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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

    TOUGH TORQUE

    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!

    Contacts
    www.bilstein.de
    www.eibach.com
    www.revotechnik.com
    www.vredestein.co.uk
    www.thettshop.com

    ‘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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  •   Paul Cowland reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    APR S5 ROAD TEST #Audi-A5 based #2014
    DRIVEN: APR S5
    We test this 480bhp #Audi-S5-APR

    We head out for a road test in APR Tuning UK’s S5… The supercharged 3.0 V6 is one of those engines that responds fantastically well to tuning. We ran a full guide back in Issue 4, so when the guys at Awesome GTI invited me to experience their own project, I was keen to see how it performed. This particular S5 belongs to APR UK’s, Wayne Ainsworth. It’s a 2014 model and has been treated to a select few upgrades to increase power.

    As the UK arm of #APR-Tuning , the S5 is running their Stage 2 software. This has been developed to work in conjunction with the popular supercharger pulley upgrade, together with the supporting hardware upgrades of a full APR exhaust system and Carbonio intake.

    I’ve driven several stock #Audi 3.0Ts, in S4s and S5s, so I have a good feel for how they respond in factory tune. The plan was to take the S5 out on a series of town and country roads to see how the upgrades alter its character.

    The S5 is one of those cars that you instantly feel at home in. The driving position is spot on (once I’d adjusted the seat for my little legs!) and everything feels very high quality and easy to navigate. First thing that hits me is the extra urgency. The merest dab of the throttle delivers rapid progress and you’re soon up to the speed limit. But the software has been designed to really deliver its knockout punch when you hammer the pedal. Once there’s a clear stretch of road, I floor it and see what happens. I have to say I’m a bit taken aback; the acceleration is savage. From 20mph, the S5 just grips and goes as we fire up the road reaching the limit in seconds. We try it again at other speeds and it seems, no matter what speed you’re doing, or what gear the S-tronic happens to be sitting in at the time, this S5 will just deliver a massive slug of torque that pins you back in your seat.

    It’s a different sensation to the twin turbo punch of a tuned C6 RS6, but it feels instant, as if we’ve just increased the capacity of the engine. The noise is pretty special too.

    The ’charger creates a spine tingling whine that is further enhanced by the performance exhaust and induction kit sucking in air.

    Having spent time driving the S5 on a variety of different roads and conditions, we pull over on a quiet back road to try the launch control.

    As with all modern S and RS models running the S-tronic gearbox, a full-bore launch is easy to achieve. Simply put the shifter into Sport, then left foot on the brake, right foot on the gas and then release the brake.

    I’ve been a passenger in many cars that have been launched hard, but this one takes me by surprise. The ferocity with which this things hooks up and chucks us down the road is mind blowing. It’s not the sort of thing you’d want to subject your car to on a regular basis perhaps – after all it puts the transmission under immense strain – but it demonstrates just how capable this APRtuned S5 is.

    Power has been dyno’d at a very respectable 480bhp, which in these days of 700+bhp RS6s and the like may not sound huge. But take my word for it, the way this power is delivered is what makes this car truly fast. Let’s not forget that this is a lightly tuned, S-model coupe with stock internals, a full interior and all the other refinements you’d expect.

    Once you drop the hammer, there’s not much that’d keep up on real roads – that epic combination of quattro and S-tronic maximising the potential of every one of those 480 horses.

    This is a deeply impressive package that’s testament to the work that APR Tuning puts into testing and development. If you own an S5, it’s something you should seriously consider.

    SPECIFICATION

    2014 #Audi-S5
    Engine 3.0 #TFSI V6 supercharged, #APR Stage 2 software, #APR RSC exhaust system, APR Carbonio intake, Stage 2+ supercharger pulley upgrade
    Power
    480bhp, 450lb/ft
    Brakes S5 (Vagbremtechnic big brake kit in development
    Suspension #H&R sports springs
    Wheels and Tyres S5 with 15/20mm spacers
    Tuning Contacts APR Tuning UK www.goapr.co.uk

    Above: This S5 is savagely quick Below: APR Carbonio intake is only real give away.
    Left: Interior is refined Above: APR RSC exhaust frees up some more power and sounds great.
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  •   Paul Cowland reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    UNDER DOGGING / Words: Louise Woodhams / Photos: Sam Dobbins / #VAG

    From cruising the back roads of Miami to the very top of the show circuit Larry Harrison has been on one heck of a journey with his S5.

