Saloon APR stage 1 ECU + TCU remap review

wuta3

Registered User
Hello!

I recently went in for APR stage1 ECU and TCU tunes (at Awesome). I thought i'd write up a little review for anyone considering it. It hasn't been dyno'd yet, due to a minor coolant leak, but I expect it makes quoted power as these engines are so consistent. My car ran ~410bhp stock, so a bit over quoted. I'm not too fussed about peak power numbers, i'm more bothered about drivability as it is a daily.

My Summary
Get it done, if only for the TCU changes. It is how the car should've been delivered from the factory IMHO.

City Driving
The TCU tune along with the extra torque available from the ECU makes a massive difference in city driving and traffic. All the annoyances of the DSG are gone, fuel usage is improved and drivability is much better. The D and S shift-points are much more sensible, and in S you don't have a constant 2nd/3rd change in 30mph traffic. The clutch engagement is might less sloppy and everything is much more responsive. In 'D', gears are held a bit longer and you're not finding yourself in 6th in 35mph traffic with weak torque available, rather 4th is held and you don't need to kick-down to perform a quick lane change or overtake. For the UK market at least, this is how the DSG should've been delivered and i'd never go back to the stock map on the gearbox. I don't know if the TCU tune makes sense without the ECU map, but if it does, everyone should do it. I'd usually get around 16-17mpg around town, but easily see 22mpg+ now and drivability is night and day.

On boost
Power wise, it is pretty insane what some software can do. The ~80bhp increase puts the car's power/weight in a much better place. Low end torque is much improved, and when you floor it and the boost kicks in ... it is much more savage. Gone is the linear German feeling, where you can hit 100mph without really "feeling it" and it is now a kick up the bum with wheel spin to match. The front pitches up, you can feel the rear engage. I'd say the car is much more crashable now. It also feels like a much lighter car, much more nimble and with so much more character. Kickdown in 'D' is much more savage when mashing the right foot at 50mph/7th gear for an overtake. I didn't feel before like you could overdo it and end up in a hedge, but more care is needed now. Some might prefer a more linear map, but I enjoy the drama of the APR map.

Extras
I got switchable maps, (stock, 95RON, 98RON) and anti-theft. I recommend both. They're really easy to use. The immobiliser is hilarious, as it allows you to start the car but the throttle is disabled ... so any thief would have to travel under idle torque at a snail's pace.

Complaints
In 'D', 2nd gear engagement has a bit of hesitation in slow/parking/stop-start situations, but nowhere near as annoying as the constant gear confusion of the standard map. Clutch engagement in 1st/rev is much more sudden, meaning much more car is needed edging up to walls in parking spaces. As expected, temps seem a bit higher, and you can feel that in the footwell meaning aircon goes on much sooner ... reminds me of a MK1 TT where engine heat would cook your feet!
 

dmb

New Member
Thanks for the review. I’ve been thinking about going stage 1 for a good while now.

Might be a rookie question: how do you change between tunes? And I assume you’d have to run the tank almost dry before hand?

Thanks!
 

wuta3

Registered User
Thanks for the review. I’ve been thinking about going stage 1 for a good while now.

Might be a rookie question: how do you change between tunes? And I assume you’d have to run the tank almost dry before hand?

Thanks!
Switching is done via the cruise control stalk, you can find all the EMCS instructions here.

Yeah, if I was caught short on fuel quality, i'd probably switch to stock, run the tank dry and re-fill with 99, then give it a good few miles to flush through the fuel system.
 
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-Ju-

Well-Known Member
VCDS Map User
Hello!

I recently went in for APR stage1 ECU and TCU tunes (at Awesome). I thought i'd write up a little review for anyone considering it. It hasn't been dyno'd yet, due to a minor coolant leak, but I expect it makes quoted power as these engines are so consistent. My car ran ~410bhp stock, so a bit over quoted. I'm not too fussed about peak power numbers, i'm more bothered about drivability as it is a daily.

My Summary
Get it done, if only for the TCU changes. It is how the car should've been delivered from the factory IMHO.

