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    Drive-my drives world's fastest supercar. The power to impress. Robert Coucher discovers that what's truly remarkable about the new Veyron Super Sport is not its sheer speed, but the civilised way in which it achieves it. / #2011-Bugatti-Veyron-X16-Super-Sport / #2011 / #Bugatti-Veyron-X16-Super-Sport / #Bugatti-Veyron / #Bugatti-Veyron-Super-Sport / #Bugatti-Veyron / #Bugatti /

    Let's not waste words. The new 2011-Bugatti-Veyron-X16-Super-Sport is the best supercar in the world. Priced at a cool £2 million and with just 30 to be constructed, already 24 have been bagged. Fittingly, it's the Veyron's swansong.

    The changes over the regular' car include an uprated #W16 , 8.0-litre quad-turbocharged engine that produces 1183bhp, up by some 196bhp thanks to bigger turbos, bigger intercoolers and better breathing. Torque has also risen to a staggering 1105lb ft, all delivered between an easy 3000 and 5000rpm.

    To handle this 20% increase in grunt the SS's drivetrain has been extensively re-engineered, with a tougher gear-set in the sevenspeed #DSG gearbox, as well as uprated brakes, suspension and steering. Crucially, the aero package has been adapted to suit this car's astonishing (potential) 268mph top speed.

    The ultra-high-speed Veyron SS is designed to be a totally useable road car and this is what makes it so impressive. You climb into the well-made but understated interior, fire it up. Select Drive on the auto box and trundle off. The steering is light, the ride is comfortable, the engine sounds powerful but muted, the brakes are viceless and visibility is perfect out of the front and acceptable to the rear. The Veyron is more Bentley than it is Porsche in terms of comfort and refinement, which is a real achievement.

    But find an open road and allow the speed to rise over 180km/h - about 110mph - and the SS switches into Handling mode. The ride height drops and the rear wing deploys. Touching a paddleshifter mounted on the steering wheel seamlessly switches the Bug from auto to manual. Depress the accelerator and as soon as 3000rpm spools up on the rev counter (the red line is at a lowly 6500rpm), which it does very quickly, then wham, the 1105lb ft of torque hits the tarmac and the SS is immediately at warp speed. But the deep rumble from the W16 engine remains subdued and the Bugatti does not lose its composure one iota as the superb DSG gearbox whips through the gears almost imperceptibly. The SS tracks down the road at impossible speed but the steering remains light and linear and the huge carbon ceramic brakes are totally reassuring as they evaporate huge speed with disdain. The Bugatti might weigh a chunky 1838kg but it never feels like it on the road.

    The Veyron's all-wheel-drive chassis does a valiant job of flattering the driver, making progress on any sort of road surface seem easy. And of course, this is all happening at speeds well beyond the capability of any Ferrari. Porsche or Bentley. And that's the surprise and the real attraction of this monster car. It is so powerful, yet so refined that you soon start to drive it like a gentleman, enjoying its supple ride, quiet and comfortable interior, and immense ground-covering abilities. It makes small aircraft appear horribly antiquated - it is not only the best supercar in the world, it is one of the best GT cars as well.

    Above How many Super Sport buyers will have the restraint to opt for a discreet colour scheme like this one, we wonder' The SS hardly needs to advertise itself.
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    We get to grips with Awesome’s latest project car, a booted Audi S3 that punches well above its weight and has the bite to match its monster bark... Awesome's 500bhp, Stage 3 S3 saloon is unleashed...
    S3 SALOON Awesome’s APR-tuned demo car.
    Words Jamie Arkle. Photography Paul Cowland.

    Automotive fashion is a funny and complex thing, and it often seems that there’s little logic in what is and isn’t cool. Want an example of this in action? Well how about the small, hatchback based saloon, a sector of the UK car market that’s recently enjoyed something of a resurgence, yet for many, many years has been in the doldrums. Utter the phrase ‘small saloon’ to folk of a certain age and the cars they’ll almost certainly call to mind could hardly be called automotive greats: the Ford Orion and the Vauxhall Belmont – not exactly a stellar lineup, we’re sure you’ll agree!

    So what’s brought about this sea change, this upswing in popularity? Well, we think credit should lie squarely with Audi, specifically the team that signed off the latest S3 saloon. We think even Audi itself could’ve been forgiven for being ever so slightly taken aback by the overwhelmingly positive reception this variant has had, and there’s little doubt that it’s set to be a fixture of the tuning scene for years to come, particularly if the guys at Awesome have anything to do with it.

    Awesome has been responsible for some of the most notable tuned VW Group cars in recent years, so when the Manchester based VAG gurus selected the new S3 saloon as the basis of their next demo car, well, we knew that the resulting car would be seriously special.

    “There were a number of cars under consideration when we opted to take on the S3,” recalls Mark Ash, Awesome’s Director “but I spotted one at APR at the start of 2016 and instantly fell in love with it, with the colour and the graphics pack. The decision as to which car we’d buy was made there and then.”

    Now it might sound like building a demo car is the simplest thing in the world, particularly for a VW Group specialist like Awesome with access to a wealth of aftermarket parts, but this isn’t strictly true. Granted, having ready access to big brake and coilover kits (more on those later) certainly speeds up the build process, but then that’s just the easy bit. No, for a company’s personal car to really earn its keep it needs to push boundaries in terms of tuning – and boy does Awesome’s S3 deliver in this respect. The team started off by buying a brand new S3 and wasted no time in getting back in touch with APR, a firm that Awesome actually beta test for, and a well known and trusted name within the scene.

    “This build was never about squeezing every last bit of power from the car as that would’ve made it too extreme, too focused and a far less enjoyable prospect to drive on the road,” explains Mark. “A big part of what we do at Awesome is carrying out balanced, considered tuning, providing kits that up the power and increase the performance in every aspect, yet don’t overly compromise the car in question.”

    See what we mean when we said demo car building is trickier than it sounds? The call to APR meant that it wasn’t long before one of its all new, Stage 3 tuning kits for the 2.0 TFSI was winging its way across the Atlantic to Manchester, a kit that’s since gone on to play a defining role in this particular S3. The kit includes a number of highly developed components, including a Stage 3 s-tronic tune, ECU tune, cast downpipe, carbon intake tract, front mounted intercooler with silicone hoses, fuel pump, and EFR7163 turbo system.

    Factor in the other supporting hardware that’s essential for an advanced build of this nature, namely the resonated exhaust from Milltek, and it becomes all too clear why the close working relationship between APR and Awesome has proved so valuable.

    “There were some niggles involved in the development of the kit, true, but nothing more than you’d expect of an advanced package of modifications like this,” Mark explains. “Again, that’s another key aspect of a car like this – we’d much rather bits went wrong during the development process.”

    The upshot of all this work and an in-depth development phase? A kit that’s been proven to boost the power generated by the EA888 to approximately 500bhp, a massive jump from the stock figure of 300bhp and enough to enable this diminutive saloon to see off any hot hatch you care to mention. It’s true what they say, power really is nothing without control – yes it’s a cliché, but then cliches have a habit of ringing true most of the time. Of course performance Audis and their iconic four-wheel drive drivetrains have always been well equipped in this respect, but that hasn’t prevented the team at Awesome from raiding their parts stash for a selection of uprated transmission goodies, namely a pair of uprated DQ250 DSG clutches. These are essential for enabling the S3 to ladle out its new found power to all four wheels in as even manner as possible, plus the OE hardware would no doubt have started to show the strain after a few hundred miles if left in situ.

    The S3’s chassis has also been given an overhaul, the stock suspension, wheels and brakes all having made way for far more capable aftermarket offerings from Racingline, Neuspeed and Vagbremtechnic respectively. The front brake kit in question features a pair of massive 8-piston Brembo calipers originally intended for the Audi R8/Lamborghini Gallardo (winning all potential pub boasts at a stroke), and was selected thanks to its relatively lightweight, capability and piston layout; all highly significant considerations on a 500bhp saloon like this. These now house Project Mu H16-03 brake pads, the firm’s competition grade offering and one known for its resistance to fade, high initial ‘bite’ and fantastic release characteristics.

    While hardly heavy, the OEM alloys were dumped in favour of a featherweight offering from Neuspeed, the RSE10. Not only do these look right at home peeking out from beneath the S3’s arches, they also tip the scales at just 21.5lb each, and therefore represent a significant reduction in unsprung weight – a true win-win scenario.

    It’s fitting that we conclude this feature by discussing how this particular S3 looks, and that’s best summed up in one word – aggressive. Imagine a pit bull chewing up a wasp while being goaded by an especially foolhardy postman, and you’re still only halfway there! Audi has to take some of the credit for this of course, but it’s hard to deny that the styling work put in by the boys from Awesome has helped lift its looks far and above those of the standard car.