    When Larry Harrison – otherwise known as ‘The Underdog’ on Instagram (the_undrdg) – was testing out the show scene, he used to get told to park at the back or on the grass when he arrived at car shows. He felt like he wasn’t being counted, so as soon as he started to get deeper into modifying his Audi S5, he decided to make a proper impact; this is his underdog story…

    Larry’s love of cars began long before he shook up the US VAG community: “Having grown up watching my father work on his prized 1981 Corvette I have always had a special place in my heart for cars. Then when he purchased a 1987 Porsche 944 I realised there was something about German engineering that I connected with. From watching my dad drive the Porsche at the age of 13, I taught myself how to drive a manual transmission car. Without any instruction, I was able to drive it around the corner and park without stalling or any issues. That was a proud moment in my life,” reminisces Larry.

    In addition to the 944, Larry fondly recalls the 928 from the film Risky Business as being one of his favourite cars growing up, together with the 930 Slantnose that Ice-T owned and was on the front of a promotional poster for his 1987 album Rhyme Pays. Whilst he’s never owned a Porsche, the Stuttgart brand is now part of the Volkswagen Group family, so it’s rather apt that the impression left from the 944 was so strong it stayed with him for a lifetime. Aged 37, he was finally in a financial position to buy what he wanted and found his way back to a brand that’s now part of the same family that captured his heart so many years ago, after girlfriend Ana suggested they buy an Audi.

    His criteria for a base car was simple – a twodoor with a naturally aspirated V8 and red interior. It was obvious – it had to be a B8 S5. After searching online, Larry decided to visit Texas Direct Auto’s main store in his hometown of Houston, Texas. “They didn’t have what I wanted at that time, but as I was about to travel to California on business, I got a call to say that a black 2009 Audi S5 with red interior had come in and that if I was unable to look at it I should put a deposit down. Thinking he was being a pushy salesman I declined. The car was sold the next day… lesson learnt,” laughs Larry.

    Fortunately, three weeks later, they got in another model, the only difference was that it was Dakota grey but that really didn’t matter to Larry as he had always intended on changing it. This time he was in Florida for business, but having learnt from his previous mistake, he decided to buy it there and then. “The first time I saw the car and test drove it was the day I took it home. Fortunately I had no regrets! It was in incredible condition, three years old and with just 17,000 miles on the clock. The first thing I did was show it to my son Dylan. I normally don’t make a move without his blessing, but this time I did not have the opportunity,” recalls Larry.

    In fact, it was after the father and son team saw a 2015 Audi RS7 in Nardo grey at a car show in Houston that they decided this would be the colour change required to kick start the build. The car was taken to Auto Magician Paint and Body shop in Webster, Texas. Owner Miguel had never done a paint job, instead specialising in collision repair, but he was up for the challenge and Larry trusted him. Four weeks later, the car was ready and absolutely flawless: “You could see the nervousness in Miguel’s eyes when I came to pick the car up and when I told him how much I loved it; he breathed a huge sigh of relief and smiled.”

    The car was then immediately taken to a good friend of Larry’s, Mike Nguyen, owner of CVT Designs, to get some suspension work done. “Mike told me there is nothing like an Audi slammed to the ground on airbags so needless to say that’s what happened!” Larry laughs. Mike designed a custom system and completed the installation within just three weeks including a bespoke boot build. “I wanted the trunk setup to be clean, but also to have all the hardware on show – like a nice Rolex you can see the mechanicals and how it works,” he says. “That’s why the copper hardlines are on show. Copper tubing is also a tribute to the hot rod scene that’s so popular where I’m from.”

    By this point the body kit had arrived from Autohaus 24 in California. Rieger Tuning offered the only styling that matched his vision for the car in the form of an RS5 conversion body kit, including front bumper and rear bumper extensions, vented side skits and carbon front splitter. The eagle-eyed among you will spot that the car is actually sporting a JMS front lip splitter; this is because his original plan was to preserve the S5 look without going completely RS5, but immediately after the photoshoot it was swapped out for the Rieger part, together with an LED light bar in the lower front grille.

