February 5, 2005
Text & Photos by: Don Pavlik, MachtigAvant v3.0, JDBlueAudiS4
It’s shootout time! While the discussion forums are filled with healthy debate about various setups and vendor offerings, most enthusiasts know that a shootout presents a fair way to obtain comparative performance data. No matter what the objective – some owners will simply want an idea what their automobiles are capable of producing when tuned a certain way, while others will want the requisite bragging rights of having the hotest setup – a shootout yields plenty of data to back up claims.
To that end, AudiWorld was pleased to be invited to cover a very unique shootout event. What makes this shootout different is that it was conceived and arranged by a group of Audi enthusiasts who wanted to get to the bottom of what configurations were making the most power. The goal was to produce unbiased information around some of the most popular B6 S4 tuning programs without direct involvement from the tuners themselves.
In order to gather this information, a small group of B6 owners – JDBlueAudiS4, MachtigAvant v3.0,
pax-s4, Fluffhead, Savant and mindtrip – pooled their resources, purchased a full day of dyno time and got ready to bury the hammer. Thanks again to these individuals for donating their time, cash and vehicles in order to make the B6 S4 Dyno Shootout a reality.
In all there were six B6 S4’s, with each and every vehicle being a daily driver. A 3rd party shop, Agile Performance in Baltimore, MD specializing in Subaru performance tuning, was chosen to ensure no affiliation with any Audi performance products or underlying bias.
For accurate, consistent, dyno pulls the shootout utilized a load-based Dynapack dyno. Each of the dyno runs were performed on the same day under the same test conditions. During the pulls engine data was also logged via a VAG scanner connected to the vehicle diagnostic port. A stock B6 S4 was included in the shootout to provide baseline numbers for comparison.
Organizing the shootout ended up being the biggest logistical challenge since the owners and their cars originated from North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York. All of the vehicles had to be driven to the shootout, and, just to make things interesting, Mother Nature decided to provide a ferocious winter blizzard blanketing a large portion of the east coast. Temperatures quickly dropped to the low teens along with inches, and in some cases, feet of snow. Of course no self respecting Audi quattro owner is afraid of a little snow!
Test vehicle configurations (in alphabetical order by tuner) for the shootout were as follows:
- 2004 S4 Sedan 6MT Stock
- 2004 S4 Avant 6MT AMD Stage 2+ Software, ASP prototype fullback system
- 2004 S4 Sedan 6MT APR Stage software, APR (B&B) fullback system (resonated)
- 2004 S4 Sedan 6MT GIAC Stage software, Milltek fullback system (resonated), Stratmosphere Hyperflow
- 2004 S4 Avant 6MT OCT Stage III software, Milltek fullback system (resonated), Stratmosphere Hyperflow Intake
- 2004 S4 Sedan 6MT OCT Stage III software, Milltek fullback system (non-resonated)
Where noted, a fullback exhaust system consisted of performance downpipes (using the stock exhaust manifolds), high performance catalytic converters and a performance exhaust from the catalytic converter back. Mufflers were used on all cars and in some configurations an additional resonator was used to reduce exhaust noise.
One important point before presenting the actual results: the horsepower and torque information obtained in this shootout includes driveline losses. In all cases we are reporting wheel horsepower, not crank (or engine) horsepower that would generally be published by vehicle manufactures.
In order to get crank horsepower data an engine dyno would have to be used. It is possible to “back into” crank horsepower numbers by taking wheel horsepower and factoring in driveline losses with a multiplier, however that introduces a whole new debate around actual losses. We decided to just stick with the hard numbers. Readers are invited to speculate amongst themselves.
Also remember that it is not appropriate to make direct comparisons between load-based dyno results and inertia-based dyno results. Dynapack dynos generally yield more conservative horsepower numbers than, say, a Mustang dyno. Load based dynos and inertia base dynos are apples to oranges and should be treated as such.
For our purposes, the critical thing is that the entire shootout was dyno’d in the same way, with the same equipment and under identical conditions.