In the newest installment of our Tech series, we’ll be looking at some of the best mods for B8 Audi A5 models. We’ll be covering the basics of how to make any A5 look and perform better so that you can better enjoy your time behind the wheel and express your personality.
We’ll start with the simplest mod you can make to a car’s exterior appearance and performance.
#1 – A Set of Wheels
The B8 Audi A5 is a handsome and muscular looking coupe, but its bold exterior design is let down by most of the OEM wheel options for the car. Fortunately, making your B8 or B8.5 Audi A5 look worlds better is as easy as a new set of wheels. When considering a set of wheels for B8 Audi A5, there are a few things to consider. First is size – do you want a 18, 19 or 20in wheel? Most A5 owners seem to prefer 19 and 20in wheels for A5, as the larger diameter wheels work well with the larger body of the A5. When it comes to style, you’re limited only by your imagination- and your budget. The wheels you choose set the tone for the rest of your build and are a great way to express your personality. A few styles in particular though, look especially good on the A5 – like the HRE FF15 wheels on the A5 S-line above. HRE Performance Wheels recently introduced a new Flow Form line of wheels, the FF01 being their first foray into flow-forging wheels – and it’s certainly a handsome set.
If Concavity is more your style, Forgestar F14 wheels have been an especially popular choice for the A5, and it’s one of the cars you actually can run a Super Deep Concave wheels front and rear. Forgestar wheels are custom made to order, from the flow-forge manufacturing process to offset, concavity and color – while most of the time you have to wait 9 weeks or so to have your set manufactured to your specs, sometimes we have completed sets in popular fitments in stock.
Here’s how that concavity looks from the rear – it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.
Avant Garde Wheels are another great wheel option for the B8 Audi A5, offering a range of wheels to suit nearly any budget, and are available in an impressive range of colors.
If you’re into the stanced look or simply like the retro mesh look with a bit of concavity, the 20in Avant Garde M540 wheels for Audi are a unique choice that’ll turn heads wherever you go.
If you like the multi-spoke design but with a bit of concavity, Avant Garde M590 20in wheels are another solid option, and can be had in special bespoke finishes like the custom Matte Brushed Antique Bronze on the A5 above.
Another great wheel option at a very affordable pricepoint is VMR Wheels V710 for Audi A5 [B8], seen here in Hyper Silver in 20in diameter. The clean mesh design goes well with the car, suiting both its muscular look while also still retaining a bit of euro flair – which is probably why the V710 is a popular wheel for euro-influenced American Muscle cars like the Pontiac GTO, G8 and Chevrolet SS.
If the blacked out look is more your thing, a set of Matte Black VMR V708 wheels for Audi look especially awesome on the A5 and evoke the look of the RS4 for a unique wheel that’s both subtle and kinda sinister as well, sort of like an italian Mobster in his finest suit.
Before we move on, let’s talk about where you live.
If you bought a quattro, it’s pretty likely that you figure on seeing some winter weather at some point, so a set of winter wheels for Audi A5 are a great idea. We should mention that the best all-season tire is nowhere near as good as a Winter Tire in snow, and doesn’t grip as well as a Summer tire on dry asphalt and summer rainstorms, so honestly swapping wheels with the seasons is the best way to get the most performance out of your A5.
B8 Audi A5 on VMR V710 Wheels [18×8.5 ET35] on Bridgestone Blizzak LM60 235/45-18 Snow Tires
We typically offer special pricing on sets of narrower-width wheels and snow tires ideal for winter use towards the fall, so if you live in a snowbelt state, talk to a Mod Expert (714-582-3330) to see what special pricing on a set of winter wheels for your B8 Audi A5 we currently have available.
Which brings us to the second best mod for the A5 – lowering it!
#2 Stance it up With Suspension Mods
A set of great looking wheels can only do so much when you have as much wheelgap as a 4×4. Even with 20in wheels, the car still has a good bit of wheel gap, which is fine if you’re driving through inches and inches of snow, but the look is less than ideal.
