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S5 modifications - APS, UK, 15th Feb

22919 Views 168 Replies 33 Participants Last post by  Wolfman
All, a number of S5 owners met at the premises of APS in Brackley, Northants on Friday to undertake some of the more popular modifications bing talked about on this forum. Here's a few initial details - I'll post a pictorial diary of the day and fellow owner Ian, sound recordist extraordinaire, has some 'before and after' sound files which clearly show the (marked) difference between stock and Milltek resonated exhaust. To answer the burning question - 'is it worth it and should I wait for a non-res version' - 'YES' and 'NO'. More details later.

Background to the day

As many of you will know, Ian and I had separately approached APS for details and pricing on a series of mods (primarily exhaust and suspension/track). Ian pulled it together via another thread and APS arranged a day for a number of owners to meet and either have the mods performed, or simply view the work in progress and its results. Hence, we met at APS's premises in Brackley, Northants this last Friday 15th.


Have to spend a few lines commending this outfit. Their premises are immaculate (as you'll see from the pics), their customer service and communication (through partner, Ed Jackson) is beyond reproach and their engineers are not only damn good blokes but at the top of their game. They work in pairs on each car, methodically assisting each other and checking each stage of the work. Gained huge comfort in watching the way they handled my prized possesion. They have a wealth of experience with a variety of VAG models and this is apparent in conversation with them. You'll also find it hard to beet their keen pricing!

The cars

On the day, three cars were to be modified, these being:
  • Mine (Meteor Grey), in for exhaust, spacers, springs and Sportec pedals
  • Ian's (Phantom Black) in for the same less pedals, although having seen them, quickly added to his list :)
  • Colli's (Ibis White), intended to have re-map, spacers springs and pedals done, with exhaust next week. As it turned out, springs hadn't arrived so he'll be back for those with the exhaust.
We were also joined by Graham and his meteor S5 who was interested in seeing the results, and Neil from Honda's F1 operation round the corner who's had a loaded black S5 for a few months and joined us to see the work taking place.

So, at one point, close to £250K's worth of S5 all parked up - quite a sight (and sound!).....

The mods - subjective impressions

In summary, the mods make a huge difference to the car and make it, in my opinion, the type of car we hoped Audi would make. Aesthetically, the pictures speak for themselves with the car now possessing a totally aggressive stance - the word that springs to mind is 'menacing'. The Milltek slash-cut exhaust looks tremendous, well-suited to the car and avoiding the Max Power look by virtue of its careful integration with the lines of the rear valance. It could be said that for this benefit alone, the mods are worth the money but what of the drive?

When my car was initially lowered from the ramp and the engine fired-up, I have to say my heart sank and Ian's face fell. At idle, the exhaust note was noticeably more subdued - we both started to wonder if we had done/were about to do the right thing. Then I sat in the car and revved it up. OMG. The sound of the car, most particularly from inside had changed beyond recognition. From the standard burble, the note had changed to a deep but hard-edged growl (check out Ian's comparative sound files for confirmation of this). The car was taken out by Ed for a quick shakedown and upon return, I went out for a quick blast up and down the A43. I didn't stop smiling. Under load, the exhaust just bellow - unmistakably a V8 sound but more akin to a race car. No need to put the back seats down now to get the benefit! ;) With the window down, it was apparent that the sound that passers-by are subjected too is no less arresting - the car just howls its intent :eek:

The ride quality is, as you'd expect, notably firmer and certainly in the UK, it's fair to say that 90% of the time, you'll be completely aware that the car is riding on stiffer springs. That said, it's part of the miraculous metamorphosis of the car from GT to hard-edged sports saloon and totally in keeping. Any trade-off in terms of ride comfort (and there is some) is more than balanced by the car's poise on the road and enhanced cornering ability - roundabouts on the A43 were despatched in one seamless movement, body-roll all but banished and the car still largely unaffected by mid-corner road surface imperfections although on one or two occasions, I have sensed it skip slightly as it encounters bumps and holes, where the previous set-up would have been more tolerant.

Regarding the spacers - can't honestly say I notice any negative impact on steering feel - although there's a sense of additional weight at low speeds. Steering accuracy is unaffected as speeds increase. Both Ian and I (and I think Colli?) decided on aesthetic grounds to go with front spacers as well as rears and whilst we each harboured some concerns about the possible effects on steering geometry, this seem to have been misplaced. We'll keep an eye on the front tyres for any signs of uneven wear, but first impressions are comforting.

That's it for now - in the office today and have to do some proper work - will post some more pics in follow-on posts and more later from I and others.....


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Some more pics....

They're not arranged in chrono order I'm afraid but hopefully the filenames speak for themselves....


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And some more.....

continuing the story......


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Hi All and thanks Ess5 for the excellent write-up. Looking forward to the picture diary and the before and after comparisons. I want to take some 'in-car' recordings as you guys just have to hear this! then I will try and find out a way to post them on here! Patience please!

FWIW, here's my write-up on the modifications...