    “The graphics package found on the original #APR car provided a lot of inspiration, but the livery our car now has is subtly different to APR’s, so it’s more of a homage.”

    The livery means that this car can’t help but stand out wherever it goes, but we’re particularly fond of the more subtle additions Awesome has seen to factor in, like the splitter, diffuser, rear spoiler and door mirrors, all constructed from high grade carbon fibre.

    So, what’s next? Well the life of a demo car is a hard one, so expect the S3 to be put to work drumming up support for the Stage 3 package (and much else) it now boasts, and there’s no denying that it represents the a great means of extracting massive power from #MQB platform cars with E888 engines. It means that though it might currently So there are almost certainly going to be further developments in the coming weeks and months – watch this space!

    TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #2017 / #Audi-S3-Saloon / #Audi-S3 / #Audi / #Audi-EA888 / #Audi-S3-Saloon-ARP / #Audi-S3-8V #Audi-A3-8V / #Audi-8V / #Audi-A3 / #Audi-S3-Saloon-8V / #Audi-S3-Saloon-ARP-8V / #Audi-S3-Typ-8V / #Audi-A3-Typ-8V / #Audi-A3-Typ-8V / #Audi-S3-Saloon-Typ-8V

    Engine 2.0 #EA888 Gen 3 DOHC I4 16v, #APR-Stage-3 tuning package comprising #EFR7163 twin scroll turbocharger, APR Stage 3 #DSG tune, #APR-Stage-3-ECU tune, #APR Stage 3 cast downpipe, APR carbon intake system, APR Front Mount intercooler with APR silicone charge hoses, APR low pressure fuel pump, resonated Milltek downpipe-back exhaust system with active valves

    Transmission OEM Audi four-wheel drive system with front and rear differentials, #APR-DQ250 / #DSG clutches

    Chassis #Racingline coil springs and stock dampers, #Vagbremtechnic front brake kit comprising #Brembo 8 piston calipers, 32x362mm two-piece discs and Project Mu H16-03 competition grade pads, 19x8.5in Neuspeed RSE10 wheels in satin gunmetal with ET45 offset

    Interior Complete OEM Audi S3 interior

    Exterior 2015 Audi S3 saloon in Misano red, carbon fibre front splitter, carbon fibre rear diffuser, carbon fibre door mirror covers and carbon fibre boot spoiler

    Call: 0161 776 0777

    Top: It’s a real head turner out on the road.
    Above: Interior is nicely finished as standard.
    Left: 19in Neuspeed wheel and Vagbremtechnic brakes.
    Left: Shot inside Awesome’s HQ.
    Below: Tasty carbon trim.

    The APR turbocharger system

    The twin-scroll EFR7163 turbo forms a key part of the Stage 3 kit, so it’s well worth taking a closer look at its capabilities. APR has extracted as much as 520bhp from #MQB cars fitted with this kit and has seen 10-second quarter-mile times, yet this hasn’t come at the expense of everyday drivability. Indeed, cars fitted with this turbo setup have been shown to retain OEM-levels of lag, while at the same time being devoid of the compromises many would expect of an engine of this size and with this state of tune.

    “...increase the performance in every aspect ”

    “I spotted one at APR and instantly fell in love with it”
    • All mapped out. Interesting to read about the APR guys coming over from the US to map cars in the UK. I didn’t realise they made such an effort to ensAll mapped out. Interesting to read about the APR guys coming over from the US to map cars in the UK. I didn’t realise they made such an effort to ensure their software works exactly as is says, no matter where in the world the customer happens to live. Awesome’s Stage 3 S3 looks like a bit of a monster too – I’ve seen a couple of videos on Facebook where it looks properly quick. Do you plan to test this? Give me a call if you do – I’d love to ride shotgun!  More ...
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    FAST FLEET evo’s staff photographer gets a new workhorse in the form of a stealthy Skoda estate.

    NEW ARRIVAL #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-vRS-230 / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-vRS / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate / #Skoda-Octavia / #Škoda-Octavia-5E / #Škoda-Octavia / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-vRS-230-5E / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-5E / #VAG / #SKODA / #Škoda / #Skoda

    We won’t deny it: we do like a good hot-hatch-based estate derivative here at evo. It’s why we have a Focus ST on our long-term fleet (see opposite) and also why we’re now running this – a Skoda Octavia Estate vRS 230, in a particularly fetching shade called Black Magic.

    Of course, the real magic of this breed of car lies in its ability to meld deceptive pace with reliability, comfort, low running costs and a large enough dose of fun to tie it all together. To this end, we’ve opted for the six-speed manual ’box instead of the #DSG , which had a habit of tripping over itself in the diesel vRS we previously ran (and rated highly).

    The numerical element of this car’s name signifies a 10bhp increase over the standard Octavia vRS. So here the 2-litre turbo in-line four makes 227bhp at 4700-6200rpm and 258lb ft at 1500-4600rpm, which is enough for a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds (just half a second behind a Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40) and a top speed of 153mph. Thirst is rated at 44mpg.

    The 230 also gets an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. It’s the same one you’ll find in the Golf GTI Performance Pack, and along with a new (and aurally very pleasing) sports exhaust and the tickled ECU, it accounts for the bulk of the 230’s £1690 premium over the regular vRS.

    The Estate vRS 230 is £27,800 basic, which seems a good deal as the model is generously equipped as standard. It gets 19-inch wheels wrapped with 225-section tyres, bixenon headlights and LED tailights, and gloss-black exterior trim for the full sleeper look. Handsome? Surprisingly so.

    Within the distinctly German cabin you get meaty sports seats, a touchscreen satnav, DAB radio, dualzone climate control, cruise control and even a driver-fatigue sensor for what I’m hoping will be effortless motorway schleps to and from farflung photographic locations.

    The optional extras we’ve gone for include the panoramic sunroof (£1150), Canton sound system (£500), rear-view parking camera (£300) and that lovely paint (£360). The box for Dynamic Chassis Control (£850) has also been ticked because the ability to soften or firm up the suspension and alter the steering weight through several modes is key to this car’s all-round appeal.

    The total cost? £32,120. Sounds like a lot, and it’s a wedge of cash more than our new Ford. It’s going to be interesting finding out which car represents the breed’s best.

    Date acquired November #2016
    Total mileage 1024
    Mileage this month 965
    Costs this month £0
    Mpg this month 34.2

    Cars like this meld deceptive pace with reliability, comfort, low running costs and a dose of fun’
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    VW Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40. It’s a Golf GTI that’s been specifically tailored for people like us – and now we have one on our fleet.

    / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Clubsport-Edition-40 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Gti-Clubsport-S / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Clubsport / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Clubsport-Edition-40-VII / #VW-Golf-GTi / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen / #VW / #2016 / #VW-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk7 / #Volkswagen-Golf-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-Clubsport-Edition-40-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Golf-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Golf-VII

    Has there ever been a more exciting time for hot hatches? There’s a Leon Cupra with what feels like in excess of 300bhp, a four-wheel-drive Focus RS with a drift mode, a turbocharged Civic Type R with a fabulously unnecessary complement of aero add-ons, and, of course, the Renault Sport Mégane, recently retired but still utterly sublime. And let’s not forget the smaller hatches: Peugeot finally finding its mojo again with the 208 GTi, and Ford’s Fiesta ST hopping into the desirability spot recently vacated by the RS Clio.

    Amongst all of this, however, it has been rather easy to overlook the good ol’ Golf GTI. With a mere 217bhp, or 227bhp with the optional Performance Pack, it’s been looking a bit tame of late. Thankfully, Volkswagen hasn’t rested on its laurels of being the default choice for the average punter looking for a smart, quick hatchback; it has also produced not one but two models for those of us who like our hot hatches a little bit more special.

    The most special of those is, of course, the 306bhp #VW-Golf-GTi-Clubsport-S , which finished an astonishing second place in our recent Car of the Year test – just ahead of a McLaren 570S, a Honda NSX and an Audi R8 V10.

    Sadly, with just 150 examples coming to the UK, it’s already sold out. That leaves the Clubsport Edition 40, which is still available – albeit only until the ‘Mk7.2’ Golf goes on sale in the spring. It has 286bhp on overboost and, unlike the S, has rear seats. It’s also available with five doors and a #DSG gearbox, if you so desire. When we tested the Edition 40 on UK roads for the first time last month, we labelled it ‘the best drivers’ GTI you can buy’.

    So I’m rather chuffed to now be running one on our Fast Fleet. Our car has five doors, but not DSG – my thinking is that you might as well have a manual ’box wherever you still can. The Clubsport Edition 40 kit includes an electronically controlled mechanical limited-slip differential, lowered and retuned suspension, a new front bumper, a rather large (by VW standards) roof spoiler, and some stripes that mimic those which adorned the flanks of the Mk1 Golf GTI. In basic form you’re looking at £31,590 with five doors (£30,935 with three), which is just over £3000 more than you’d pay for a basic Golf GTI and on a par with rivals from Honda and Ford.

