There’s a lot to getting an ECU tune right. A lot more than just throwing it on the dyno and calibrating it for today's conditions. If you read episode 2, you saw us working on the security, and doing the basic tuning for the RS3 & TTRS. However, we’re not in it to build a file that works only today, here in Utah. So, especially on a turbo car like this, we set out to build something that works everyday, all day, hot or cold, high altitude or low, and everywhere in the world.
Our RS3 has been tuned since only several hundred miles were on the odometer. It has slowly gotten better and better. We found the stock boost control and torque control to be “lumpy” at best, so in addition to full throttle tuning, many many commutes and canyon sessions were logged to get that part throttle, and build up to full boost just right. It never feels lumpy, always smooth. Going back to stock is actually a bit of a shocker.
Our sea level rig is good, but nothing is a substitute for the real thing. So, we packed up our RS3, booked some hotels and headed the 11 hours or so to get to Malibu, California. This is the closest slice of the pacific coast where I can put a tire onto the sand and watch the waves crash. It was also a great opportunity to test our tuning in warm weather, which is something that definitely had to be done before release. During this trip we found one major issue with the RS3- the stock intercooler is not even worth its own weight in aluminum. We found that on our tune from the cold of Utah, the car would rapidly heat soak and build up timing pull. We worked on this during the trip, logging and flashing amongst the alfalfa fields in Oxnard, Ca. I think the field workers thought we were insane, blasting up their deserted farm roads on snow tires! The result of all this work is an RS3 / TTRS Tune that works in the cold- it’s been driven in conditions as cold as -5F, the hot, the high and the low, and everything in between. It works for quarter mile and it works for road racing, even with all stock hardware. It’s also set up so that these boost reductions will not happen if you equip the car with a better intercooler.
Wrapping it up:
91 octane is fun in the RS3. Our tune adds about 100 ft-lb of torque at the wheels and this gives a real shot of fun in the mid range. The car actually has a lot more torque than an R8 V10 GT Plus! However, as we mentioned in episode 2, with all stock hardware it’s a little bit knock sensitive. We knew that higher octane fuels are where the party would really start. So, once all the heavy lifting was done, we tuned the car for 93, 100, and 104 octane fuels. This thing on 104 octane (AKI) is a beast! It delivers more power than many supercars at the wheels, and gobs more torque. It makes a Huracan feel sleepy in the mid range. Who would have expected to get that out of a ~60k car with a software tune only… What a bargain! The stage 1 ecu tunes for the Facelift RS3 and TTRS will be available here soon, at an IE dealer or in your driveway with our POWERlink flash tool, which also offers high speed logging and code reading. The POWERlink setup will allow you to quickly swap tunes between pump fuels and race fuels as well anywhere you have internet access or can throw up a wifi hotspot. We hope you’re as stoked on the tunes as we are!