stasis \STAY-sis; STAS-is\ noun: 1. A state of balance or equilibrium

Achieving stasis, especially when dealing with high performance automobiles, is daunting. Change one system and it will have an effect on another, sometimes good, sometimes not. We simply accept it as a byproduct of the aftermarket.

Not any more.

The guys at Stasis are into Audis-big time. They tune them, race them, drive them every day. Stasis is also into balance, specifically Audi balance. And the company's work does great things for the brand-balanced things.

It's human nature to want power. We can, however, temper desire with intelligence. You want your Audi to go faster, Stasis can help. It will also ensure those additional ponies are bridled with more competent brakes, suspension, driveline and aerodynamics.

Although pre-tuned cars are fairly common in Europe, it's a little different in the United States. We tend to pick and choose various components after the car's original purchase; these brakes with those wheels, this chip with that exhaust. Sometimes you get lucky and the mix works.

Stasis removes luck from the equation, providing a complete performance program. With its nationwide dealer network, it's possible to purchase a new Audi, have the Stasis gear installed and drive away. Amortized over a standard five-year loan, the Stasis program is a fairly painless affair. And like the vaunted Dinan tuning (the aftermarket gold standard), the buyer gets a four-year/50,000-mile warranty on the installed parts.

To illustrate the program, Stasis president Paul Lambert brought a pair of his cars to our office. The A3 was a Stasis Touring Series car consisting of a more powerful engine, sport suspension, wheels and larger brake rotors. The A4 was a Challenge Series comprised of an even more powerful motor, sport suspension, wheels, much larger brakes, an aerodynamic package and a revised Torsen differential.

Clad in Audi's striking Brilliant Red paint, these cars stand out in the sea of black and silver Euros that clog the Primedia parking lot. They don't look necessarily out of place, but they don't appear all that sedate either.

"These cars have been through a lot," says Lambert. "Our main office is right next to Infineon Raceway, so we're there just about every other day. Between the two, we've got 58,000 miles-a mixture of cross-country flogs and track use. A lot of track use. I think this is the third time we've had to repaint the noses."

I figure he's setting me up for a burnt clutch or tired suspension bits. Too bad, I think. I'll be even more merciless. I'll break something and be home in time for the SpongeBob marathon.

Turns out the more aggressively you drive, the better these Audis become. We cut through traffic like so much road furniture. When the road opens, it gets even better. Third gear always reminds me why I love the 2.0T engine. The Stasis ECU remap makes me love it even more. The steady surge of turbo-fed torque seems to be everywhere, from the moment you hit 1700 rpm to redline. On paper, the Stasis A4 slightly out-guns the A3, but both feel quick, the A3 a bit more so. I guess the weight difference plays no small part and actually makes the A3 feel more track-ready.

"We've done a bunch of testing with the A3, specifically with the torque-biasing diff," Lambert acknowledges. "We had this thing drifting all over Infineon, total rally-style. I can do it right now if you like."

I have no reason to believe this to be an idle boast. Lambert has forgotten more about racing than I could ever hope to know. During the SpeedVision Challenge, he led the Stasis team through more than 30 races and managed to take a first in the manufacturer's cup series. The 2006 season was the best ever; Stasis put cars in the top 10 finishers in eight races, the top five in seven races, on the podium in four, and won three races outright.

No, I don't want to go drifting, but rather let the Audi stay connected and do what it does best.

Since driving my first A4, I've had an affinity for Audis; it has since grown into a love affair. Although I currently own a BMW M3, I think this A3 could best it, at least on this piece of twisted canyon tarmac. The most glaring difference is the steering. While the BMW's is well weighted, the Audi's feels light, squirrelly even. In truth, it's ultra-precise, despite its inherent front-drive nature. Stasis swaps the stock running gear with larger forged wheels and currently uses Toyo T1-R rubber (the same tire on Project M3). Although the T1-R is a bit noisy, it's predictable and grippy.

The Stasis suspension is a good compromise between comfort and sport, with emphasis on the 'sport' part. It lowers the car about an inch with increased-rate springs and digressive dampers. Regardless of entry speed, corners can be addressed with extreme prejudice, a fast-in, fast-out mentality. The ultra-brave can induce oversteer; there's enough torque to smoke the tires. The Stasis brakes do everything I ask. The larger Alcon rotors are treated with a directional vaning comprised of segmented crescent-shaped slots designed to improve gas evacuation between rotor and pad. These slots also help shed water and dust while maintaining the integrity of the disc itself. They will continue to perform long after cross-drilled rotors have cracked and failed.

I've spent a good deal of time in a totally stock A3, enough to realize the Stasis A3 has a considerably sharper edge. The only compromises you'll encounter are a firmer ride, increased tire wear and sweaty palms. Not a bad trade-off.

The Stasis Challenge Series A4 turns up the heat a few notches more and is what Lambert describes as "a very track-friendly piece." Inspired by the Stasis World Challenge racecars, the Challenge Series wears similar aerodynamics and the same type of race-proven Alcon brakes. Comprised of monoblock calipers with deep core cast rotors and floating aluminum hats, these Alcons are engineered specifically for the Audi, featuring optimized piston sizes for maximum clamping force and superior temperature dispersion across the pad and rotor.

Packing a few more hp, the Challenge A4 is also equipped with a high-bias Torsen center differential, effectively raising torque bias levels from 2:1 to 4:1. Up to 30 percent more torque can be channeled to whichever wheels can best use it, resulting in quicker hook-up and acceleration. Unlike the Haldex soft-bias upgrade, this Torsen modification is more mechanical and much more apparent. You know it's there after the first hard launch-head-snap and all.

Like its smaller sibling, the Stasis Challenge A4 has a decidedly motorsport demeanor. Although it's content just plodding along with traffic, it's got a predisposition to rage given the smallest opportunity.

And rage it does. Up and down mountain passes until the tank is nearly empty. The Stasis A4 is exceptionally easy to drive fast. It's so well balanced it seems impossible to screw up. Marginal drivers become good, good drivers become great, great drivers become outstanding. But that's what good cars do. Seems a shame cars like Stasis Audis are a rarity. Stasis has assembled a fabulous program-a 'set it and forget it' type, one that smacks of factory balance.

Stasis Challenge Series A4*LayoutLongitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive

*Engine2.0-liter in-line four, dohc, four valves per cylinder, Stasis software, cat-back exhaust

*SuspensionStasis sport springs and dampers

*BrakesStasis/Alcon Mono4 front calipers and rotors, stainless steel lines, SBS pads, Motul fluid, Stasis rear rotors

*Wheels and TiresStasis forged alloys, 9x19 Toyo T1-R, 265/30

*ExteriorStasis ChallengeSeries aerodynamic package

*InteriorRecaro sport seats

*PerformancePeak Power: 240 bhpPeak Torque: 257 lb-ft0-60 mph: 5.9 sec.Top Speed: 155 mph

Stasis Touring Series A3*LayoutTransverse front engine, front-wheel drive

*Engine2.0-liter in-line four, dohc, four valves per cylinder, Stasis software, cat-back exhaust

*SuspensionStasis sport springs and dampers

*BrakesStasis rotors

*Wheels and TiresStasis forged alloys, 8.5x18Toyo T1-R, 255/35

*PerformancePeak Power: 230 bhpPeak Torque: 257 lb-ft0-60 mph: 6.1 secTop Speed: 149 mph

Stasis Engineering
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