    Our car also has a healthy smattering of options, namely Oryx White paint (£985), a driver assistance package (including lane assist and side scan, and costing £960), Discover Pro Navigation (£1325), 19-inch ‘Brescia’ alloy wheels (£595, and an inch larger than the standard items), tinted rear glass (£95), rear side airbags (£280) and a tracker (£536). This little lot takes the total to £36,366.

    First impressions? Well, it’s a Golf, so of course it’s a brilliantly easy thing to live with. The extra power is most definitely welcome, and while the Clubsport doesn’t perhaps feel as wild as some of its rivals – not least the Civic, an example of which I ran as a long-termer before the Golf – the VW has its own, more composed strengths. Just the kind that come to the fore in the midst of a grubby UK winter, in fact, as I hope the Clubsport will demonstrate over the coming months.

    ‘When we tested the Edition 40 last month we labelled it “the best drivers’ GTI you can buy”’

    Date acquired October 2016
    Total mileage 3568
    Mileage this month 1132
    Costs this month £0
    Mpg this month 28.8
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    / #2017 / New #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf-VII / #Volkswagen-Golf-GTi-VII / #Volkswagen-Golf-Typ-5G /

    Trust us, this is the new Golf GTI. The 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine gets a power hike from 217bhp to 227bhp, equalling that of the outgoing Performance Pack model, while the new Performance Pack model produces 241bhp.

    The six-speed manual gearbox is retained and the ageing six-speed #DSG option will eventually (though not initially) be replaced with a new seven-speed dual-clutch unit. Other changes include new front and rear bumpers inspired by the previous generation Clubsport model and LED headlights and tail lights.
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    CARBON COLLECTIVE / #VW-Typ-5G / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk7 / #Volkswagen-Golf / #Volkswagen-Golf-VII / #VW-Golf-VII / #VW-Golf-Mk7 / #VW-Golf / #VW / #Volkswagen

    What you’re looking at here was one of the most talked about cars at this year’s Wörthersee that wasn’t an Audi R8. But you’ll have to get pretty close to really see why… Words Matt Zollo. Pictures Igor Vucinic.

    Smoke and mirrors. It’s a beginning-of season tactic that Andy Pfeffer has put into practice to great effect on many occasions over the years, all to maximise the impact of his latest creation when he finally wheels it into the breach of an expectant scene on the ever-earlier first day of that show by the lake.

    Most of you will be able to recall ‘his’ Riviera blue Mk6s, both affectionately known as Dixie (actually, one was owned by his brother-in-law and the other was his mate Hakan Koc’s). The first was a tin top GTI with full R imitation and 20-inch Ultraleggeras, which came on to the scene in #2012 , and the next was the – shrouded in secrecy until the day before it was revealed at Wörthersee 2013 – almost identical 1.2 FSI cab version.

    The various reveals of this Mk7 have seen the smoke and mirrors tactics used on an even more comprehensive, and consequently successful, level. After showing the car with a Martini-style wrap, Gepfeffert’s own KWs and 20-inch OZ rims at Wörthersee Reloaded in 2013, Andy told everyone that he had sold the car and replaced it with a Mk7 R. He hadn’t, of course, instead turning up with the GTI sporting such an authentic R replication (along with some 20-inch Ferrari rims) that he had absolutely everyone fooled. No mean feat considering the expertise of the collective that was duped.

    Later in #2014 the car was pictured on Facebook sat on a trailer, apparently going off to a new owner. But, as you might have guessed, this was nothing but a ruse. Instead, Andy had shipped the car off to his friend Arpi (of RS Tuning fame) in Hungary...

    It takes a lot to surprise a close knit group of car enthusiasts, particularly in this liking, sharing, commenting and following day and age of social media, so to be able to genuinely do so come that first public outing of the year is quite the valuable tool to have in a car owner’s arsenal – particularly when the car being exhibited is tasked with advertising the owner’s business, as Andy’s is. For demo cars it’s all about making a scene on the scene, and maximising the attention they get is of paramount importance – and not just for the good of a business but, let’s be honest here, also the owner’s ego.

    Well, Andy’s ego must still be bulging large even as you read this because, as you’ll already know if you went to ‘The Lake’ this year, his car was pretty much the talking point of the event. That is undoubtedly because of the carbon fibre which adorns it. And when we say adorns, what we really mean is envelopes, like a (nice) parasite that has (pleasantly) infected its host to such an extent that it has taken over its body and now calls the place its home.

    Arpi and Zsolt, of and, had covered a Mk3 VR6 in carbon years ago, so they had some previous experience with this kind of undertaking. Even so, it wasn’t ever going to be the work of a moment, the car eventually staying with them for six months. Literally every external component that didn’t have to flex or be seen through has been covered (except for those red mirror caps and grille slat details), even down to the internals of the headlights.

    “We’ve made a huge amount of carbon parts for different cars, a lot of carbon fronts (hood, bumper, fender), but this is only our second full carbon car,” Zsolt tells us. “Carbon covering requires a lot of patience and very detailed work. A full carbon car needs approximately two months of solid work.

    “The most difficult and the least enjoyable part is to really pay attention during the covering to the carbon direction, to make the chassis and edges with the least cutting or, when it’s possible, without any cutting. Detail is very important on these cars, so it must be perfect down to the last centimetres as well. It needs a lot of time!” All of you who saw the car for yourselves at the show will know that the result of Arpi and Zsolt’s patience and attention to detail is nothing short of stunning.

    All other bodywork mods – the Mücke front wings that provide an additional 25mm of clearance (the rears remain standard, just copious amounts of camber achieving the required clearance), the cleaned bootlid and bonnet and the removal of the VW emblems – had been carried out for the previous iteration of the car, so there was little else to do to the outside. Save for the rims, of course...

    They are one-offs, made by Wheelworkx and based on OEM Q7 BBS Speedlines. A substantial change in construction has seen them transformed from two-piece to three-piece, with half-inch negative outer lips and custom dishes narrowing the 10x20 ET44 wheels to an 8.5x20 ET70 fitment. With the centres painted BBS gold crackle finish and the lips polished for the timehonoured, classic motorsport look, details like the BBS logos sandblasted into the outer rims finish them off.

    The inside has seen its fair share of carbon laminated into its surface area too, though these add up to mere details rather than the main event; dash inlays, the seat backs of the Recaro buckets and the Wiechers roll-cage are all covered in the glossy grey weave, just as they were in the car’s previous guise.

    As with all of Andy’s cars, the brakes are what is known – technically speaking – as ‘whopping’. Previous setups have been: 400mm A8 W12 discs with C63 six-pots on the Dixie GTI; 390mm RS6 discs, again with AMG six-pots, on the Dixie cab; those 390mm RS6 discs again, this time clamped by 997 GT3 calipers on the Martini Mk7. The latter combination has been retained for this iteration of the car as well, with the same rear setup consisting of 356mm Audi RS6 discs and Porsche Panamera fourpots. Of course, all editions of Pfeffer Golf have featured his company’s own modified KWs, along with a hydraulic lift system, and this version is no different.

    It may not be an actual R, but it has the performance to match the R facade thanks to a remap by HGR, an HJS downpipe and a F-Town Streetmachines system with Golf R-style quad pipe outlet. All of which Andy says is good for 309bhp. The DSG has also been remapped by HGR for faster shifts.

    The really observant amongst you might have noticed something specific about this car by now. That is, if Andy so wished, he could return it to stock without much effort at all – it would just be a case of swapping over the relatively uncomplicated aftermarket parts for their stock counterparts. He has always followed this ethos with his cars, evidenced in practices such as using adjustable camber plates rather than pulling arches out.

    Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this car, however, and indeed all the best cars that appear at the start of a new show season, is where the owner can go next. It’s certainly going to take something pretty damn special to trump this Mk7. It goes without saying we really can’t wait to see what that something is, and what it is that Andy has done to it. Just as it goes without saying, of course, that we didn’t even bother asking him for clues to either…

    Andy was a carpenter before he got involved in cars professionally. Modifying them in his spare time, it soon became apparent that he could make a living from it, and thus he started in a small workshop at his parents’ place. In just a few years the company had grown big enough for him to relocate into a bigger, better-equipped workshop, and now Gepfeffert is a well known brand not only in Germany but also in Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, the UK and many more countries besides.

