Of all the cars I've owned, and all of the aftermarket exhausts I've put on those cars, I believe this is my first one made by AWE Tuning
. Pretty surprising really, since the company has been around longer than I've been owning and modifying Audis. In fact, I remember them quite well from the research I did back in my B5 A4 days. They've always stood for high quality, well designed, expertly crafted go-fast parts. Since they were one of the very first US-based tuners to offer an exhaust for the B8 A4 2.0T, I didn't balk at the chance to run their system. I knew that both myself, and the car, would be in good hands.
Being one of the initial testers of this new AWE downpipe-back system, I was tapped for my feedback. Visually, my first impression was that the parts were top notch. The fit and finish, both brand new out of the box as well as all this time later, was and still is extremely good. It rates at the top echelon amongst all of the previous exhausts I've ran. The pieces fit together perfectly and as intended. It's a very modular system, and highly adjustable. I especially like that even the tips can be placed to allow for your own personal preference of visual appearance from the backside. Straight aligned or staggered. Recessed or more pronounced. It's your call. None of the exhausts I've owned prior have offered this level of adjustability.
I decided to go for 'the full monty', dual mufflers with two tips each. IE: quad tips. There is of course another option for those wanting to be a tad more subtle - half the mufflers and therefore half the tips. The later option will work with all 2.0T sedans, while the route I went with requires both an S line rear bumper and S4 valence. Other rear bumper and valence options are available though so it's not too terribly difficult to achieve the look you want with your B8 sedan or Avant.
Huge kudos go to the good folks at my local shop, Streetwerke
, for their knowledge, expertise, and lift. They made the testing of the AWE exhaust all the more easy, and their help was invaluable. Darren and Aaron, shop owner and wrench god respectively, aided in several installs through the test phase of the exhaust, getting measurements and feedback to Todd and the team at AWE. I'd like to think that we lent at least a small hand in what turned out to be a great all-around exhaust upgrade for the A4.
Something we discovered to be quite unique to the new B8 platform, is what I affectionately call the "drone-zone". This zone falls between 2,800 and 3,000 RPM and seems to be most apparent on the automatic (Tiptronic). This is where, under load, the engine loves to grunt out loud like a constipated banshee. The noise doesn't seem to be as bad the manual because that RPM range isn't one you want to stay in. The engine really comes alive after 3,000 RPM so one will typically row right past it. For fuel conservation purposes, the standard automatic mode in the 6-speed Tiptronic stays in that lower RPM range, which is why I like to keep the Tip in "S" (AKA: Sport) mode.
The most current production version of the AWE exhaust takes this into account, and a mid-resonator tuned to eliminate drone as much as possible - certainly much more than the first few systems we tried. In my opinion though, this is an aftermarket sport exhaust. We don't upgrade from the stock system for a quiet inaudible sound. Added noise comes with the territory, and with that comes increased horsepower. I'm not paying money for an aftermarket exhaust system that looks this aggressive if it doesn't scare the stockings off of old ladies as I drive by! Drone-zone aside, this exhaust really comes alive at the top of the power band and in-between WOT shifts. As a great aftermarket exhaust on a turbocharged Audi A4 should, this baby doesn't sound like a 4-banger! She's now reserved when you want her to be, and a beast when the time's right.
I unfortunately did not dyno the car in complete stock form, but will be doing some pulls in the coming weeks with the AWE exhaust in place, both with and without an upgraded software tune. I will update this article with dyno graphs once I have them.
Please enjoy the wealth of photos taken from my recent photo shoot. Here you can see the AWE quad tip exhaust system at all angles, shown with a color-matched Ibis White S4 rear valence. Videos are currently being edited and will also be updated to this article when complete, so stay tuned for those. They will include both interior driving footage as well as ones taken outside of the vehicle.
If you have any additional questions about my personal experience with the system just let me know
as I'd be happy to answer them. If you have technical related questions, I'll do my best to answer those as well, but I'm sure AWE would be happy to help as well. They were always very responsive to me during the testing phase and still now after the fact, so send them an email or give them a call.
2385-C Maryland Rd.
Willow Grove, PA 19090