Audi RS3 Tuning

"Thank you for reading my Audi RS3 tuning guide."

The new RS3 was kitted out with the 363bhp 2.5 TFSi engine ensuring the RS3 is firmly back as THE hot hatch! Power was hiked again to almost 400bhp putting this out of hot hatch territory to scalding hatch.

If you want a car that looks superficially like any other in the work car park, but gives supercar levels of fun and performance at the weekends then the RS3 is your car.

The RS3 combines Audi's rich motorsport knowledge with the perfect family car. Every component and setup of the RS3 has been carefully thought out, leaving nothing lacking.

But armed with our RS3 tuning guide you can improve on perfection and end up with the ultimate road car.

The RS3 is a good car tuning project to carry out. The key to RS3 tuning is choosing the right mods you can waste loads of money if you do it wrong.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

A nice wide torque band and sweet spot of peak power at one third of your RPM range is optimum.

Enjoy your RS3 to the max with our solid performance tuning tips - do the right mods in the right order.

Our aim in RS3 engine tuning should be to increase peak power and Torque at the top end, whilst retaining the low down torque and eagerness of the 2.5 litre engine.

Enjoy your RS3 to the full with our solid performance tuning hints - do the right mods in the right order.

Sadly with smaller engine sizes you are wasting your time spending money on modifications, so if this applies to you get yourself an engine swap then apply the following mods.

Tuning modifications.

These are the modified parts are usually fitted by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you get started.

These blocks were designed to tolerate power figures in the region of 700bhp so make a great base for a tuning project. The FSi injectors running at up to 1770psi on a common rail. The ECU is a Bosch Motronic MED unit and it uses two knock sensors, allowing it to manage each cylinder separately.

There is a carbon build up issue to watch for on these engines but we have prepared a detailed tuning guide to the 2.5 TFSi engine.

Read more at:

Getting the correct grade of modified upgrades for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 motor sport parts just won't work well on the road hard to control in slow traffic.

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Guide to the Best Tuning Mods & Upgrades

  1. Mods that Remove a Restriction

    If the intake or exhaust are restricted in any way this will have an impact on your cars performance, so use an induction kit/filter upgrade and better flowing exhaust whenever your tuning creates a flow restriction.

  2. Mods that Improve Handling

    Braking, Suspension and general alignment of the suspension components is vital for any tuning project even before you start increasing power.

  3. Fit Stronger Parts

    Tuned cars will show up weaknesses, typically in the turbochargers, clutch and internal engine components. Whilst most engines can cope with mild tuning mods, TorqueCars recommend that you upgrade the internal components before these weak spots manifest themselves.

  4. ECU Tunes & Remapping

    While some cars can be easily remapped, others may require piggyback ECU's or aftermarket ECU's but this is the most vital step of your tuning project as it fully releases the power from all of your mods and upgrades. Expect 10-20% on NASP engines and 30-40% on turbocharged units.

  5. More Power Needs More Fuel & Air

    Every tuning project will aim to increase the air supply, but fuel supply is just as vital and will need to match the air the engine can utilise. Fuel to Air ratio is vital so upgrade the fuel pump & injectors. Also you can look to perform head mods (flowing and porting), bigger valves, fast road cams and forced induction upgrades to improve fuel.

Stages of Tune

Stage 1 mods: Sports exhaust, Panel air filter, Suspension upgrade (20mm - 30 mm), Alloy wheels, Remap, Lighter flywheel.

Stage 2 mods: Ported and polished head, high flow fuel injector, Fast road cam, fuel pump upgrades, Power/Sport clutch.

Stage 3 mods: Competition cam, Engine balancing, Sports gearbox, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves).

You need to keep as much low end torque as you can and aim for a long power band across the rev range rather than a narrow top end power spike.

If you want a simple no fuss power upgrade then a remap is your go to solution, this can raise the power from the baseline 363bhp to around 402bhp and although an uprated diverter valve is recommended it is not an essential.

Adding the other performance parts you should be able to hit the 450bhp mark and if you uprate the turbo to hybrid unit you should reach around the 500ps mark fairly easily, which would be no slouch in the RS3.  A bigger Garret turbo unit would be required if you want to achieve power figures around the 600bhp mark.

The GTX3567R turbo is a popular modification for the RS3 but needs a higher pressure fuel rail pump and exhaust and intercooler upgrades to release the full potential power of this upgrade.

There is an APR conversion around which wil realise 665bhp on 104RON fuel!

One of the biggest mechanical bolt on upgrades you can do to is fit a larger turbo, and add a fast road cam, this lifts the potential power of all other mods you do considerably.

It maximises the intake and exhaust flow and pushes up the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a reflashed ECU. TorqueCars would caution you not to go with a competition cam as this upsets the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

Don't forget to uprate the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned RS3's uprated injectors.

The 2.5 responds well on higher octane fuel, giving a noticeably peppier performance. Not all high octane fuels are the same though and generally range from 98 to 101 octane (standard octane is rated at 95).

Using higher octane fuel is another option if you find you are suffering from pinking or premature ignition on your Audi project after fitting other performance parts and some owners will only use high octane fuel as a precaution after doing extensive mods.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine. Contrary to popular belief there is usually a small power gain obtained by fitting an induction kit, they only become beneficial and are recommended after you increase the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

Derestricting the airflow into the engine is the primary part of car tuners so get a freer flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean only if you find the car is running lean. Induction kits can sound great but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not add noticeable power and more often than not rob you of power.

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow from the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too large or you may end up will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

Getting the cylinder head ported and polished will assist in flowing more air into each cylinder. This is definitely a job for a professional with a flow bench. In nearly all cases of RS3 tuning your clutch will start to slip and this should be improved - read our overview on clutches for more information. The best mods in our opinion for your RS3 are fast road camshaft, remap, induction and exhaust, suspension.

With turbocharged engines a remap will give massive power gains and take full advantage of the strength of the block.

It is simpler to map a supercharger because the boost is directly proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. To cope with forced induction you will usually need to decrease the engine compression ratio .

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for people first priority in your RS3 tuning project. Many feel the OEM RS3 suspension is a little hard and crashy, but we kind of like the feel it gives when driving it hard. However you can keep or improve the handling and make it less crashy over bumps with a good coilover kit, just don't drop it too low, it's already riding at a good height for optimal cornering.

Fully adjustable suspension allows you to fine tune the handling of you RS3 usually benefitting your drive.

We would go to a maximum drop of 20mm - 30 mm on  the RS3. You risk compromising your handling if you go lower than this.

Drop the car by as much as 20mm and fit coilovers but the magnetic suspension setup is very hard to beat.

Stock springs are not great though and there are many better options out there.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels will help the brake cooling and are generally lighter than the steel ones. We can't go into too much detail here about tyres but they are how the car puts the power down on the road so are a critical choice. track legal slick tyres work well on RS3, and make a big difference over budget tyres. Please note although they can look cool on the RS3 large alloys will actually decrease your performance. The larger you go the lower your acceleration will be - this to the change in your effective final drive ratio.

Brakes are very good on the RS3 but you can look to the Porsche parts bin if you wanted an upgrade option off the shelf. We have also heard of people fitting Lamborghini disks to their RS3 with good effect, but you must check the alloy rims have sufficient clearance.

There is a more updated version of this Audi RS3 Tuning article on

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss RS3 options in more detail with our RS3 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Audi tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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