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  •   Mark Dixon reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Subtle intentions. This tuned A5 3.0 #TDI shows you don’t always need an S or RS badge to have a fast and fun Audi…

    AUDI A5 COUPE Nardo grey 3.0 TDI

    Words Davy Lewis. Photography Dan Sherwood.

    There’s something about a nicely done coupe that never gets old. Maybe it’s something to do with the fact they have only two doors and represent the notion of freedom and style – something that a growing family often puts the brakes on. Or it could be that the designers are given more scope to express themselves with a coupe. Either way, it’s clear that Audi has always been good at them – from the iconic Urquattro that set the benchmark back in the 1980s, right up to the current version of the A5.

    One of the best selling models so far has been the first generation A5. The sleek lines, muscular haunches and purposeful front end sold it for many and it’s no surprise that Ingolstadt churned out a huge number of them. Of course the ones that get all the attention tend to be the S and RS models, but there are others to choose from. One of the highlights is the 3.0 TDI. The V6 diesel is smooth, refined and offers plenty of poke as standard. You may not get the aural satisfaction of an S or RS engine’d car, but as a rapid and capable daily driver, they make a lot of sense.

    Which brings us on to the car you see here. After several unsuccessful years of waiting for the right new car, Marc Wale decided that he would keep his existing A5 and turn it something a bit special This may not be as extreme an undertaking as it first sounds as Marc owns Cheshire-based GM Tuner MW Performance so therefore, shall we say, he had the tools of the trade to take on such a build.

    What Marc wanted to create had to perform as a daily car not purely a show car. He wanted it to retain its Audi heritage so, whilst wanting to build something a little different, it still needed to look as though it could have come straight out of Ingolstadt.

    The first stage was to upgrade the mechanicals. The 3.0 V6 was treated to some bespoke software, a K&N air filter with simple airbox de-restriction, and an S5 exhaust system. With power up to around 300hp and a whopping 600Nm of torque, things were already looking good.

    Next up, the chassis came in for some work. A set of Eibach springs help to reduce pitch and roll, as well as giving a much more sporting ride height. The sleek coupe looks stunning hunkered down over the Raywell wheels, finished in satin anthracite. The A5 is a fairly weighty beast, so a set of TT RS front brakes were adapted to fit, offering improved stopping power. A set of S5 rears were added and help retain the OEM feel of the build.

    Then it was the turn of the interior. After purchasing some very sorry looking and weathered S5 trim at a bargain price from his local breakers, it was brought back to life with a good clean, some leather treatment and various repairs by Chester Autotrim. This was then installed and wired into the car, all programmed up with VAG-COM and complemented by all the S5 carbon fibre inlays – not forgetting the all important S5 logo programmed onto the Audi MMI display, plus hard wired dash cam and Road Angel.

    For the exterior, Marc decided to go for a full respray in one of the most talked about RS colours – Nardo grey. There’s something about this stealthy shade that oozes class in that understated, Audi way and it looks spot on covering the A5. Sprayfiction were entrusted with the job and had it all turned around in just a week – nice work. The grey finish really shows off the sleek lines of the coupe a treat. It was then back to Marc to have the finishing touches completed including the 2012 rear LED light conversion, S5 rear bumper, followed by gloss black folding mirrors and satin black grille and window surrounds. The final stage was a trip to Ceramic Pro North Wales where owner and good friend, Jason, set about the two-day process of detailing the bodywork & interior. The overall result is amazing and the car, once finished, looked literally brand new. So there we have it. Some carefully chosen upgrades have transformed what had become a bit of a tired looking daily into something worthy of a show car, with decent performance to match.

    SPECIFICATION #Audi-A5-3.0-TDI-Quattro / #Audi-A5-8T / #Audi-A5 / #Audi-A5-3.0-TDI-Quattro-8T / #Audi-A5-3.0-TDI-Coupe-quattro / #Audi / #Audi-A5-Coupe / #Audi-A5-3.0-V6-TDI-Quattro-Coupe / #Audi-A5-3.0-TDI / #Audi-A5-3.0-V6-TDI-Quattro-Coupe-8T / #Audi-A5-Type-8T

    Engine 3.0 TDI #V6 , custom S5-style exhaust, modified air box with #K&N filter, custom #Superchips software
    Power 300hp and 600Nm