    Dub Details / #Volkswagen-Golf-2.0TSI-VII /

    ENGINE: 2.0 TSI , Golf 7 R engine cover, remapped by #HGR , #HJS downpipe, exhaust by #F-Town Streetmachines with Golf R-style quad tail pipes, #DSG remapped by HGR for faster gear change

    CHASSIS: #KW / #KW-V3-Clubsport coilovers with adjustable camber mounts and #HLS for 3cm lift, 390mm Audi RS6 discs with six-pot 997 GT3 calipers up front and 356mm Audi RS6 discs with four-pot Porsche Panamera calipers at the rear, adapters and custom handbrake by #Vandit-Performance , steel brake lines, custom Audi Q7 BBS Speedline rims modified from two-piece 10x20 ET44 to 8.5x20 ET70 three-piece fitment, centres painted in BBS gold crackle finish, BBS logo sandblasted in outer lip, 18mm front and 15mm rear 5x115 to 5x130 adapters, Nankang 215/30/20 tyres

    EXTERIOR: #3Mücke-GFK front wings, VW badges removed, bonnet smoothed, custom grille, Golf 7 R body kit with front and rear bumpers and side skirts, smoothened bootlid, complete car coated in carbon fibre done by

    INTERIOR: Carbon fibre dash inlays, carbonbacked Recaros custom trimmed with R logos, Wiechers carbon-covered roll-cage, rear seat bench removed, BBS spare wheel, original Discover Pro Navigation with Dynaudio audio system and DVD

    SHOUT: Simon Stracker, Jacko, Andy (Sehrgeijfährlich), Steve Danzer, Bernd Seiler at Vandit Performance, Stephan at F-Town, Autolackiererei Sitter Andreas, Arpi at, AVP-Gruppe Roman Müller, my wife Tanja and daughter Amelie Pfeffer

    Carbon-coated bodywork took two solid months of hard graft by the guys at RS Tuning in Hungary and is a work of art. It’s hard to believe this car is running static suspension, although the #KW HLS hydraulic lift kit up front enables Andy to take it on all roads, even those with speed bumps. A crazy car that is totally usable. This is the future…

    Interior is pretty low-key on first impression but look closer and you’ll see a whole host of carbon goodies!
    One-off wheels are based on 20” Q7 #BBS / Speedlines narrowed to 8.5” and converted from two- to three-piece.
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    The fact we can still count on one hand the number of #TFSI converted Golfs we’ve featured in these pages goes to show how challenging the swap is. Mario Bacher’s Mk2 is one of the most complex to date! Words: Matt Zollo. Photos: Igor Vucinic. / #Volkswagen-Golf-II / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2 / #Volkswagen-Golf-II-TFSI / #Volkswagen-Golf-Mk2-TFSI / #VW / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Golf / #2015

    Some of you, sometimes, may see a car on these pages and wonder why the owner has gone to the great lengths they have to create it. I’m not talking about taste or personal preference here, more of common sense and logic. This, possibly, could be one of those cars. A Mk2 that’s been painstakingly fitted out with Mk5 componentry? Surely it would be a whole lot easier to simply buy a Mk5?

    But, of course, modifying cars isn’t really about logic and reason. Thankfully. Sensible stuff like rational justifications and sound thinking really don’t have to come into it. Just to be different, to be the first, to enjoy the challenge; those are more than good enough reasons to do whatever you want to do to your car. And that’s why our scene is the fascinating and diverse world that it is. With that little sermon dispensed with, we should introduce the man who we have to thank for this unique slice of the scene – welcome, Mario Bacher – and get on with its story. Because, damn, we have a lot to talk about here. Mechanically, electronically and (cabin) cosmetically speaking, this is about as Mk5 as you’re going to make a Mk2 without getting involved with cutters, welders and jigs.

    Mario is an old hand when it comes to modifying. He started back in 1994 and has gone through plenty of projects since, from a trusty 70hp GTD Mk2 Golf as a first car to a magazine-featured Mk2 with Corrado VR6 motor and dash as a long running project, along with a tiny Smart Fortwo Cabrio and a sizeable Audi A6.

    After a few years without a Mk2, however, he fancied another and bought this 1991 70hp two-door in 2005. In his words, the only thing fixed at that point was the colour: white. Everything else about it was going to change. Although he didn’t know in quite what way, other than it was going to have a four-cylinder turbo motor and a G60 makeover. Clearly Mario is a man who sticks to his plans.

    The hunt for a 1.8T started in spring 2006, and by this time he’d already sourced a Mk4 dash to squeeze in. This could so easily have been a Mk4’d Mk2, then, but when Mario phoned his engine man he was offered a TFSI instead. Actually, he was offered two TFSIs, one #DSG and one manual, but at the time it wasn’t known whether the TFSI could run standalone so he went with the latter as the safer bet (and now of course regrets it).

    Armed with a TFSI and manual ’box, wiring harness, fuel pump, ECU, instrument cluster and key (from an ’06 Jetta), plus the Mk2 that he had begun to restore the body of, he gave himself a year to get it all up and running in time for Wörthersee 2007. That year the car was shown off with its Mk5 engine, Mk4 dash, Mk3 Recaros (and running gear, all from a VR6), Mk2 G60 body and 16-inch Merc rims.

    After two years running the car like this, he started getting a little tired of the various foibles such a mix ’n’ match setup can bring – dash lights were telling him doors were open when they weren’t, the speedo didn’t work, the air-con needed a separate black box… The answer was a 2005 Mk5 Golf TDI, purchased on the cheap due to the notinconsiderable 186,000 miles on its then four-year-old clocks, to donate its dash and much of its innards – including Climatronic, seat heaters and MFD2 nav and handsfree – in an attempt to integrate everything better.

    “No doubt the biggest challenge was to fit the dashboard,” says Mario. “There was no chance to fit it without cutting. I had to shorten it about 8cm in depth [taking it from the raised section that butts up against the windscreen] and 2cm on each side – between the instrument cluster and air vent and, on the passenger side, left of the air vent. I also had to shorten the panels left of the steering wheel and the glove compartment and all the stuff around there.” On the other hand the centre console fitted perfectly, once the Mk5 handbrake lever had been fitted.

    The doorcards are custom-made creations using early Mk2 panels combined with Mk5 parts, while the switches for the windows, mirrors and lights are Mk6. Piano black covers various trim panels, and pretty much everything else has been trimmed in dark grey Porsche leather with Alcantara inserts and white double stitching. One goal of the project was achieve a OEM look, and, as with everywhere else, that has definitely been achieved inside.

    “For the mechanical side I had to add space for the huge heater/air conditioning unit behind the dashboard,” explains Mario. “I drilled some big holes in the middle of the firewall to connect the pipes for the heater and air conditioning, and below the windscreen area on the passenger side I had to move the wall forward to get space for the heater box. This was the only time I thought: what the f**k am I doing here?!” A lot of people junk their old VW’s ABS units, and are happy to be without traction or stability control, but Mario has gone the other way and fitted the complete ABS, ESP and ASR system from the TDI. He ‘just’ had to fabricate adapters to fix the #ABS sensors and magnetic rings in the wheel bearings, to create the signal for the speedo via the ABS ECU and CAN-bus.

    The steering column is Mk5, but a Polo 9N electro-hydraulic rack is used as there isn’t the space for the full electric Mk5 setup or the old hydraulic Mk3 setup. The Polo unit matches up perfectly to the Mk5 column and is very similar in size to the Mk3 one – requiring just small modifications to the mid-section of the VR6 subframe to mount – while its electric oil pump is remote (mounted just ahead of the front wheel with its filler accessible from the engine bay) and the pump’s integrated ECU understands the Mk5’s CAN data.

    Even stuff like the wiper motor is from the TDI, giving this Mk2 the neat trick of setting the wipers in a slightly different position every fifth time the ignition is switched off, in an effort to preserve them. And inside those Mk2 side mirror housings sits all the gubbins of a Mk5 mirror.

    In the engine bay only a few modifications were necessary to fit the fuse and battery boxes, the water and air-con radiators and the fans. With the TDI wiring harness, though, Mario had to change… everything including adding wiring for the rain and light sensors and foglights, making the harness longer for the tailgate and doors, stripping the unnecessary rear door wiring and preparing it for the swap from diesel to petrol (for the fuel pump ECU, for example). This second major Mk5 parts transplant took about six months, and the car was then shown at Wörthersee 2010. Since then Mario has treated it to various newer OEM upgrades, making it a well spec’d Golf irrespective of age. The old MFD2 has been replaced with a touchscreen RNS510, and the air-con panel has been upgraded to a Mk6 version to work with the RNS510’s display. There are now Mk6 GTI dials in a 2010 Scirocco cluster with colour Premium MFA+. Also, a Bluetooth handsfree ECU has been installed along with an upgraded alarm system with tilt and ultrasonic interior sensors.