City Driving
The TCU tune along with the extra torque available from the ECU makes a massive difference in city driving and traffic. All the annoyances of the DSG are gone, fuel usage is improved and drivability is much better. The D and S shift-points are much more sensible, and in S you don't have a constant 2nd/3rd change in 30mph traffic. The clutch engagement is might less sloppy and everything is much more responsive. In 'D', gears are held a bit longer and you're not finding yourself in 6th in 35mph traffic with weak torque available, rather 4th is held and you don't need to kick-down to perform a quick lane change or overtake. For the UK market at least, this is how the DSG should've been delivered and i'd never go back to the stock map on the gearbox. I don't know if the TCU tune makes sense without the ECU map, but if it does, everyone should do it. I'd usually get around 16-17mpg around town, but easily see 22mpg+ now and drivability is night and day.

On boost
Power wise, it is pretty insane what some software can do. The ~80bhp increase puts the car's power/weight in a much better place. Low end torque is much improved, and when you floor it and the boost kicks in ... it is much more savage. Gone is the linear German feeling, where you can hit 100mph without really "feeling it" and it is now a kick up the bum with wheel spin to match. The front pitches up, you can feel the rear engage. I'd say the car is much more crashable now. It also feels like a much lighter car, much more nimble and with so much more character. Kickdown in 'D' is much more savage when mashing the right foot at 50mph/7th gear for an overtake. I didn't feel before like you could overdo it and end up in a hedge, but more care is needed now. Some might prefer a more linear map, but I enjoy the drama of the APR map.

Extras
I got switchable maps, (stock, 95RON, 98RON) and anti-theft. I recommend both. They're really easy to use. The immobiliser is hilarious, as it allows you to start the car but the throttle is disabled ... so any thief would have to travel under idle torque at a snail's pace.

Complaints
In 'D', 2nd gear engagement has a bit of hesitation in slow/parking/stop-start situations, but nowhere near as annoying as the constant gear confusion of the standard map. Clutch engagement in 1st/rev is much more sudden, meaning much more car is needed edging up to walls in parking spaces. As expected, temps seem a bit higher, and you can feel that in the footwell meaning aircon goes on much sooner ... reminds me of a MK1 TT where engine heat would cook your feet!
Nice review.
I've always used APR for remaps and have been really happy with the results, really smooth power delivery!
I am considering getting the RSQ3 done at some point and it's good to know the EMCS is still available.
I had the switchable maps and anti theft on a seat Leon cupra R years ago and it was an awesome feature that I really liked, however not every ECU supports it.
The only thing that puts me off is the price especially with the tcu map as well....I do keep checking for offers though lol
 

wuta3

Registered User
Nice review.
I've always used APR for remaps and have been really happy with the results, really smooth power delivery!
I am considering getting the RSQ3 done at some point and it's good to know the EMCS is still available.
I had the switchable maps and anti theft on a seat Leon cupra R years ago and it was an awesome feature that I really liked, however not every ECU supports it.
The only thing that puts me off is the price especially with the tcu map as well....I do keep checking for offers though lol
There was some debate when flashing if the EMCS function would work on the DAZA ECU.
I could be wrong, but it might not be all RS3 ECU that support it. I read somewhere that only certain batches didn't have the underlying mechanics required for EMCS disabled.

I could be misinformed however.
 

-Ju-

Well-Known Member
VCDS Map User
There was some debate when flashing if the EMCS function would work on the DAZA ECU.
I could be wrong, but it might not be all RS3 ECU that support it. I read somewhere that only certain batches didn't have the underlying mechanics required for EMCS disabled.

I could be misinformed however.
Yes that's a bit of a deal breaker for me having it on the LCR and then not on and 8P S3, I was promised it was coming but it never materialised due to insufficient space on the ECU apparently. I felt there was something missing after that!
 

Leftback

Member
I had the APR stage 1+ ecu tune. Had it with the TVS stage 2+ TCU tune. Couldn't fault it, very smooth in its power/torque delivery, with just intake mods and an intercooler upgrade. I would definitely recommend it. Gone Ecotune stage 2 now and that is a complete step up
 

wuta3

Registered User
I had the APR stage 1+ ecu tune. Had it with the TVS stage 2+ TCU tune. Couldn't fault it, very smooth in its power/torque delivery, with just intake mods and an intercooler upgrade. I would definitely recommend it. Gone Ecotune stage 2 now and that is a complete step up
I like that with APR the stage 1 and stage 1+ map are the same map, so you don't need a reflash to get gains from bolt-ons after a stage1 flash. Pretty cool.
 

wuta3

Registered User

Leftback

Member
The APR website says the map is adaptive to hardware
The stage 1 ecu map can adapt a bit to changes to keep it safe. The stage 1+ map is designed specifically for the essential inclusion of the intercooler and and intake (unlike the Unitronic stage 1+) - changes to boost, ignition timing etc etc. You can also specify stage 1+ with high grip or low grip modes for launches. You can probably have stage 1+ applied free of charge if you are already stage 1 with APR.
 

