The B7 A4 2.0T FSI is getting on in years, but thanks to its almost future-proof design, it is still incredibly relevant and highly desirable as a tuning platform. This is thanks in part to its performance potential, but mostly, it has been around long enough for patterns to identify themselves and aftermarket supporters to refine their formula to perfection. We have developed a staggering number of parts for the platform during its time, which puts us in a unique position of experience to help someone interested in the B7 A4 as a potential project or daily driver to get the most out of the car. These are our recommendations for the top mods and maintenance services any new B7 A4 owner should know before ever picking up a wrench.
Suggested Maintenance for Audi B7 A4
As with any used car, maintenance should be your primary focus after signing the title and taking the keys. Regardless of what the seller/previous owner has to say about the history unless you have paper evidence of work performed with the mileage and date, you can safely bet that some issues or potential issues will need attention. According to our Audi gurus here at ECS, these are the first services you should tackle before any modifications or extended periods of driving:
- Oil Service including new filter and oil filter housing gasket
- Vacuum Pump Replacement (if it isn’t leaking, it will eventually)
- Cam Follower every 10-15k miles
- Cam Chain Tensioner
- Timing Belt Service Kit
- Brake Pads, Rotors and Fluid Service Kit
- Snub Mount
All of these services can be performed by a novice with basic tools. Fortunately, if you need help, forums are an amazing resource. Many DIY instructions exist on these very services, so be confident you have all the information available to knock out the ‘boring’ stuff before you get to the fun mods. Be sure to check out our Assembled by ECS kits for start-to-finish services all in one box.
With the maintenance concerns handled, you can safely rely on your B7 A4 as a daily driver and begin to modify it without fear your improvements will cause issues. Our suggestions are, again, fairly universal to all budding builds and definitely centered around the idea that this is also your daily driver. You don’t want to overbuild a car, you just want to make it as enjoyable as it can be without losing too much of its practicality. That said, there is still tons of potential with just a few basic changes, and definitely, a way to get the most out of your modification budget if you do things in the proper order.
Be patient. Don’t just spring for springs because they lower your car down. While lowering springs can be the perfect choice for some enthusiasts, in a car as old as the B7 A4, unless you are buying new struts, shocks, and mounts, you’re going to have a bad time with lowering springs. You can do it that way, but the cost will be the same if not more than a decent set of coilovers, like BC Racing Coilovers or SoloWerks Coilovers. Both manufacturers offer coilovers with adjustable settings so your B7 A4 can ride and sit exactly the way you want. No more wheel gap and no worry that the lowered height will wear your suspension components since coilovers include all the parts that would otherwise break.
Along with your upgraded suspension, installing some adjustable sway bars with better/new bushings and adjustable end links will help dramatically improve your B7’s handling characteristics. Sway bars affect body roll through the corners, so stiffer, adjustable sways will make your B7 A4 more competent in the corners. As an added bonus, you will likely need to throw on some adjustable end links to make sure everything clears your suspension with the lowered ride height. These will act as both a maintenance service and upgrade since your end links probably need to be changed.
With the suspension set just right, the last thing you need to complete the look and maximize the handling abilities of the car is a good set of wheels with competent tires. The wheels you choose will set the tone for your whole creative vision, so be picky, do your wheel fitment math, and ensure everything is in line with your goals and will fit. Popular choices are Rotiform, BBS, Avant-Garde, and Brada, but you can’t go wrong with some of the less expensive options to start with. Our own Tekniform wheels, Alzor wheels, and other brands like F1R and ESM offer the same visual benefits at a much lower cost.
High-Flow Catalytic Converter
Being that it is a turbocharged engine, a lower cell count with less restriction in your Catalytic Converter is a major improvement. While most states require you to have a cat for emissions reasons, a lower cell count will still allow you to spool more quickly which translates to more power. This is an easy modification that adds both a pleasing sound and more power to your car, so we call it a no-brainer easy first performance upgrade.
It won’t add too much power, but it will give your B7 A4 a much needed auditory improvement and will work in tandem with the high-flow cat. Milltek Sport exhaust is a great blend of quality and cost that sits in that Goldilocks zone leaving you with an excellent sound, high build quality, and not a terribly high price. Additionally, most off the shelf software tunes require the use of a high-flow cat, exhaust, and intake, which brings us to the next mod.
There are plenty of people who will argue the effectiveness of a cold air intake. On one hand, it doesn’t add a whole lot of power, but on the other, every bit helps. A 10-15hp increase across the board is definitely not ignorable. Our Kohlefaser Luft-Technik intake system shows actual power increases on the dyno and works with many of the name-brand tunes like APR, which requires the use of an intake, cbe, and high-flow cat to run the Stage 2 tune for the most power.
Speaking of tunes, the best way to get all the benefits from your intake and exhaust upgrades is with a software tune. APR has been at it a long time and is known for pulling the most power from your 2.0T with the mods mentioned above. For a truly noticeable improvement to horsepower, APR software is a must.
Schwaben Scan Tool
The best computer interface, our Schwaben Professional Audi Scan Tool allows you to talk to your Audi and unlock ‘hidden’ features as well as read any of the fault codes you may experience. This system is a must for any Audi/VW owner and will let you code for functions like window operation from your key fob, gauge needle sweeps on start-up, and more.
Finally, in an effort to tie the drastic change in driving characteristics together, the most noticeable improvement to your experience behind the wheel is with the shifter. A weighted shifter, like our ECS shifters or the Black Forest Industries shifters, gives a much more rewarding feeling for every gear change. Paired with the ECS adjustable short shift kit, your experience will be fulfilling thanks to a sportier feeling and more direct sensation as you row your own gears.
With this short list, you should have covered enough of the car to make it your own. While it is still definitely a ‘formula’ and most certainly not an internet-breaking build, it is a proven parts list that has time and again provided excitement to B7 A4 owners over the last decade. Take it from us, while it can be fun to dream about building the next showstopper, it is often better to wet your whistle with a known path to success in order to gain that necessary experience that will have you making your own parts list and setting new goals in no time. For now, though, enjoy one of the greatest all-around platforms for convenient commuting and pure performance available.