    It goes on: VW’s awkwardly-named Coming Home/Leaving Home system; cruise control; one-touch/three-flash indicators; remote opening for the tailgate done via the Mk5 key fob; voice command for the radio; VW ten-speaker upgrade, six in the front and four in the rear. And, with the rain sensors, when the car’s parked up the windows automatically close if it starts to rain. It would be easy to get carried away and continue to throw bits of Mk5 and Mk6 at the car, but Mario knows there’s a time when you have to step away. And he laughs when I enquire whether there might be a future with Mk7 parts involved: “Haha! That’s the main question I’ve been asked! But, no, that’s not planned. I think when you’ve reached a good level with the car it makes no sense to do more work to it. When you think you have to find more things to put into it, it’s dangerous, because the project tilts to the worse.

    “The car is ready except for DSG and steering wheel shifters, and then for the next few years I only want to do work to hold the level of finish; maybe refresh the paint or something like that.” Common sense prevails even with the guys who are willing to undertake the hardest and seemingly most illogical of builds, it seems…

    Dub Details

    ENGINE: Full #BWA-TFSI 2.0-litre 16-valve turbo conversion, #VW-DIY engine and gearbox mounts, remapped by friend Franco, Mercedes C-Class intercooler, exhaust consisting of Jetta cat and lambda, Mk5 TDI centre-section, Mk3 VR6 rear box and Audi A3 TDI tailpipes, Mk5 TDI radiator and twin fans, TFSI MQ350 six-speed manual, Mk5 TDI clutch master cylinder, shortened driveshafts.

    CHASSIS: Mk3 VR6 front subframe and rear axle assemblies, #KW Variant 1 coilovers, Mk3 VR6 anti-roll bars, electro-hydraulic power steering rack from Polo 9N, Audi A4 V6 calipers and S3 312mm discs up front and Mk3 VR6 at the rear, 5x100 to 5x112 20mm front and 30mm rear adapters, Mk5 GTI Denver 7.5x17” ET51 alloys with 185/35/17 Nankang NS2s.

    OUTSIDE: G60 arches, sills, trim strips and bumpers, modified wheel arches, removed side indicators, badges and rear wiper, Mk5 Golf tailgate switch, black B-pillars, Passat 32b sunroof, clear front lamps and indicators, smoked/red rear lights.

    INSIDE: Full retrim in Porsche dark grey with Alcantara and white double stitching, Mk5 modified dashboard, heater box, Climatronic and steering column, Mk5 centre console, hybrid Mk2/Mk5 door panels with Mk6 switches, Mk6 multifunction steering wheel, 2010 Scirocco instrument cluster with colour MFA+ Premium and Mk6 GTI dials, Mk3 VR6 Recaro seats, original Mk2 black carpet, Mk5 mirror adjusters, RNS510 touchscreen navigation system, Mk5 ten speaker upgrade, non-OE amp and subwoofer.

    SHOUT: Thanks to my close mate, Michael, who helped me when more than two hands were needed, and my wife, Tanja, who carried the project in the background and allowed me the time I needed.

    Mk5 dashboard looks right at home inside the Mk2’s shell A-pillars too. Everything, and we mean everything, works as it should too!

    2.0-litre TFSI looks like it was always meant to be inside the Mk2’s chassis legs, so good is the fit and finish of everything.
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    James Hickey, Marlow #2007 #Audi-TT-2.0-TFSI-S-tronic #Audi-TT-8J

    My Series 2 #Audi-TT-2.0-TFSI S tronic is the first #Audi I have ever owned. Previously I’d had a Chrysler Crossfire 3.2 V6 for about four years, before I part-exchanged it for the #Audi-TT at Reading Audi in January 2008. I loved the Crossfire because of the looks it got wherever I went and the fact that it was built on the Mercedes SLK platform, but after 50,000 miles it had started to experience various mechanical problems and I decided to chop it in for something I felt would be a little bit more reliable…

    I bought the TT because I was specifically looking for a 2.0-litre turbo-engined car with a paddle-shift gearbox. All the reviews I’d read about the 2.0 TFSI engine were excellent, one even stating that ‘It was the best 2.0 turbo they had ever driven’. I actually jumped a 6-month waiting list at the Reading Audi dealership because they had the exact specification I was looking for on a TT sitting in a warehouse in London, still wrapped in plastic, and because I wasn’t ‘ordering from the catalogue’ and specifying various options, I could take delivery right away.

    Finished in Phantom black, the car had a full black Nappa leather interior, Bluetooth phone prep and the engine and gearbox spec I wanted, so it was really a no-brainer. If I’m telling the truth, I really wanted a 4-wheeldrive car, but when I was buying and in need of ditching the Crossfire, there was no quattro version of the 2.0 turbo TT available.

    I have now owned the car for exactly seven years and have covered about 64,000 miles and I have no regrets about buying and owning it for that time. The TT has been super-reliable and I’ve had no major issues with the car at all, which is what I would expect from owning an Audi. I love the build quality, the way it handles in the corners and the way it feels in terms of how it sits on the road. The #DSG gearbox is superb, the engine feels bulletproof and I find it a very dynamic car to drive.

    I have, however, had the common minor failures that most TT owners are familiar with, such as sticky/failed paddle-shift micro-switches, a broken parcel shelf bracket, seized bonnet releases, broken plastic bonnet release handles and, after 60,000 miles, my first electric window regulator failure. These are all minor issues, though, considering the overall hugely positive experience I’ve had of owning this car.

    A couple of years ago, I was trying to decide whether to buy a new car, or carry on driving the TT. I wasn’t keen on spending so much money on a new car, and I really didn’t want to ditch the TT, so I found a local independent James Hickey, Marlow 2007 TT 2.0 TFSI S tronic Audi/VW specialist called Mark at MDM Technik, who explained how I could improve the car. I decided to give the TT a ‘refresh’ and save myself the cost of a new car and so I embarked on the somewhat addictive process of modifying it. To begin with, I really just wanted to improve the engine performance but I’ve since opted to slowly create a road-legal trackday car instead, as and when time and money allow.

    So far, I’ve added a Milltek high-flow catback exhaust system with Milltek quad tailpipes, a Revo induction system and an Autotech highcapacity fuel pump. The engine mounts have been upgraded and I’ve since added a Forge intercooler, Forge silicone boost pipes, and a Forge recirculation/dump valve. I’m now up to Revo Stage 2+ and the increase in power and torque has been epic – it’s really like driving a new car and the modifications I’ve made have re-kindled my love for the TT! I’m still using the stock turbo and it amazes me how much additional boost can be gained from the original Audi components, just with some tuning.

    I’ve had no issues with the new tuned configuration either, it all just works perfectly and at a recent rolling-road test day at AmD Essex the power readings were pretty respectable at 270 bhp and 317 lb.ft. of torque.

    The fuel consumption is higher than it was, but I’m getting near 33 mpg during steady driving out on the motorway. Even if I hammer it, I’ll still get more than 20-25 mpg, which I’m very happy about. Considering I’m pushing so much power through the front wheels, I was worried about torque steer and whether the front diff could cope but I’ve had no issues on this front either, which is perhaps testament to the quality of the components and Audi’s engineering on the standard car.

    On the exterior, I added a body kit with Phantom black/Audi silver 2-tone paint job. I swapped the stock 18-inch Turbine alloys for 19-inch ZCW wheels wrapped in Falken FK452 tyres. I also plan to add some decals, but haven’t figured out how best to do that yet. The response I’ve had to the cosmetic changes has been mixed, to say the least, and it does divide opinion. A lot of people really like the look of the car, but I think the purists are up in arms! However, I’m in the process of creating something for the track and, as such, I’m not finished yet. Ultimately, it will look more like a track car than an original TT.

    I actually tracked the car for the first time at the 2014 Audi Driver International day at Castle Combe, as part of the dedicated TT Owners’ Club track session. The mods I’ve made held up beautifully, but it quickly became obvious where the weaknesses were. After coming off the track, my brakes were burning – smoke was actually pouring out of the front wheels! The track session had made it clear that the suspension and brakes badly needed upgrading, and so I’m in the process of sourcing a TT RS big-brake kit and Whiteline anti-roll bars to stiffen up the handling in the corners.

    I’d also like to add racing seats and harnesses, new adjustable dampers and possibly a racing differential, which will allow me to tighten everything up on the car. It should make a great trackday car when I’m finished, because the lack of quattro drivetrain reduces weight, it’s tight into and out of the corners and the S-tronic shift is very fast, meaning it drives like a race car. I also get a nice popping sound from the exhaust and a kick in the back when I change up, which is something that only happens since the engine mods have been made. I’d also like to do the European Cannonball Run in it when it’s finished, although I’m going to need a competent co-driver, who doesn’t mind driving long distances across Europe for a week and wants to party hard while doing so…

    ‘The track session had made it clear that the suspension and brakes badly needed upgrading...’
    ‘I decided to give the TT a ‘refresh’ and embarked on the somewhat addictive process of modifying it...’
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    Audi A3 E-tron #2015 giant road test #Audi-A3-Typ-8V - Audi’s first plug-in hybrid offers a clever powertrain but is there anymore to it than that? Audi’s latest answer to electrification is this; the Audi A3 e-tron 2015. There are two sides to the car. At times, it is a calm and gentle electric driven commuter tool. And, at others, it becomes a torque fuelled back road monster. WORDS & PHOTOS: Jonathan Musk.

