When I ordered my Audi B5 S4 I did not realize the potential the car would have for modification or how far I would go with modifying it, nor did I anticipate how my career path would influence the undertakings I would have with the car.
With studies in engineering and operations research I have a natural inclination to being methodical and logical when approaching a problem. My decision to purchase an Audi S4, rather than the competing BMW E36 M3, had nothing to do with opportunities to test, evaluate, and optimize the car’s performance, but rather I was motivated by the practical benefits of 4-doors, a decent size trunk, the appeal of all-wheel drive, and a strong engine.
I began to modify my B5 S4 soon after receiving it, making changes to the wheels and exhaust as well as suspension upgrades. These alterations were motivated by a desire to get away from stock components. As my career interests shifted from aircraft operations to acquisition I found a similarity of process with my car hobby. I began to apply a more systematic approach to the evaluation of products I would consider equipping my S4 with and soon had my first opportunity to go beyond the normal evaluation of a product with my purchase of the APR Stage 3 kit. At the same time, the quantity of content on MyAudiS4 began to grow.
The experience and positive outcome from the engagement with APR led me to become more interested in the subject of test & evaluation. When an opportunity to be part of a major test effort came up I joined a test group that was planning the test activities for aircraft carrier sea trials. It was during this time that I began pursuing planned product comparisons for my S4 and thus I worked to shore up my data measurement capabilities, to include building a flowbench.
A growing interest in Test & Evaluation led to a subsequent assignment as a Test Director which made learning the subject of testing a full time job. I also discovered that testing military systems is not a fast process, even when officially referred to as quick tests. As test lead overseeing a “quick” reaction test, an entire year and one million dollars would be allocated to performing a single test event. My desire to quickly test and evaluate a product and document it’s performance would end up being met and publicized via MyAudiS4.
Career-wise I found myself moving between roles of leading and participating on teams, expanding my exposure to tests such as the mission systems of aircraft like the P-8 Poseidon and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. All the while, with my S4, I became more interested in understanding, and measuring, the fundamental forces at work within the car, and upped the data collecting tools I employed to test the car and the parts that it is comprised of.
MyAudiS4 has allowed me to consolidate and present quick tests that require neither extensive planning nor a large budget. My goal in testing related to My Audi S4 has been to get information that is good enough to make a purchase decision while understanding that in expediting the ‘acquisition’ process, shortcuts are being taken and their is an increased risk of making errors as a result.
This site is still doing what I set out for it at the start, documenting my efforts to optimize the performance of My Audi S4.