    Back to the story, the car was left in Miguel’s hands once again, and was ready to collect three days later: “When I first saw the new body aired out and laying on the ground, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The bagged suspension makes the stance on the Audi look amazing and beautifully tucks all four wheels in. This time I was the one smiling, and somewhat thankful that the combination worked so perfectly,” he confesses. Now it was time to upgrade the rolling stock: “I had a set of rims that didn’t stand up to tough use on our roads,” Larry explains, “so I went to Rollo’s Solutions in Houston that I frequent for wheels and tyres and my guy, Luis, recommended Vossen. Apparently they could handle the punishment of the potholes that plague Austin’s streets.

    “I think as a car grows, it becomes more and more of what I perceive perfection to be. For example, I started with the Vossen CV3 before swapping them out for the VFS-1 and finally settling on the VPS 304 – the world’s first fully polished examples with a diamond cut face nonetheless. The wheels are absolutely stunning in every way. They dance with the sunlight while I drive and at car shows they play with the fluorescent lighting. Having visited the Vossen factory, I met the people that built my wheels, and that really means something special to me.” Since he likes small side wall tyres with a nice tread pattern, he opted for Toyo T-1 Sports, which at 255/30 find themselves moderately stretched around the 10.5x20” rims. As well as offering a comfortable and quiet ride, they work in perfect harmony with the car’s AWD system.


    Last, but by all means not least was the audio. Being a retail regional manager for Sony, Larry was in the fortunate position of being able to network with companies that otherwise might not have been on his radar. Larry took the car to see Dia and Muhammed at Houston Car Stereo where they tasked their master installer Victor to do something very special indeed. First the boot was trimmed in black and grey leather with black suede accents and LED accent lighting throughout. JL Audio speakers were then mounted in the bootlid to complement the Sony Vaio touch-screen PC, whilst the centre armrest was used to house the two JL Audio subwoofers. Finally, Mike from CVT dropped by to complete the copper hardline integration.


    It’s taken Larry just one year to go from stock to spectacle, so how he is perceived at car shows now? “The first show I attended was Import Face-Off in Texas. People loved it; they took so many photos of my Audi and asked me questions about the build. The colour and the wheels were the main topics of discussion. I took home two awards too; First Place and Best Euro. The response has been amazing online, too. Before the build I had about 350 followers, and less than seven months into it that number grew to 7000!

    It’s not unusual to have people take pictures or videos of the car when it’s on the road. It’s awkward, but I really appreciate the attention and love the car receives,” proudly answers Larry. Like a true underdog, Larry was a participant on the scene who was never expected to win. Things have changed now, and the stakes are a little higher but he’s played the game well with so many of the aspects of the car that are yet to be improved upon. “I’ve got my eyes on Wekfest Florida car show in December, which has a great car scene, so I’ll be continuing to build what I perceive as a faultless car. I’m considering a colour change, a new set of Vossen wheels, a big brake kit, a few performance mods perhaps…” Larry hints. Watch this space…

    Dub Details #Audi-S5 / #Audi-A5 / #Audi /

    ENGINE: 4.2-litre V8 with #K&N intake filter, custom intake box with Plexi top and LED lighting, hydro-dipped intake hose and radiator cover (carbon fibre), #Magnaflow exhaust system.

    CHASSIS: 10.5x20” #Vossen VPS 304 forged wheels fully polished with a diamond cut face shod in 255/30 Toyo T-1 Sport Tyres; Viair air suspension.

    EXTERIOR: Full respray in Audi Nardo grey, RS5 conversion Rieger Tuning body kit including front bumper and rear bumper extension (for dual exhaust exit), vented side skirts and carbon front splitter, RS5 black honeycomb grille conversion, Hüper Optik ceramic window tint, smoked taillights, custom light bar in lower front grille.

    ICE: #JL-Audio twin subwoofers integrated into rear arm rest, JL Audio speakers and Sony Vaio touchscreen PC mounted in bootlid, custom boot build trimmed in black and grey leather with black suede accents and LED accent lighting throughout with twin Viair air compressors and copper hardlines.

