euro cars

Recently, we had the unique & mind-boggling opportunity to go ride in a bunch of APR & Dinan-tuned cars at Road Atlanta. Essentially like speed dating, but with badass cars & no baggage. Holy smokes… 

To set the stage, this was a David Murry track day. With David Murry in particular, there is an expectation that drivers have experience, prepped vehicles, & overall good judgement. Therefore, the track stays green all day to all drivers, except for an hour break at lunch. That means you don’t have to watch the clock for your group/session. There’s no dead time. The track is always hot; go when ready. But watch the hell out of your mirrors, because there might just be an F1 car on track with you. 

APR & Dinan brought about a dozen of their cars for testing:

Audis, VWs, Porsches, BMWs… and a new Mini Cooper. The cars are all at various stages of tuning. For example, the red Audi S4 basically has all the sauce, with all of APR’s parts & tricks. While the brand new gray MK8 GTI still sat 100% bone stock for baseline-testing purposes. 

APR/Dinan didn’t just bring cars, they brought their whole team…

From mechanics, to engineers, to drivers, to mad-computer-scientists, right down to photographers. Each team member seemed to have their own specific project and/or task under their command… and they owned it. It was crazy to watch the way these people all worked in-sync together, without getting in each other’s way, and without confusion. You know a team is seriously good, when you literally can’t even tell who’s coaching it. 

APR & Dinan also brought their professional test drivers – Ian Baas and Randy Pobst, with 24 Hours of Daytona victories & about a bazillion hours of seat time under their belt. Sitting-passenger with these guys on track was a transformative experience to say the least…. unforgettable. Ok enough with the words, let’s get to the cars…

Mini Cooper (John Cooper Works)

I started off the day in the JCW Mini Cooper, which was a nice way of Dinan letting me tip-toe into the water lol. Their Mini is brand new, with only a Dinan basic tune & nothing else so far except sticky tires. That being said, DANG, this little monster was extremely surprising & a total blast to be in. What a rip!

Minis are just really fun cars all around. Everything is more fun when you’re in a small underdog type of car… especially when you’re filling up the mirrors of more powerful cars in front of you lol. Nothing but laughs! I’ve always said I wanted to scoop up an early-model supercharged S to play with, and that want is now turning into a real need! This new Dinan-tuned Mini Cooper makes strong power, it handles well, it loves to be thrown around on track, and best of all – it comes with a manual transmission! Pure driving fun! If you guys know Wooley, then just know that this is his ideal kind of car. A blast from 0-100 and thrilling in the turns.   -Mike Sanders

MINI Cooper JCW (F56)

  • Dinan Stage 1 ECU Upgrade
  • Dinan Cold Air Intake
  • Dinan Axleback Exhaust

Audi RS5

Ok the APR-Tuned Audi RS5 Sportback is an absolute sledgehammer. A getaway car; a bank robber’s car for sure. Like a tailored suit or a fine wine… it’s sophisticated & refined & way out of my league lol. It’s sleek & subtle, blending in like a classy chameleon. But turn on the boosters, and oh boy, this car goes like a raped ape. Audi’s AWD makes this a point-n-shoot car on track. Combine it with Toyo R888Rs, and the thing is on rails. 

Even with Ian Baas behind the wheel pushing it, the Audi RS5 never stepped out of line even a smidge. It pulled up the steep hills/elevation at Road Atlanta with complete & total domination. Pretty sure I’ve never been through & out of Turn 5 that fast. The only time where I could feel the car’s weight work against it, was landing off the rumble strips hard in Turn 3, where it would kind of fall on its face for a split-second as it settled & sorted itself out. And Ian was braking a little early off the long back straight going into Turn 10A. Granted… we were coming in at about 145mph in a 4,000 street car lol.

Through the helmet he said something like, “We could dive in deeper here, but it’s a heavy car, and if we want to potentially run it all day, it’s better to conserve a little in spots like this & not overcook the brakes.” 