    The #Audi-A3 e-tron is the first plug-in hybrid car from Audi. Their previous hybrid attempts have largely gone unnoticed, for example the A6 Hybrid. It’s not that they were bad attempts; they just didn’t offer much benefit over their petrol or diesel counterparts. With the A3 e-tron, Audi are trying something new. Aside from installing a large battery to provide a usable electric driving range, Audi have combined a 1.4 litre engine and a powerful electric motor. This difference in approach means that unlike previous Audi mild-hybrids that relied upon a large capacity engine and relatively small electric motor, the A3 e-tron uses a small capacity engine and large electric motor. The 1.4 turbo employed is capable of either sipping or guzzling fuel, depending upon how it is driven, and the powerful electric motor offers much improved fuel-free driving. This results in a car that has two distinct characters, but rather than being unpredictable, critically, it has an on-demand personality disorder.


    Little has been altered when compared side-by-side with a standard A3. Only a subtle change to the grille and wheels has been made, while internally there are vague hints of the hybrid powertrain visible, including neatly minimal dashmounted buttons stating, ‘EV’ and ‘Drive Select’. Apart from that, the e-tron is wholly standard and despite being the range topper, comes with a distinct lack of standard equipment. Our grey exterior, black-leathered car came at a significant price.


    There are two sides to this car, as mentioned. Driven electrically, the e-tron is capable of travelling 32 miles to a single charge. When that runs out, the 1.4-litre petrol unit takes over and can be used to either run in hybrid mode or charge the battery. But, it is advisable to avoid using the battery charging mode, as you will be paying petrol prices for electricity. With some or full battery charge, the petrol unit can also be used to ‘store’ the energy remaining in the cells at that level. The idea is if travelling to a town or city, electric driving range can be reserved for when you arrive there. The most impressive aspect of the e-tron’s electric drive is that it has plenty of pulling power and never leaves you reaching for the hybrid mode. Electrically driven, the e-tron is capable of reaching 80mph and accelerating from 0-37mph in just over five seconds. It’s no slouch. This makes the e-tron perfectly adept at being driven only electrically and it is easy to forget the presence of the engine under the bonnet, particularly when doing sub 30 mile journeys. A key to the Audi’s success is its ability to coast too; meaning when throttling back, the car simply rolls along the road with only tyre and wind resistance. It allows great distances to be achieved using no power at all. Should regenerative braking be desired, the paddle shift easily takes care of this as the electric drive goes through the #DSG gearbox. The gear lever can be used too, simply by switching it to the left and sport mode gives access to manual shifting too.

    Flick it back to the right and full-auto is resumed, along with coasting. Similarly, if using the paddles, a long press on one of them reinstates automatic ‘D’ mode. It’s a relaxing car to drive and it takes both urban and extra-urban driving in its stride. The only area for criticism in this regard, is excessive rear tyre noise coming into the cabin.

    The 1.4 litre turbo and direct-injection engine is a peach. When used, it sings into life with an enthusiastic thrum and is quick to respond to swift DSG changes via the paddle shift. It is an excellent choice of companion to the electric motor and it too benefits from the likes of coasting in drive mode, or actual down shifting for engine braking using the paddles or gear stick. In full power mode, the car is transformed from Stealth to full thrust Eurofighter. The exhaust note is reminiscent of bygone era hot hatches and there is even a generous amount of torque steer – all good fun. It’s what makes this car a hoot to drive as it really does do everything well. The petrol engine is just as adept at sipping fuel though, something it has a lot of technology to help it to do. Exhaust gas recirculation frequently pops up on the central display, indicating that the engine isn’t burning any additional fuel and is instead simply using what it didn’t burn the first time around. Additionally, the direct-injection method of fuel delivery means it is very efficient at using fuel in the first place. The 188mpg figure may be a little pie-in the-sky in genuine use, but combined with the electric only driving and this is a credible figure easily obtainable. During our week with the car, we travelled nearly 400 miles and managed a respectable – and easy – 71.9mpg.


    Only a slight intrusion has been made into the cars’ boot capacity by the battery installed beneath, although Audi have done their best to fill what space is left with an excessively oversized protective case for the 3-pin charger. Minimalism doesn’t quite describe it. Just glance at the photos here and you’ll quickly establish that this isn’t a car full of joy or design flourishes. Instead, it is a completely practical machine, set out to do only what it needs to and nothing more. There’s a certain ZEN ambiance about it all and the Teutonic approach is endearing in many ways. However, nice as it may be, it lacks charm. Because it is standard A3 inside, this is both its best and worst attribute. On the plus side, the A3 is a practical five-seater, providing adequate and comfortable space for all passengers and enough luggage capacity for the average family. On the negative side, the e-tron could have done with a little more individual thinking, for example a dedicated space for charging cables.


    A huge amount of effort has been put into the powertrain, as you would have hoped. It is immediately evident the moment you first drive the car that Audi have gone to great lengths to make the combination of small capacity engine, powerful electric motor and DSG gearbox work. In the past, DSG gearboxes have been met with mixed appeal, since their tendency to be overtly heavy and less than reliable have earned them a mixed reception. In the e-tron, everything comes together beautifully and the car is an outstanding example of how a plug-in hybrid should drive. It is often the small things in life that are the most appreciated but equally easy to overlook and the e-tron’s coasting when throttling back is a welcome and useful driving tool. Likewise, having the electric motor operate through the gearbox means regenerative braking has six modes of operation, although the car will automatically deny the use of high gears, if speed is too low. It is a clever and seemingly simple approach for a driver to learn and it is this drivability that is the great strength of this car.

    Elsewhere, the car is a mixed bag of technology. The computer menu system is massively over-complicated and could do with a re-think on the user interface. It is easy to become confused with which option does what and when, as the controlling buttons are located out-of-sight of the driver’s eye-line. The main control wheel is the only part that works really well, albeit feels a little plastic in hand. Actual functions controllable by the computer are good and there are plenty of options, settings and connectivity options to keep even the most over-active child busy. Disappointingly for a top-of-the-range car, everything else appears to be an optional extra. Even relatively mundane items such as electric heated seats are £260 extra and that’s on top of the £1,115 already paid for the leather sports trim. Frankly, things like that should be standard, particularly on a car sold for its electric credentials where seat heating is a must have to conserve power as opposed to heating the entire cabin. Likewise, auto-dimming rear view mirror and rear parking assist camera also come at a price, £245 and £250 respectively. Even now common basics like cruise control costs an additional £225. It seems at odds for a top-ofthe- range top-spec A3 to require extras to be added, just to obtain items that are fast becoming standard on many other cheaper vehicles. You only need look as far as page 54 to see just how laden with technology the Kia Soul EV is.


    Excellent on all fronts, for the majority of our time with the car, journeys undertaken were easily achievable using the electric range. Consequently, the #Audi A3 e-tron became as cheap to run as an electric car. On those occasions when the electric range was inadequate to reach a destination, the 1.4 engine sparks into life with a serenely smooth transition and only sips fuel, unless pressed.

    For those times when a little more performance was desired, the electric torque filled in the shortcomings of the petrol engine’s power curve while the 1.4 litre hammers away with enthusiasm. Hard acceleration can yield some ominous fuel economy readings from the instant display, but this is quickly offset by easing off the throttle and making use of the coasting feature once up to speed, or by driving in EV mode.


    Perhaps the worst feature of the A3 e-tron is its charge port. The location is fine, at the front behind the badge, but the method to unlock the charge port is a touch ridiculous. Rather than a pop-open once pushed mechanism, as you can find on the e-tron’s sister car the Golf GTE – or any petrol filler flap for the past 20 years – there is a small and rather flimsy quarter turn screw that releases the badge. This can then be moved manually to one side on its twin plastic hinges. The entire mechanism is hugely over designed and not for good either. A far simpler approach should have been taken, particularly for a part of the car that will be used so frequently. That aside, charging the e-tron is a straightforward affair. Unfortunately, there is no DC fast charge option available as there is no CCS or #CHAdeMO present. Resultantly, charging takes approximately 1.5 hours at a 7kWh charge rate.


    The A3 e-tron was a bit underwhelming at first. Clad in grey with black leather didn’t help matters improve much and learning most of the niceties are optional extras didn’t inspire confidence in the overall package being offered. It seems a bit miserly for a top spec car. However, driving around different environments really makes the machine come alive, including motorway and country roads.

