Audi A3 Tuning and performance parts

Modifying and improving: "Audi A3 Tuning"

Audi A3 Tuning Guide

It took Audi a while to see the need for a Golf rival and it half heartedly produced the A3. The early models were only available as 3 door versions and rear leg room is cramped. In 2000 a 5 door model was added and the Mk2 A3 addressed the problem of cramped rear leg room.

They are great cars to drive and make a good tuning project. There were a number of engine options from the 1.6 to the 2.0T and a few diesel models as well.

The Quattro is probably the best handling model of the lot, but even the front wheel drive T Sport models got a locking differential.

So onto our A3 tuning tips:-
The 1.6 engines are really underpowered and a waste of time from a tuning point of view. The 1.8 (NASP) is a bit better but still doesn't reward your tuning investment with much of a power gain.

You can still perform the modifications we recommend to the 1.6 and 1.8 engines but you should only expect a modest power gain of 10-20%, for the same amount of money you could do an engine swap to the 1.8 Turbo and get a 100% power hike. Car Tuning Tips would instead prefer to focus on improving the handling and braking of these smaller engined models.  This will create a fun car that is good in the corners.

The 1.8 Turbo engines were stunning, a real favourite of car tuning tips, and a simple remap is all you need to raise the power from 150bhp to around 225 bhp. Fitting a larger turbo, either the KO4 or KO3s will  raise the potential as the standard KO3 runs out of puff quite early on (around 6000rpm).

On the 1.8T engines it also pays to get a recirculating diverter valve (atmospheric dump valves have caused error codes to show) and we would also uprate the intercooler. A twin intercooler like on the S3 would be good as would a front mounted intercooler. The 1.8 Turbo engine has been used in a number of powerful applications including the sporty Audi TT and can cope with power figures of upto 300bhp on standard internals.

The main differences between the 225bhp and 150bhp engines are in the head and intake. Swapping the head will help lift the performance potential of the 1.8T and a remap can squeeze out a little more.

The diesel engines lend themselves very nicely to a remap and have another 30% power gain to give on standard internals. Uprate the intercooler and exhaust for further gains.

Tuning tips and articles Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Other modifications you should consider for your A3 engines. Fast road cams are good for top end power gains, get an improved air intake (a panel filter will do a very good job) and full sports exhaust with a sports catalyst then apply some head work like port matching and you have a great track day car.

For the power mad you always have the option of fitting a supercharger or turbo. Another option you may consider is adding nitrous injection kits, this alone can add 50bhp more power to your engine.

What other modifications?
Brake upgrades are popular. We have seen some A3 owners using the larger brakes from the Golf VR6 models along with a few Porsche brake conversions. We suggest you check the offset and clearance behind your alloys before purchasing a much larger brake kit to make sure it will fit.

Handling mods are also worth considering for your A3 we would recommend that you get fully adjustable suspension kits so you can set this up to suit your driving style. If you are lowering the car then stick with a drop of 20-35mm depending on the standard drop already on your A3. You will find that the sporty models have a 20mm drop already on them.

Further reading.
We suggest that if you want a bit more information on Audi A3 Tuning you consult the following sources. TorqueCars have a comprehensive   A3 tuning article and also a very active, friendly and helpful A3 forum (the site owner has an A3).

If you have any tips to pass on please use our comments box below and we will update this article, after all we are all here to share knowledge. Please also let us know if we've missed out an engine or performance mod that you feel should be included in here.

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Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

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One Response to “Audi A3 Tuning”

  1. Kris says:

    Hi, im thinking of getting an Audi A3 2.0 T FSI Quattro S-Line, Im not looking to do much first of all just possibly a de-cat stainless exhaust, and a remap. Is there any better gearbox’s that will fit, say if I get the dsg model would the audi r8 gearbox fit and would u get any gain from that. Plus if I did get it de-cat’d and remaped would there be anything else id need to change to keep it running smooth and long lasting.