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Suspension Mods To Make Your S4 Look Up and Look Good

Cullen Clutterham
Aug 1, 2001
Photographer: Brian Konoske
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The sheer girth of the Audi S4 is enough to make any driving enthusiast cringe. Audi, however, makes up for the 1.85-ton curb weight by equipping the car with a motor and drivetrain that can propel it from a dead stop to 60 mph in a mere 5.9 seconds. Cornering grip is also quite amazing for a vehicle that weighs as much as it does. Needless to say, the quattro drive system, when coupled with the twin-turbo V-6, easily allows the S4 to overcome its momentum, both in a straight line and laterally-the four-wheel-drive grips and keeps on gripping. That isn't to say, however, that the S4 cannot be improved upon both from a performance standpoint and aesthetically, in one fell swoop. So we set out to do two things: improve upon the ability of the car to maintain traction during performance driving, and make the car turn heads when rolling by the local clubs.

KW Variant 2 coilovers were chosen to lower the center of gravity to help with lateral grip, and also to provide streetable performance with unquestionably good looks. HPA Motorsports is the official North American importer of the German company's product line and had the coilovers ready to be sent out immediately. The high quality and attention to detail is easily visible in the dual locking perches, included bumpstops, and the threaded body struts. The progressive rate springs and adjustable dampers make the kit ideal for both the track and the street.

For wheels, high quality, strength, and classy, but edgy, styling are a must. Kinesis Motorsport's three-piece wheels are almost legendary. As if Kinesis' forging process didn't create a wheel center of high enough strength, they are then heat-treated, aged, CNC-machined, shot-peened and, finally, hard-anodized in Kinesis' proprietary anthracite finish. The outer rims are polished to a chrome-like finish and then the center, outer rim, and inner rim are hand- assembled using 40 black nickel-plated aircraft-quality bolts. Best of all, all Kinesis wheels are made to order, meaning that the center and both rim sections are put together to meet the exact requirements of whatever vehicle you're putting the wheels on. Kinesis' K28 design sized 18x8 was the wheel chosen for this S4.

BFGoodrich's g-Force T/A KD is the kind of tire that the S4 was made for! or vice-versa. By designing the ultra-high performance tire's tread pattern so that it is both asymmetric and directional, (i.e. specifically for one side of the car.-MAX), BFGoodrich's engineers were able to locate large, stable blocks on the outside and water evacuation channels on the inside. The result is a tire that has a flat crown profile with more contact area than almost any street tire in history. The g-Force T/A KD combines exceptional grip with progressive breakaway characteristics, good feedback, and superb high-speed stability to make sure a tire is just as happy on the freeway or surface streets, as it is on the track.

The final piece to the puzzle of maintaining traction in high- performance driving situations is UUC Motorwerks' Audi Driveline Stabilizer. The ADS prevents much of the twist, wiggle, and shudder that can occur in the S4's drivetrain when driving spiritedly. This movement not only reduces the power that makes it to the wheels, but it can also upset the balance of the vehicle at an extremely inopportune moment. The stabilizer connects the transmission via a bushing to the front subframe and the chassis, and limits the tranny's movement. The ADS is made of precision-machined and welded steel alloy and is then given a glossy silver powdercoat to ensure long life and great performance. For additional resistance to deflection, the optional urethane bushing was installed as well.

Once all the parts had been picked, it was time to have them installed. The tires were mounted on the wheels at Best Value Tires in Huntington Beach, California, and a complete balance performed before they were positioned at each of the four corners. The car was then driven to VW Specialties only a few blocks away, where Scott installed the KW coilovers and UUC ADS. Installation of all the parts seemed almost effortless for Scott, and there was easily enough time left in the day to go out and completely explore the new handling abilities of the modded S4.

The car just sticks. With the KW coilovers, Kinesis wheels, BFGoodrich tires, and UUC ADS, it is quite apparent that the awesome abilities of the S4 in its stock form are really only a good start. The 3,700-lb. weight of the S4 may make it an immovable object standing still, but now it is truly as solid as a rock, no matter where or how you drive it

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By Cullen Clutterham
33 Articles

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