    In EV mode, there is plenty of performance and you’re never left feeling as though you need the petrol engine. Run out of electric range and the petrol engine is a frugal and refined companion that will extend the range of the car with simplicity. Want a little drama and the car can combine the two powertrains to provide a genuinely enjoyable and exciting experience that gives credence to the e-tron branding. It has been taken from Audi’s successful endurance racecars after all. Again, the powertrain’s clever fuel-saving coasting ability and adjustable regeneration via the gears makes for a very driveable car. It manages to offer many modes, yet be remarkably at ease in all of them. None of them are extraneous and each has its place on the road. As a whole package, it is difficult not to feel that you should get more for your money though. It is the little things Audi have kept as optional extras that really ought to be standard equipment that leaves you feeling a little cold towards the offering.

    What’s more, the A3 e-tron is a touch more expensive than the Volkswagen Golf GTE but shouldn’t be. As an engineer’s tool, the e-tron is superb, and as a passenger car, it ticks all the right boxes, but only if you’re willing to pay for them.

    SUBTLETY The Audi is perhaps the most subtle plug-in hybrid yet.

    2015 #Audi-A3-e-tron Specification
    Engine - 1,395cc #TFSI
    Motor - AC, in transmission
    Power - 201.2 bhp (hybrid)
    Max Speed (EV) - 137 mph (80 mph)
    0-62 mph - 7.6 sec (hybrid)
    Battery - Li-ion 8.8 kWh
    EV Range - 31 miles
    Fuel Tank - 40 litres
    Torque - 350 Nm (hybrid)
    Fuel Type - Petrol + Electricity
    Economy - 188.3 mpg
    Charging - #7-pin-Menekes
    CO2 Emissions - 35 g/km
    Weight (kerb) - 1,540 kg
    Length - 4,312 mm
    Width - 1,785 mm
    Height - 1,424 mm
    Price inc. PICG - £29,305 OTR
    (as tested) - £34,030

    INTERIOR Superb fit & finish, plus plenty of black leather, if you like that sort of thing.

    SMART DRESS Grey suits don’t come cheap, as this one costs £525 (Floret Silver).
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    Having picked up the coveted PVW COTY, Unix Performance is back with a bang for 2015. Does its R36-powered Golf Rallye have what it takes to win you guys over again? Having picked up the coveted #Volkswagen Car of the Year honours a few months ago, it looks like Unix Performance is back with a bang for #2015 . Does its R36-powered Golf Rallye have what it takes to win you guys over again? We’re certainly sold… Words: Elliott Roberts. Photos: More Than More.

    At just 32, Remi Marcel Laflamme doesn’t just own one of the best tuning shops in Canada, he’s got one of the finest collections of cool modified VWs, too. Now you might say the two go hand in hand but, as we’ve discovered over the years, it’s only the true enthusiast-run shops that continue to build reworked classics rather than churning out a string of somewhat soulless, nu-wave creations. It’s safe to say Unix Performance is about as enthusiastic as it gets. That’s why Remi and his team of merry men who work out of Quebec City are pretty much a household name on the North American modified #VW scene.

    Rather than focusing on simply churning out remapped vehicles and making money that way, Remi and the team specialise in taking the best bits from the nu-wave cars and installing them into older generation VWs in a way that not only complements the older cars but also clearly pays the bills, too. Some say there’s no money in engine conversions nowadays but Remi and the guys have mastered the art and, as a result, have never been busier. The chaps have the ability to not only offer a full roll-in, roll-out onestop conversion service but they also seem to be able to turn customer cars and their own projects around in lightning fast time whilst still retaining quality. While Remi isn’t about to give away where these super powers come from or how he makes things work, he is more than happy to take some time to talk about his latest creation (which debuted at H2O International last year) and how Unix earned the reputation it is now so proud of.

    On top of the Car Of The Year acclaim, Unix has been responsible for producing a whole host of other jaw-dropping PVW feature cars recently, whether they have been company demonstrators or customer cars. It’s funny, people are always asking us what we look for in feature cars, as if there’s some specific list of ingredients they can tick off in the hope it will bag them a car worthy of these pages. Sadly there’s not. We always struggle to try and define exactly what it takes but what we should do is just send them in the direction of Unix’s Facebook page.

    That’s what separates Remi from most others tuners; he understands what it takes to not only create a complete car but also what it takes to make it stand out from others without turning it into a rolling billboard or ruining it with over-thetop bolt-ons. This is illustrated perfectly by his latest masterpiece, this seriously reworked Golf Rallye that, from the outside, appears to be stock apart from some shiny wheels and a suspension job.

    Now modified Golf Rallyes aren’t new and they’re certainly no strangers to these hallowed pages either (I’ve been attempting to finish my own for the last five years!). It’s common knowledge, however, that the stock Golf Rallye was, well, pretty average when it came to performance. It looked incredibly butch and aggressive but sadly its performance stats didn’t match those pumped-up arches. Most Rallye owners are more than happy to admit this fact and 99% of them you’ll meet have chosen to do something about it. The thing is, ten years ago you could pick up a Rallye for a few grand and they were pretty damn common (well, as common as a car which was limited to a production run of just 5000 can be). As a result it didn’t matter that everyone was swapping the original 8v motor for some something more powerful, like a #VR6 or a 1.8T.

    These days, though, well a lot of cars have been crashed, scrapped or modified to the point of no return and with prices of unmolested examples starting to go sky high it takes a brave (some might say slightly deluded) person to strip one down and create a totally one-off, customised example. We can only imagine, though, how excited Remi must have been when he finally got his mitts on what some call the Holy Grail of performance VWs because if you thought they were rare over here in Europe then imagine how few ever made it Stateside – where they were never officially available. Indeed, most of those that are in the US only arrived there in the past few years.

    Remi claims he was reading PVW even before he could drive, which makes us feel ever so slightly responsible for his obsession with modified VWs and this Rallye project: “My dad also introduced me to cars at an early age. He ran a bodyshop under our family home, so I was always stealing tools and pretending I knew what I was doing. It was always the European cars that appealed, too.”

    It was actually 12 years ago that Remi set up Unix Performance and he hasn’t looked back since. “It makes me feel old to think we’ve been in business that long but then I still feel like I’m a kid, so I guess that’s a good thing,” he smiles. You soon discover Remi does a lot of smiling. Looking at his collection of cars it’s not hard to see why but it’s clear this larger than life guy is just as passionate about his job now as he was way back when he set up shop all those years ago: “I had originally just been working on friends’ cars but when you have a real passion for something and realise you can pay the bills, too, well, you couldn’t ask for more.”

    For us over here on the other side of the Pond Unix seemed to totally blow up out of nowhere around five years back, although Remi claims that’s probably down to the internet: “We were in the scene for some time before but the internet and forums helped us build our name globally. That and the fact we also started attending larger shows.”

    There have been some major cars to come out of Canada in the past but recently Unix really seems to be flying the flag for the Canadian modified Dub scene. No pressure then. “I’m my own worst enemy,” says the French Canadian. “I push myself to always do better and I’m never happy with what I have. People say I have got some kick-ass cars but when I look at them I just see the small problems or faults in them, so I put pressure on myself.”

    Despite his high standards Remi, though, started out like many of us, with some less prestigious metal: “I’ve always owned modified European cars. If I still owned those cars today then sure they’d look crap but I was happy at the time. I owned a GTI with a big metal spoiler on the roof, then a B3 Passat wagon painted in Laguna blue which looked like a big Smurf crap. You’ve got to start somewhere, though!”

    Enough about the past though, how the hell did he locate the Rallye over there when they were only ever available in Europe? “Someone gave me the heads-up that there was a guy located around three hours away from me that was selling one. He had imported it from Switzerland with the help of some guys in America but after owning it for some years was now ready to sell it.” The car was topdollar.

    According to Remi, Rallyes are actually legal to import into Canada now as they’re over 12 years old. It’s only the US where things get a little grey. “I called this guy maybe twice a year for three years to see if he would consider lowering his price until eventually he did and we agreed on a deal.”

    Like a lot of VW geeks, Remi claims he had always wanted a Rallye since he was a kid: “It was always my favourite and the fact they’re so rare over here just added to that. After my last Mk2 I told my friends the only time I will ever own another Mk2 is when I find a Rallye.”

    Apparently when Remi eventually got the car back to his shop it wasn’t in a good way: “The previous owner had already begun to do some stuff to the car but nothing was finished and it a bit of a mess from sitting in a garage for three years. He had done some serious damage and the paint wasn’t good either.” According to Remi the engine had already been swapped for a 225bhp 1.8T but that wasn’t complete, and the dash had been changed to a Mk3 item which had resulted in metal being cut out. “I had to buy another car to use to replace these metal areas as I wanted a good, original base to start my own project from,” Remi says.