    Transmission 6-speed manual

    Brakes TT RS front brakes with custom adapters, S5 rear brakes

    Suspension Eibach springs

    Wheels 20in #Raywell design in satin anthracite, #Audi centre caps, 265/30 Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres
    Exterior Painted Nardo grey, S5 rear bumper with gloss black valance, satin grille and window surrounds, gloss black grille and lower front bumper, gloss black folding mirrors, 2012 rear LED lights, de-dadged rear end, PPF applied to the front end, tinted rear windows, chrome RS-style quattro badge on front bumper
    Interior Red leather heated electric S5 seats and door cards, hard wired Road Angel and upgraded MMI system

    Thanks SMV Accident Repair 07903 411975, Ceramic Pro North Wales 01978 661236, Elite Films 0151 321 2151, Superchips UK 01280 816781

    “The Nardo grey paint really shows off the coupe’s lines”

    Above: 3.0 TDI makes an ideal daily driver.
    Left: Red leather S5 interior.
    Above: 20in Raywell wheels.
    Right: 3.0 TDI now makes around 300hp.
    Above: Nardo grey looks ace on the A5.
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  •   Jonathan Musk reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Words Davy Lewis Photography AJ Walker #Audi A5 TDI 3.0 V6 Packing 325bhp and 626Nm


    This A5 TDI is now packing a healthy 325bhp and 626Nm…

    There’s a stage in life that many of us reach at some point. You wake up one morning and think, ‘hang on a minute, I need something a bit more grown up; a bit more sensible.’ Back in the day, this would mean the end of any car related fun. It would mean time for a TDI. Unfortunately, most diesels were smelly, slow and sounded like an old Transit van on a cold morning.

    Today however, things have moved on somewhat.

    The latest crop of modern TDIs are packing some serious heat. From the ubiquitous 2.0 units found in everything from A3s to A6s, to the powerful #BiTDI lumps with 300+bhp in the SQ5 and A6 – Audi makes some cracking, fast diesels. In fact, the most powerful production diesel has just been announced – the 4.0 V8 in the new SQ7 which kicks out a stonking 435bhp and 664lb/ft. But, one of the most popular diesels for tuning is the 3.0 TDI V6. This highly capable powerplant has been used in many Audis, from A4s to Q7s and created a loyal following. It offers strong performance with up to 236bhp and 369lb/ft in the A5, a smooth power delivery from the V6 and a noise that sounds quite un- diesel like. They also respond very well to tuning, which brings us to this stunning red A5…

    Having run lots of belly scraping tuned cars, Dan Harney decided he’d had enough. He wanted something more comfortable, that wouldn’t empty his wallet each week for fuel, but still offer some decent grunt. The A5 made a lot of sense.

    “I bought it to be sensible and use daily to get to work,” he comments, “but within two months I’d fitted air-ride,” he laughs. The Air Lift Performance set up was chosen as Dan was fed up with running a low car on his local roads. The V2 kit is fully adjustable and offers the practicality and comfort needed for our terrible roads. It’s been fully tested too, as Dan explains: “I took it to the Nürburgring and did a sub-10-minute lap.” He continues, “The lads I was with didn’t think it would handle with the air-ride, so I took all of them out and they were amazed.

    “The A5 has the two things I said I’d never have – a diesel engine and an auto box,” smiles Dan. “But it was the 3.0 V6 that drew me too it.” With 236bhp from the factory, it pulled well and offered effortless performance mated to the tiptronic box. “It has the paddle shifters, so you can have a play if you’re bored, or leave it in Sport so it hangs onto the gears for longer.” Of course, it would be a shame to leave an engine with so much potential standard.

    The A5 was sent to ADE Tuning for a DPF delete and custom remap. The diesel particulate filter strangles performance and the delete pipe does away with it. Visually the DPF still appears to be fitted, which is currently all that’s required for an MoT. The exhaust is a custom unit, fabricated by Pipewerx. Dan had a chat with the guys and told them his requirements and they suggested a 2.5in system to produce the best sound, without risking too much drone at motorway speeds. The twin-exit system certainly looks the part, but it’s the sound that really blows people away. “Whenever I take someone out in the car, they say it doesn’t sound anything like a diesel,” smiles Dan. To be fair, the V6 makes a nice noise as standard, but with the custom exhaust (which incidentally has no boxes) it sounds plain evil. Nail the throttle in Sport and the big V6 wakes up with an angry snarl, which increases to a spine tingling crescendo as you fire through second and third gear. The real treat is nailing it from second and listening to that fantastic V6 howl behind you. Dan says, “Some have said it sounds more like a Golf R32 than a diesel A5.”