    SHOUT: Jav and Mike at Vossen Wheels, Mike at CVT Designs Houston, Luis at Rollo’s Solutions Houston, Miguel at The Auto Magician in Webster Texas, Victor, Dia and Muhammed at Houston Car Stereo, Nate at Nate D’s Customs and Andy at Autohaus 24.

    Boot install might not be subtle but when it comes to impressing show ’n’ shine judges it’s got all the tricks. “It’s not unusual to have people take pictures or videos of the car when it’s on the road. I really appreciate the attention and love it receives” Shooting anything in Miami is always going to result in awesome looking photos isn’t it? We’re not jealous… “like a nice Rolex you can see the mechanicals and how it works”
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  •   Paul Cowland reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    SMOKE MACHINE #Audi A5 3.0 TDI QUATTRO 370bhp, 700Nm diesel! / #Audi-A5-3.0TDI packing 370bhp & 700Nm. Words Davy Lewis. Photography Jape Tiitinen.

    Smoking Skills. A #TDI oil burner that can outpace an S5? That’s exactly what this tuned, 370hp A5 is capable of…

    Let’s get one thing straight – modern Audi TDIs are damned good engines. Common Rail technology, combined with the latest turbos (two of them in many cases) and a decent engine capacity, ensures that, even factory TDIs are rapid. Don’t believe me? Then get yourself over to your local Audi dealer and test drive the latest A6 BiTDI with 316bhp. Or maybe a 4.2 TDI in the A8. These are seriously capable cars with a surprising mid range punch.

    Unfortunately, they tend to cost upwards of 40K. Heck, a fully spec’d A8 4.2 TDI is over £70K!
    But there is another option…


    The 3.0 V6 TDI is a cracking power plant. Found in various A4s, A5s, A6s, A7s, A8s and Q5/Q7s, it can be tuned for impressive power. In fact, when I was looking for an AudiTuner project car – I went for an A6 with the 3.0 diesel.

    It seems I’m not alone in spotting the tuning potential of the derv V6. I’ve spoken with numerous readers with the same engine and they all enthuse about how lively it is and how much potential it offers those of us that like to tweak our cars.

    It was this knowledge of the 3.0 V6’s potential that led Finnish tuner, Tuukka Nivala, to begin searching for his perfect car. It wasn’t easy, as he recalls, “It had to be Imola yellow and it had to be a 3.0 TDI,” he explains. Unfortunately, Imola A5s are rather rare in Finland and as for finding one with a three-litre manual, he may as well been looking for an RS2 with delivery miles.

    After a monumental two year hunt for the perfect car, Tuuka finally struck lucky. The only problem was that it was in Germany. Not one to let geography get in his way, Tuuka got his arse over to Germany and did the deal on the Imola A5. A wise move really; I mean how many of these were actually made?

    With the well loved 3.0 TDI sat on his driveway, the upgrades began in earnest.

    The thing is, Tuuka had been so confident he’d find the perfect project car, that he’d already begun assembling the upgrades. An RSstyle front grille, an S5 front bumper and a full S5 interior in a rather lively shade of Magma red.

    So the first job was to get all of these S upgrades attached to his new purchase. Fortunately, being OE kit it all went on without any fuss or drama and immediately gave the A5 a much more aggressive and purposeful look.

    A devotee of air-ride, there was never any doubt that this A5 would be ‘bagged’. Tuuka’s local roads are challenging to say the least and to get the drop he wanted on coilovers would have been too harsh for a daily driven car. The air-bag kit was also sitting in his garage, having been removed from his last Audi project, an A6 4F. Accuair E-level management was added to have full control over the system, while the Viar compressor is located in the spare wheel well to keep the boot usable.

    “With custom software it now has at least 370hp and over 700Nm”

    With the air-ride offering a huge drop, Tuukka began the hunt for a set of wheels that would blow people away. Not an easy task for someone with a serious wheel fetish! “I started with stock 9x20in Speedlines, then 10x18in Ferrari 360 BBSs, followed by some 9.5x20in Bentley Continental GT limited edition wheels and then a set of 10 and 11x19in BBS Le Mans,” he recalls. “They were all good, but not really the best they could be. Then I found a company called Brada wheels in the USA. I fell in love with their TR5 design. They are custom hand-built 3-piece wheels. At the front I run 10.5x20in and at the rear 11.5x20in – now the wheels sit like they should!” he smiles.

