Fancy a bit of Supercar baiting, but don’t want to look too ostentatious in the process? Then the latest STaSIS “European Motorsport Challenge Edition” may very well be what you need. Over 400 thoroughbred horses in a svelte, yet subtle, wrapper ought to do it…
People who buy really fast cars, generally speaking, can be divided into two camps. The first, clearly having done well in life, like their choice of transport to reflect this. No paint hue is too garish. No leather shade too vulgar. And then there is the car itself. Something gregarious, impactful and dare, I say, ‘flashy’ is usually the order of the day. It all starts to get rather Freudian, really. And then there is the other camp; the drivers who can appreciate the speed, power and dynamics of a well-sorted sports car or GT, but would rather stay off the radar of their neighbours and colleagues… as well as the dear old boys in blue.
The latest ‘turnkey’ creation to roll out of the pristine workshops of the STaSIS Revo Group is clearly aimed at this latter group of discerning punters. While all the dynamic settings have evidently been turned to ‘11’, elsewhere, all is still very much in background music territory. This is a car for those that like to walk softly, but carry a big stick.
Over in the US, STaSIS has already has considerable form for this sort of behaviour. Enjoying approval at dealer level within the Audi network, you can saunter into any one of 85 specially selected centres, pick out your brand new Audi, and then with the full blessing of the service manager and dealer principal, proceed to endow it with heroic levels of even greater ability by adding choice parts from the STaSIS catalogue. Although the option of a fully warranty-approved and tastefully tuned turnkey car isn’t a showroom option here in Blighty yet, it does give you some idea of the homogeneity that STaSIS’ engineers are looking to factor into each conversion.
So, for now, you will have to pick up your Audi from your UK dealer in the old fashioned way and then tootle over to Revo’s plush Daventry HQ to choose your upgrades. Although the car tested here is naturally a rolling showpiece of everything that the firm offers, customers are encouraged to add upgrades piecemeal if they so wish, either to suit their budgetary requirements, or indeed, to allow them to assess the efficacy if each modification at a time.
The headline figures on this Challenge Edition are intriguing. Some 411bhp and 378 ft.lb should make the commute more interesting, and the 0-60 time of a scant 3.84 seconds and 0-100 time of a shade over 9 seconds puts this S5 in the thick of a fight between its bigger brother, the R8, and many of the headier products from down the road in Stuttgart. To achieve this reliably, STaSIS has used a number of well-proven tweaks to enable the S5 to reach beyond its already impressive potential.
At the heart of this conversion is the engine; that prodigious output has been developed by the application of significantly better breathing, allied to some ingenious, yet responsible, ECU re-mapping. Firing more air into the supercharged lump is an all-new STaSIS induction set up, which uses filtration technology directly gleaned from BTCC front-runners, combined with an effective heat-shield set-up to achieve significantly greater flow rates than the factory panel filter could ever hope to achieve. Balancing the equation is a smart Milltek ‘cat back’ exhaust system that not only eases the egress of spent gasses, but also adds a little aural theatre to proceedings. In-keeping with the tone and theme of the conversion though, the note emanating from the moody black trims is sporty, but never obtrusive. All very grown-up, in fact.
Elsewhere on the car, almost every other key component has been suitably worked over to ensure that every aspect of the chassis can cope with this new-found power. Suspension duties are handled by the oft-proven BILSTEIN B16 adjustable coil-over kit, with the rear also benefitting from an uprated and stiffened STaSIS anti-roll bar. The desire of many customers to run large diameter wheels for aesthetic reasons can often be the point where a great car can come unstuck, due to the addition of many extra kilos of unsprung weight. To counter this, the STaSIS 20” rims are lightweight forged items, which fill the arches beautifully, while allowing the car to stay fleet of foot. Wrapped in sticky Dunlop Sportmaxx rubber, they also ensure that grip goes some way towards matching grunt.
With the laws of physics taking such a battering on the way up the rev range, it seems only sensible that such overkill has also been applied to the braking system. Those 20” wheels don’t only look good; they also allow plenty of room for a set of the firm’s own 390mm brakes, which are more than a foil for the engine’s considerable thrust. The rears are also uprated to ensure that the journey back down from intergalactic speeds can happen at least as quickly as the one that got you there in the first place.
Elsewhere STaSIS have sensibly stayed away from tinkering with the many, many facets of the car that Ingolstadt so clearly got right. Styling is unadorned, as is the interior. Designed to be a true GT, no sacrifices of function have been made in vain attempts at fashion. No deep chin spoilers to give the game away. No silly rear wings to hinder the rapidly disappearing view behind. Simply a case of an extremely quick car that barely demands a second glance.
Out on the road, the STaSIS S5 shows that while it now may still be wearing its business suit on the outside, underneath, it’s very much in Lycra and trainers. The shove that this thing has is fairly exceptional, with torque coming in a huge linear punch that appears from just above tick over, before swelling wildly in the middle of the rev-range and all the way up to the redline. Like other Revo-remapped cars I’ve driven, this one delivers a ‘factory-with-attitude’ style of power delivery that retains the character of the original car, only with a great deal more of it. In the turns, the BILSTEIN and STaSIS package does great job of eliminating the original car’s propensity to understeer slightly, with the stiffer rear now obediently following the front in a satisfyingly neutral manner, the car constantly telegraphing information back to the driver in bucket-loads. The brakes too, are more than up to snuff; not only providing seat-belt bruises to order, but never failing to deliver, even under heavily repeated applications. STaSIS test all of their brake packages on the fabled Nordschleife before being signed off, so it came as little surprise to find that even the best of Daventry’s back roads did little to phase them.
In summary, it appears that, yet again, STaSIS has managed to create a car where each of the mods works well in isolation, but together, the conversion works with notable efficiency as a complete package. With the exception of the extremes of dynamic forces on offer, every part of this car feels like Audi themselves could have put it there in a moment of madness. The car still feels docile and usable when you need it to be, but ferociously fast when you don’t. If you’re the kind of driver that feels your excellence in life needs to be reflected by some lurid green, pastel-leathered, mid-engined leviathan, you’re going to hate this car. But, if your preferred method of transport is something that houses a solid steel punch in the stealthy and cosseting cover of a velvet glove, then you might want to give the STaSIS guys a call…