The Milltek

1) Visuals: Looks fantastic, a small change to the car, with a big impact… it says to the eye ‘not just an ordinary S5’. In fact the more you look, the more you think… bloody hell that thing must have some lump under that bonnet (hood for those in the US!). Downside… not quite as ‘stealthy’ any more… but that’s not why we got the Milltek!

2) Sound: Awsome! (sound files coming soon) The sound does this engine justice… The Milltek is quite a lot louder when you use the throttle, but civilised when driven gently. The sound in the cabin is amazing! …just right… any louder and it would be too much (I will try to take some in-car recordings later too, but have no ‘before’ recording of this). The best thing is the tone… the Milltek is far more sonorous, making the V8 sound just amazing at higher revs, whereas the stock exhaust disappoints when revved… to the point where I used to feel bad and change down early to ‘look after the engine’… but now I just want to hear it rev… and rev… Application of the power when exiting a bend, now not only shoves you in the back, but makes all the right noises too. The fun-factor just went up 200% !! :D Thus the car is transformed from a ‘beefy V8’ with the stock exhaust to the sound of a ‘supercar’ with the milltek… no joking people turn to look for the car as soon as they hear this car and blokes just grin as you burble by…. Any down side? Perhaps… at low revs (less than 1,500rpm) a lot of throttle input tends to be a bit ‘boomy’ so you feel you want to change down to accelerate, rather than labour the car in-gear.

3) Performance: I have yet to confirm this with Ess5, but there’s noticeably more mid-range torque. The power seems to build faster and pulls like a train, to the point where the steering starts to feel slightly light. The car is definitely more responsive and feels like it wants to rev more, making it more ‘sporty’ to drive and improving the ‘fun-factor’ too. Any down side? I think that the low-end torque (<1,500rpm) has dropped a little (as would be expected… see my egg-head notes in the ‘pictures of S5 Exhaust thread! Hey Ess5! ;) ). Although this may be a function of the boominess making this seem more laboured. Although TBH at these revs this is not an issue unless you have your mother-in-law-to-be in the passenger seat and need to drive around at 30mph in 6th gear all day!

1” Lowering and 15mm Spacers:

1) Visuals: Well, The car is transformed. It already looked fantastic… that’s why we all fell in love with it. But honestly, look at the pictures… it looks even better in the flesh where you get a proper sense of scale and proportion. The rear quarter is ‘perfect’ the wheel/tyre sits perfectly in the arch and right to the outside of the vehicle. Most importantly, ‘it looks right’. The front wheel does look like it has spacers, due to the way the bumper and front valance meets the wheel, but we conducted a test with and without and all preferred ‘with’… although perhaps I will experiment with just 10mm at some point… Again though, most importantly, the stance and width matches the ‘perfect’ rear so the car looks just right… testimony to this is the fact that Domestic Ops didn’t notice I’d changed the car… meaning it has made a big change in the looks, but doesn’t look out of place. All the guys, however have gone ‘wow’! it’s so much better and can’t believe it’s only 25mm down it looks that low and planted.

2) Ride: It is definitely a firmer ride, and about as firm as you would want to go for a car you use most days, but I have not hit any bumps yet where I’ve thought it was too firm… and I have been ragging it down country lanes with grass growing down the middle and pottering through town with road works and exposed ironwork etc. From the fun-factor side, this car now feels like it is travelling at the speed it really is, adding more grins per mile! There is no doubt, that the stock suspension is smoother and fractionally quieter and this serene refinement has been compromised slightly so the mother-in-law to be might not be impressed… but it’s not her car!

3) Handling: This doesn’t disappoint. Grip levels are still the same… as you would expect, but the car is definitely more ‘alive’ and responsive… with less dip, dive and body roll, more of the steering input seems to go into a change of direction and less into a change of balance… although the stock is pretty good to start with. Balance wise, the high speed lane-change manoeuvre is completed with much more control and poise and the added steering weight provides a little more feedback, adding to the confidence in situations such as this, or adverse camber and wet road driving. Any drawbacks? Perhaps… the steering feeling a little light when accelerating flat-out, but it’s hard to tell if this isn’t actually just having a little more ‘feeling’ through the wheel (or the Milltek giving more grunt) as opposed to any change in grip levels at the front.

Insurance damage: £29 increase to the premium… not exactly re-mortgage territory.

Fuel damage: The engine now tempts you at every moment to “Try me! Go on! You know you want to; rev me please, give it to me, satisfy yourself!!” The result is that I now have a much heavier right foot and the fuel costs associated with it… but hell, I’m addicted! My kids can go without meat to pay for it!

Summary of both of these Mods…

“Perfect” I am delighted with the transformation and this has ‘finished’ the car for me. I really can’t see anything else I would want from a car. I have to admit I was apprehensive, taking a ‘near perfect’ car and changing it slightly to suit my tastes in looks handling and noise (which is why I bought the stock) but have no regrets at this point and I’m glad I did it right now. Money very well spent.