Lowering the car drops the center of gravity for improved handling characteristics, and also enhances the aesthetics of the car by eliminating unsightly wheel gap.
There are three basic ways to lower your Audi A5 suspension – Lowering Springs, Coilovers or Air-Ride Suspension, and each offers its own pros and cons. We’ve covered this before in greater detail in our Suspension & Stance Guide for Audi B8/B8.5 A4/A5 S4/S5, but we’ll be recapping these briefly again here. For instance, air ride will allow you to lower the car to the ground when you’re at a show, but raise it up on demand when it’s time to leave and you want to get out of the driveway – on demand control of how low the car is. And you’re going to pay for that luxury, an air ride suspension is typically a bit more expensive than high end coilovers.
The most straightforward way to lower your B8 Audi A5 is a set of lowering springs.
A set of lowering springs will give you the drop in ride height you’re looking for – if you’re looking for a bit more drop and sportier handling and a slightly firmer ride, H&R Sport Springs for Audi A5 models drops the car 1.3in up front and 1.0in in the rear for a noticeable yet not overly aggressive drop.
If you’re looking to err more on the conservative side and still want to drop the car, Another great option besides H&R is Eibach Pro-Kit Lowering Springs for Audi A5, which drops the car a mild 1.0in up front and 0.8in at the rear for most models for a conservative drop but enhanced handling characteristics.
Audi A5 on H&R OE Sport Springs for B8 Audi A5/S5
H&R OE Sport Springs for B8 Audi A5 are a popular choice for Audi owners who are interested in keeping things as close to OEM as possible while also giving the car a more attractive aesthetic.
It’s worth mentioning though, that if you’re paying someone else to install the springs for you, you aren’t saving any money over a coilover setup. Due to the drop in ride height, this means that your shock absorbers are now working outside of their normal intended range, which can lead them to wear out prematurely – leading you to replace your shocks anyways, meaning you’re then paying for labor again to take everything apart and change out the shocks too. Many people tend to be scared of coilovers, but there’s really no reason to be.
A set of coilovers has quite a few perks – you get precision control over exactly how high or low the car sits, and you can adjust it later if you need to. In addition to just the height, many coilovers feature other adjustments such as rebound damping and camber caster. While all these adjustable things may seem like a lot, this doesn’t mean they’re a bad idea outside of a racetrack – in fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Coilovers – even with a vehicle engineered with a great suspension from the factory like an Audi can be improved upon with the right set of coilovers – though the set that’s right for you will vary depending on your style, ride quality preferences and of course, your budget. KW Suspension, ST Suspension and Vogtland Suspension are all outstanding choices – and all three of those brands are related. KW Coilovers for Audi A5 are the premium option, with a range of adjustments, Stainless Steel finish and a much nicer tool kit, while ST Suspensions Coilovers for Audi A5 offer Galvanized finish KW Shock bodies at a lower price point and with less fancy stuff, and Vogtland Coilovers utilize the same Galvanized KW Shock Bodies as ST, but uses their own in-house manufactured springs, and even manufactures springs for KW. What differs between the three are the spring rates and shock valve settings used, and their pricepoints.
The A5 Cabriolet above is on a set of KW V1 Coilovers, which offer adjustable ride height but a fixed shock absorber. KW also offers the V2, which offers rebound adjustment, and V3 which offers adjustable bound/rebound and camber/caster, and comes finished in stainless steel, meaning it won’t corrode if your Audi happens to live in a place where snow is actually a thing.
Audi S5 on ST Suspensions Coilovers
The B8 Audi S5 above is on a set of ST Suspensions Coilovers for Audi A5/S5, which are basically identical to KW V1s but without the stainless steel finish, meaning they’re not as ideal if you live in a snowbelt state, but if weather’s not a problem, they’re a great choice for you, and these days ST offers them in XA/XT/XTA trim levels just like V1/V2/V3. These are a bit on the sportier side of things.
