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Friday, April 04, 2008

Audi A4 - Neuspeed Power Is Back!

As I wrote about (and subsequently updated) a few weeks ago -- I took my 2006 Audi A4 2.0T B7 into the Rusnak Audi for the customary 25,000 mile service. While my first impressions were that the Neuspeed Engine Management Upgrade (ECU or Chip) was still present, once I hit the freeway I knew otherwise.

It would be an understatement to say the car felt sluggish. For me, it was one of those -- what happened to my car moments. No question that I am spoiled now -- I had become so used to expecting the power to start in the 2000 RPM range as the turbo spun with the increase horsepower and torque that the ECU upgrade brings. Rather, I was not used to waiting until 4500 RPM or so for the turbo to come to life.

That meant it was time to take it back to Neuspeed (my first experience documented here). I made an appointment a couple of weeks out and in the meantime bared the lack of power on the Audi. While the wait was painful, I did gain about 3 miles per gallon on the couple of tanks of gas I put in. That is about a 10% increase from where it had been -- and with it costing $70 to fill the gas tank, it makes a little bit of difference.

On a Friday morning before work, I returned to Neuspeed to have the ECU softare upgrade reinstalled on the A4. It is important to mention here is that in the case of an Audi Factory recall or ECU upgrade, that Neuspeed does provide a reinstall of the software for free.

After about an hour and a half, I received my Audi back -- and chatted with Aaron again for a few moments. I was mainly interested if at Neuspeed they had heard anything on the new 2009 Audi S4. I have seen the rumors on the Internet that they are talking about bring back the twin turbo V6 engine powerplant to that model which would be an absolute joy for tuners like Neuspeed. While Aaron did not have any specific knowledge yet -- he mentioned that they would love to see that there as with the current S4 series with a standard V8 -- not as much opportunity for mods.

I also asked in terms of my Audi A4 ECU upgrade, if their software had been updated. He mentioned mainly minor stuff, but they had been re-chipping a lot of 2.0Ts from both Audi and VW (Volkswagen) as the A3, A4, Jetta, and Golf share that same powerplant due to upgrades and recalls -- mainly around some of the automatic transmission.

I had also noticed that Neuspeed updated their website for the ECU. It now reflects a total of 257 horsepower rather than the 240 horse that I seemed to remember. Could there possibly be more power?

I drove away and immediately getting on the 101 freeway felt like I had my car back. The familiar spin of the turbos starting in the 2000 RPM range as the A4 raced just a little more quickly towards that 65 mph speed limit. But, did the A4 have more power than it did before?

Tough to say, but I seem to lean towards either changes in the Neuspeed software or possibly now in addition to the factory configured ECU it would seem so. The only evidence I have here is that since I received my car back I have now had an interesting experience twice. What has happened is that on two separate occasions traction control engaged while under throttle in 2nd gear on my front wheel drive A4. It could be due to my tires getting older, but I still have 5k-10k left on these ones so I doubt it.

Regardless, I am glad to have the performance back in the Audi -- even if it does cost me 2-3 miles per gallon on my gas mileage.


Adam said...

Ken, I am getting a 2008 a4 front track six speed this week and will be upgrading the ecu quite soon (APR) I noticed that many people buy a diverter valve from forge motorsports because the stock diverter valve is made of plastic and seems to crack under the increased psi from the turbo. Have you had any experience with this and was your problem with your turbo after the ecu upgrade related to a broken audi diverter valve?

Ken Hanscom said...


You got it right. I've had one issue in the 15k miles I have put on my A4 since the Neuspeed upgrade. It was the turbo bypass / diverter valve. My dealership replaced it under warranty without cost to me. I have not upgraded it since.


Mark said...

hey ken, i just bought a 08 a4 2.0t s-line after reading your comments and blogs about what you decided to choose i'm going with Neuspeed aswell but my question is are there any lingering problems that come about as in other expenses that need to be installed for this to work? for example putting a sound system in is more than just speakers and sub, its also amp kits (which are sold seperatly) huge install fees and ofcourse other parts needed for install... if you could get back to me on that i would much apreciate it thank you -Mark

Ken Hanscom said...

Hi Mark.

Totally with on the "and" part of it. For my chip, it was just the cost of the Neuspeed ECU upgrade which included the software and the upload -- there were no add-ons per say. The only additional expense is a slight decrease in gas mileage (1 MPG) based on the way I drive. :-)


Mark said...

hmm ... would you recommend that i do it now because i really want to but some say it might be too early I'm at 2100 miles... what do you think?

Mark said...

and also what was the horsepower and torque difference with just the chip? would you say it is significant?

Ken Hanscom said...

Hi Mark.

Not really sure if there is such a thing as "too early". If I were to do it again, I would probably do it much earlier.

To put it mildly, it makes a huge difference (some debate it is between 230-250hp post chip). The Audi is a completely different car performance and acceleration wise.


Nick said...

Hey Ken,

I've got a question for you that I cant seem to figure out myself. I have a 2000 A4 1.8l that I am looking to upgrade the ECU on. On the Neuspeed website, it only specifies the theoretical horsepower gain. But i was wondering, what would the torque gain be?

Anonymous said...


Hi Nick,
I 'chipped' my 2000 A4 1.8TMQ with APR stage 1 about 5 years ago and have nothing but good things to say about that experience. I think that the torque went from 155, to 245 or something like that (you can check their website). The difference is palpable. Just traded it in for a 2007 a4 S-line Titanium 6M and am looking forward to chipping it as well.


Patrick said...

Ken, are you saying Rusnak Audi uninstalled your chip?

I am thinking of chipping my 2007 A4 but don't live near Neuspeed so I would not want to have to bring it in if my dealer here does that after a routine service.


Ken Hanscom said...

Patrick -- they did not uninstall it per say as part of a routine service. Basically, there was a factory recommended upgrade to the ECU and the process of updating that does wipe the flash out. Which means, that in those cases you do need to have the chip program re-added by Neuspeed. If you do go with one, you would want to ask your dealership when taking it in not to apply any ECU updates.


Patrick said...

Ken, thanks for the clarity on that.....will do.