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Audi S3 8Y Performance Tuning Guide

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Table of Contents


The Audi S3 8Y is the third-generation model of the brand’s well-established S3 series and made it’s debut in 2020. 

Embodying Audi’s commitment to performance without compromising on luxury or style, the S3 is a fantastic choice for those looking for practicality blended with performance.

At its core, the S3 8Y is powered by a dynamic 2.0L TFSI engine, which is regarded as Audi’s most advanced four-cylinder engine and produces 306bhp and 295 ft-lb of torque.

Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system is a defining feature of the S3 8Y, ensuring optimal power distribution across all wheels and delivering enhanced traction, stability, and dynamic handling, even under challenging road conditions or high-speed scenarios.

Similar to it’s predecessors, the S3 8Y leaves a lot of room for performance enhancements and tuning upgrades.

The solid design of the engine and TFSI platform means that it responds very well to power upgrades with many proven and reliable ways to increase the fun even more.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to increase the performance on this already fantastic car!

Downpipe & Sports Cat

One of the first restrictions in the exhaust system is the stock downpipe and the catalytic converter.

The standard downpipe with its restrictive design can limit the exhaust gases flow, preventing the turbocharger from spinning as freely as it potentially could.

The story is the same with the catalytic converter.

The converters, due to their dense honeycomb structure, often impede exhaust flow, thereby reducing the S3’s overall performance.

Of course, they are a requirement due to emission regulations in the majority of countries.

There are however aftermarket alternatives that improve performance and sound while also remaining road legal and compliant with emission tests.

Milltek offer a performance downpipe and sports cat which directly replaces the standard systems.

The free flowing design of the Milltek system allows for greater power gains and a reduction of back pressure leading to better throttle response and the turbo spooling up earlier in the rev range.

You also have the option of the Milltek downpipe and decat combo which is cheaper although isn’t road legal and is intended for track use only. 

Regardless of which option you go for, you will see the best results from this upgrade by having your S3 remapped after fitting them. 

Audi S3 8Y Downpipe Sports Cat

Milltek Downpipe & Sports Cat

For the Audi S3 8Y

Milltek Downpipe & Decat

For the Audi S3 8Y

Cat-back Exhaust

If you’re looking for a jazzy sound upgrade along with improved performance, then a cat-back exhaust ticks both of these boxes.

As the name implies, the cat-back section of the exhaust is the section from the end of the catalytic converter section out to the exhaust tips. 

This section controls the sound of the exhaust and is made up of a resonator and a backbox.

A performance cat-back exhaust system maximises exhaust flow by reducing restrictions, allowing the engine to breathe better. This leads to an increase in both horsepower and torque for noticeably improved acceleration and power.

On top of this is the more authoritative and deep exhaust sound that all enthusiast owners will love.

The performance and audible benefits of a cat-back system are really emphasised when paired with an aftermarket downpipe as we touched on in the previous section of this article.

Milltek offer a superb high quality cat-back system for the S3 8Y which you can check out below.

Milltek Cat-back

For the Audi S3 8Y

Upgraded Intercooler

The intercooler’s primary function is to cool the compressed air generated by the turbo. By reducing the temperature of the intake air charge, the intercooler increases the engine’s overall efficiency and performance.

Upgrading your intercooler can have a significant impact on how your S3 performs while minimising heat soak.

You may notice heat soak on very warm days or if you’ve been driving your S3 hard over a prolonged period of time. 

This is where the intercooler starts to lose it’s cooling efficiency and as such the intake temperatures rise resulting in you losing precious power. 

An upgraded intercooler combats this with increased efficiency and better cooling capacity. Upgraded intercoolers typically feature larger cores, improved fin designs, and more efficient materials that provide superior cooling compared to the stock unit.

This increased cooling capacity results in lower intake air temperatures, even under intense driving conditions. While not completely immune to heat soak, the upgraded intercoolers tend to recover faster.

This is an essential modification if you are aiming for a big power build with hybrid turbos. 

Forge Motorsport have developed an upgraded intercooler for this platform with proven and tested dyno gains. 

Forge Intercooler

For the Audi S3 8Y

Eventuri Air Intake

We’ve covered exhaust modifications, but what about intake upgrades?

As is stands, there aren’t many intake upgrades currently available for the 8Y. 

That’s not really an issue though, as sometimes one quality product is all you need and Eventuri offer just that with their bespoke intake for the S3 8Y.

This intake is designed to work efficiently for stock S3’s as well as flow for larger turbo builds putting our large amounts of power!

Unlike many basic intakes for cars, this system replaces the entire intake including the filter, the housing and intake pipe to accommodate maximum uninterrupted air flow to the engine. 

It also comes with a lovely looking carbon fibre cover which looks elegant in the engine bay.

While this isn’t the cheapest product, it’s one of the highest quality intakes on the market which has proven dyno gains and is one of the only reliable and proven options available as an intake for the car.

Eventuri Intake

For the Audi S3 8Y


In terms of value for money modifications, a remap is one of the best options out there for increasing performance.

The S3 8Y responds very well to a remap, even without any other physical modifications fitted to the car!

Provided the engine and turbo is in good shape, you can gain over 65bhp from a remap alone which is very impressive.

With other supporting modifications, you can gain a lot more too.

In addition to increasing the power and driveability of the car, the transmission control unit (TCU) can also be customised. 

A TCU remap works in harmony with a typical ECU remap, resulting in more responsive and smoother gear shifts. 

Moreover, TCU remapping also contributes to extending the lifespan of the transmission by reducing excess stress and wear.

If you plan on fitting any physical modifications such as an intake, exhaust or intercooler – it’s a good idea to have them fitted prior to remapping for best results. 

Many owners go for a remap then decide they want additional power and then fit other mods to the car. Planning ahead and knowing what power level you want to go for will save you money and can save you having to get your S3 remapped multiple times.

Finishing Thoughts

We hope you found this guide useful in giving you some ideas and info on the best proven ways to increase power from your S3.

As we touched on in the remapping section of the article, it’s a good idea to think ahead about what power level you are hoping to achieve.

You may be satisfied with just a remap and nothing else, or you may want to upgrade the intake and exhaust for some extra sound too.

If you think you might be interested in fitting physical modifications such as an exhaust, then have it fitted prior to getting it remapped. This way your tuner can calibrate the ECU to account for the increased airflow the modification provides.

With a healthy engine and turbo, upgraded exhaust system, intake, intercooler and a remap you can expect to see over 430bhp.

Happy modding!