    With an ADE Tuning custom map, the potential of the V6 has been fully realised. Peak power is now an impressive 325bhp – almost S5 level – while the all-important torque figure is a mighty 626Nm, which is almost as much as a C7 RS6. “It certainly takes people by surprise,” laughs Dan, “being a quattro, it gets off the line pretty well and I like the fact it doesn’t look like an S or RS model.”

    The next step would be a hybrid turbo, plus supporting upgrades, which with A5s abroad making around 400bhp and up to 800Nm; it’s certainly tempting.

    Outside, things have been kept nice and subtle. There’s an RSstyle front grille, which gives the front end much more purpose, while the rear 3.0 badges have been removed. It really does look great in red, too, especially with the 3SDM wheels. “I spent a long time choosing wheels,” says Dan, “I went for these as they look good and I didn’t want to spend silly money on something that I’d be worried about every time I drove the car.” Although not wanting to create an S or RS replica outside, when it came to the inside, a full S5 interior has been fitted. “I saw loads for sale for silly money or in a terrible condition, so when this one came up for a good price I jumped on it.” The cream leather seats, door cards and arm rest have transformed the previously dark cabin. The finishing touches are an RS5 steering wheel, plus carbon wrapped inlays and an RS6 gear knob.

    Considering this was supposed to be Dan’s sensible daily, he’s managed to liven it up a treat. It now looks fantastic, offers solid performance and puts a smile on his face when he drives it. Sounds ideal to us.

    SPECIFICATION #Audi-A5-3.0-TDI-Coupe-quattro / #Audi-A5 / #Audi / #Audi-A5-Coupe / #Audi-A5-3.0-V6-TDI-Quattro-Coupe / #Audi-A5-3.0-TDI

    Engine 3.0 #TDI #V6 , #Pipewerx custom 2.5in exhaust system, #ADE-Tuning custom remap and DPF and EGR delete, #K&N air Filter

    Power 325bhp and 626Nm
    Transmission 6-speed tiptronic / #ZF
    Brakes Vented discs and uprated pads
    Suspension #Air-Lift #Air-Lift-Performance-V2 V2 kit with double bellow bags and threaded body dampers
    Wheels and Tyres 10.5x20in 3#SDM 0.08 alloys
    Interior Full S5 cream leather interior including seats, door cards and arm rest, RS5 steering wheel, carbon shift paddles, RS6 gear knob, carbon-wrapped inlays, subtle boot install

    Exterior RS-style front grille, debadged rear, LED fog lights, pressed personal plates

    Contacts/thanks Nick Payne and Chris Gent at Ride and Performance for the detailing, ADE Tuning for the remap and DPF, Pipewerx for the exhaust, the Unphased Crew

    Left: Full S5 interior in cream leather has transformed the A5’s cabin.

    “Some have said it sounds more like a Golf R32 than a diesel A5”
    Above: 3.0 TDI V6 provides ample grunt / Bottom: #3SDM alloys are well suited
    “The A5 has two things I said I’d never have – a diesel engine and an auto box”
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  •   Davy Lewis reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Dialled in! / #Audi-A5 / #Audi / #Bilstein / #2016 / #Audi-A5-Coupe /

    For fine-tuned handling performance, with the characteristics changed at the touch of a button, Bilstein’s iRC kit does all of this from your phone… Words And Photos: Paul Cowland

    Adjustable suspension is nothing new, of course. For years now, we have been able to modulate both the ride height and damping rate of any number of high-quality coilover suspension kits. This has been a boon, both for those looking to achieve the perfect ride height – and better still, for drivers genuinely in search of optimum handling. If the suspension of a car can be minutely adjusted not only to achieve perfect corner-weighting, but also tweaked to obtain the perfect damping rate, then you really can have your cake and eat it too.

