I had a visit from N8 today to bring me my newly refurbished Speedlines fitted with Goodyear Assymetric 2's, and to bring me the Shark STS so we could upload the Stage 1 remap to my 2012 S3 SB.
I wont spend too long on the wheels as everyone knows the standard of N8's work....needless to say they look better than new and are now back on the car in time for the warmer weather to arrive ( he says hopefully ).....i'll feedback on the tyres once I have put some miles on the car.
So....apologies to those who are already aware of the process, but for those who are not and who are considering this upgrade, I have detailed the process and my findings below:
The STS unit arrives from Shark with two cables, one to attach the unit to the OBD port of the car, and a seperate lead to connect the unit to the USB port of your computer. The unit itself is very straightforward, with only Yes and No buttons, along with Up and Down arrows so no twelve year olds needed to understand it !!
Initially, you have to visit the Shark Performance website's download page to download the required software and user guide which you can then use as a step-by-step guide, and is totally idiot proof ( which I can verify as I managed to follow it !).
First stage is to instal the XConsole software onto your PC, which is downloaded from their website and then stored as a file in a convenient place on your PC.
Secondly, you connect the STS unit to the PC via the USB lead, and the Windows device driver installation wizard starts....you simply point this to the XConsole and the wizard installs the driver for you to enable the unit and the PC to talk to each other.
Once completed, you then use the XConsole page which has four choices ( Link / Read ORI / Upload MOD / Erase Device ) to press the Link option, and select your vehicle, model and version from the list you are presented with so the unit knows which vehicle you will be connecting it to, and will programme the STS with the correct firmware to enable it to communicate with the relevant ECU.
Now it's time to connect the STS to the cars OBD port and download a copy of the OE ECU by selecting 'Read file from ECU' on the unit, which in my case took approx 5/10 mins.
Once completed, it's back indoors to connect the STS unit to your computer and download the map by clicking the 'Read ORI' button on your XConsole screen.
This file is saved to a convenient place on the PC, and then sent to STS as an attachment via e-mail for them to work their magic and then they send an e-mail reply after an hour or so ( it took about 1hr 30 mins for me but this is dependant on how busy they are at HQ ). This e-mail has two maps....an Immobiliser map and the Performance map which are both loaded onto the STS unit.
It's then a case of plugging the STS into the OBD port of the car again, and choosing ' Write file to ECU' on the unit followed by the choice of map you're uploading ( Immobiliser of Performance ) and then pressing 'Y' to confirm.
In my case, this is the point where Nathan and I got a bit worried as it stopped uploading half way through, but after simply starting the process again, all was well and the map was uploaded sucessfully with the upload taking approx 10/15 mins.
In the future, the whole porcess will be much easier, as you will simply use the STS unit to upload the choice of map ( standard / immobiliser / performance ) without the need to keep connecting to the PC.
As has been said before, this has to be the best 'bang for your buck' for the S3 as it totally transforms the car.
From my initial short drive, there is no change in the off-boost period which I would expect, but from 2,000 rpm onward the boost builds much more strongly than before and no longer tails off as the revs build. The whole car picks up much more 'cleanly' than previously and feels very strong all the way through the range with no peaks or troughs.....like OEM but stronger.
My car is a manual, has done 4,400 miles, been run in properly and is always run on Optimax and serviced regularly.....I will provide periodic updates over the next few thousand miles to detail any issues that may arise ( clutch etc. ) as well as further driving impressions, but suffice it to say that I am currently a happy bunny.
Major thanks to Nathan who is a really great guy and travelled down from Manchester with the wheels and the STS unit even though he could have couriered them to me, and then spent all morning with me making sure I was happy before leaving and travelling home.....over 6 hours just driving.....that's what I call customer service.