Can't beat a modified car that looks good, performs great, and still has a factory warranty.
As much as automakers like to clamor on about being made up of enthusiasts at heart, at the end of the day, car companies are there to make money. If employees derive pleasure from standing close to and working in an industry that makes their favorite objects of desire, then that's just an added benefit that comes with the job. And it's the pursuit of that almighty cash that has touched off a new trend among automakers, especially those of the German variety. Namely, running aftermarket tuners out of business with factory-built parts.
After all, the entrepreneurial mind seeks out problems that can be solved by a good or a service, and in the world of aftermarket tuning, there are many problems to be encountered such as lack of warranties or the possibility that things could go wrong since parts may or may not be engineered to the same standard expected of automakers. Audi is more than happy to quell those issues...for a price. Just like BMW's M Performance Parts division and Mercedes' AMG Sport line, Audi is launching its own Sport Performance Parts division and has decided to trick out an R8 and a TT (more models soon to come) to exemplify what these add-ons can do and what they look like.
"With the Audi Sport Performance Parts we are tapping into a new business segment," says Stephan Winkelmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. "Our wealth of experience garnered over many years of building sports cars is incorporated into every component we offer. Along with our expertise from motor racing, which is still the best test bed for volume production." To date, Audi is focusing on four upgrade areas: the suspension, exhaust system, and of course interior and exterior aesthetics. Suspension upgrades contain sport brake linings, which are both lighter and more resistant to fade. Brake cooling kits are included under the suspension upgrade kit, as are actual suspension parts such as two or three-way coilover systems.
Buyers can also opt for 20-inch milled wheels that help reduce weight by up to 17.6 pounds, sport tires, and a cross-member reinforcement bar on the rear axle. All of these should help maintain control should drivers want to choose the option to increase the top speed (available for the TT RS only), but the real track kings and queens should go for the Aero kits. Audi developed the included clear cut headlights, front air inlets, side sills, and diffuser among other parts in its own wind tunnel, meaning claims that the parts increase downforce by up to 220 pounds can be verified. Rounding off the list are the interior and exterior components that will truly make a driver feel special.
Interior upgrades include a sport counter steering wheel with Alcantara-trimmed rim features and a red 12 o'clock marker, carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) shift paddles, and even a CFRP strut cross brace that sits where the rear seats in the TT would be and enhances structural rigidity. We just wish Audi would build a special edition model of the RS5 complete with the full Audi Sport Performance Parts catalogue as an example, sort of like BMW did with the M4 CS.