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S5 modifications - APS, UK, 15th Feb

22843 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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Hey all,

Well, i'm a new member and within two minutes I have just booked into APS next Weds for Milltek, Springs, Spacers and Remap. You've just cost me £1600 :p

Very informative post and great pics. Thanks! I'll post mine once completed next week.


...You won't be dissapointed with the results... or the service.

I have to admit it was this forum that got me considering modding mine with only 400 miles on the clock! Damnit!! ...and the obvious knowledge and competence of APS that sealed the deal... No regrets though... I have an awesome looking and performing beast now and LOVE IT!!


I'm keeping all of the original springs and exhaust for resale sake if someone wants the car in its original condition. Ed at APS stated that the remap is undetectable by Audi as it doesn't tweak parts of the software that Audi test.

Regarding warranty i beleive I read somewhere on here that generally you are fine as long as any faults problems aren't caused by the aftermarket parts...?!

I absolutely love my car but as with Ian etc i feel lowering and spacers, and exhaust will improve it. I have just sold my 44k RHD RS2 and although this was very rare and immaculate I had it lowered with H&R and the Milltek exhaust. :)

With regard the ride I am used to the lowered RS2 and a porsche so it won't seem very hard from me. Just hope it doesn't bring out rattles in the cabin :(
...No rattles in mine!

guys, what about 20 mm spacers? Do they fit? Or there was a reason you chose 15 mm? thanks.
Looking at the 15mm ones I have fitted. I doubt 20mm spacers would be possible with the car lowered too. I think the tryes would foul the bodywork.
I just received my April copy of Audi Driver in the mail here in the US.
The article on your mods done by APS was great.
You are fortunate to have a facility like APS with their expertise in the general vicinity.

I'll have to seek out your autographs when I get to the UK.
You are right. We are fortunate to have access to the kind of expertise and service APS provide.

Autograph? ...Great! I'll have my special 'autograph pen' ready for your visit!!

...My only disspapointment with the article is the lack of a good large picture of the finished result... the driving pics are great, but distort the car a little so it's not possible to really take in the detail in perspective.
By the way everyone... I think this thread has had the most viewings BY FAR of any thread I've seen... 3,800+ viewings more than double the nearest rival.
Great feedback Sherv and glad you're pleased - it really transforms the car and makes it what it, in my opinion, should have been from the outset.

I'll be interested in your longer-term impressions of the re-map. I know IanHP1 is getting ready to prise the readies out of his piggy-bank, and I may be tempted too - funny how cars seem to get slower after you've had them a little while.......:confused:

Ed's on the look out fro Brembo Sport replacement discs for Ian and I when they're released and I'm probably going to take the suspension to the next level with the KW KV3 coilovers when they available mid-May. Being typically fair, Ed's offered me a deal for the upgrade so once again, I can't praise their customer care highly enough!

Enjoy the ride and keep us up to date with your impressions. As Ian notes, a lot of people use this thread as a reference re. S5 mods!
Hi All, yes... definately going back to APS sometime soon to get the brake-lines upgraded with Goodrich Braided lines and performance brake fluid.

...Temted with the KW coilovers to be the 'ultimate' suspension upgrade, but as Ess5 says... I'm getting used to the blistering pace of the S5, so I'm also thinking of trying the remap. :D ...just counting the pennies up to see if I have to choose between them!

All in all, APS have been very helpful at getting what information they can about mods and forthcoming performance parts. and as Ess5 says customer care is outstanding.

...As for another mini-meet at APS... I'd be up for that if I can coordinate with my modifications and if there's space in the day to fit me in too!

That might well be me Kenny - Ed's expecting to have some in mid-late May and I'm aiming to get them on the car as soon as is feasible after that, hopefully (although unlikely) before a Mallory Park track day on 17th.

