|Project Audi S4: Suspension
It would be foolish to continue the Project Audi S4 series without acknowledging that once again a significant amount of time has passed since the previous update. It would be nice to start the explanation with something decidedly serious, yet witty that might all at once demonstrate to readers that the wait was more than worth their while.
However no such statement is forthcoming in this case. We'll simply take our lumps for having continued the tuning and other modification on the vehicle without sharing so much as a whisper with the loyal readers and leave it at that.
One thing worth noting, before departing from the topic altogether, is that the Discussion Forums have become in their own right during this same time a dynamic, diversified and significantly sized resource for just about anything and everything that an owner or potential owner might want to do to his or her S4. Gone are the days, particularly with a car this tunable, that the monkey-wrenching or other tinkering had to be left to the professionals in the garage. That is not to say that some mods are outside the realm of DIY, but the B5 Audi S4 has got to be one of today's ultimate cars when it comes to tuning discussions, tuning possibilities and actual tuning and modifications performed.
The AudiWorld Discussion Forums have been documenting this dialogue since the beginning, hence taking just a little bit of the pressure off the project cars. But at this point it's time to finish up Project Audi S4 with the rest of the story.
I'm going to mention a tuner's name now (a former tuner that is) and those of you reading this who recognize the name would have had to been active with Audi tuning in the late 90's and early 2000's or were in the Great Lake region (or both). Vortrag Motorsports was a Detroit area shop competent in all types of tuning, but particularly adept at brakes and suspension work. Owner Todd Candey had become, buy the time he closed up shop and sold much of his technical information and product lineup to STaSIS Engineering, a colorful and well-reputed tuner, as well as an accomplished race car driver. We had the pleasure of dealing with Todd and Vortrag a number of times over the years.
Suspension work being one of their strong suits, AudiWorld turned to Vortrag when it came time to lower the gap on the S4. As many readers noticed at the time, the suspension work in question had already been completed prior to publication of the Wheel & Tire update.
Referring back to the original stated mandate for Project Audi S4, the car was to be tuned while remaining a viable everyday driver. Race track or motorsport prep was definitely not a requirement, although we knew from the get-go that Vortrag would not put a product out in the market that couldn't hold its own under aggressive conditions. The biggest challenge for Vortrag, in fact, was probably to produce more of a de-tuned, enthusiast rather than race setup. They were certainly known at the time for being able to produce some of the most race-worthy brake and suspension setups for Audi of any of the tuners in North America.
Readers might be slightly puzzled at this point since this update reads a bit like a history lesson rather than a current update on viable tuning alternatives. We feel like we are on solid ground, however, mostly due to the aforementioned transition that occurred between Vortrag and STaSIS. In a nutshell it means that today's STaSIS customers are getting products, although evolved and clearly improved over the years, which find some of their foundation in the old Vortrag products.
The kit that Project Audi S4 ended up with was unique. To my knowledge it was one of the first Koni coil-over kits put out by Vortrag and consisted of Koni shocks valved to custom specs together with hypercoil race springs adjusted as per customer needs. Beyond lowering the car around 35mm to a much more aggressive stance, the suspension dramatically improved handling and response as well as greatly reducing body roll. Again, this was no ultra high performance racing setup, but it was a definite improvement over the factory suspension.
It makes no sense to go into an abundance of specifics since the tuner is no longer in business. We will go ahead and mention STaSIS again though as a top-notch supplier of aftermarket suspension products. As far as that goes, a number of AudiWorld advertisers can assist S4 owners who wish to do everything from simply lowering their vehicles to race-prepping them.
Up Next . . .
Much more regular updates will follow as we look to complete this Project series and move on to our new B6 S4 Project Cars.