very puffed-up 6. While this is great from a refinement standpoint, this isn’t really what get my blood boiling. The 991 was a mid 10 second car that didn’t feel like it was any faster than a mid 11 second car at best. It would click off these insane times over and over while feeling like you were just driving to the bank. While initially amusing that the car would perform so incredibly in such nonchalant manner, after a while it just sort of became mundane. This really lead me to realize that imperfections, noise, and turbo lag are what put the personality into high performance turbocharged cars that I enjoy so much. Honestly, the “wind up, whack” nature of the 997 is one of the reasons I still have it nearly 5 years later.




This was the day I got it home:


Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr


Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr






After tint and ceramic coating:


Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr


Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr






So let’s talk about theatre. The RS3 has this, to some degree, out of the box. The engine sounds great warbling all over the place, and is a snorty, fairly eager little thing out of the box. The turbo is monstrous for 400 crank HP, so there is a fair amount of lag by today’s standards met with acceleration that didn’t match what I was expecting given the “wind-up.” The dynamic exhaust with the valves is a good bit louder outside the car than you would think Audi would allow, but still pretty quiet on the inside. While you can hear pops and bangs in videos taken from the rear of the car, with the North American catted secondary pipes in place, this is very, very muted inside the car. The transmission is the new, beefed up 7 speed DQ500. Depending on mode, it can whack the shifts pretty well. Under very light loads, and non-dynamic transmission settings, it can slur shifts a lot more than I would like and what I’m accustomed to from a dual clutch box.


The interior, in typical Audi fashion, is nice for the $35k car it’s based on. It isn’t winning any awards, but honestly it isn’t much worse than my old F80s which were significantly more expensive cars. The stereo is just sensational. I’m not an audiophile, but the highs are so crisp, the soundstage apparent, and the base is well controlled, punchy, and doesn’t rattle anything even if you have the volume up. The LCD gauges are cool at first, but quickly become a novelty, IMO. There’s something about the mechanical nature of a really well done gauge cluster that has a tangible benefit over these very 2 dimensional screen based systems. Seats are very comfortable, though I do wish for a bit more lateral support.


The looks of the car, bone stock, leave a bit to be desired. I find the design of the factory boat anchors (err, wheels) downright offensive. The offsets are just abysmally lame too. This gets me to the other part of the car that is very, very noticeably down-market compared to some of the other car mentioned in this price range. This car is downright, 100% outclassed dynamically by the F8X. While great on the street as a street car, after a bit of hustling it was very apparent that Audi never really designed this thing to spend any real time on the track in stock from. The stock Pirellis are just AWFUL tires. Terribly soft sidewalls, narrow cut, and rough riding with grip that gives up much earlier than you would expect given the flinty ride of the car. The chassis dynamics are just not there….It simply doesn’t move in the corners like an M car. It doesn’t handle imperfections in the friction surface under loads anything like the M3…and in a bad way. It feels flat, frazzled, and decidedly out of place in this usage mode. I remember people here poking fun that the Civic Type R was faster than the RS3 around VIR. I actually thought it was more of a bad showing on the Civic’s part than the RS3 as it barely beat the Audi, which has ZERO business being on a track in stock form.


Thankfully a decent bit of the bad I discussed above is related to the rubber, rather than the chassis and suspension tuning. A common issue with the Pzeros is damaging and bubbling the soft sidewalls. I busted both driver’s side tires at 1000 miles. Replaced them with some lightly used 235 width PS4S while I waited on my BBS wheels and PS4S tires to come in. Even this change, with a drop in width to 235 on all 4 tires, resulted in a much better ride, less tire noise, much better steering feel given the stiffer sidewalls, and a lot better overall grip.


So let’s get to what the car can be with appropriate mods. I decided to use APR for my tuning needs. There are many flash options to choose from these days, and while APR’s model certainly isn’t flexible, I like their style and the data they present during a product unveiling. I also have been friends with some of the original guys for the better part of 20 years. If you know anything about these cars, they are dragsters in street clothes. APR, in an admittedly very otherwise modified RS3, ran a 10.5x @ 131 in their RS3 with no performance modifications other than E85 in the tank and their E85 flash. I started out with the stage 1 tuning as well. The car ran an 11.4 @ 119 on their 93 octane mapping. With the 235 width PS4S, the car went an 11.1 @ 126.5 on E85 otherwise stock. I have to say that their programming is just sensational if you are looking for a truly factory-like experience, just with more power. There is zero weirdness, just lots of smooth power out to 7k rpm. In particular, I’m extremely impressed with their E85 mapping. I’ve been playing with E85 for a long time, and I’ve tuned for it a number of times as well. It is hard to dial E85 mapping in to the point where there is ZERO odd behavior at any point. Even if it’s a slightly longer crank on a cold day, a slight lean tip-in hesitation while the engine is cold the first time you put your foot down, etc. The E85 mapping absolutely feels 100% like stock until you put your foot all the way down. At that point, hang on :)


