What is it about European products that makes them so alluring and exotic? The coffee is stronger and richer, the furniture and architecture has an avant-garde style unmatched by anything else in the world, and the design and engineering of the cars speaks for itself. Who else would combine a healthy-sized 2.8L six-cylinder engine in a 2,700-pound hatchback the size of a Civic?
Thats just what VW did with its A3 GTIs. These cars are a hoot to drive right out of the box, but thats still not enough for some.
It wasnt enough for Advanced Motorsports Solutions (AMS) of Costa Mesa, California. These wizards of VW performance wasted no time in developing a Vortech supercharger kit for the engine. With a maximum boost of 8.5 psi, the centrifugal blower adds more than 100 hp to the engine, bringing the total to 283. This puts it in the running with some pretty heady company, such as the BMW M3 and the Mercedes C36, and catapults it way ahead of its closest eastern competitor, the Integra Type R. This copious output is channeled to the ground via a five-speed manual with a Quaife limited-slip differential, an aluminum flywheel, and an eight-puck carbon/Kevlar clutch.
But theres more to having fun than just going in a straight line. To that end, Abt Sportsline 17-inch alloy wheels wearing 215/40ZR-17 Dunlop 8000-series rubber are suspended by Abt/Bilstein coilovers and AMS own rear antisway bar.
And when youre roarin down canyon roads, drifting around corners, and bombing down the straightaways, youd better be ready for that old Micro Bus that will inevitably impede your path. So to prevent the old from meeting the new in too intimate a fashion, AMS cross-drilled front rotors, Pagid street pads, and Abt braided stainless lines to make sure youve got the stopping power when you need it.
So if youre looking for something a little stronger than that double latte youve gotten used to, cruise by Costa Mesa and ask for a Short Kompakt, extra strong.