Phase 2 | Project A5 : Engine and Suspension

One word comes to mind when you first lay eyes on Black Forest Industries’ latest project Audi A5 2.0t, and that word is “evil”. With it’s brilliant red paint, angry L.E.D. eyes, and blacked out badge detailing it’s the kind of car that startles the traffic ahead into evasively changing lanes after catching a glimpse of the A5 in their rearview.

In stock form, however, the otherwise proficient 2.0t engine does little to back up those menacing looks. The sheer size of the coupe leaves drivers wanting more than the 215 horsepower and 258 ft lbs of torque that Audi frugally provides from the factory. Fortunately, Black Forest Industries had an involved plan from the outset to ultimately put the A5’s money where it’s grille was.

The first phase of the project was aimed at testing out APR’s stage one software. In just a short while, with a bit of minor surgery, the A5’s ECU was extracted, reprogrammed and reunited back in it’s home, safe and sound. With a substantial increase in power, documented at 33hp and 52 ft lbs at the wheels on a mustang dynamometer, things were definitely headed in the right direction.

“We didn’t want to shoot for the highest horsepower or the most expensive suspension option right off the bat because that does not reflect everyone’s demands.”said Adam Ligon. In keeping with that philosophy Black Forest sourced an affordable and straightforward solution from B&G Suspension in the way of their cold wound lowering springs. Their moderate 1.2” drop when coupled with factory sport struts offered a practical yet sporty alternative for the budget minded consumer. Further enhancing the looks and stance of the A5, Black Forest set about expanding their current line of wheel spacers to include a custom tailored part to fit the new dimensions of the B8 chassis. A bit of careful R&D yielded the very first CNC’d billet aluminum wheel spacer to market that was both hub and wheelcentric, accommodated the larger 66.6mm centerbore, and was compatible with factory wheels.

Having completed the first phase of the project, it was time to get a little more serious, and what could be more serious than a set of 20”x 9” and 20” x 10.5” BBS CH-R rollers. Finished in beautiful satin black, these wheels really complemented the titanium trim package offered as a dealer option. But as great as the wheels looked, their increased diameter accentuated the need to bring the sleek profile of the coupe closer to earth. Once again Black Forest turned to B&G Suspension for a prototype set of their unique RS2 coilovers.

With the stance just right, Black Forest installed a Billy Boat 3” testpipe, modified K&N intake, and corresponding stage 2 APR software netting an additional 8hp and 24 ft lbs of torque at the wheels. To increase the evil appearance even further, factory S-line door blades were sourced, painted body color and installed along with the addition of an ’09 3.0 A5 dual outlet rear valence, which allowed Black Forest to fabricate their own one-off cat-back exhaust system to get that perfect evil exhaust note.

Now that the groundwork was laid for serious performance, it was time to ditch the smaller K03 turbo in favor of it’s bigger brother, the K04. With the higher boost, Black Forest turned to Pwrhaus to upgrade the factory intercooler who quickly set about creating a prototype direct replacement unit. At a 213% increase in size over stock and a superior bar and plate design, the new intercooler was definitely up to the task. Finally, as an extra measure of security Black Forest designed and installed their own Clean Catch can set up to wrangle that pesky oil vapor while keeping things looking as OEM as possible under the hood.

The culmination of these upgrades resulted in 312hp and 367ft lbs of torque being sent to all four wheels, with an appearance to match. While it may not be an S model, this A5 has the looks, performance, and better efficiency than one without the higher price tag …and that’s pretty hard to argue with.

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