Since the initial flash, I’ve added the OEM Euro catless mid pipes. This is a must-have mod, IMO. The car sounds so, so good. This uncorks the engine with the valves open, and the pops and bangs on down shifts are so much more fun. Honestly, this would be my first mod for anybody picking one of these cars up. The is zero issue with check engine lights or emissions either. Next, I added the APR FMIC. While this doesn’t add any power on E85, its good for 25 whp or so on pump gas. I noticed better consistency and a bit more power from 5-7k rpm on 93 octane. My latest mod is the 4” turbo inlet pipe with 4” crossover pipe. This mod is good for 25 whp on E85. The inlet allows the engineers to run about 1-1.5 psi more boost from 5 to 7k rpm. There is a very noticeable increase in power in this range with the 1+ software that takes advantage of this hardware. From the roll, the car really pulls hard for any vehicle I’ve been in, much less a 2.5L AWD MQB. It is starting to remind me of my full bolt-on E85 GTR, but with less torque in the midrange (The car is approaching 600 crank hp at this point). The turbo is also much more vocal with this intake mod, but only at full throttle. It’s perfect. I think with this cooler weather, I can get it into the 10s on the street. We will find out soon.


APR Stage 1 E85 (no hardware change of any kind) and 235 section width PS4S. This is not a impressive time for this car, but it's the only run I did with a full tank of fuel, fully heat soaked with 204 deg oil temps, and 90 deg ambient temps. 100% real world run on the street, not a prepped track:


RS3 APR stage 1 ethanol by glmmd81, on Flickr






FMIC install:

Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr

Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr


Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr




Some pics from the inlet install (that’s right, billet compressor wheel, 54 lb/hr for those curious) :


Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr


Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr


Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr


Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr




Externally I haven’t done too much. Tinted the windows, ceramic coated the car, and went with a set of 19” BBS CI-Rs with PS4S in 255 width on all 4 corners. The ride is great. The turn-in is great. The grip is great…..and the launch control is really, really great ;) This has done so much to bring the car up to the standard I expect for a car of this caliber. I really can’t reiterate how important upgrading at least the tires is on this platform. It makes that much of a difference. While the car looks good in pictures with the new wheels, it is staggeringly better in person. I get more comments and questions about this car than I ever have with my 911s. I had originally planned on lowering the car, but you know what? I actually looks fine in person. Also, this car reminds me SO much of an Evo 9 that went to finishing school, so I’m going with the rally car thing. It isn’t perfect, it doesn’t hide its imperfections, but it is a damn honest car and is eager to do what you want, especially if you equip it with the hardware it needs to do so well.


Pulling the factory wheels after I blew the two driver’s side tires:


Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr




New wheels:


Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr


Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr


Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr


Untitled by glmmd81, on Flickr








To sum it up: Really, really good street car. I think you buy this car for the hidden capability built-in, rather than what it presents in the stock package. With a few well thought-out mods, the car absolutely transforms. It is very honest and true in an increasingly synthetic and computerized performance auto world. I am tickled pink with it. I enjoy walking up to it and every time I drive it. The noises are fantastic even at partial throttle, and now at WOT it is just a riot. I’ve already gotten a few sets of wide-eyed enthusiasts who thought their 450 hp muscle cars were fast :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
I've been eyeing these for some time and am moving to a cheaper housing market, going to treat myself to something special to follow up the F80 and I'm interested to hear your experience with this as time progresses.

Think the car looks great on the BBS and hoping to hear more driving impressions on a more capable tire.

