There are many parallels between being in the performance auto industry and being a chef; both bring their own unique twists to the table. Just as two chefs can take the same ingredients and come up with two different dishes, two enthusiasts can come up with completely different cars when given the same stock vehicle.
The B5 Audi S4 certainly has mouth-watering raw ingredients to work with. It boasts a potent 2.7 liter bi-turbo V6 and a stout all-wheel drive chassis to build upon. As we see here, JJ Larson and Mark Slazak from Autospeed Performance have ended up with different results for their respective S4s, despite both having looked to the desirable European RS4 for inspiration.
2001 S4 AvantWhite WagonFor JJ Larson, a graphic designer and co-owner of both Raderwerks wheels and Dub Korps, the B5 RS4 is the ultimate automobile. When it came time to move on from the widebody Jetta VR6T he'd been perfecting for seven years (et 9/05), the choice was obvious: RS4 or bust!
The RS4 wagon could easily be loaded with supplies and tents for setting up at shows, yet would still be a fun car to throw through the turns and, with 375hp in stock form, it's a more than capable highway monster.
JJ's RS4 may look like the real deal, but it's based on a 2001 Audi S4 Avant.
"I found the car on Autotrader for $18000. But when I called the used car dealership I was told they weren't selling the car, it was a Tiptronic and the motor was blown."
Undeterred, JJ called the owner directly and talked him down to a mere $8000 for the Casablanca white S4 Wagon. Meanwhile, he'd also located a manual transmission S4 Sedan that had taken a heavy rear hit, and soon the two cars were in pieces in JJ's garage.
"I got the damaged car really cheap, so I stripped the wagon down to a wiring harness and a rolling chassis."
A connection in Germany was then used to get a complete off-the-shelf RS4 body kit, consisting of bumpers, side skirts, fenders, doors and more. Mayers Autobody handled the task of fitting all the new panels, and completed the job in a gleaming coat of Ibis white from the B7 Audi RS4.
After contacting Gene Giorgini at RPM Performance engines (which had also built JJ's VR6 turbo engine), both 2.7 V6 motors were traded for a fully built and bored 2.9 liter engine Gene had sitting on the shelf, waiting for the right car. "He had the built motor and really wanted to see a car that was worth putting it in, is how he put it," JJ said.
A complete APR stage 3 turbo system was added to the built block, consisting of OEM RS4 turbos, intercoolers, air box and Y-pipe, injectors, fuel pump, plus a host of other APR upgrades. The APR programming is a little more aggressive than the standard Audi RS4, so should crank out close to 380whp, or around 450 at the crank. With the additional displacement and modifications JJ has made, he estimates even more is on tap.
While the bodywork and engine went together fairly well, the conversion to manual was more involved. "I had no idea what I was getting into with the manual swap," JJ laughed. "But it's pretty straightforward if you're working with a guy who knows what he's doing."
Luckily JJ called Jamie Brecciaroli and Pete Lier at Sleepers Performance, who had no trouble helping with the swap and the rebuilding process. "I think we worked 80 hours straight," JJ exclaimed. "We were just wired on Red Bull and kept going because we wanted the car to be done. We were so pumped just to drive it!"
KW Variant 3 coilovers ensure superb handling, and JJ credits them with the ability to not only deliver in the corners but to also stand up to 500 lb of cargo when traveling to and from shows.
Brembo GT brakes were fitted up front, measuring an immense 14" and using six-piston calipers to bring the wagon to a stop. "Even with the really tight suspension, if you hit the brakes the car nose-dives pretty hard, they're spot on," he enthused.
As always, the wheel selection was crucial, and naturally JJ chose from his own range of Raderwerks reproduction wheels, settling on Porsche-inspired 19x9.5" CS5-P wheels, powdercoated wet black with white vinyl stripes, all wrapped in Dunlop tires.
Interior additions are tasteful, and center around a pair of superb Recaro Sportster CS seats, plus a rare European steering wheel from the B7 RS4.
In the end, JJ got exactly what he wanted: an RS4 Wagon that delivers on all counts. And with over 16000 miles in eight months, there's no doubt it gets used regularly. "I wanted a car I could show, but that was also practical for me and the businesses. We run the Thule box on the roof all the time and just load the car with gear for shows. I've got a car that's pretty damn fast, is fun and sporty but is also utilitarian," JJ concluded.
