Wheels24 is venturing into a bespoke aftermarket tuning experience with renowned German VW/Audi tuner Oettinger.
Using a standard Audi A4 Avant 6-speed manual with 71 000 km's on the clock as our project vehicle, the project should run over a six-month cycle finishing in late November.
Essentially the Oettinger treatment will hinge on optimising any latent performance remaining in the turbodiesel engine package, and stylishly adding to the Audi's exterior aesthetics and interior architecture.
The project will not be aiming to build a RS4 Avant clone. Our choice of vehicle is a decidedly family-orientated one, and a key objective is to test just how achievable and viable bespoke customisation of a family vehicle is.
Oettinger is renowned for its work on VW and Audi models, and with more than 50 years of tuning experience its reputation and longevity in the severely competitive German tuning industry is second to none.
Various aspects of the customisation will be added piece by piece, enabling us to test how each new component or alteration changes the vehicle's dynamics and drivability in a day-to-day environment.
In standard trim the 2.0TDI Avant is an impressive vehicle. Handsome, and with 320 Nm of torque and a six-speed gearbox, it is very drivable. It has considerable mid-range punch coupled with 6 l/100 km diesel economy.
The first stage of our conversion took place this week by evaluating the Avant engine's state of tune of a dynamometer at sea level. Rated at 103 kW, the Avant was still in rude health as we sent it spinning away on the dynamometer producing 101.2 kW at the wheels.
After our Oettinger technician flashed the upgraded software from his laptop through the Avant's OBD diagnostics port, we repeated the exercise and suddenly we had 113.5 kW. That is a power increase of 11.7 % without opening up or touching any engine components, or adjusting any internals.
Being a turbodiesel, the torque figures are most crucial and here the peak went up from 285 Nm to 344 Nm, an increase of 59 Nm or 21 %. And all this took just over an hour.
For the uninitiated, it can be quite unnerving to see a car, especially a diesel with its smoke trailing under load, run at high engine speeds on a dynamometer. Within a professional, controlled environment it is the only unit of analysis to benchmark performance figures and power increases, though.
The power increase is hardly radical, but the convenience of the operation, and the added boon of not having to tamper with engine internals, have left us with a more responsive third and forth gear. And with this increased overtaking capability, long-distance travelling would probably highlight even more benefits.
We'll be conducting a suspension upgrade next, so watch the Custom Cars space...
Contact Oettinger: firstname.lastname@example.org