I'll of course post my impressions. To be perfectly honest, I feel that this is an essential mod, despite the premium over the springs alone. After 3000 miles or so, my appraisal of what the springs alone offer/deliver is:

  • Lowered ride-height (looks fantastic)
  • Reduced body roll
  • Ride just on the wrong side of firm
  • Car can be deflected by mid-corner bumps due to lack of compliance
  • Insufficient body control on fast A-road or motorway bumps/hollows - spring and damper rates not ideally matched.
Essentially, I feel that the standard car is probably faster than mine at present, as the unresolved ride when pressing-on make sit difficult to apply power in all circumstances, and there's a feeling of uncertainty when the car 'floats' or compresses onto the bump-stops when encountering said high-speed undulations. Having read up on the KW Variant 3 application for other Audis (and also BMs, inc M3), what you'll get is a perfectly matched spring/damper set-up, banishing most of the negative issues noted above. Plus, the adjustability will allow for selectable ride-height and essentially, an owners perfect compromise for road (and track) use.

Sure, they represent an approx £1K premium over the springs alone but in my opinion, a car's ability to control its power through its suspension set-up of fundamental importance. I personally don't feel the springs can do that alone, but am pretty confident that the KWs will deliver on their promise!
In my opinion, the 'stock' set up was well suited to all road conditions albeit a little 'conservative'. With the lowered springs alone, I think that the car performs better than the stock on 75% of the roads I drive on, but there's an annoying 25% where the bumps unsettle the car and I have to get off the power.

There have also been occasions - probably one in 10 times I take the car out where I do feel with the firmness of the ride I have to grit my teeth and bear it, because it's worth it for the looks.

...If I had the choice again... I would still definately lower the car. It's worth it for the performance and looks... and I would recommend anyone who wants the car to be more sporty than stock as the car has really been transformed and feels more 'alive' and 'responsive' than the stock wich was a little 'dull' in comparison... However...

I want to upgrade further to the KW coilovers to have the car perform better in all conditions and also to see if the ride can be a bit more compliant at the same time. Having used Billstein PSS9s on a previous car (which were awesome) I expect great things from the KWs as they are regarded as even better.
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Just a thought on this, if a few of you fancy coming along then we could host a sort of mini meet here if you wanted? We don’t mind keeping the workshop clear for the day so you can have the opportunity to come down and have a good look at an S5 while it’s being worked on and so fourth? It might be a good opportunity for anyone who is contemplating doing some upgrades to sample one that already has a Milltek/remap/springs etc.

Please let me know if anybody would like to do this and we can look at arranging a day for you all.

Regards, Ed
...and we can all go Karting at Milton Keynes in the evening!

Blade (Pete) S5....Milltec and Spacers.
Michael - Miltek Exhaust
Ess5ive (Joe) - KW coilovers and Brembo Sport discs (will probably have to have these fitted later as no confirmed date from Brembo yet)
Ianhp1 (Ian!) - Goodrich Braided Lines, Brembo sports discs, possibly KW coilovers and possibly remap (last two depend on the availability of cash!)
June 7th works fine for me.

...I'll confirm in May what I can afford to have done in this round of mods, given that my savings were recently eroded at the Garden Centre!
To expand for my fellow modders... I’ve been keeping quiet about the sales I’ve brought in recently and had ‘saved’ about £2k for the mods on the car and some more music gear.

Then at the garden centre with my wife (went to buy a few small shrubberies) my 'trouble and strife' spotted some furniture she liked... When faced with the question “Ooooh I really like that, can we afford it?” I couldn’t say no and then turn up a month later with a few ks worth of car and gear!!!

So I said… “well perhaps!” as it was a £950 item and I thought I could bear that and in my mind I thought “Well, I’ll get the new guitar another time”… then she spotted a few matching items and with each one, she said “Oooh this would go too… can we get this as well?” … and I thought “OK there goes the remap” and with each new item… “There goes the coilovers” ….” And the discs”…. It was horrible!

... worry not. I’ll do the math when I get my commission this month and see you guys in June for something, even if it's just a peformance air-freshener!
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I'm afraid no one has the answer. The Non-res has not been sold in the UK and the res has not been sold in the US, so no comparison available as far as I'm aware.
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