If you want a coilover that’s going to give you the adjustable ride height you want without being detrimental to your ride quality, a set of Vogtland Coilovers for Audi A5 are a very affordably priced coilover that’s been spec’d out with comfort in mind, while still enhancing the handling performance and appearance of your A5. The fixed damper shock absorber has been set to soak up the bumps better than most anything else, and if you want to comfortably get low on a budget, Vogtland Coilovers for the A5 are pretty hard to beat.
Audi A5 on H&R Street Performance Coilovers
You can’t have a conversation about lowering an Audi without mentioning the old fan favorite – H&R Street Performance Coilovers for Audi A5 – these have a sportier ride, but some fans swear by them.
H&R produces their own springs and shock absorbers, meaning you won’t find their parts in another kit like you would with KW/ST/Vogtland coilovers. If you’re looking for a good street coilover, H&Rs are a decent bet.
BUT I HAVE ADS! What about me? How can I keep my ADS system intact?
Audi RS5 with ADS on KW Height Adjustable Spring (HAS) Coilover System for Audi
KW Suspension has worked out a clever solution for lowering cars with electronically adjustable dampers, like Audi’s ADS system – this same kit fits nearly all late model Audi vehicles and will let you drop your Audi A5 to your hearts content while retaining full use of your ADS system. We’re talking about KW Height Adjustable Springs for Audi, which you might have also heard of as a “Sleeve-Over” coilover setup.
If you’re on a budget and want to get low on a shoestring budget, Solo-Werks, a new Coilover manufacturer founded by two former KW employees, has come out offering Solo-Werks S1 Coilovers for B8 Audi A5 at the bargain basement price of $549.00/set for a quality yet no-frills set of coilovers. While the shocks are fixed damping, the shocks are selected for each specific platform and are manufactured with the grassroots enthusiast in mind.
If your money is tight but you still want that adjustability, BC Racing BR Series Coilovers for Audi A5 are 30-way adjustable and will set you back $1,000 flat for the set.
Before we move on, once you’ve lowered your Audi A5, the lack of camber adjustment in the factory control arms can make it difficult to align the car properly. SPC Performance in collaboration with AWE Tuning have developed an adjustable control arm kit that corrects the premature tire wear and imperfect handling created by out-of-spec camber as well as the problem of the control arms rubbing against the important and expensive wiring harnesses that run through both front fender wells. If you’ve lowered your B8/B8.5 Audi A5, a set of AWE Tuning/SPC Adjustable Front Control Arms for Audi B8/B8.5 is a preventive item you should really consider adding when you lower the car to prevent any issues later.
#3 Breathe Freely with Exhaust & Intake Upgrades
Now that we’ve addressed the car’s cosmetic and handling shortcomings with a good set of wheels and tires and upgraded suspension to drop the ride height, we can get into some of the stuff that increases the power to the wheels.
It’s not hard to make more power with your Audi A5’s 2.0 TFSI engine, there’s a few ways to go about it- we’ll be discussing just a few of the many methods.
A) Look & Sound Better with an Exhaust Upgrade
An exhaust for Audi A5 changes the sound of your car, but it also changes its look as well. The A5 above has been fitted with an AWE Tuning Quad Exhaust and then matched that up with a Carbon Fiber Rear Diffuser for Quad Exhaust for B8/B8.5 Audi A5 models – it’s a major change over the drab single exit configuration the car came with from the factory. So when selecting an exhaust, it can be just as much about how it looks as how it sounds and performs.
The best exhaust system for you is going to be the one that sounds best to your ears. It’s a subjective thing, just like I cannot decide your favorite color for you, noone else can tell you what exhaust -YOU- will like best. While our team of Mod Experts can point you in the direction of a system with the characteristics you want, you should decide for yourself what sound/tone you like the best, because you’re the one that has to live with the sound.