Zash

Registered User
I've tried the APR Stage 1 file and there is another feature that no one seems to mention, the exhaust mapping is changed (Aus version). In comfort mode the exhaust will open earlier, around 3.5k rpm and it will also open based on load.
Many will probably like this but it didn't suit me as I use the car for work as well. So any slight incline and or with a few people in the car the exhaust is open a low revs and quiet droney. I've had complaints from the back seat.
There was also a little hiccup from 2 to 3rd on occasion and I'm told the TCU tune would fix.
Otherwise it had even, smooth power delivery, but it didn't have the mid range punch that my JB4 gave with a 30% e85 mix.
I didn't get a chance to try the apr stage 1 e85 file but I'm told it's a significant step up from the 98 file.
 

Leftback

Member
I've tried the APR Stage 1 file and there is another feature that no one seems to mention, the exhaust mapping is changed (Aus version). In comfort mode the exhaust will open earlier, around 3.5k rpm and it will also open based on load.
Many will probably like this but it didn't suit me as I use the car for work as well. So any slight incline and or with a few people in the car the exhaust is open a low revs and quiet droney. I've had complaints from the back seat.
There was also a little hiccup from 2 to 3rd on occasion and I'm told the TCU tune would fix.
Otherwise it had even, smooth power delivery, but it didn't have the mid range punch that my JB4 gave with a 30% e85 mix.
I didn't get a chance to try the apr stage 1 e85 file but I'm told it's a significant step up from the 98 file.
Wish we had e85 at the pump in the UK. Would be a massive step up at stage 1 or 2.

I've only ever used comfort mode once and hated it for a RS3. I only ever use dynamic and cycle round to it each time I start up.
 

wuta3

Registered User
The stage 1 ecu map can adapt a bit to changes to keep it safe. The stage 1+ map is designed specifically for the essential inclusion of the intercooler and and intake (unlike the Unitronic stage 1+) - changes to boost, ignition timing etc etc. You can also specify stage 1+ with high grip or low grip modes for launches. You can probably have stage 1+ applied free of charge if you are already stage 1 with APR.
I'd hope so, the APR website says "no further ECU changes are required" over stage1, partly why I opted for APR
 

wuta3

Registered User
Wish we had e85 at the pump in the UK. Would be a massive step up at stage 1 or 2.

I've only ever used comfort mode once and hated it for a RS3. I only ever use dynamic and cycle round to it each time I start up.
Does your car not remember the last mode you were in? PFL?
 

Leftback

Member
Does your car not remember the last mode you were in? PFL?
No it always defaults to comfort (even though it says dynamic on the dash if that is the last mode used) in the UK. Its to do with emissions laws and not being able to start up in the most polluting mode. There is loads written about on the 8V Facebook page. I didnt know until I found out on there - it's a great source if info. There is no way of altering it with a tune either - one of the tuners commented on a post about it.

I'm FL, DAZA. My stage 2 tune does disable start stop and gets rid of the cold start cycle/wastegate rattle, which is a big bonus. Start up routine now is traction fully off and cycle back round to dynamic mode. A nuisance but doesn't take long
 

Leftback

Member
I'd hope so, the APR website says "no further ECU changes are required" over stage1, partly why I opted for APR
APR basically offer 3 maps - stage 1, stage 1+ and stage 3. Stage 1+ is basically their revised stage 2 offering (since they did away with stage 2) that does away with the need for the downpipe (all down to emissions and law suits in the US - there is a bit of support for it on Audizine in the states as some see it as the sweet spot for the road. There is also some posting on here about it. I found it lacking in mid-range and ended up going stage 2 with Ecotune and adding a downpipe to address this.
 

Leftback

Member
Does your car not remember the last mode you were in? PFL?
Hope this explains things better than I did:


 
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