    Remi was always going to put his own spin on the car from the start but he’s a great believer in if you’re going to mess about with what VW originally created then it needs to be done in such a manner that should anybody from VW see the car then they would appreciate what had been done, you know?

    So to begin with the motor came out, along with all the other bits the previous owner had added so Remi could inspect the shell for damage: “I always like to do most of the work on my car myself or oversee the stuff one of our guys does. I got a lot of cool friends who are always there to help and owning a onestop- shop helps a lot to be able to do everything on the cars in-house.” One of his friends who they call the Lion (we didn’t ask) helped a lot on the bodywork and Remi’s brother-in-law also helped with a lot of the interior. It’s a real family affair at Unix, whether they’re blood related or not!

    When you look under the bonnet, the engine and bay may look like a work of art but Remi is the first to admit fitting the motor in there wasn’t easy: “Fitting a new engine that doesn’t bolt straight to the OE mounts, a transmission that is very different to the original, and later injection technology into a older car is never easy but we love the challenge and damn does it feel good when it’s working and working right!”

    Remi reckons he never keeps track of how long these things take because otherwise you can find yourself rushing. “If you ask my wife, she will probably know down to the second and tell you that I put too much time into it,” he smiled. The engine itself was robbed (not literally) from a low-mileage 2011 Passat: “It was practically brand-new, so we just stripped it to powdercoat the block, painted a few parts and removed a few bits that weren’t needed.” They never received the genuine R36 Stateside, just the 3.6 VR6 with Tiptronic gearbox but there was very little difference between the two. “I finally found this one in a junkyard so bought it, swapped the transmission and upgraded it to R36-spec,” said Remi.

    When it came to choosing a colour for the car, despite having some lairy colour-changed demos in the past, Remi knew there was only one shade for it: “It’s the factory Graphite metallic. It’s one of my favourite Rallye colours.” Remi claims it was hard to resist the urge not to smooth stuff out and basically show off the skills his shop can offer customers but it would’ve been sacrilege to shave everything. “Sure, I wasn’t able to resist shaving the rear wiper, rolling the arches and doing a mild shaved bay but that’s probably what the plus in OEM+ is for,” he laughed.

    As we walk around the car, it soon dawns on us that this is pretty much the ultimate Golf Rallye. It’s how the Rallye should have left the factory all those years ago: as a fast-road track day slag that’s as close to a ‘RS-style’ Golf as you can get. Coincidently the über-rare Recaro R8s were found online by his good friend Russ Thomas (whose Mk2 Jetta was featured back in PVW 10/10): “They were located in Italy and had been previously fitted in an RS Porsche. The guy was actually the original owner of the seats and was super-cool to deal with, although they did take around four months to arrive due to us having them shipped over by boat!” Remi admits that owning a set of A8s was another childhood dream realised. “This was where my brother-in-law, Dan (who heads up the upholstery diving of Unix), stepped in to take care of the trimming.” Dan stripped the seats down in order to achieve Remi’s OEM+ look using all-new materials that give an original period look with a nu-wave twist. The cage, which isn’t just a work of art but also received a coating of Alcantara, was made in-house by Unix, as was the cool aluminium shifter which is hooked up to the 2008 R32 DSG gearbox. “We used the Rallye as a test bed to produce our prototype shifter, which we now offer for all DSGs,” Remi explains. “It’s cool to transform the DSG shifter knob into a more race-inspired item, which is also fun to drive with.”

    When it came to the four-wheel drive system Remi wasted no time in whipping out the original Syncro setup in favour of a later Haldex system: “We’ve done the beam conversion for many years at Unix, which involved simply swapping the Syncro beam to a Haldex differential from a 2004 R32, so it was pretty easy. I also modified the Syncro beam to have the camber/caster adjustment, then powdercoated it.”

    If that swap was one of the easiest parts Remi claims the wiring side of the engine swap was the hardest: “Fitting the engine was tricky enough but then we had to do the harness: 3.6-litre FSI injection, plus DSG transmission, plus OEM Mk3 door lock, and all the stock Rallye electrical options made the harness a real pain in the ass but after spending some time on it we were able to make a good looking harness.”

    Remi claims that his favourite part, though, has got to be the exterior: “The boxed fenders just do it for me and the fact the car is straighter now than when it left the factory. The paint is awesome and the little mods are really tricky to spot at first.”

    We reckon another reason Remi loves the exterior has to be down to the way the car sits, which was more than just bolting-on a set of coils and some off-the-shelf wheels: “I carried out a lot of modifications to the chassis because I always planned to take the car on track in 2015. The shocks are KW V3s which were fitted along with uprated roll bars and tie bars. All bushings are from Powerflex. I reinforced the front control arms, added one of our popular ball-joint extender kits, modified the rear Syncro beam to have camber/caster adjustable and then put a set of 12’’ discs on the front and 11’’ on the back with Porsche calipers all-round to stop it.”

    When it came to rolling stock, well, let’s just say Remi had a little trick up his sleeve. After taking a closer look we were convinced they were one-offs but Remi soon corrects us: “They’re not one offs, they’re two offs. We made two sets of them; one for me and one for my best friend Pav, who was on the cover of PVW some years ago with his black Mk2 Golf with a red interior. Mine are stepped to 17’’ and Pav’s are flat-lipped in 15”. Both guys knew if they were wanted to up their game then going fully custom was the only way to go: “A lot of my friends work in the machining industry, so we had the idea to make a custom wheel set for many years. Well, the time felt right so we drew them up and finally made it happen. We kind of wanted them to be like ‘unicorn wheels’ – only one set of each! That’s why we won’t make any more of this design.” Remi claims Unix will create some new designs in the future. What better way to finish a customer build than to be able to top it off with a one-off or limited edition set of wheels?

    So is Remi now happy with the car or is there more to come? “The choice for Rallye suspension is quite limited and the KWs came brand-new with the car, so they were effectively free,” he replies. “I modified them to achieve the amount of drop I wanted but I will probably change it for Clubsports or maybe fit a set of our Midjet race air struts in the future. We’ll see…”

    Remi also says he’s already begun work on an Integrale-style bonnet which might be cooling a supercharged R36 by the end of the year. “We are designing a new supercharger kit for the R32 and R36 right now which will use a hidden Rotrex charger. My wife is already running a blown R36 and it’s awesome, but that’s on her Mk4 and there is far less room for that ’charger on the Mk2,” Remi reveals.

    Like we said, these guys don’t mess around when it comes down to turning a project around. “I bought the Rallye just before Christmas 2013 and it was finished in time for H2O back in September 2014,” Remi tells us (that kind of puts my five-year and counting Golf Rallye project to shame! ~ Ed). “We were only working in the evenings and on weekends, which is crazy. I’ve never done a entire project so fast. I must thank my wife for understanding my addiction.”

    We ask Remi what’s next for Unix? “I’m completely redoing my Mk1 Golf at the moment. This time I hope it will be the last time. I have also imported one of the few remaining 1974 Audi 100LSs from the US and am thinking of converting it to RWD and putting in a 700hp engine – all this in a stock-looking body.”

    Life is certainly never dull at Unix Performance. We’re probably not the only ones who wish they were based a little closer so we could swing by every once in a while to watch the madness unfold and get a get a glimpse at how these guys work in real time.

    The Unix Rallye looks equally as mind-blowing in full flight. In typical Unix style, the mods have been carried out in a way that complements the original vehicle.

    Dub Details #VW-Golf-II

    ENGINE: #2011 #R36 engine, #2008 #R32 #DSG gearbox, R32 #2004 #Haldex conversion, Unitronic #ECU flash, billet pulley, custom cold air intake, twin 2.5 stainless steel downpipe, 3” oval exhaust.

    CHASSIS: 9x17” one-off specification Unix Billet Felgen with 195/40 ZR17 tyres. KW Variant 3 coilovers, Powerflex bushing all-round, Autotech sway bars, Unix ball joint extenders, Unix Syncro to Haldex conversion, rear beam with camber/caster adjustment, Unix roll-cage, Unix front pillow ball camber plate, reinforced control arm.

    EXTERIOR: Stock Graphite metallic respray, engine bay OEM+ style shave, rear wiper deleted, French Rallye fenders logo, smoked front headlight, clear glass conversion, Happich pop-out rear windows, Audi tilt and slide sunroof.

    INTERIOR: #Recaro A8 front seats, #VW-Golf Mk2 CL one-piece rear bench, Unix roll-cage covered in Alcantara, Nakamichi period-correct headunit, Digifiz cluster, Personall Alcantara steering wheel, Unix motorsport DSG shifter, complete interior in a Rallye looking grey Alcantara with black leather.

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    The paint is awesome and are really tricky to spot the little mods.
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