Our ’07 Audi A3 2.0T project build is starting to gain some nice momentum. We’ve already installed H&R Ultra-low coilovers, 19x8.5" matte-bronze TSW Nurburging wheels, 235/35 R19 Continental ExtremeContact DW tires as well as a JOM badgeless grille from Black Forest Industries. With these few parts, the Sportback is looking meaner than ever and gets plenty of recognition on the road.
For this installment, we worked with OEM Plus in Laguna Hills, CA. The company has become the recognized authority for official VAG parts. So if you’re looking to build an OEM+ project car, these are the people to talk to.
We recently had a chance to look through their inventory and it’s mouth-watering. They find the cool parts VW and Audi doesn’t import and, because it’s OEM, the fit is exemplary and the quality second-to-none.
We’re hoping to work closely with OEM Plus as Project A3 progresses, and we’re starting with this delicious Audi RS3 aluminum-carbon interior trim kit.
When you’re talking about European performance cars, the Audi RS range is always given huge respect for the high performance, exclusivity and rarity. In fact, very few RS models ever make it Stateside, including the tantalizing Audi RS3.
Powered by the same 340hp 2.5L five-cylinder TFSI engine as in the Audi TT RS, the RS3 reaches 62mph in 4.6sec thanks to lightning-fast DSG changes and quattro AWD. It gets RS styling in the form of a deep front airdam, roof spoiler and rear diffuser. Inside, there are wonderful sports seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and optional “aluminum race inlays”. It’s the latter we’ll be fitting here. The four door trims, gear lever surround and ashtray cover come in a silver carbon-look aluminum finish that instantly adds sophistication to any A3.
Our lowly 2.0T will benefit greatly from these additions because our base model was fitted with somber, black plastic trim. It’s certainly unremarkable, so we were delighted at the improvement from the RS3 trim pieces.
As the first people to install this $850 kit in the US, we did encounter a slight problem. Basically, the shift surround was manufactured for a DSG-equipped RS3, so the shift boot on our manual lever won’t clip into place, leaving a small gap around the outside of the boot. On DSG cars, an insert to detect what gear you’ve selected would ordinarily occupy this space. Inevitably, you shouldn’t have any problems if your A3 is fitted with DSG.
Fortunately, all is not lost for cars like ours with a clutch pedal; OEM Plus has several solutions. The first is to only buy only the RS3 door trims at $670. The second is to combine the RS3 door trims with the brushed aluminum shift surround and ashtray cover from the European Audi S3 at $205. Alternatively, OEM Plus can supply the six-piece S3 trim kit for $850 as well.
It’s also worth noting that some A3s were fitted with optional silver trim that looks similar to the RS3 parts. If your car has this, you might get away with retaining the stock shift surround.
Our final option is to get some plastic beading to fill the small gap around the shift boot to hold it in place. We’re going to try this before abandoning the RS3 kit.
Ordinarily, we visit tuning shops to install parts. It’s not that we can’t do it ourselves; it’s just better to pass on to you the correct way to fit parts, rather than our shortcuts and cheats. However, we felt sufficiently confident with the interior pieces to give it a go ourselves.
Neill and I rolled up our sleeves and got to work. If Bachand hadn’t stabbed me with a screwdriver while trying to release a clip, we could have called it a complete success!
The parts are ridiculously easy to fit. The door pieces pull off and press back on. Fitting takes longer to describe than to execute. The gear lever surround is similarly straightforward. The only potential obstacle was the ashtray cover but there was little drama if you follow our steps below.
We also filmed each step and the video is available online at eurotuner.com
In the next issue, we hope to install some performance parts from Unitronic.
|RS3 interior trim kit||OEM Plus||$850|
|Ultra-low coilovers||H&R Springs||6/10|
|19x8.5" Nurburgring wheels||TSW Wheels||6/10|
|Stud kit||Raven Motorsport||6/10|
|235/35 R19 ExtremeContact DW||Continental Tires||6/10|
|JOM S3-style grille||Black Forest Ind||7/10|
|RS3 interior trim||OEM Plus||9/10|