I cannot praise APS enough. They were consummate professionals, knowledgeable, friendly and very accommodating. They now have more experience with modifying A or S5s than any other UK outfit and have by far the keenest prices… it is worth the fuel to travel to these guys both for the money you will save and the confidence that they know what they are doing and look after your car like it was their own. I now understand why they have the awards that they do. First class.
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Thanks Ian - nothing if not comprehensive! I have to second all that you say - the car is now pretty much everything you could wish for, at any price. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say it has a 'supercar' feel about it, the looks, sound and overall driving experience having been elevated to a new level.

Last handful of pics attached - I have some more but need to resize and rename them so expect them in the next day or so.....


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Comparison photo

...Using the power of paintshop, I bring you a rear quarter comparison...



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God you're good!

Here's some shots of the new pedals and a comparison of exhaust systems.


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And another pedal shot.....


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Drat and dammit :rolleyes:

I was hoping you would say the exhaust was crap :p

Now I want it :eek:

Roll on the sound files :)

Love the pedals :cool:
Excellent, excellent write-up guys!!! Thanks for taking the time to share all of this detail with us. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about and seeing your experiences with the mods. Your cars definitely look more menacing now. Love it!

Couple of questions, Ess5 ... what's that antenna for on your rear window? And what is the emblem you have mounted on your front fender?
How long had you had on the exhaust prior to writing this review? I ask because the exhaust note gets even better after a couple of days of use. I don't know if the ICU adjusts to the improved airflow, but this thing sounds like a caged lion now.

I was considering going for a X pipe at first, but now the exhaust is absolutely what I wanted. The in cabin sound is jaw dropping. I haven't listened to my Sirius radio in days!

Nice review and excellent job with all the detail....
Hi guys, glad you enjoyed (and had the patience to read!) our notes. More to come from Ian later when he's done posing.......

The exhausts went on on Friday so I've driven the car for not more than 200 miles since. Hard to say whether there's been any noticeable change in timbre over that period - probably not, although as you point out, I'm expecting it as deposits build up and it beds-in.

TX, what a shame you had to point out my obsession - with sticking extraneous bits of tat on my cars. Antenna serves nothing but an aesthetic function - makes me look like I'm so damned important that I need to be wired into every nerve-centre on the planet, including Mission Control. It's a spare DAB aerial I had lying around. There. I've said it.

Same with the badge - yes, yes, I know less is more, but saw this badge, bought it and had to stick it on somewhere.

Ian was less than impressed, and probably fairly so, so I think the hairdryers gonna come out soon and it shall be no more.....


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Another full profile comparison shot

Before (left) and after (right).........

Obviously. :rolleyes:


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TX, what a shame you had to point out my obsession - with sticking extraneous bits of tat on my cars. Antenna serves nothing but an aesthetic function - makes me look like I'm so damned important that I need to be wired into every nerve-centre on the planet, including Mission Control. It's a spare DAB aerial I had lying around. There. I've said it.
No need to be ashamed of your aesthetic desires. You like what you like, right? Who cares what anyone else thinks. It's your car and you bought it for you! I think the car looks great ... even with the added pointy thing stuck on top of it. ;)
Very nice mods there and thanks for the detailed description.

Whats the difference between the slash cut and the rolled finish exhausts? Anyone any pics to show the difference?
Thanks for all this info guys! Definitely want to lower my A5 and get spacers on all four wheels. Look forward to sharing and comparing notes with U.S. A5 owners in that regard.
Final Result...

OK Guys, sorry I haven't done the sound stuff yet... been too busy polishing 'the beast' Here's my favourite angle of the finished car... it looks awsome. :D


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As if I wasnt already anticipating the arrival of my car :) I have to fork out more cash, for an exhaust and springs, and by the looks of things pedals to ;-) Excellent write up guys. Really appreciate the time and effort gone into it. Just wish my car was here right now, but at least I know a trip down to APS will have to be made.
if you had car on contract hire ie company car would you be able to change bits?
sorry if silly question never had company car before but you dont own car really

also whats audi view on this ie against warranty:confused: :confused:
because if you have probelms with suspension will they not accept as you have lowered it
hi guys,
i am glad you have done top quality comprehensive write ups,that will save me a lot of one finger typing to talk about my mods,however soon enough i guess i will be reporting in on the re-map,i shall wait until the miltek is on next week..
one thing i can add is that the springs and spacers look a million times better when fitted together, as h&r,s courier did nt deliver my springs on friday i only had the spacers fitted,the car for me now looks like a massy ferguson (tractor) this is amplified more because i spent most of friday looking at two S5 ,s lowered and spacered.i can honhestly say that at the moment i am not enjoying looking at my car knowing that it doesnt look as it could or basically to all out there do the springs and spacers not either or..
the thing that amazed me on friday after the mods had been done was the illusion that the cars bodywork from a front and rear view looked to be wider,the lowering and spacers really made that much of a difference,for me it makes a stock s5 look like a bottom of the range a5 and the modified s5,s look like how i expect an rs 5 to look last thing ,seeing the finished modifications in the flesh is far better than offence to essfives camera work,he did well to say he was using a disposable camera...
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