JE Design started out in 1990, not far north of Stuttgart, and has made its name with kits, chips, and wheels for VW, Audi, Skoda, and Seat models. Nowadays, it still handles VW Group kiddy cars, but has recently moved up in the world with jobs for grown-up cars like the Touareg, Q7 and A8. Here, at a wet Hockenheimring, is its highly attractive new program for the 8J Audi TT 3.2 V6.
Between the new TT and BMW's bi-turbo 335i coupe, the 2007 Euro aftermarket world has a full party tray of goodies. While we eagerly await 335i tweakery from Hartge, Hamann and others, 3.2 TT tuners are already out the door. You saw last September's hot 400-hp MTM bi-turbo TT-happily, MTM is involved in JE Design's thorough tune jobs, while JE tackles minor software scooches itself. Although not the full-on MTM'd 350-hp supercharged 3.2 from JE, what you see here is a 270-hp version with software touch-ups, plus the full aero and wheel treatment.
Besides the transmogrified 7.5 Motronic ECU, a higher profile camshaft has been pushed in for greater valve lift. Other than the 270 hp emerging fully at the standard 6300 rpm, torque bumps up to 245 lb-ft, available still from 2500 rpm. The other big change to the pulmonary is a sweet-sounding, stainless steel, four-barrel sport exhaust designed and engineered in-house by JE Design, with the help of a small-scale specialist supplier whose name I shall never divulge if I wish to remain alive. German boffins are a touchy bunch, they really are.
The full-on KW sport springs that lower the car 1.2 inches can only be used with the 19-inch JE Design wheel set. This darting TT V6 is, fortunately, forced to wear the special 8.5x20 ET 35 'Forged Rim' from the JE catalog and I am prepared to sell my family into slavery for them. Best wheel set I've seen in a long time. There is no added offset and the suspension set-up is a sweet KW Variant 3 coilover quartet that lowers the car 0.9 of an inch.
While the industry-standard TT interior is left alone, the exterior is certainly massaged. As it stops short of exaggerating, the kit is just right in maintaining good taste (more than I can say for the JE Design Dubai-pa-looza job on a sperm-white Touareg that was present). The aero kit front and rear is sharp work. I especially enjoy the carbon-look front spoiler in durable polyurethane plastic as it looks the business and will bend farther before busting at the curb. The more cosmetic rear diffuser in carbon-look ABS plastic (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) leaves me a bit limp, but it had to be there to complete the look, doing so nicely. JE has also subtly extended the ultra-subtle Audi rear spoiler that reaches out to the wind at around 75 mph. The boffins claim that this small pooch of ducktail adds up to 45 pounds of additional rear downforce at high speed.
This 8J 3.2, thus touched and groped, is a pleasurable notch above the standard 3.2, which can come off heavy in weight and steering response. More power and torque always help a Quattro car to drive a bit more like a real sports car, and the 235/30 (88Y) Michelin Pilot Sports work really well with the KW coilovers and lower stance.
Dicing it up on wet and dry tarmac all day is fun, with the sturdy feel I crave in my small German coupes. I want the 350-hp car now-and I'm told that will happen at some point during the burning hot central European summer.
As is so frequently the case, no JE Design encoding or MTM supercharging schemes are on sale to us North Americans yet, due to pesky ol' Mr. Homologation and Princess Pollution. We can get essentially everything else, including the aero package, exhaust system, four-pot sports brakes with braided steel lines, either the full-on sport springs or KW Variant 3 coilovers, and so on down the line.
JE Design 8J TT 3.2 V6
Transverse front engine, all-wheel drive
*Engine3.2-liter V6, dohc, 24-valve, JE Design exhaust, modified software, new camshafts
KW springs (w/19-in. wheels or smaller), KW coilover dampers (w/20-in. wheels)
F/R: standard Audi set-up for the present; four-piston sport brakes available
*Wheels and Tires
Forged Rim custom wheels, 8.5x20 (f/r)Michelin Pilot Sport, 235/30 R20 88Y (f/r)
JE Design PU carbon-look front spoiler, ABS plastic carbon-look rear diffuser, added extension to rear spoiler
Peak Power: 270 hp @ 6300 rpm
Peak Torque: 245 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
0-62 mph: 5.5 sec.(standard car with manual: 5.9 sec.)
Top Speed: 155 mph
(standard car limited to 130 mph in North America)