April 1, 2004

2004 APR BBQ

It's time for APR's annual BBQ! Each year APR opens their doors (and parking lot) to Audi and VW enthusiasts who want to meet the people and visit the place where APR's performance enhancing products are born.

I started my trip from Houston to Auburn, AL, flew to Atlanta, picked up a rental car at the airport and entered my hotel destination into the Hertz NeverLost GPS system. One hour and forty five minutes later (at 1:30A) I was instructed by the Hertz NeverLost GPS system to make a left turn and was informed by the female voice, "Arriving at destination". It's important to mention that the road I was stopped on was a dark country road void of lights (or much else that I could see in the dark). To my left, where I was instructed to turn was a, well... a pasture. I had arrived at the destination after NeverLost routed me through some 15-20 minutes of twisty, deserted, dark country roads. (Do I trust technology or what?) Now, had I been in my S4 this would have been an enjoyable experience; in a Taurus rental? Not. A call to the hotel wasn't much help as the person on the phone had never heard of the road NeverLost said I was on. Lovely. I won't bore you with the 45 minute task of finding my destination with advanced GPS technology. Effort and time worth spending to attend the APR BBQ though.

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My Hotel according to NeverLost

Next morning, off the BBQ. Thankfully, Mother Nature provided near perfect weather this year. I arrived early to get first looks at everything but, as in years past, the crowd couldn't wait until for the official 10:00A start time for the event. Early birds were everywhere. Perhaps the early birds were on to something though. Soon, parking spaces became became a source of revenue for nearby businesses. 

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Displayed for our inspection, APR had a Imola B6 S4, Red TT, Red RS 6, Red B5 S4 (a longtime test mule and participant in the Gumball Rally) and a handsome Silver A8L. Enthusiast vehicles were also on display although this years group appeared more tame modification-wise.

Staff led tours of APR's facility were offered after BBQ lunch. The tour showcased engine management software development using custom, in-house built, software tools for Bosch Motronic. APR's engine management programming tools allow them to develop, process and tune the engine software using 3-D representations of the complex data maps stored in the engine computer. Prototype and analysis operations that would normally take hours or days can be completed in seconds with their tools. Impressive stuff.

The tour also offered a glimpse into their manufacturing processes using Pro/E design tools for modeling and R&D of custom designed parts, laser SLA technology used to grow prototype parts in polymer and a demonstration of their Fadal computer controlled mill used to manufacture parts on the premises.

Later in the day it was time for some product demonstration and new product announcements. The product demonstration was for V-Tune. This is a pretty slick tool that allows the consumer to fine tune parameters of the engine software. With this tool, the engine software can be adjusted for vehicles with additional modifications to fully take advantage of possible performance gains. There are so many performance option combinations it would be impossible to custom tailor engine software for each and every configuration. Say you've ported and polished the heads, matched the intake, installed cams, installed a full exhaust, done intake modifications and upgraded the intercoolers. The engine computer will compensate for some changes but it's unlikely the performance of a car in that type of configuration would be fully realized without custom software. V-Tune offers the owner of such a vehicle to fine tune the engine software to take advantage of the modifications without having custom software designed for the car. With V-Tune some of the parameters that can be adjusted are ignition timing, boost pressure, idle speed, fuel and some cold start parameters to name just a few. The software is straightforward and easy to use but it's certainly not aimed at novices. This is a tool for advanced performance tweaking by advanced, knowledgeable individuals--a welcome addition to extract those last few horsepower!

Product announcements included:

  • APR now carries Alcon brakes. Offerings include 4 and 6 piston configurations. These are the brakes used on Cup cars and will stand up to street and track use.
  • APR has partnered with Stasis and now offers full APR/Stasis suspension from mild all the way up to full race configurations with fully adjustable remote reservoir Ohlins shocks. APR's entry level "Street Sport" suspension is height adjustable for right around $1,000.
  • 1.8t Stage 3 has been reworked and bumped to output configurations up to 385HP! Yowza!
  • Now offering K04-based turbo upgrade kits for 1.8t engines. This will give enthusiasts additional power (and midway price point) over say, just a chip and exhaust, without going all the way to a Stage 3 upgrade.
  • New custom designed fuel injectors for many configurations for improved smoothness and cold start performance.

If you missed this years BBQ find a 2005 calendar and pencil in reminder make a trip to Auburn, Alabama for APR's next BBQ--it's well worth the trip.

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1027-B Opelika Rd.
Auburn, AL 36830
Ph: 334-502-5181

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