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2006 Audi A4 & 2008 Volkswagen GTI - AWE Inspired

Germany Called, America Responded--Twice

Colin Ryan
Apr 14, 2010
Photographer: Henry Z. De Kuyper

Audi A4 2.0T
Audi left the 2010 Detroit Auto Show with three very different awards. One was the "Most Improved Loyalty to Make," which all sounds wonderfully worthy and the sort of thing that Subaru might snag. The second was the EyesOn Design award for the 2011 A8, the new car for architects to get excited about. And the third was a "Best in Show" for the e-Tron concept (if that's the future, it looks promising). A company that covers such disparate bases and all points in between is a rarity; it melds substance with a high cool factor.

Epcp_1005_02_o+2006_audi_a4+side Photo 2/15   |   2006 Audi A4 & 2008 Volkswagen GTI - AWE Inspired

A combination echoed and emphasized in Air & Water Enterprises' (AWE Tuning) 2006 A4 2.0T Quattro S line. It's also an illustration of how the first leads to the second. There's so much substance lurking behind that RS4 grille it's unreal.

The VW/Audi 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo doesn't have to do any more to prove itself as one the great European engines, but here, according to AWE, it gamely delivers 377 hp at 6500 rpm and 317 lb-ft at 5475 rpm (running 93-octane gas and measured at the crank), thanks to an upgraded forced induction system (AWE states that the engine has the potential for 500 hp, providing its internals were uprated. The company has capped output for this one so as not to over-stress its stock parts).

The principal player is a Garrett GT28-71R turbocharger, an item that kicked off hundreds, if not thousands, of hours in the R&D department. Says Todd Sager, president of AWE: "The real magic of this car is its turbo kit." With this larger charger, the engine becomes a hungry beast that needs a lot of feeding, so a high-pressure, high-flow fuel pump is needed. "Coming up with a 130-bar fuel pump is a whole new ball game," says Sager. The company has created its own profoundly engineered solution with a pump whose tolerances are measured in microns. And not many of those, either.

Epcp_1005_03_o+2006_audi_a4+engine_bay Photo 3/15   |   2006 Audi A4 & 2008 Volkswagen GTI - AWE Inspired

"With this kit, we also have a revised electronic module for the low pressure 'feeder' electric pump that sits in the fuel tank," says Sager. "Without this module, the low-pressure pump could not keep up with the increased demand from our high- pressure pump. No other kit has this solution. Without it, stable full-throttle power is seriously limited."

There's a similar dedication to detail in the diverter valve, which operates when the throttle body is closing or closed. The factory unit, like the OEM fuel pump, has a tendency to wimp out. "VW/Audi has gone through multiple revisions trying to solve the stock DV's reliability issue," says Sager. AWE found something better in Porsche's turbo system, so the Philly-based company took that and adapted it for this application. Now it can work in 2.0T engines kicking out three times the stock power with no issues whatsoever.

Suck, bang and blow are all synchronized by GIAC software and switching (with Pump Fuel, Valet and Ignition Kill modes), while an AWE all-aluminum front-mount intercooler drops the temperature of inhaled air by up to 27 degrees F. This thing is not small, but it runs with 50 percent less restriction than its factory counterpart and includes a power steering cooler assembly too.

Epcp_1005_04_o+2006_audi_a4+BBS_RG_R_wheels Photo 4/15   |   2006 Audi A4 & 2008 Volkswagen GTI - AWE Inspired

On the exhaust side of the process is an in-house catback system fashioned from 2.5-inch T304 stainless steel which AWE claims can contribute 12 hp and 8 lb-ft to the final output tally. It incorporates a 200-cell high-flow catalytic converter made in Germany by HJS. And before we close the hood, we should note the Nomex-reinforced silicone hoses.

For a thoroughly bodacious B7, better buy some Bilsteins. The coilovers here are of the PSS9 variety, meaning nine-way adjustable compression and rebound, from tranquil all the way to track. Since this is AWE's demonstrator car, a rolling catalog of sorts, it does duty on the street and the circuit; because the suspension settings can be changed while in place, it's kept on full soft for the former and full stiff for the latter. Notice also the somewhat lowered ride height.

Although the rear brakes remain stock, the fronts have been replaced with a Brembo GT kit. Its 328mm (12.9-inch) rotors are squeezed by Ferodo brake pads, by way of four-piston calipers (powdercoated red in this instance) and Goodridge braided stainless steel lines. The Le Mans-winning R8 racer has Brembos, so they were an easy choice for this car. In front of the brakes are handsome black die-forged BBS RG-R wheels, sized 8.5x19; Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 235/35 tires provide the grip and traction.

Clambering into the cabin reveals front seats from a 2006 S4 (a nice touch) and AWE's anodized aluminum pedals. These have been shaped for easier heel-toe maneuvers and more effective shoe clearance. They also sport rubber grips to keep wet soles from slipping. Clever, but not as clever as the vent-mounted boost gauge.

Sitting in the driver's side of the center vent, in perfect view, is this color-matched dial. The whole piece comes from AWE with slats included, and the gauge has been designed for fresh air to flow around it. The metering reads from zero to 30 psi and zero to 30 in.Hg of vacuum.

To run the quarter-mile takes this A4 12 seconds and change, with a terminal speed of 108 mph. And that's in full street trim, full weight and pump fuel (impressively, the six-speed manual transmission hasn't required beefing up). To reach this point has taken AWE Tuning 18 months, with thousands of miles covered and numerous dyno sessions undertaken in the development of this turbo kit. Surely it deserves an award of its own.

