Unpretentious and unassuming. In fact, the only thing that gave this car away were the stickers that lined its sides. Ignoring them, it would be impossible to pick out this car on the road, especially in its current paint scheme that doesn’t raise eyebrows. Stand by the road and start counting the number of silver cars that pass by. You’ll finish using all your fingers in a matter of minutes.
We are guilty of trying to match cars to their drivers. So, we were in for a surprise when we met the owner, Joe. At first glance, you wouldn’t even associate him with a silver A3, let alone an Audi – but we got one thing right off the bat: He did have a Golf prior to the A3. We could joke abouta his decision to switch from a Golf to another “Golf”, his reasons for the switch would ring a few bells with the VAG enthusiasts.
Firstly, his Golf came with a seven-speed DSG gearbox, which most VAG enthusiasts will readily tell you that it’s the more problematic of all the DSG options available in Singapore, although some have found a fix.
Why did we joke about “Golf to Golf”? The A3 is based on the PQ35 platform, which means there is a long list of wonderful bits and gear that can be slapped on for more performance. Why not start with the S3 and the RS3 from the start? The S3’s he found were only available with manual and the RS3 – sky-high insurance. Above all, Joe likes a challenge. As he puts it, “it’s the good feeling you get from improving your knowledge of car parts.” However…
… a lot of gear one can find on the market isn’t designed for the AWD layout, as Joe discovered. With the help from the his close friends at Mirage Garage, the hunt for parts were made a little easier. The closest model which they looked out for? The Golf R32.
Having a pick-up service from Mirage Garage made things easy for Joe who runs a biz which eats up most of his time. With each and every time the folks dropped off the A3 at his door step, the car’s modification list grew longer, starting off with the anti-roll bar and end links to control the A3’s tendency to roll excessively in the corners – as a trade-off for being comfortable.
And then it went on better braking with the ubiquitous AP Racing anchors and finally, better handling overall with a sweet set of KW coilovers.
Why didn’t Joe focus on extracting more power from the block first? Joe feels that mods should compliment each other, before one tries to put more power onto the road, the car must be able to handle the increase in power and stop all that power.
With Joe being rather new to the A3, all these mods were done in tune with his personal specifications which stepped up a notch once he was familiar with the results of any particular modification – like a step up in skill level. After all, it’s the driver who will be in the ultimate control of the car.
Shiny bits, tons of colour coordinated components? Not really, the engine bay is as subtle as the entire car itself, with the AWE Tuning CCB Intake being the most outstanding visual addition. Most of the new bits won’t be obvious if you take a quick glance, but to handle all the power, modifications to how the engine and transmission had to be done to stop the block from hurling itself within the bay.
These mods include the BSH Pendulum Torque Mount and torque inserts for the engine and the transmission. What these do, is to stop the engine from twisting on the stock hard-rubber mounts when the power gets going and reducing the level of oomph one gets from stomping on the pedal.
With sensible driving, this A3 is as quiet as stock. It’s not until going hard on the throttle past the 4k mark when the additional power makes itself known with a throaty growl emanating from the pipes.
Yes, the specification list is long but it was after the magic of tuning by Calvin of Eurosports that blessed this car with near to 300 horses and a meaty 450Nm of torque. In a car smaller than an average Japanese executive sedan, this car seriously pins you into its plush seats whenever you demand acceleration.
Other than the addition of a boost and temperature gauges plus a TPMS display, the interior largely remains intact. Why not hardcore-all-the-way?
Joe doesn’t have a luxury of having multiple rides at his disposal. Between times of fun and joy, he uses the A3 for deliveries. Not wanting to sacrifice comfort was why he didn’t go after the Evolution X which was on his list to cars-to-replace-the-GTI.
“It’s fun, it’s quick and it has the power. A far cry from the initial car which I got from the dealer.” With just one car, the knowledge gained for Joe can’t be measured by any means. With much input from the people of Mirage Garage, he’s being empowered by the difference between the EA113 and the EA888 engine, the impact that various modification makes, and all the nitty-gritty stuff about pistons, con-rods and compression ratios.
Joe’s an awesome guy to hang out with. While sipping coffee, admiring his car, sharing cool technology findings such as a ultra-hydrophobic paint coating and engaging in healthy discussion about all things great about the modified car society, he did mention that the journey doesn’t end here, in fact, this is still the beginning.
With the additions to his car, it was the gauge that warned him about his higher-than-usual oil temperatures of up to a hundred degrees. As we speak, he has an oil cooler on order from Mirage Garage and his intention to bring his ride to the track to find out what his baby can do.
Trackies be warned, a sleeper is on the way!