Written by Matt Daniels
Photos by Matt Daniels and John Stahmann
The Bonneville Salt Flats. A place so flat you seem to see the curvature of the planet, so barren not even the simplest life forms can exist. Stretching over 30,000 acres, the Bonneville Salt Flats are a fragile resource located in the Utah desert about 110 miles west of Salt Lake City.
The Salt Flats are best known for the high-speed testing that goes on every summer and early fall. Since the first speed record attempts in 1914, hundreds of records have been set and broken in a variety of automotive and motorcycle classes. On this natural straightaway the 300, 400, 500, and 600 mile per hour land speed barriers were broken.
What better place to test a newly installed K04 turbo?
Rated at 225 hp, the K04 turbo kit was purchased from Neuspeed in Camarillo, CA. The kit includes the high-output KKK K04 turbo and a Neuspeed hi-performance P-Chip. Also included in the Neuspeed kit are Beru Ultra spark plugs, and a lower temperature water thermostat and fan switch. The kit was installed on John Stahmann's 1998 Brilliant Yellow 1.8T quattro.
On an early Saturday morning John and I headed out towards the Bonneville Salt Flats. A few miles out of Salt Lake City, John pulled over and let me take command of the car. First thing I noticed was the amount of power off the line. At first all seems normal, but at 3000 rpm's the amount of power that was unleashed was amazing. Pulling onto the freeway was effortless - it was only a matter of seconds before I was up to, and passing, the 75 mph speed limit. There was no detectable turbo lag, no pinging, and almost no noise coming from the turbo. John pointed out the louder whistling sound of the turbo spooling up, but not being totally familiar with the stock engine sound, I really didn't notice the new turbo sound at all.
Once in the desert, I-80 becomes perfectly straight and flat for miles on end. Coming down a small hill, we could see that the only cars on the road ahead were tiny specs far in the distance. Making sure the Valentine One radar detector was on, I floored the gas pedal. Immediately, we were pushed back into the seat and 100 mph was passed in seconds. As we raced along this lonely stretch of highway, I was amazed at how well the car drove at these high speeds, there were no vibrations at all that I could detect and the car was very easy to control.
We were quickly approaching the cars that were mere specs on the horizon a few moments ago, I took a quick look at the speedometer and discovered that we had topped out at 140 mph at 6200 rpm.
After slowing back down to 80, we made a quick stop at this large "tree" sculpture that is located on south end of the Salt Flats. I don't know what this thing is called, the plaque was long gone, but it is a very odd site to see in the middle of the desert.
Another 15 miles west of the sculpture was the exit for the Bonneville Speedway, which is where the high speed races are done each year. The road leading out to the Speedway takes you right onto the Salt Flats, when the end of the road was reached, we were amazed to discover that the salt flats were covered with water! Apparently, each winter and spring the Salt Flats flood from rain and snow run off. So much for trying to set a new land speed-record in the A4.
Overall I was extremely impressed with my experience with the K04 turbo installed on this A4. The power was amazing, it was quite, and for normal city driving, it was not very noticeable. If you are looking for more power on your 1.8T than a chip alone can provide, I would highly suggest the K04 turbo kit.