Audi B8 A5 2.0 TFSI fitted with AWE Tuning Touring Quad Tip Exhaust for A5 w/Diamond Black Tips
AWE Tuning is one of the best choices in exhaust systems for Audi vehicles, spending hundreds of hours developing each and every variant of the performance parts they sell, testing their exhaust systems for drone and minimizing any unpleasant characteristics while simultaneously increasing horsepower and torque. The AWE Tuning Exhaust for B8 Audi A5 is incredibly customizable, available in cat-back or turbo-back configurations and in single exit, dual exit or quad tip forms, with or without a resonator, so your system can really be tailored to your specific likes.
AWE’s Resonated Cat-Back version of their exhaust for Audi A5 is good for a 8-9hp gain at the crank and 6-7ft/lb of torque for a more enjoyable drive with a sophisticated tone and a distinctive sound. No lawn-mower four-cylinder sound here!
AWE Tuning’s touring exhaust system offers a sound level that’s nearly ideal for a conservative daily driver, making them a solid choice. However, AWE isn’t your only option.
If you’re okay with keeping it single exit, the Billy Boat Cat-Back Exhaust for B8 Audi A5 models is a powerful and great sounding option, good for a dyno proven 18whp/20wtq gain over stock and reduced turbo lag and enhanced acceleration with an exhaust tone on the more aggressive side of the spectrum. This full 3in diameter exhaust is on the more aggressive side of the spectrum but is still resonably quiet – the OEM exhaust is 72db at 60mph, while the BB version is just 74db for a sound level that won’t make your ears bleed.
Long a player in the aftermarket exhaust industry, Magnaflow has recently started offering systems for european models. The Magnaflow Dual Exit Cat-Back Exhaust for B8/B8.5 Audi A5 2.0 TFSI is one of their newest offerings, featuring a 3in inner diameter and dual 4in exhaust tips for a more aggressive look than stock.
Like every other dual or quad system, you’ll need to modify the rear diffuser panel or replace it with one with the right exhaust configuration. Have a listen to the sound in the clip below.
As you can see and hear, there’s quite a bit of diversity even just in exhaust systems for your Audi A5 – talk to a Mod Expert at 714-582-3330 for advice on what type of system might be right for you.
B) An Upgraded Intake.
The A5’s OEM airbox isn’t exactly ideal for flow, nor is the filter element. The Injen Cold Air Intake for B8 Audi A5 relocates the intake inlet to a position where it can draw cooler fresh air and features a filter element with greater surface area and an intake tract optimized for flow for a gain of 12whp/16wtq with sharper throttle response. There are other options available, but an intake upgrade will give you a bit more power and also allow you to better hear your turbocharger.
C) A Blow-Off Valve
If you’re like most folks, you’d probably like to hear more of your turbo – specifically, that “WHOOSH” or “PSSSSTTT” that comes with having a blow-0ff valve. While some products out there only make noise, a Blow off Valve for B8/B8.5 Audi A5 2.0 TFSI will let the world know you have a turbo every time you let off the throttle, and the high performance components eliminate the boost leaks in the leaky plastic OEM valve, resulting in reduced turbo lag and faster spool up. That’s why the Forge Motorsport Blow-Off Valve for Audi 2.0 TFSI engines is a great idea.
If you prefer to be a bit more low-profile, recirculation type diverter valve upgrades are another way to get the benefit of the BOV without the attention-getting “pssh”.
D) A Bigass Front Mount Intercooler
The Front Mount Intercooler plays a critical role in the performance of your 2.0 TFSI engine – it keeps the incoming air cool, making sure your A5’s charge air temp stays cool and oxygen rich, thereby making maximum power. The cooler the incoming air charge is, the denser the air is, and the more dense the air is, the more oxygen-rich it is. The more oxygen-rich the air charge is, the better the fuel burns, resulting in optimal power output and a happy engine. On the flip side, if the intercooler gets overwhelmed (which is what happens on B8/B8.5 Audi turbo models, unfortunately), the intercooler can no longer cool the air at the same rate the air is coming in, so the motor gets fed a hot air charge, resulting in the motor feeling sluggish and gutless and running hot isn’t good for any engine.
