Well after 7 months of running the car as standard (a first for me) I finally took the plunge and went for a remap at the weekend. Decision Process.. I did a lot of investigation via magazines, numerous telephone conversations and monitoring of the various forums in order to idenfify which company to go for and surprised myself by breaking my previous 5 car allegiance to Superchips/Bluefin and opting for GIAC. I still believe SuperChips are an excellent company and am more than happy with the bluefin application on the wifes 2.0tdi DSG but on this occasion they didn't offer me as a regular customer enough of an incentive to prevent me from looking at what else is on offer from their competitors. The main criteria for me was indeed covered by several of the main players with all offering similar pricing and outright power claims, my decision was based on what I'd read and my own personal conclusions gained from this, I required the following minimum requirements to be achieved.. > Reliable/Reputable Software > Zero ECU Flash Count - (Enhancing Dealer Transparency) > Switchability between Map and Standard - (Enhancing Dealer Transparency) > Smooth progressive Power Gains. Another major influencing factor for me was customer service and availability of technical knowledge, Price was also important but not key to my decision, I can confirm that both Bluefin and GIAC could be purchased with a minimum of 10 % discount merely by asking. Selecting a GIAC Dealer.. Prior to comitting to GIAC and having the work done I liased via e-mail with one of their guys in America who was also very helpful, he confirmed all GIAC maps for the european market are written with 98ron fuel on spec and answered various other queries of interest to me about their software/process and responded via the main website , these were his details AustinWyly@giacusa.com The main UK Dealer for GIAC in the UK is Regal who distribute to various approved outlets, I am placed fairly centrally in the east midlands so had a few to choose from, I spoke with the various outlets and chose 'Statller' based in Sheffield as I was very impressed with the owner's background/ technical knowledge and enthusiasm, I was particularly attracted to the fact that Steve jr could not only carry out software changes to my car but could strip and totally rebuild it if the fancy took him. Statller is a family run buisiness (Father & Son) who specialise in all Porsche and VAG models, Statller is a trading division of Autorads which was established in 1983 and is basically a car parts specialist, The father runs Autorad from the same premises and Steve junior who is an experienced Porsche mechanic/technician looks after Statller with some of his colleagues who previously worked alongside him at main Porsche dealerships. The front of the premises was once a petrol station with pumps long gone but now replaced with hardware of a different sort - wall to wall Porsche's in various states of rebuild to customers specification. The reception is in an obvious state of refurb due to the previous summers Floods but a warm welcome is offered along with a brew. There are great plans for the premises over the coming months with new flooring to the reception areas and a bespoke Dyno on order for June 08. The surroundings are superficial as both father and son greet you in a friendly manner and are obviously keen to offer customer satisfaction. At the rear of the forecourt is a substantial warehouse with further working bays which is predominantly used for the Autorad side of the buisiness with Steve Jnr utlising the smaller 2 ramp workshop at the front of the building, this makes him accessible to his many regular customers and reportedly is far easier to heat. The Remap process.. GIAC hold details of the various ECU types for your particular vehicle and all previous files for remaps performed so for all intent and purposes the maps offered are in the main 'Generic' but unique to your ECU type of which there are several already even for the new S3. > Customer requirements - initial conversation about your car, any current modifications and your requirements/expectations. > Health Check - A laptop is plugged into your diagnostics port and car's ECU is thoroughly interogated to ascertain zero faults. > ECU identification - A reading is taken & all details sent off to GIAC. > Map Identification - if suitable map has already been produced for your ECU type that matches your requirements this is selected and the remap process begins with the laptop being re-introduced along with the GIAC flashloader. *In the unlikely scenario that a suitable Map can not be identified for your particular ECU this means the process will be delayed as a bespoke map will be written by GIAC HQ in the states* > Completion & Further Diagnostics - After the new program has been uploaded, Steve Jr checks for any fault codes etc. The Test Drive The bit you've all been waiting for Initially Steve drove with me in the passenger seat, he drove gently and sympathetically and went onto explain the importance of not thrashing any car from cold. We took a few slow circuits of his usual test route and the car behaved perfectly, being smooth and typically 'S3' refined in the lower rev range, there was zero traffic around and steve planetd his foot exiting a sharp bend in 2nd, Bloody hell!! - The car's turbo made a wonderful sound on spool up quite a bit louder than standard with a great 