    German suspension leader Bilstein has long been at the forefront of this technology, raising the bar a few years ago with the advent of its ‘ridecontrol’ functionality, which put a switchable push-button on the dash of your car – and linked to switchable damper internals housed within its B16 suspension units. This gave OEM levels of fit and functionality to a wide range of tuner platforms and meant that you could ride around in relative comfort on a soft damper setting for the daily commute, before punching a smart brushed aluminium button to create a much firmer and more responsive set-up for your next ‘B’-road foray or trackday outing…

    For most drivers, this was fine. The chance to endow your car with a ‘best of both worlds’ chassis set-up simply by pressing a button while on the move was all that was needed. As with all top-end technology, of course, it didn’t take too long for the boffins in Bilstein’s lab to want to move things forward into the world of the latest technology – so how about making damper adjustment available from your smartphone?

    The result of much hard work, development and programming is Bilstein’s innovative iRC system. A combination of hardware and software, this kit can be added as a cost-option to many of the firm’s ridecontrol kits to add an extra degree of functionality and, let’s face it, who isn’t going to be impressed as you whip your phone out on the next track day and instantly transform your car’s handling characteristics while you’re not even sitting in it? As the perfect balance between functionality and technology, it’s a marketleading bit of kit, and like all Bilstein products, while it’s not the cheapest, the quality is sensational.

    Keen to see it in action, we went along for the day while Bilstein UK sales manager Aaron Quilter was about to fit a kit to his own A5 Coupé, along with some complementary products from Eibach, Milltek Sport and Revo and also employing the talents of the TT Shop, who’d offered to help with the assembly.

    In addition to the fully adjustable IRC coilover set-up, there was also a set of Eibach’s adjustable arms and anti-roll bars, while Revo had donated a set of their stunning 20-inch rims, shod with high-performance Vredestein tyres, and Milltek Sport had provided one of their sonorous exhaust systems – all of which we’ll revisit later on.

    Fitting it up

    As Aaron’s A5 had barely completed its running-in mileage, with not a hint of rust or corrosion in sight, removing the original equipment was the work of mere minutes for the TT Shop’s hugely experienced technicians.

    After a few ‘before’ shots to chart progress, the car was put onto the ramp and work began in earnest. While nobody can deny that the standard Audi A5 is a great-looking car, it’s clear for all to see that the factory ride height and wheel combination lacks a little visual aggression, but the TT Shop team was about to transform both its looks and handling ability.

    First on was the Eibach equipment. This tried and tested pairing of uprated anti-roll bars and adjustable front arms can really elevate the handling prowess of the Audi platform. The new anti-roll bars use uprated polyurethane bushes with a clever linen lining that not only helps to retain the supplied grease to prolong the life of the bushes, but it also makes for whisperquiet operation with not a squeak or creak to be heard. The bars themselves are also electrostatically powder-coated, so even on the UK’s oft-salted roads, you can expect many years of service from these parts. Eibach also supplied a full set of their adjustable arms as part of the upgrade.

    This chassis is notorious for its lack of frontend adjustment, and this kit answers that problem by replacing the OEM fixed arms with an upgrade that offers total adjustment in every direction. Not only can you wind the all-important camber in – or out – with these new arms, but you can also select a fair degree of caster too, allowing the car to enjoy much greater steering feel and sensitivity, along with the increased self-centreing behaviour that is ideal for high-speed stability and confidence. As these parts offer so much adjustment, Eibach recommends referencing them against the original parts to begin with, adjusting them to the same size, before fine-tuning the alignment later.

    The Milltek Sport exhaust had been quickly fitted during a moment of ownership enthusiasm prior to the shoot, by Aaron himself. By his own admission, this was done in rather a hurry, keen to get a dramatic improvement in style and sound. But with the car now up on the ramp, and the timeframe not quite so critical, the TT Shop team spent a few minutes carefully adjusting and fettling where the system sat to ensure that the pipework gave maximum ground clearance without touching the floor, before spending a few valuable minutes carefully positioning the trims in the bumper apertures to give the whole set-up a decidedly ‘OEM+’ feel.