2006 Audi A4 2.0T

Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive

2.0-liter I4, dohc, 16-valve. AWE Tuning/Garrett GT28-71R turbocharger, front-mount intercooler, diverter valve, sport exhaust and HJS catalyst, AWE/GIAC software

Six-speed manual

Bilstein PSS9 adjustable coilovers

Brembo front brakes, Ferodo pads, Goodridge lines

Wheels & Tires
BBS RG-R, 8.5x19 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx, 235/35

RS4 grille

2006 Audi S4 front seats, AWE vent-mounted boost gauge

Peak Power: 377 hp @ 6500 rpm
Peak Torque: 317 lb-ft @ 5475 rpm
*AWE data

Epcp_1005_01_o+2006_audi_a4+front Photo 8/15   |   2006 Audi A4 & 2008 Volkswagen GTI - AWE Inspired

The new generation of four-cylinder engine from the VW Group bears the initials TSI (turbo stratified injection). And yes, versions of it have also won awards, including Engine of the Year more than once. Adding a bigger, better turbo would be an easy way to make improvements, right? If only life were always that simple.

Epcp_1005_09_o+2008_volkswagen_gti+rear Photo 9/15   |   2006 Audi A4 & 2008 Volkswagen GTI - AWE Inspired

AWE Tuning knew that getting the right balance of ballistic acceleration and benign road behavior in its 2008 MkV VW GTI 2.0T would take a canny collection of OEM and custom parts. The company started with a KKK K04 turbo, as found on the Audi S3. But it's not a straightforward bolt-on installation with this CBFA engine. It took some in-house smarts to keep things sweet.

"AWE is the only company in the U.S. to offer a K04 for the 2008.5 GTI/Jetta 2.0T," says Sager. "Special machining of the turbo was required to make it fit. The kit is available with or without software from GIAC. With the software, it's $2,495."

Epcp_1005_13_o+2008_volkswagen_gti+HRE_competition_c20_wheel Photo 10/15   |   2006 Audi A4 & 2008 Volkswagen GTI - AWE Inspired

Migrating from the aforementioned A4 is the same Porsche-derived diverter valve. It's been relocated here, higher up in the engine bay. This makes it easier for servicing and replacement, and has the extra benefit of helping to cool the intake air. The front-mount intercooler is also from the S3, and efficient enough to put crank readings on the dyno up another 10 hp, says AWE. A claimed eight crank-hp can also be had with AWE's Cold Cone Box carbon-fiber intake. Capitalizing on the amount of incoming fresh air is 2.75-inch piping, situated after the mass airflow sensor. AWE also claims improved throttle response.

Adding to the ultimate horsepower figure (a claimed extra 20 hp and 14 lb-ft) is an R32-style, 2.5-inch diameter, T304 stainless steel exhaust system, housing an HJS metal catalytic converter and finished off with 3.5-inch beveled tips.

When all these instruments are orchestrated by GIAC software (again with multiple modes such as Race Fuel, Valet and Security Kill) the grand finale on the dyno is 360 hp at 5750 rpm and 355 lb-ft of torque at 4650 rpm (measured at the crank and burning 93-octane fuel).

Epcp_1005_10_o+2008_volkswagen_gti+engine_bay Photo 11/15   |   2006 Audi A4 & 2008 Volkswagen GTI - AWE Inspired

The kit is also available in two lower states of tune-335 hp/345 lb-ft with the OEM airbox and intercooler; 342 hp/349 lb-ft with the S3 intercooler and stock airbox-but the numbers above apply to this particular car with these specific parts.

Such muscle was no doubt a contributing factor to the car winning a Redline Time Attack round at Thunderbolt, New Jersey, in 2009. But having Bilstein PSS10 German-made 10-way adjustable monotube coilovers and an H&R 28mm (one-inch) rear anti-roll bar couldn't have hurt.

Not that motorsport is all about going fast. Stopping fast is just as important. A good reason, then, for fitting a StopTech big brake kit up front (the rears are stock). ST-40 four-piston calipers grab 328mm (12.9-inch) rotors with Hawk Performance pads, actuated by Goodridge braided stainless steel lines. Meanwhile, holding the road are Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tires (225/35 at the front, 235/35 out back), gracing HRE Competition C20 wheels (8.5x19 and 9x19, front and rear respectively).

If it behaves killer, why not make it look killer with a Votex body kit that includes an R32 rear conversion? And then get one of those ingeniously designed vent-mounted 52mm boost gauges for the interior. Just like the one on the Audi, this is designed to let air flow around it. And it also has the correct lighting and font to fit right in with the original switchgear. Only this one is positioned in the driver's side vent.

Another thing this car has in common with the AWE A4 is that it still runs a stock six-speed manual transmission. It took six months less build time, but a year's worth of development is no small deal. What both cars exhibit is depth-taking two of the coolest mainstream cars out there and giving them even more substance. Which just makes them cooler.

2008 VW GTI 2.0T

Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive

Epcp_1005_08_o+2008_volkswagen_gti+front_driver_side Photo 15/15   |   2006 Audi A4 & 2008 Volkswagen GTI - AWE Inspired

2.0-liter I4, dohc, 16-valve. KKK K04 turbocharger, Audi S3 front-mount intercooler, AWE diverter valve w/relocation kit, AWE Cold Cone Box air intake, AWE sport exhaust, HJS catalyst, AWE/GIAC software

Six-speed manual

Bilstein PSS10 adjustable coilovers, H&R 28mm rear anti-roll bar

StopTech ST-40 fronts, Hawk Performance pads, Goodridge lines

Wheels & Tires
HRE Competition C20 wheels, 19x8.5 (f), 19x9 (r) Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tires, 225/35 (f), 235/35 (r)

Votex body kit w/R32 rear conversion

AWE vent-mounted boost gauge

Peak Power: 360 hp @ 5750 rpm
Peak Torque: 355 lb-ft @ 4650 rpm
*AWE data

By Colin Ryan
180 Articles



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