'wooshing' sound, I was pinned back in my seat with what felt like a wall of torque, the car raced towards the red line where Steve promptly changed up a gear explaining that the rev limit will now be slightly higher but it's not his car so drove accordingly. We proceeded to do another few circuits which incorporated a few sharp bends and some long straights and from the passenger seat it felt like one hell of a fast car. My turn - we swapped over and I immediatley felt the difference from standard even after just a few hundred metres, I was not giving it any initially yet the car still felt far more eager but very, very smooth. Hit 3,000 rpm and its just amazing with shed loads of torque and nothing short of amazing accelaration all through the rev range, my car scared the 'shiv' out of me but boy did it make me smile. On my long journey home the car behaved impeccably with grin inducing accelaration available at demand, on the motorway cruise the extra torque makes itself obvious with gentle pressure on the loud pedal accompanied by a healthy turbo 'whoosh' I filled her up with V-power and have decided its pointless to monitor mpg at this point as I intend to really enjoy this tankful. On my return home I let the wife try it out, she has driven the car in the past and thought it was fast enough with no need for a remap, well !! I don't think I have ever heard her swear so much, she absolutely loved the extra performance and actually totally agreed it was money well spent, exiting tha car with a huge smile and shaking slightly from the adrenaline. The Gains I would expect the car to easily achieve the advertised gains of between 305 - 310bhp and am attending the Awesome RR day on March 8th so at least this can be quantified to a degree, but to be fair I'm not that fussed about headline figures, the car drives superb in every aspect, I will be interested to view the plot lines but expect to see nothing less than a smooth progressive power curve. Conclusion.. The most common cliche heard at this point is "Just how it should have been from the factory.." - well this is so true but I'm glad they aren't because mine is now superb and at this early stage of GIAC entry into the european market still fairly unique. I have had both petrol and diesel remapped in the past and have always maintained that with a Diesel the map is far more noticeable with the petrol maps being more subtle, in this case I have been proved wrong as the car is now very, very smooth with progressive power available at all times but it really is night and day in comparison to Standard. I am glad I opted for the handheld flashloader and 'stock' (265PS) programming for those inevitable dealer visits, incidentally the handheld device is tiny in comparison to the bluefin and the map change takes seconds rather than minutes so another bonus. Additional maps can be purchased with functions like 'Valet' (reduced power) and 'Kill' (immobilise) for approx £30 and operated by the relevant button on the Flashloader - all not incrementing the cars Flash counter. Steve at Statller was a pleasure to meet and extremely knowledgeable, when asked about further recommended modifications he proposed an upgraded DV with metal internals of the same type used by Porsche, he had none in stock that day but offered to fit one for free next time I'm passing, he stressed there would be no change in sound but increased reliability would be offered. Stage 2 would require a sports exhaust system from Miltek with sports cat, this could add an additional 15/20 bhp but he said the benefits were in driveability rather than out and out gains, the GIAC map utilised is suitable for this stage or can be adjusted/replaced at the customer request. I would whole heartedly recommend the GIAC software to all S3 8P owners. Dealer Recommendation I have high expectations as a customer and these were all met, I will definetly use Statller again, I expect there exposure to be greatly increased over the coming months especially once the preparation of Steve's personal GIAC tuned 700bhp Porsche breaks cover and is featured in various tuning mags, this will enhance what is already a successful family run buisiness into an even bigger concern, the enthusiam and professionalism is a joy to be experienced. I get the impression from my visit and also from comments made by the many customers that 'popped' in for advice throughout the morning that Statller is a well kept secret in Northern parts and can understand why, Steve was in constant demand throughout the whole process due to his expertise in all things mechanical & technical, he was as happy changing a bulb for a regular as he was lightly stripping an A4 TDI Avant for yet another 'passing' regular in search of a solution to a fault, in the background 2 very expensive Porsche occupied the ramps and were being worked on by the other Porsche trained Techs, all in all it was an enjoyable morning especially if cars are your thing with all conversations revolving around the subject. The Statller website is currently under construction with not an awful lot to see as time is primarily devoted to customer requirements but the completion is imminent, if you have any questions give Steve Jr a call, but don't be surprised if he's busy www.statller.com. www.Autorads.co.uk Sales@autorads.co.uk (0114 279 8195) S4 7WX ..................Anyway think i'll go home for lunch today so I can go for a drive, woo hoooo !!!!!!!