Audi seems to have created something special in the current generation S4. To the layman, having two less cylinders than the previous generation’s naturally-aspirated V8 could be seen as a backward step. But for those of us who were eagerly awaiting Audi’s return to forced induction, the belt-driven Eaton supercharger was a welcome addition.
Being Audi fans ourselves, we could continue to describe the highlights of this car but we’ll assume you’re up to speed on it since the B8 S4 has been here since late ’08. So let’s fast-forward and ask what the aftermarket has to offer for the Audi we were all asking for…
According to Gary Cogis at Revo Technik USA, the answer is, “Not nearly enough!” This is a surprisingly candid considering it’s what we’ve been thinking as well.
“The S4 was a challenge for us initially,” he continued. “Not only because it has a new Siemens ECU, but because we set high standards of what we wanted to accomplish before offering software to our dealers.”
It’s not just Revo that’s late to the game: there are few aftermarket upgrades available from any of the usual suspects. Obviously, we’ve seen our share of S4s with suspension and wheels, plus there are a handful of companies with exhaust systems available. More recently we’ve seen headers and supercharger pulleys becoming available, but for a car that enthusiasts claimed to be Audi’s answer to the BMW 335i, nobody is even close to realizing the full potential of the B8 S4 platform.
“We weren’t the first with software for the 3.0TFSi engine, but we’re the first (and currently only) tuner able to put ECU flashing in the hands of our dealers.” Gary added. “We strongly believe the S4 will be a popular tuner car for a long time, much like the twin-turbo B5 S4 2.7L, so we needed something to drive customers into the shops and push other tuners to respond to the same demand we’ve been seeing for performance parts.
After a visit to Revo’s UK headquarters, we saw firsthand the level of development testing the company has done to achieve an increase of 60-70hp and 40-50 lb-ft with its Stage One flash. That takes the car over 400hp at the crank and, while we were amazed at the performance increase, we’ll admit to being slightly moist at the prospect of Stage Two for use with a smaller pulley and possibly headers. We’re not sure of the release date but it should be fun!
Knowing the software allows for switching between stock and performance programs in the palm of your hand, this may well be the gateway drug that leads more owners down the path of building some really impressive S4s. Let’s hope so anyway…
Behind the wheel
This particular S4 is the personal transport of Revo president, Mark Yates. And while he encouraged us to have fun, you know it would be decidedly awkward if anything were to happen out on the vast Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground where we were testing.
Our first surprise was that Mark had chosen a DSG-equipped car. Normally tuners go for a manual transmission first because they don’t have to worry about the extra complication of the transmission’s electronics. However, Revo has been able to work on the engine software to ensure smooth shifting.
Equipped with a VBox timing computer, we first conducted acceleration runs and were astonished at how hard the car launched. Its quattro drivetrain distributes the power very efficiently, both off the line and in turns.
Audi UK claims 0-60mph in 5.2sec, while US cars are 4.9sec. This difference could be down to the transmission used, but all we know is the Revo S4 smoked them both!
With 0-60mph measured at 4.07sec on the VBox, this Audi is seriously quick. And with 100mph coming up in 9.49sec, we had to repeat the test to check the equipment was working correctly. This is supercar territory. And it only took 282 yards for the car to reach 100mph from a standstill. That’s ridiculous.
It continued accelerating, covering the quarter mile in 11.93sec and topping out at an indicated 172mph on the VBox display. To be honest, it felt as if the car had more to offer but we were running out of runway!
If I hadn’t seen the times with my own eyes and experienced them with my bottom, I don’t think I’d have believed an S4 with software could be this fast. Check out our video at eurotuner.com and youtube.com/eurotuner to see the Revo S4 in action for yourself – Mark had fitted a Milltek cat-back exhaust, and the additional noise made the experience all the more exciting.
However, it’s not all about standing starts. The supercharged V6 has about 390 lb-ft available (325 lb-ft stock), so acceleration in any gear from almost any speed is ballistic. It was also delivered very smoothly, with no discernible interruptions or hiccups.
In all honesty, I’d been rather ambivalent about the performance of some Audi’s I’d driven recently. However, the S4 has taken things to another level, and Revo’s software takes it up another notch or two.
With programs from Revo and APR on the market, we hope it will encourage other tuners to develop more parts for the S4 to position it as a genuine alternative to the posse of modified 335i out there.
As we write, Gary is conducting beta testing on North American S4s to ensure the software is compatible with local fuel quality. The final version should be available by the time you read this.