But I didn’t feel much ‘conservation’ lol. What’s crazy, is while we were on track, my perception morphed us into being in some sort of full-bodied fully-prepped race car. I mean, we’re out there running with Porsches with cages, wings, and full liveries. And then you get back to the paddock & step out of the RS5 Sportback… and it’s just a dark blue street car with chrome trim lol. No killer wings or big aero. It’s unreal!   Jonathan Wooley

Audi RS5 Sportback (B9)

  • APR Stage 1+ ECU Upgrade
  • APR High Pressure Fuel Pump
  • APR Full Intake System
  • APR Ignition Coils
  • Dinan DC3 Wheels

BMW 330i

I know BMW models/nomenclature can get confusing these days, but the new 330i is the entry level 3-Series now, with a 4-cylinder turbo. And to me, this car felt very much like a rear-wheel-drive Honda CTR if that makes any sense. What I mean by that is, it feels light & forgiving & happy. It’s a momentum car, like a Miata actually. It would step-out & get a little drifty, but more in a “Let’s play!” kind of way.

No it didn’t pull out of Turn 5 nearly as hard as the Audi RS5, but overall, the speed was there in the BMW 330i if you could keep the momentum. We were able to dive deeper at the end of the straight, still managing low/mid-130mph before braking. And then Ian would really throw the car into 10A. Through the Esses, Ian chuckled as he was able to pull a little distance on a Ferrari. Granted it was Ian sooo….. your/my results may vary.

Being the 4-cylinder BMW, it’s an underdog. But let’s not forget… it’s still a forced induction car. And Dinan gives it the cheat codes to punch above its weight. The 330i wasn’t a monster, but it held its own, and that made it a good time on track. The fun-level was high, and the intimidation level was fairly low. The BMW 330i is a pretty pure little car, and I think it’d be fun to own & modify the real world.

I’m sure it’s much easier on consumables than the M340i & M3/4. And as we get some depreciation on these entry-level manual transmission 330i’s… AND as they get into 2nd/3rd owner territory… I think the bang for the buck as a daily is gonna be hard to deny, especially with Dinan’s no-brainer aftermarket support.    Jonathan Wooley

BMW 330i

  • Flash Tune
  • Axleback Exhaust
  • Intake System
  • Springs

BMW M340i 

I’m just glad that Ian was driving this car and not me, because this damn thing LOVES to be sideways! The BMW M340i is apparently the ultimate VIP drift missile. The car does so many things well: It has a TON of straight-line power, the braking/handling were surprisingly good, and you just stay giggling! The best part of the M340i is that you could really dive into turns, then power-out hard after the apex and really just drift it right into your line. This car plays hard, BUT IT’S TOTALLY CONTROLLABLE! The BMW M340i is all about smiles per gallon.   Mike Sanders

Big, boaty, & RWD. Pair that with Dinan’s performance mods, and it all makes for an absolute blast of a time. Especially having Ian Baas behind the wheel. I think we spent more time sideways than not, and I mean that in the best way possible. Sliding a gentleman’s car through the Esses while Ian giggles like a school girl might be some of the most fun I’ve ever had in a car, period. You see these cars in traffic all the time, and they just blend into the rat race. But the BMW M340i is waaay more fun than I’ve even given it credit for. It changed my entire perception.   Hunter Rollins

BMW M340i (G20)

  • Dinan Stage 1 ECU Upgrade
  • Dinan Cold Air Intake
  • Dinan Valved Axleback Exhaust
  • Dinan Performance Springs/Bumpstops
  • Dinan Tension Strut Ball Joints (Monoballs)

MK7 Golf R

The APR-tuned MK7 Golf R car is really-really good, but that’s not a surprise to me, which makes it difficult to describe honestly. Making it even harder, I jumped in this car because I used to own a MK6 GTI & I wanted to compare it. But it was instantly like I had been here before. The views, the sounds, the DSG burps, it all felt familiar… but faster lol. 