We’ve discussed before exactly what it is that an intercooler does, but for the sake of keeping things short we’ll explain it again. An intercooler doesn’t make “extra” power, it keeps the air charge from getting hot, allowing your car to make its full HP potential consistently, pull after pull. Consistency is the name of the game. Generally speaking, the bigger the FMIC is, the better, but that has a few caveats.
AWE Tuning’s Front Mount Intercooler for B8 Audi A5 2.0 TFSI offers a huge reduction in intake air temps without causing a massive pressure drop, and like all of AWE’s products, their “Heat Exchanger” aka Intercooler is straightforward to install and performs beautifully.
Another great option is the Performance Front Mount Intercooler for Audi 2.0 TFSI from Wagner Tuning. Like the AWE intercooler, Wagner Tuning also backs up each of its intercoolers with cold hard data (How stereo-typically German).
As we said before, these are only a few of the ways you can get more power out of your Audi A5 – you don’t necessarily need to use the brands specified as long as you’re installing the same type of upgrade, you can expect similar benefits to the parts we described. Power output is limited by your imagination and the size of your wallet. As the saying goes, “Speed costs money. How fast do you want to go?”
E) “Because Racecar”
The next big power part for any turbo car – the B8/B8.5 Audi A5 included – is a high flow downpipe. This is the part of the exhaust system immediately after the turbocharger, and in most factory systems there’s a big restrictive catalytic converter – which squanders away all kinds of horsepower and torque. Available in catted or catless, a high flow downpipe will yield in the neighborhood of 20whp/20wtq (about the norm for a downpipe on a Turbo 4 of this size).
What’s the catch? Well, there’s a few.
While a cat-back exhaust will never change the emissions status of a car or its warranty, a downpipe does put you into a different bracket and makes life a bit harder. First, if you live in California, you’re kinda S.O.L., we’re sorry to say, as darn near every downpipe on the market is not CARB approved, meaning we can’t install them on a street car. While we can still do it on a racecar that’s towed out, most shops in CA have to stay away from parts that alter the smog control systems themselves. A catless downpipe will yield the most power, but will be louder and when idling at a stop, your exhaust is gonna smell like gas. Which is fine, as long as your A5 isn’t a cabrio- and you don’t mind possibly tripping a check engine light for the O2 sensor.
A catted downpipe differs in that it incorporates a sports catalytic converter instead of the OEM one, for instance replacing an 800-cells-per-inch catalyst with a freer-flowing 300-cells-per-inch catalyst yields a major improvement in flow (and of course horsepower/torque) and a milder sound than a catless one. You’re still not going to pass smog, but you won’t stink up the place driving around town. After all, it’s no fun to be out on a date or something in your luxury car only to have your date ask “is that smell coming from YOUR car?”.
For those reasons, personally, we tend to prefer a catted downpipe for a car that’s going to see street use. While you can’t technically do that in CA, the rest of the USA mostly doesn’t care if you have a downpipe, just CA and a couple other places so be sure to check your local regulations. Mostly though, having had several cars with smelly exhaust, going with a catted downpipe is the way to go. AWE Tuning offers a Catted Downpipe, as does Billy Boat, and SPM Performance offers both catted and catless.
#4 Be Seen With These Exterior Mods
B8 Audi A5 with “RS Style Grille“
The exterior of non S-Line cars can be a bit bland, but there’s a good bit you can do to make your A5 exterior easier on the eyes. One of the simplest and most popular options is to replace the OEM front grille.
When installing these grilles at ModAuto (our install shop in La Habra, CA), we always plastidip or paint the crash bar behind the grille – if you don’t, the crash bar shows right through the grille, and it’s quite an eyesore, so be sure you remember to paint or dip your crashbar when installing an RS style grille.
