The RS’s reinvention continues this month… with even more power! After the stunning new 3M wrap, stylish new Velgen wheels, and aggressive Toyo R888R tyres, I really needed to take the performance to the next level. The handling and braking have been taken care of already with various chassis upgrades, not to mention those super-sticky tyres, so the time was ripe to up the power.
Throughout the year I’ve been making hardware upgrades in readiness for the switch to the next power level, the only thing I needed now was a decent sports cat and the all-important software. But which one to choose? There’re quite a few options on the market for the Mk3 RS now, and I’ve been lucky enough to experience most of them for myself, but for me it had to be mountune’s M400 kit. Yes, I’m becoming something of a mountune fanboy, and with good reason – it’s all great stuff. When you speak to the mountune technicians and engineers you can really see how every aspect of even the smallest component has been meticulously studied, and then developed to maximise its performance potential. And that’s exactly the kind of care and attention I want people to spend on my beloved RS. And, with the hype surrounding reliability issues of the 2.3-litre EcoBoost seemingly never going away I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a little bit of niggling doubt about upgrading the power at the back of my mind. So, I thought to myself; ‘Whose product do I, personally, trust the most?’ And the answer; mountune.
So, I booked the car in at their Essex HQ for a mountune sports cat to be fitted – which soon escalated into a full turbo-back exhaust to work with the already-fitted axle-back! – and the much revered m400 calibration. And… it’s fantastic! I drove mountune’s own demo car about this time last year, and I’d forgotten how good it is. In fact, in the comfort of my own car, and with the chassis/handling upgrades I’ve fitted, I’d say it feels even better than I remember!
Power may only be up around 20bhp from the m380 tune, but the power delivery feels much sharper; from 5000rpm onwards it feels like a different car, pulling much harder to the red line. The torque patterns feel very similar to the m380; there’s still that huge kick up the backside low down in the revs to get you going, but there’s just more of it.
And the noise. Oh my God, the noise! The full exhaust system certainly sounds more aggressive when you first fire it up, but at full throttle with the turbo boosting away it sounds like an animal.
Since having the m400 fitted I have racked up a fair few miles, including a comprehensive mix of twisty B-roads and fast motorways, and I have loved every minute of it. I even managed to squeeze in a few laps around the Silverstone circuit at TRAX, and the car performed brilliantly. I can see why so many Mk3 RS owners track these things, and I can only imagine more will follow in the coming months and years.
But then, when you slow things down again, it remains civilised. This is another reason why I chose the m400 kit, it really doesn’t compromise on any of the everyday usability of the car – and I can’t afford to have a £30k car that I don’t drive.
That reminds me, I really must swap those new wheels and tyres back over before the crappy weather arrives – semi-slick tyres and lightweight race wheels are great for dry summer roads, but not so good for ice and snow!
Since venturing on track I’ve become more aware of the incredible temps involved with hard driving, so am just about to order one of Mishimoto’s new oil cooler kits. I may look to grab some heat tape to stop the thin-wall alloy crossover pipe getting too hot under the collar too. After that I think I’m going to look at installing a decent breather system to prevent the head getting coked up, oh and mountune recommend uprated rods and pistons with the m400 too. I’m going to have to start saving up…