Just to chime in here, I’m a 2002 Subaru WRX Sedan owner. My car is a 2.0 liter 4-cyl boxer engine turbocharged running 13.5 PSI stock from the factory.
My first mod was a full exhaust upgrade (removing 2 of the 3 catalytic converters that are stock) which net me a whopping +33 BHP. This involved an uppipe (pipe connecting your exhaust manifold to your turbo), downpipe (pipe that exits the turbo’s turbine and heads toward your muffler), as well as a higher flow muffler (not a “rice-cannon”, mine’s quite tasteful and business-like)
My next mod was a computer “reflash” which is possible with Subarus. It differs from a complete “chip change” because now I can download whatever type of “programs” I want onto my stock ECU. This allows me to get an Economy mode program, a Valet Mode program, a Stage2 Performance Program, an Anti-Theft program and many others. There is a whole website devoted to custom programs that I can download onto this PDA device and then upload into my car’s ECU through my OBD-II diagnostics port. Quite a snap!
My reflash did several things to accomplish another +25 BHP over my exhaust gains:
- Advanced Ignition Timing - This allows for more performance and power from the same engine internals and fuel octane
- Increased Turbo Spool - The computer “reflash” program allows my wastegate to operate earlier in the spool process to close and start building boost at a lower rpm.
- Increased Max Boost Pressure - My maximum boost pressure jumped from 13.5 PSI stock to around 16.1 PSI now with my Stage2 reflash.
- Upgraded the Stock Sensor’s ability to detect “knock” and lower timing appropriately - Whenever my car may experience “knock” or “pre-detonation”, my car’s ECU can now pull timing to a safe level which will save my engine in the long run. It does this automatically, several hundred samples per second!
There are many 1,000’s of Subarus with the same exact reflash, some of which have over 20,000 miles on the reflash and have NO signs of advanced wear and tear on either the engine or drivetrain.
Soley “chipping” your Audi is a VERY similar process as the engines in these two cars have many similarities. If you do a little research and find a reputable tuning company, you should have NO problems with your car’s longevity.
Upgrading a turbo, or injectors, or fuel pump WILL most likely cause problems with your car’s longevity. I’d stay away from those unless you are willing to replace your vehicle in the near future.