See – the APR Audi RS5 surprised me because it was a sledgehammer in a suit. The little Dinan 330i surprised me because it was playful & fun. Usually a car’s attitude emerges in its surprises, or even in its flaws. But the APR-tuned MK7 R doesn’t have flaws. It’s real fast. It stops & transitions very well. And with the R’s all-wheel-drive, it handles like it’s on rails. Not even a wiggle. On the track, the APR Golf R does exactly what it’s supposed to do. And on the street, I bet it’s a total missile when you’re ripping corners or running light-to-light. The APR MK7 Golf R is an absolute ultimate hot hatch.. no surprise there. Just wow.   –Jonathan Wooley

Volkswagen Golf R (MK7.5)

  • APR Satge 3 ECU and TCU Upgrade
  • APR Drop-in Turbocharger System
  • APR High Pressure Fuel Pump
  • APR Full Open Intake System
  • APR Full Catch Can System
  • APR Intercooler System
  • APR Full Charge Pipes & Hoses
  • APR Valved Catback Exhaust System
  • APR Ignition Coils
  • APR 380X34mm 6-Piston Brakes
  • APR Advanced Track Brake Pads
  • APR Direct Replacement Rear Brakes & Pads
  • APR A01 Wheels
  • APR Suspension, Stabilizer Bars, End-Links, & Mounts

APR MK7 Golf R


Audi S4 

I ended the track day in the APR-tuned Audi S4. This one has a lot of APR tricks added to it, and I have to say, this was probably my favorite platform on the track. This car pulls its ass off!

I own a built Evo 8, and I own a supercharged S550 Mustang. Yet I have driven very few cars that accelerate as brutally fast as this APR S4. The car just grips & goes like a missile. Quite literally like it has a rocket booster behind it. Even with Audi’s AWD, Ian was having to man-handle it a bit to keep his line in certain spots. But hell – that’s understandable in a street car on street tires with such violent power. See the RS5 was on Toyo R888R tires, this S4 was not. In short – I’ve been looking up preowned S4’s ever since we got back to the paddock.   Mike Sanders

Audi S4 (B9)

  • APR Stage 3 ECU Upgrade
  • APR Drop-In Turbocharger System
  • APR High Pressure Fuel Pump
  • APR Full Intake System
  • APR Intercooler System & Charge Pipes
  • APR Ignition Coils
  • APR 380X34mm 6-Piston Brakes
  • APR Advanced Track Brake Pads
  • APR S01 Wheels

APR B9 Audi S4

So in conclusion here…

APR & Dinan are no joke lol… know that. This is the real deal. And behind these 2 brands, are some seriously brilliant minds. 

It’s like this: Car manufacturers have to make cars for the masses. And that includes all the dummies of the world, right? So at some level, car manufacturers have to protect the cars they build from the people who are going to buy them. And they do that by restricting their cars in different ways. 

APR & Dinan free these vehicles from their restrictive shackles, and allow true enthusiast owners to bring the cars up to their real potential… absolutely transforming the cars.

Dinan & APR go through tremendous effort & expense to research, develop, and test their products.

They tap/drill into OEM turbochargers, cooling systems, fuel systems, etc… and run their own sensors to collect their own data as a team. These guys don’t even rely on the OEM/ECU data readings, or assume the readings are entirely accurate, because they may not be. 

Whether base-lining a completely stock car, testing various Flash tunes, or testing hard parts like turbos & big brake kits, APR & Dinan are at the track to test & innovate… and make a better product. Making sure that after sustained professional-driver-levels of abuse on an open-session track, everything remains safe & consistent. Then they go back to headquarters, and continue to test. I’ve seen the sealed-off engine dynos that have 1 purpose… to find the breaking point of parts and/or engines. They never let up. It’s never enough. The R&D never stops.

I can say with as much confidence as anything, that APR/Dinan is as good as it gets when it comes to innovation, quality control, and teamwork in the aftermarket.

advan wheels