202mph wide-body #Audi-RS4-B5 #Audi-A4-B5
MRC Tuning’s 202mph B5 #Audi-RS4
MRC Tuning’s Doug Bennett has not only created one of the world’s finest B5 RS4 saloon #Audi-A4
conversions, he’s also reached over 200mph in it… Words Davy Lewis Photography Dan Pullen.
People always want what they can’t have. From that big house with the pool, to the Italian supercar with a screaming V10 – it’s human nature to desire the unobtainable. It’s the very thing that keeps many of us motivated and encourages us to get out of bed in the mornings. With the right opportunities, plus a hefty does of talent, a little bit of risk taking (plus good old fashioned luck of course) it is possible to achieve your dreams and buy what you really want. But what if the thing you really want isn’t for sale? What if it doesn’t technically exist? Well, then you need to think laterally. Doug Bennett is co-owner of renowned Audi performance specialists, #MRC-Tuning
. He is one of the most passionate guys in the business when it comes to four-ringed machines and I suspect that if you cut him in half, he’d have Audi stamped through him like a stick of rock.
Doug lives and breathes Audis, from the moment he steps foot in the workshop, to his lunch break (“When I’m lucky enough to get one!”) to when he gets home. Whereas some tuners switch off when they’re not in the ‘office’ Doug will be working on his own cars, of which he has several. In fact, he’s first to admit that he finds it impossible to let a car go. Which kind of explains the enviable collection of Audis parked outside MRC Tuning’s HQ.
There’s his original S2 – the car that started it all, now packing a cool 700bhp. His R8 turbo, which is currently having a twin supercharger kit fitted; his daily driver – a 500bhp B8 S4 saloon on ceramics, and the family ‘run around’ a C6 RS6 avant that’s currently running a cool 751PS. But there’s another car... It’s something so special that it gets pride of place in the garage at Doug’s home. This car has been a true labour of love, and for me, it’s the most special of the lot.
Doug’s widebody #Audi
RS4 saloon has been around for a good few years now. But it’s one of those cars that Audi enthusiasts still talk about and one that most people have at least heard of. Having seen some widebody conversions, Doug decided he wanted to do one properly. In case you were wondering, that adds up to a whole heap of work.
To have spent so much time, effort, and expense creating such an immaculate, one-off creation, and then go and hammer the life out of it on a stone-ridden airfield in the pursuit of an insane top speed is staggering. The fact it became unstable and could so easily have ended in disaster is something else entirely. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Doug bought the S4 back in 2010 and the build took around a year. The base car was a tatty silver S4 that looked like it had seen better days. But that didn’t matter, as pretty much every part of it was going to be renewed or replaced.
You can see the boxout for the full details of the bodywork, but the main work involved grafting RS4 wings, sills and bumpers onto the saloon.
Renowned bodywork specialist, Greg Howell, carried out the work – of which there was a hell of a lot to get those 12mm wider arches to fit. There was much deliberation about the colour, with Doug asking the AudiSRS.com members what they thought. His final decision of Ibis White is perfect. Incidentally the entire build was detailed on AudiSRS.com and you can se it here – http:// audisrs.com/ftopic10977-0-asc-0.php.
And so to the engine, which is Doug’s specialist area. The bay looks like it just came out of the Ingolstadt factory. There are black hoses to keep it OEM and everything looks brand new, including the fluid bottles and associated clips, screws and other items.
Underneath, a serious rebuild of the RS4 lump has taken place. The Cosworth-built engine came with a healthy 375bhp from the factory, so it was a good place to start. A stroker has been fitted to take the capacity to 3.0-litres. Fully reworked heads and inlet manifold allow the thing to breathe more freely, while MRC’s own ceramic-coated tubular exhaust manifold offers massively improved airflow. There are beefy 3in downpipes (naturally) to get those twin K16 turbos spooled up fast.
To feed the hungry V6, an MRC 750 fuel pump kit, plus 980cc injectors get the Momentum 99 in fast. With the hardware in place, it was time for MRC’s Mihnea Cotet to work some magic with the map. It took around three days to get it spot on, fully utilising the Hitachi MAF. To ensure this thing is even more devastating when you drop the hammer, launch control and flat shift has been worked into the ECU.
To get that power down, a Spec clutch kit with hardened gearset was fitted, together with a custom sixth gear for the 200mph run. This RS4 saloon is a truly immaculate beast. So it’s all the more mind blowing when Doug kicks its arse on an airfield! The noise when those twin turbos wake up and the anti-lag kicks in is incredible, and of course, there’s a pair of flames from the RS6 tailpipes too.
Rather than focus on big peak numbers, Doug wanted this car to be savagely quick in the real world, so that meant big torque. This thing pulls from low down and just keeps on going in one relentless charge. You can see it in action in the video links we’ve added, but the way the rev counter sweeps around the dial as the speedo goes off the clock is something to behold. You’ll also see in the video a cool slow-mo of all four wheels spinning as it launches off the line. Part of the appeal for me is that the B5 is one of the last smaller saloons ever made. It’s also one of the best looking with its curvy shape and looks like it’s ready for action. The wide arches and beefy 20in wheels merely add to the sense of impending violence that oozes from this Ibis White weapon.
Inside, this RS4 saloon is very special indeed. There’s a real highend feel to the cabin with swathes of soft-touch Alcantara adorning the dash, door cards and steering wheel. It feels like an Aston Martin or Bentley rather than a 15-year-old Audi. But it’s the rear seats that really set it apart.
