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Methanol injected monster. With a double injection of methanol, this #MKS-Performance-S3 is the most powerful K04 hybrid 8L we know of – who says you need a big turbo…? Words Davy Lewis. Photography Adrian Brannan.
Everyone has their own way of doing things. From cooking your steak, to cleaning your car – you find a way that suits and you stick with it. And to a certain extent this extends to the world of performance tuning. There are many different ways to create more power and everyone has strong views on which is the best method.
For a forced induction car, there’s no doubt that increasing turbo efficiency is the most effective way to increase power. However, there’s more to it than simply bolting on the largest turbo you can find on eBay. Turbocharged engines present a particular set of challenges for tuners. The bottom end needs to be strong enough to handle the extra boost; the cooling system must be uprated to deal with the high temperatures created by harnessing the spent exhaust gasses; and supporting upgrades all need consideration including fuelling, airflow and engine management.
When Matt Shannon began tinkering with his S3, he had a very fixed idea of what he wanted to achieve. “I’d already owned a tuned Octavia VRS 4x4, which is basically the same car underneath,” he comments. Having a lot of experience with the ubiquitous 1.8 20v turbo unit, Matt decided to purchase an S3 to work on, although he admits, “I bought it behind my wife’s back.” Brave man.
The original plan was to rebuild the engine so that it would make 500bhp with a big turbo. But, at the last minute, he changed his mind. “It’s harder to achieve good power with a K04 hybrid, than with a big turbo,” he says. Which is why this particular BAM unit runs dual methanol injection. “The largest port injects it immediately after the intercooler to keep the charge temps down, while the second injects it immediately before the throttle body. This helps to cool the cylinders and also increase the octane rating, as well as keeping the exhaust gas temps at a safe level. “It effectively ‘steam cleans’ the engine,” smiles Matt. Should the meth run out, the map reverts to its lower state of tune at 280bhp to prevent damage.
An oil and gas engineer by trade, Matt has been building up MKS Tuning for a few years now. It was a part time job until redundancy gave him the push to go full time and the S3 has become his demo vehicle to showcase what can be achieved.
The engine itself has been fully blue printed – a highly skilled method of measuring oil clearances to indicate how much life is left in vital components. The stock pistons were deemed good enough to use, but were fully refurbed with new shells etc. You can see the detailed engine spec in the spec box later on, but it’s a comprehensive build that ensures the S3 can take 500bhp if Matt wishes to fit a big turbo at some stage.
Having done the entire build himself, the only outside help came in the form of the balancing (which requires highly expensive machinery) and the custom map. Badger5 took care of the map and have created a set up with five settings, from a low stressed 280bhp, right the way up to the full-fat 370bhp with methanol.
To get the power down, Matt has done away with the dual mass flywheel and fitted a meaty Loba single mass kit. There’s also a rare Haldex Blue controller, which allows power to be adjusted front to rear as required. With sticky Yokohama Parada Spec 2s, this fierce S3 lays down its ample power very effectively. Key to this is the nature of the K04 hybrid, which spools up quickly, delivering a linear response, rather than the big bang associated with a big turbo. The great thing about this precision build is that it is very drivable; the turbo kicks in at 3000rpm, so there’s always power there when you want it.
With the ability to hit 60mph from rest in around four seconds and some pretty lively in-gear acceleration, it’s easy to find yourself moving at a rapid rate of knots in this S3. Matt has wisely fitted some hefty stoppers in the form of D2 six-pots which clamp down on 356mm discs. Tucked up behind the timeless Rota Grids in a beefy 9.5x18, they do an admirable job of standing this S3 on its nose.
Now, it would have been easy to strip the interior and save weight, further improving the performance of this hard-charging S3, but Matt wanted to retain its usability. Inside it’s all very nice with stock electric, leather Recaros and Bose audio – so stripping it was never an option. There are some additions though. A Liquigauge unit has been mounted in the driver’s side air vent. This offers a multitude of functions, from checking essential EGT, boost and other data, to reading fault codes – there’s even a performance timer incorporated.
Pop the tailgate and you’ll find the plumbing and tank for the methanol injection kit, plus a battery. Both had to be relocated with an already tight engine bay, but sit neatly in the spare wheel well.
Outside, apart from the MKS company logos and the cut outs to the front bumper to maximise airflow, you’d think this was just another lightly tuned S3, possibly making 260bhp with a remap and performance exhaust. But once that needle hits 3000rpm, you’d realise it has serious potential – enough to keep up with a B7 RS4 and leave stock Evos wondering what just happened. As Matt says, it would have been straightforward to bolt on a large turbo, strip it out and create a big boosting monster. But that’s not the point. For him, this build was about doing things differently. Creating a powerful, but usable road car that retains its original character. The fact it still has the original 122k-mile block and uses a K04 hybrid makes it all the sweeter. It goes to show what a proper engineer’s approach to engine building can achieve.
SPECIFICATION #Audi-S3-8L / #Audi-S3 / #Audi-S3-MKS-Performance / #Audi-A3-8L / #Audi-A3
ENGINE: 1.8 20v turbo BAM with full #MKS-Performance rebuild and motorsport blue print, #Badger5 custom map, 5 map selectable programme, 370bhp & 364lb/ft max with power ranging down to 280bhp min, #Supertech Nitrate inlet and Inconel exhaust valves with HD springs and single grove collets, #BADGER5 V2.2 80mm turbo intake pipe with BMC induction filter and heat shield, BADGER5 V2 high-flow cast manifold with large port mod, BEACHBUGGY TURBO Stage 4 Hybrid K04 turbo also with B5 large port mod in hotside, AEB large port cylinder head, Supertech Nitrate inlet and Inconel exhaust valves with HD springs and single grove collets, 600x300x76mm Toyo sport type B front mount intercooler, Pipewerx 3in down pipe and custom 5in sports cat, #Milltek cat back exhaust, Devilsown dual port 100% methanol injection with solenoid upgrade and inline pressure gauge, DO3 injector post front mount intercooler and DO1 injector pre throttle body, 550cc Bosch injectors, IE Tuscan rods (rifle drilled), #ACL big end shells and #Mahle main shells, #ARP main and head stud kit, OEM pistons but new rings still at 81.5mm bore, full Forge coolant hose kit, Forge 008 DV, Draft45designs oil catch can with custom catch can system, N249 valve delete.
TRANSMISSION: Loba stage 2 single-mass flywheel kit, ECS metal clutch bleeder (must have for smf kit), #Haldex blue controller.
BRAKES: D2 356mm 6-pot brakes with drilled rotors
SUSPENSION: AP coilovers, adjustable rear control arms for camber control.
WHEELS AND TYRES: Rota Grid Drift, 9.5x18in, Yokohama Parada Spec 2 rubber.
EXTERIOR: 2x genuine #Audi front wings inc. bumper respray, cut out front bumper, black Audi badges, MKS graphics.
INTERIOR: Liquigauge (obd data screen) in D/S air vent, batt relocation to the boot, Devilsown 2.25gal race baffled meth tank in boot, boost, oil and meth pressure gauge’s with meth injection kill switch.
TUNING CONTACTS: MKS Performance www.mksperformance.co.uk Badger5 www.badger5.biz
Top: This S3 can shift Above: Would make a cool necklace for petrolheads!
Left: Liquigauge is neatly mounted Below Left: Go Go Juice aka methanol injection!
“The ability to hit 60mph from rest in around 4 seconds”
Above: D2 6-pots right: Battery and methanol tank in the spare wheel well.
Right Heat management is taken seriously Below: 1.8T look immaculate.
Above: 9.5in wide Rotas look great.
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