After replacing the grille, the next thing to consider if you want your A5 to stand out a bit more from the crowd is a front lip or splitter. This is the same white A5 as above, but with a DTM Style Carbon Fiber Front Splitter for B8 A5 installed, which gives the car a more aggressive look and a splash of carbon fiber. Even with just a front lip, the look of the car changes quite a bit, and with the range in styles out there, it’s a great way to express your style.
If you want something a bit more aggressive that offers some functionality (spoiler alert: nearly all aftermarket aero mods aren’t very functional – with a few notable exceptions.), this Carbon Fiber Front Splitter for B8 Audi A5 by APR Performance blends nicely into the oem styling but extends the lower lip forward for a more intense look.
For something sort of inbetween the APR splitter and the DTM style one, this Carbon Fiber Front Splitter for B8 Audi A5 by DEVAL is a great option to consider, offering some of the aggression of the APR lip but with a bit more restraint.
It’s a fact of live, Audi vehicles tend to be very nose-heavy, but you can shave a few pounds off the front end by replacing the OEM hood with a Carbon Fiber Hood for Audi A5 – leave it unpainted for an aggressive, race-inspired look, or paint it for stealth weight reduction.
As for the side skirts, there’s not much out there besides the Carbon Fiber Side Skirt Extensions for A5 from APR Performance.
These side skirts serve the purpose of cleaning up the car’s aerodynamics along the flanks of the car and compliments a carbon fiber front lip brilliantly.
Up close, the carbon fiber adds a nice visual accent to an area of the car that’s otherwise lacking in visual interest/detail. Now that we’ve addressed the front and the sides, let’s get into the rear of the car.
OEM Diffuser/Exhaust (left) vs Carbon Fiber Diffuser for Quad Exhaust (Right) w/AWE Tuning Exhaust
As we mentioned earlier, an exhaust system can make a huge difference in the rear end appearance of your A5 – and if you go dual exit or quad tips, you’re going to need to modify your OEM diffuser, or ideally, replace it with one that’s designed to accommodate the style of exhaust you have in mind.
If you want something more aggressive than stock, this Carbon Fiber Rear Diffuser for Quad Exhaust by DEVAL features subtle fins molded into its design for a more aggressive look that evokes Audi’s race heritage.
Have an S-line and want to give it a bit of subtle flair? Replace the OEM Chrome strip with this Carbon Fiber Rear Valance Trim for B8 Audi A5 S-line models.
Rounding out the aero exterior details, you’ve got a couple trunk spoilers to choose from to give the lines of your Audi 2-door a bit of extra flair.
The C-Style Carbon Fiber Trunk Spoiler for B8/B8.5 Audi A5 also fits the S5, and looks great on either car.
The C-Style spoiler gives the A5 a nice ducktail, giving its lines an extra sporting edge.
As we mentioned, the C-Style Spoiler for B8/B8.5 Audi A5 also fits the S5, and is available in FRP as well if carbon fiber isn’t your thing, as seen on the S5 above.
If you’re into a more aggressive look, the APR Performance Trunk Spoiler for B8 Audi A5/S5 will give you that, with more distinct lines and a broader spoiler blade that reaches a bit further rearward.
Of course, new parts for the A5 are being released all the time, so if you don’t see something listed, give the Mod Experts a call at 714-582-3330, we might be able to find what you’re looking for
We hope the mods we discussed above for the B8 and B8.5 Audi A5 (2.0 TFSI) has explained some of the basics of modding your B8 A5 in general, but we should mention that this is just overview and there is a good bit more out there than what we could fit in here.
Several of our staffers here own and daily drive late model Audi vehicles like yours, so we have plenty of firsthand experience with all the flavors the B8 platform comes in.
Give the Mod Experts a call at 714-582-3330, chat live at ModBargains.com or just stop by the ModAuto showroom (which is also our install facility) in La Habra, CA on Lambert Rd at Harbor Blvd Monday thru Saturday, 8am – 5pm PST.
Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next time!
Story & All Original Photos by Nick Gregson
Select Photos Courtesy Manufacturers