Tech SpecOwner: JJ LarsonLocation: Saratoga, NYOccupation: graphic designer, co-owner of Raderwerks and Dub Korps
Engine: 2.7 liter V6 bored to 2.9 with 8.8:1 forged pistons, forged H-beam rods, ARP hardware, ported and polished heads, extrude honed/port matched intake manifold, APR stage 3 conversion at 21psi using Borg Warner KO4 turbos, RS4 intercoolers, APR bi-pipe, APR R1 diverter valves, RS4 intake cams, fuel pump, larger injectors, air box, Y-Pipe and motor mounts, APR 3" downpipes and 3" exhaust with cats and center muffler removed, Supersprint rear muffler
Drivetrain: manual six-speed conversion for quattro drivetrain, Southbend Street Series kevlar clutch and lightened flywheel, AWE DTS bar, 034 Motorsport transmission mounts and rear poly differential mount
Suspension: KW V3 adjustable coilovers, H&R rear sway bar with German Autoparts steel end links
Brakes: Brembo GT six-piston calipers and 14" two-piece slotted rotors, AWE slotted rear rotors, stainless lines, Mintex Red Box pads
Wheels & Tires: 19x9.5" Raderwerks CS5-P powdercoated wheels with custom 38mm 5x112 to 5x130 adapters, 235/35-19 Dunlop SportMaxx tires
Exterior: OEM Audi RS4 body conversion using OEM bumpers, skirts, fenders, quarter panels, rear door skins, shaved front door skins, fuel door, hatch wing, grille, door jamb sills and fender liners, resprayed Audi Ibis white
Interior: Recaro Sportster CS buckets, AWE center vent boost gauge, OEM European B7 RS4 steering wheel, piano black trim and shifter surround, APR shift knob
Thanks: APR, Sleepers Performance, RPM Performance Engines, Recaro, Dunlop Tires, Mayers Autobody, AWE, 034 Motorsport, Strasse Performance, www.raderworks.com, www.dubkorps.com
2000 Audi S4Scarlet SedanIf JJ's RS4 Wagon is pretty damn fast, then Mark Slazak's 750whp RS4 Sedan can only be described as ludicrous.
Mark is the President of Autospeed Performance in Voorhees, NJ. He went for total performance from his 2000 S4 Sedan. And if the name of the shop sounds familiar, it's because Autospeed (ASP) worked with Eurocode Tuning at the '07 etGP, powering its S4 straight into the winner's circle.
Mark's Laser red example has a fully built engine, and virtually everything on the car has been upgraded. Listing all the parts would take another three pages, so we'll cut to the core.
The block has been punched out to an even three liters, and a stroker crank is connected to forged rods with forged 8.5:1 pistons. Ported and polished heads and cams from the naturally-aspirated Audi 2.8 V6 were added, along with Ferrea valvetrain components to let the big-six rev out to 8500rpm.
Fueling is critical at these boost levels (37psi), so twin Bosch Motorsport fuel pumps feed ASP fuel rails and 750cc RC Engineering injectors, set to a base fuel pressure of six-bar and regulated by an Aeromotive FPR.
The big turbo kit is one of ASP's own, based around Garrett GT2871 ball-bearing turbos - the largest that will fit the stock locations. ASP tubular manifolds, 3" downpipes and an ASP TruDual exhaust allow spent juice to exit quickly.
ASP also offers custom Motronic tuning with its SpeedPort flash-load programs, and Mark credits the outstanding power delivery to their ability to read and modify the Bosch maps. "If you're going to make parts for the car, you need decent tuning," He said. "When we started [custom tuning] is when we started getting serious about high horsepower cars. Without the engine management, it didn't matter what we tried to build, it just wouldn't run right."
That power, as mentioned, is a dyno-proven 750whp at 37psi on VP109 fuel, and an impressive 600whp at 28psi on 93-octane. "The power is really linear," Mark said. "It's not all or nothing. There's a good amount of power low down and it's not laggy but it comes on and just keeps building and building."
The chassis has been upgraded with Penske/StartUp Racing coilovers, 355mm StopTech brakes running ST60 six-piston calipers and either HRE or Work wheels, depending on whether it's used on the track or street.