Once again, Toaster, your selection in cars deserves a :beer:.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
500 Posts
Great and very thorough review. Very objective which is uncommon. Congrats on the beautiful car. For sure you have a killer stealth drag race little king there. Great taste on color and mods as well. Enjoy. I know not to mess with these from a dig!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,448 Posts
Great write up on a great car. There is so much potential in this I5 it is astonishing. SRM has built several of these that are all in the mid 9's and most are daily driven. They are tuned with the APR software which is fantastic. And the sound they make at 8000rpm is intoxicating.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,244 Posts
Really nice. I can't help but think how good this engine would be in the S4/RS4. I love the idea of the RS3 but it's just so damn tight in the interior. I don't know why Audi is dicking around with those V6's when this motor can easily match their outputs, sounds better and is more interesting and in keeping with the brand. Plenty of room under the B9 hood to flip this longitudinally and slap it in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,352 Posts
Those stock wheels are simply not RS3 worthy. Looks so much more cohesive with the BBS wheels on it. Love it. :thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,377 Posts
Great car, love the color. Yes, I went thru about 3 PZeros in the couple years I owned my MK7. Completely impractical on 18's or 19's on real American streets.
 

·
Registered
RS3, JKU
Joined
·
18,445 Posts
Really nice. I can't help but think how good this engine would be in the S4/RS4. I love the idea of the RS3 but it's just so damn tight in the interior. I don't know why Audi is dicking around with those V6's when this motor can easily match their outputs, sounds better and is more interesting and in keeping with the brand. Plenty of room under the B9 hood to flip this longitudinally and slap it in.
It’s a transverse mount engine. For longitudinal application they would essentially have to redesign most of it.

The OP seems to have found the ticket, a tune and some tires and a few peripheral things if you want turns these things into beasts. Don’t need a downpipe, don’t even really need a trans tune. E85 is nice to have, even a stock car with a couple gallons mixed in picks up ~5 mph in the 1/4.

Mine is still completely stock, the tires will wear out soon enough and I’ll change them at that point. The car is stupid fast enough for a daily, plus it’s pretty liberating thrashing on it without a care in the world. If I decide to keep it after three or four years I’ll most likely tune it at that point.

Too bad the US doesn’t get the 5 Rotor wheel option.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,649 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Senior, is that your C43? If so, nice job getting that thing downright fast!





Great and very thorough review. Very objective which is uncommon. Congrats on the beautiful car. For sure you have a killer stealth drag race little king there. Great taste on color and mods as well. Enjoy. I know not to mess with these from a dig!
Thank you. Love your CS. Post more about it.

Holy cow, 11.1 on a DD with 235s. That is amazing. :thumbup:
Very impressive little machine for sure.

Great write up on a great car. There is so much potential in this I5 it is astonishing. SRM has built several of these that are all in the mid 9's and most are daily driven. They are tuned with the APR software which is fantastic. And the sound they make at 8000rpm is intoxicating.
This one will likely end up with a stock frame turbo upgrade ;)

You need to stop and let the rest of us catch up!! I haven’t even bought my first Porsche yet. 😎
Don’t worry. I’m actually done for a good while. I want to focus elsewhere.

Really nice. I can't help but think how good this engine would be in the S4/RS4. I love the idea of the RS3 but it's just so damn tight in the interior. I don't know why Audi is dicking around with those V6's when this motor can easily match their outputs, sounds better and is more interesting and in keeping with the brand. Plenty of room under the B9 hood to flip this longitudinally and slap it in.
It really wouldn’t fit the character of those cars very well. There’s a decent amount of lag. The B9 S4 has much more low end power below 3k rpm and sounds great, and much more refined.

Those stock wheels are simply not RS3 worthy. Looks so much more cohesive with the BBS wheels on it. Love it. :thumbup:
Agreed. Love the new wheels. Really shows off the huge brakes too.

What percent tint did you go with??
i told them 30%. They put 20% on without asking me since they didn’t have any 30%. Not ideal but it’s fine.

It’s a transverse mount engine. For longitudinal application they would essentially have to redesign most of it.

The OP seems to have found the ticket, a tune and some tires and a few peripheral things if you want turns these things into beasts. Don’t need a downpipe, don’t even really need a trans tune. E85 is nice to have, even a stock car with a couple gallons mixed in picks up ~5 mph in the 1/4.

Mine is still completely stock, the tires will wear out soon enough and I’ll change them at that point. The car is stupid fast enough for a daily, plus it’s pretty liberating thrashing on it without a care in the world. If I decide to keep it after three or four years I’ll most likely tune it at that point.

Too bad the US doesn’t get the 5 Rotor wheel option.
Lots of choices to make this car whatever you want it to be. It’ll get a downpipe before too long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
272 Posts
Yknow it's a little excessive when a sub 12 second stock car has certain owners complain of lag and "****ty" interior designs.

Ah well. The rest of us remain jealous.
 
1 - 20 of 217 Posts
Top