    As with all Milltek Sport systems, the fit and finish is exemplary, using factory pickup points to allow for a rapid fitment. Every part of this system is hand-finished using super-accurate jigs to ensure a perfect fit, as well as the kind of soundtrack that is such a major improvement for a diesel-powered vehicle. Finished from the highest quality aerospace grade, non-magnetic stainlesssteel, this is also another part that will be more than up to the rigours of year-round use in the UK’s harsh climate.

    With these parts on, it was time to turn to the main attraction – the Bilstein iRC kit. As the pictures show, there’s a huge amount of adjustment with this kit, with threaded seats front and rear allowing a considerable degree of fine adjustment to achieve the desired ride height – and, if required, corner-weighting.

    The front units are replacement struts, so these are simply built into the front subassemblies, complete with its new Eibach arms, of course, and then re-fitted to the car. The rears use separate spring seats and damper units, precisely replicating the OEM parts it replaces. As a serial OEM supplier, Bilstein designs and manufactures all of these parts to exceed original equipment quality, so as one would expect, these fitted quickly, precisely and without incident.

    As the veterans of literally thousands of coilover upgrades, the TTS team used their ‘best guess’ to set a baseline ride-height and, as it turned out, it was almost perfect once the car was back down on the ground! Each kit comes complete with two ‘C’ spanners, which means that these can easily be adjusted once the units are in situ.

    Where the iRC kit differs from normal coilovers is that each damper unit has a sender wire that must be returned back to the central control box. From this, the owner can then fit either the smart alloy pushbutton on the dash for manual operation, or if preferred, the iRC control box for integration with their smartphone. Alternatively, the system allows you to run both methods of adjustment – perfect for those days when you’ve left your phone at home and still want to adjust your suspension.

    Once the wires have been carefully routed, each damper is a simple ‘plug and play’ fitment into the central control box. Then, once that has all been fitted and neatly cable-tied away, it’s only a case of downloading the software from the app store (currently £2.99) before the system neatly integrates onto your phone. The final touch was a full alignment session on the TT Shop’s ultra-accurate Hunter rig, ensuring that the A5’s wheels were pointing in the right direction with minute-perfect precision.

    With this done, the smart new #Revo rims could be bolted up. These monsters weigh in at an impressive 9.5 x 20-inches and wear 275/30-20 Vredestein rubber. All decent rims have the power to truly transform the demeanour of any project, but these wheels dramatically alter the whole looks and proportions of the car, bringing the visual weight lower down and making the A5 look much more purposeful and aggressive.

    On the road

    Even before driving the car, it was clear that these new enhancements had added a great deal to transform the car’s visual appeal, but would this new look translate into equally wonderful road manners? With a substantial reduction in ride height and those huge Revo rims, would the car still maintain its everyday useability and prowess, or would it be a case of looks first, and handling a distant second?

    The answer, thankfully, is that the resultant package has managed to keep a foot in both camps. The ride is certainly more positive and sporting, sure, but thanks to the dampers doing their job so efficiently, the ride quality really is excellent – particularly when switching the dampers into their softer ‘comfort’ modes. The Eibach anti-roll bars allow the car to stay flatter in the turns, reducing load transfer, and the new front arms have added a new-found urgency to the steering geometry, which makes the front end much more grippy and telegraphic – a facet nicely augmented by the wider Vredestein rubber. This car really has a great deal of mechanical grip now, but has gained it without ruining its original charm.

    The subtle burble from the Milltek exhaust is also a real treat – Audi diesels always sound pretty good (for their genre) anyway, but in this one, with its fabulous new note, which gives just enough drama and noise under throttle – and whisper-quiet refinement off it – makes a compelling case for petrolheads to make the sensible move to fuel-efficient TDI. In short, it’s a very accomplished package. The final icing on the cake is the ‘geekfactor’ endowed by the iRC, of course.

    In this app-driven age, you’ll never tire of adjusting and fettling your ride quality to suit and, let’s be honest, it does have more than a little novelty value too.

    An all-round accomplished success then. The message is clear; next time you want to get your Audi sitting and handling right – get on the phone!


    ‘The ride is certainly more positive and sporting, sure, but thanks to the dampers doing their job so efficiently, the ride quality really is excellent...’

    ‘Where the iRC kit differs from normal coilovers is that each damper unit has a sender wire that must be returned back to the central control box...’

    ‘It’s clear for all to see that the factory ride height and wheel combination lacks a little visual aggression...’
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