    Next came some further tweaks to the exterior. All of the window trims were done in a gloss black 3M vinyl, before a set of OEM LED rear lights were fitted up – they look much fresher. A stickler for detail, Tuuka then decided to have the entire car resprayed in OE Imola yellow. Which begs the question, why didn’t he settle for any colour when looking for the car in the first place; the reply is that he wasn’t planning a respray then.

    Inside, things have been livened up with the Magma red S5 interior. It’s very bright and not to everyone’s taste perhaps, but we love it. A flat-bottom TT steering wheel joins the party, together with some more black wrapped trim.

    Living in Finland and being into cars, you can’t drive a stock motor. And a big part of the decision to get a 3.0 V6 TDI was its inherent tunability.

    “For the first year I was running with basic software producing around 290hp, but soon that was not enough,” laughs the flying Fin. “I bought another turbo which was custom uprated by Arctic Performance. I ordered a bigger intercooler from Darkside Developments in the UK, plus a full Supersprint exhaust with a DPF delete.” With custom software it now has at least 370hp and over 700Nm of torque. Impressive figures for a petrol S or RS car, let alone a humble diesel.

    “Amazingly the stock clutch still holds up (fingers crossed!). I have a few tricks still up my sleeve – I believe we are going to over 400hp soon,” he continues. “It now does even more miles per gallon than stock, and beats a stock S5 anytime. It doesn’t sound like a diesel anymore either, with only rear mufflers in place the sound is very much like a petrol.” In fact, if you head to YouTube and type in ‘Broo Performance A5 3.0 TDI’ you can see and hear a short clip of another tuned A5 diesel – make sure you turn up your speakers; it sounds like no diesel on earth!

    Using typical Finnish logic, Tukka declares, “If it goes, it must also stop” Wise words! “I bought a set of Lamborghini Gallardo 8-pot Brembos and had custom adapters made to fit them to the A5.” The 365mm discs are from a C5 RS6, while the rears are stock with drilled Zimmerman discs. It’s a serious brake setup and looks ace behind the 20in Bradas.

    This A5 is one of those cars that people may look at and dismiss as a show queen. It certainly has the fancy rims and the air-ride. However, anyone naive enough to challenge it on the road will soon discover it packs one hell of a punch; leaving others behind in a cloud of black smoke. A true flying banana!

    TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #2015 #Audi-A5-3.0-V6-TDI-Quattro-Coupe / #Audi-A5-3.0-TDI / #Audi-A5

    ENGINE: 3.0 V6 TDI, #Garrett hybrid turbo by #Arctic-Performance , #Darkside-Developments intercooler, full Supersprint exhaust system including downpipe with DPF and cat delete, custom ECU software.

    POWER: 370hp and 700Nm

    TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual, stock clutch (for now!) quattro 4WD.

    BRAKES: Front: Lamborghini Gallardo 8-piston calipers, C5 RS6 365mm drilled discs. Rear: stock calipers, drilled discs, HEL braided hoses.

    SUSPENSION: Custom air-ride with #AccuAir-E-Level management.

    WHEELS & TYRES: 3-piece #Brada-TR5 , 10.5x20 and 11.5x20in with Falken 245/30 and 285/25 tyres.

    INTERIOR: Full S5 Magma red leather interior, flat-bottom S-line steering wheel from TT, S5 pedals, black wrapped trims.

    EXTERIOR: S5 front bumper, S-line side sills, RS5 grille, rear valance and front bumper grilles painted gloss black, OEM LED taillights.

    TUNING CONTACTS/THANKS: facebook.com/dukeworks.photography instagram: @dukeworks www.duke.1g.fi Finstrippers.

    Above: It sounds ace in the tunnel - take our word!

    Left: Magma red seats came from an S5 Below: Air-ride system is hidden in the boot Bottom: Red detailing livens up the plastics.

    Left: Brada alloys and Lambo brakes make a potent combination. Top: Front end looks FRESH! Above: Tuned 3.0 TDI is a beast.
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