The RS4 widebody was built almost entirely by ASP and was initially more of a cosmetic upgrade. "We ended up doing it all in-house except for the paint. I've done two so far but don't think I'd want to do a third," Mark laughed.
These days, Mark stuffs as much rubber as he can under the wide fenders, running 275/35 R18 Hoosier R6 tires for racing. This still isn't enough at the track, as the car can spin through third gear when running full boost and race fuel. Impressed? The guys from Team Champion Racing were (they campaign the Audi R10 TDI racecar in the US). "The crew from the R10 program were a little skeptical," Mark continues. "I told them we had 750hp and they kind of rolled their eyes. Talk is cheap so I took them for a ride. I gave one guy a ride on the 93-octane tune, and he looked at me, white as a ghost and asked if I'd take the other three guys for a ride because they're never gonna believe how the car was. So that was really cool for us."
But despite big horsepower numbers, the car was designed first and foremost as a smooth performer for the track or the street, and the base turbo kit is available off the shelf from Autospeed Performance.
Mark also has ambitious ideas, such as his SpeedPort tuning, which will be available with up to eight different maps, optimizing the car for every situation. "With eight profiles we can give you tunes not only for octane, but for track choice as well," Mark said.
Given the quality ingredients Mark and JJ had to work with, it's no wonder they each cooked up outstanding vehicles. Their different approach, direction and results show it's up to each of us to mix our own perfect recipe.
Tech Spec2000 Audi S4Owner: Mark SlazakLocation: Voorhees, NJOccupation: president ofAutospeed Performance
Engine: 2.7L V6 with 3.0 crankshaft, custom forged rods and 8.5:1 forged pistons, ASP bored and honed block, 2.8 ported/polished heads with three-angle valve seats, Ferrea valvetrain with titanium retainers, 2.8 intake cams, ASP modified RS4 intake manifold, ASP custom fuel rail, RS4 throttle body and cast Y-pipe, ASP charge tubes with O-ring connections, ASP engine management, twin GT2871 turbos on tubular ASP manifolds, 3" downpipes, TruDual exhaust system, twin 38mm Tial external wastegates, ASP phenolic intake spacers, aluminum inlet piping and front-mount intercooler with oil and power steering coolers, twin Bosch Motorsport 044 fuel pumps, custom flowed RC Engineering 750cc injectors, Aeromotive FPR, SDR X1 carbon intake, ASP catch can, RS4 carbon engine covers
Drivetrain: ASP cryo-rem treated transmission with Quaife front and rear LSD, Stasis center diff, Driveshaft Shop front axles and 4" aluminum driveshaft, ASP Competition Series engine, transmission and rear diff mounts, ASP transmission stabilizer bar and twin-plate clutch kit with 7.25" lightweight flywheel
Suspension: Penske/StartUp Racing competition coilovers, H&R sway bars, ASP drop links
Brakes: StopTech ST60 BBK with six-piston calipers and 355mm rotors, StopTech rear rotors and SS lines
Wheels & Tires: 19x9.5" HRE 841R wheels with 265/30-19 Goodyear F1 tires for show. 18x9.5" Work Emotion Kai wheels with 275/35-18 R6 Hoosier tires for track
Exterior: RS4 widebody conversion with rear bumper modified to fit sedan, painted mirrors and trim
Interior: UK-spec RS4 instrument cluster, ASP vent-mounted Defi 3 gauges for boost, EGT and fuel pressure, ASP alcantara shift boot with RS4 knob, ASP billet pedal set and billet in-car camera mount, Zeitronix wideband AFR datalogger
Thanks: wife Colleen, kids, Bobby, Camryn and Chandler, dad and partner Cezar Slazak, the ASP crew Frank, Carlo, Phil, Rich and Keng, track crew, Ian and Jeff, Brian at Garrett Honeywell, Carson at Riverside, Tomasz at StartUp Racing, Gregg at Tial, StopTech, Darius at CPP, RC Engineering, Zeke at Ferrea, Frank at Driveshaft Shop, Stasis, Tilton, HRE, Eric at SPP, Troy at SDR, Mark at Zeitronix, www.autospeed.us