It would have been easy to get the rear bench trimmed to match the stunning Recaro Pole Position front seats. However Doug doesn’t do easy and tasked Greg Howell with removing the rear seats and custom fitting another pair of Pole Positions. There was a lot of custom fabrication involved, but the results are stunning. The rest of the B5’s interior was given a full on refresh with leather and Alcantara used for the roof lining, pillars and dash inserts. With ballistic performance on tap, it seemed fitting to add a chunky B5 RS4 steering wheel, too.
As I said, the B5 widebody has lived a pretty cushy life since the infamous top speed run. All that’s been done is a regular oil change and plenty of cleaning. But recently that changed. In fact, it was this development that proved the catalyst to us featuring it. I spotted an update on facebook showing the car with a set of mean looking ADV.1 alloys tucked up in the big arches. I asked Doug if they were really going on the car and he said “of course”.
That sums up this stunning B5 really. It’s had the very best of everything and is still Doug’s pride and joy – plus it’s done over 200mph, too, which is pretty cool!
Engine 2.7 V6 biturbo from B5 RS4, 3.0 stroker kit, K16 hybrid turbos, ported heads, ported polished and reworked inlet manifold, ceramic coated MRC tubular manifold, custom #Milltek
exhaust with 3in downpipes and C6 RS6 oval tailpipes with ceramic black tips, 100mm Hitachi MAF housing, ITG custom cone filter inside OEM adapted airbox, 980cc injectors, #MRC750
fuel pump kit, MRC Stage 3 map with anti-lag, launch control and flat shift.
Power 721bhp and 885Nm
Transmission 6-speed manual with Spec clutch kit, metal slave cylinder, hardened gearset, MRC custom 6th gear for 200+mph top speed.
Brakes AP Racing 6-pots front and 4-pots rear with DS3000 brake pads
Suspension Bilstein BSS9 coilovers Wheels and Tyres ADV.1 alloys.
Exterior Full, metal RS4 widebody conversion by Greg Howell, RS4 front bumper, RS4/S4 rear bumper blended with C6 RS6 rear diffuser, de-locked, headlamp wahers removed, rear number plate recess shortened, side repeaters removed, painted Ibis White.
Interior 4x Recaro Pole Position seats trimmed in leather and Alcantara, retrimmed B5 RS4 steering wheel, roof lining, pillars, door cards and dash inlays trimmed in Alcantara.
Tuning contacts MRC Tuning www.mrctuning.com Southam Bodies (Greg Howell) 01926 813676
Top 200mph and sheep do not mix! Below: Those arches took a LOT of work...
THE 200MPH RUN
Doing 200mph sounds easy. It isn’t. For starters you need a suitable car. Many ‘200mph’ cars simply can’t get near that figure. Remember, 200mph on a speedo, isn’t a true 200mph on a Performance Box or similar GPS-based device. The next issue is space. You need a long way to achieve 200, and be able to brake safely. In the UK, that means there’s only a handful of airfields (we don’t recommend the M1!) long enough to do top speed runs. So, assuming you have a car that can achieve 200 and an airfield that’s long enough, you then have to contend with aerodynamics. At big speeds, even slight cross winds have a big effect on a car. Add to this a poor surface and often inclement weather, and you can see that it’s not an easy thing to do. Not safely anyway. It’s for this reason that the V Max days have become so popular. Run by true supercar enthusiasts, these days give owners of big-power cars the chance to try and max them out at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, near Leicester. This ex-WW2 airfield is one of the longest available in the UK at almost 2-miles, so it’s ideal.
It was at one of these events that Doug achieved 202.4mph in the RS4 saloon. “It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done,” he confesses. “We had removed the spare wheel well to fit the dual-exit exhaust and the reduction in weight made the back end go light.” Doug won’t be drawn on specifics, suffice to say there was a spin and he’s very thankful the car stayed the right way up. The B5’s top speed days were called to a halt here. “I’d proved it could do over 200mph,” says Doug, so that was that. You can see the car in action by searching “MRC Tuning B5 widebody” on YouTube or heading to www.mrctuning.com
“The noise when those twin turbos wake up and the ALS kicks in is incredible”
Above right: Interior is awash with leather and Alcantara Above: Buckets in the rear is a very cool touch.
CREATING AN S4 WIDEBODY
As conversions go, this is one of the more involved. It’s not simply a case of fabricating some wide arches and blending the bumpers in to match. Not by a long shot! To carry it out properly, first you need a genuine B5 RS4. It helps of course if the RS4 is a bit tatty, or even broken as you’ll need to pinch its front and rear bumpers and sills before attacking those iconic arches.
The arches were cut out of the donor car and carefully grafted on to the saloon. It took a lot of careful measuring, offering up and expert welding to get spot on. The doors in particular were a headache as they had to be a blend of S4 and RS4 to get sitting right. The rear bumper is a blend of S4 middle section, with RS4 corners and a C6 RS6 diffuser.
It was an immense amount of work to achieve, but it all looks OEM – which fulfilled the brief perfectly. The fact it still looks factory fresh is testament to the quality of the workmanship all round.
Top: The view is much improved by the RS4 Left: C6 RS6 diffuser and tailpipes.
“A sense of impending violence oozes from this Ibis White weapon”