Brembo A4/S4 332mm Big Brake Kit Impressions
Recently I installed Vogtland coilovers and Brembo 332mm Big Brake Kit on my 2006 Audi A4. I wanted to share with you some of my findings.
So let's start by looking at the OEM parts. We get a huge caliper, but look at the size of that pad. Single piston design is showing its ugly head, as the pad size is limited. No doubt that these pads would be inexpensive to replace, but they will heat up and wear quickly. Weight was a second thing I noticed. OEM rotor weighs in at 22.4 lbs, and the caliper at 17 lbs. Brembo parts weigh 16.4, and 9.8 lbs respectively. Just by installing Brembos you can reduce your unsprung weight by 13 lbs per corner! This equals to a 26 lbs weight reduction at the front of the car (akin to getting a CF hood), but more importantly this is all unsprung weight. This upgrade will not only allow you to stop better, but will also improve the handling of your car.
This Brembo kit for the B6/B7 A4 (same as the kit for the B5 S4) came with gorgeous Silver calipers, and cadmium plated (rust proof) two piece rotors. Rotor is attached to the hat with Brembo patented McLaren hardware that ensures that the rotor floats but remains rattle-free. This kit also includes Brembo FM1000 brake pads that have medium - rotor friendly coefficient of friction, very little flex to ensure great pedal feel and modulation. These pads can be used on the street under all conditions, and on the track under light conditions - novice run group. Our customers also have an option to swap these pads for ceramics - at no additional cost! (This is important if one plans to track the car extensively.) I almost forgot the stainless steel braided brake lines (front only) are also included.
Installation is very straightforward, and I would recommend that one performs it themselves. The hardest part is unbolting the OEM caliper which is torqued down to 148 lbs/inch. Brembo kit comes with instructions and an addendum that can be easily followed. Additional help can be found on the internet, but I doubt one will need it. After the installation, brakes need to bled and that is best done with two people. If the car is new bleeding the newly installed front brakes is sufficient. (We are almost there...)
OK, bedding the pads in - straight from Brembo:
* New pads and new rotor surfaces need time to properly break-in before maximum braking performance can be achieved.
* After installing new pads and rotors find a safe stretch of road and accelerate to 55-60mph. Perform 10-15 medium pressure smooth stops from 55-60mph down to 15mph.
* Do NOT come to a complete stop. Once you get to 15mph remove your foot from the brake pedal and gradually accelerate back up to 55-60mph. Allow at least 60 seconds for the brakes to cool between each stop. Repeat 10-15 times.
* If you must come to a complete stop during this break-in procedure remove your foot from the brake pedal as soon as you come to a stop. Let the car roll few feet forward. Do NOT sit with your foot on the brake pedal. This can cause the rotors to warp.
* Proper break-in of your rotors and pads will help maximize braking performance and help extend the service life of your new components.
OK, now we are driving. Holy COW! I have never felt brakes that good. It has been a while since I drove a Boxster S, but this is the first thing that came to my mind. Pedal travel is minimal and they grab, but not too harshly as to over slow the car. Modulation is just fantastic, and braking is very predictable. These brakes just work, and they put a huge smile on my face.
Since the installation I have take the car out for few spins on some twisties by my house. I was unable to fade these brakes on the street. I braked late and hard where I could. Brake dust is copious (ceramic pads may help here), but they remain fade free. I have driven in early morning cold weather and rain, driven it conservatively and hard. Brakes remain fade and most importantly vibration and rattle free. Exactly what the Brembo Kit promised. I could not be happier.
I preach compromises when modifying ones car. Exhausts can make the car too loud at times; some suspensions lower it too much or are too harsh. There are inherent risks when replacing well tested OEM components. I have installed and de-installed numerous components off my vehicles. Some upgrades went well, many went awry. I can honestly recommend the Brembo Big Brake Kit to my friends and family. I have it running now on two vehicles, and I have zero issues with them. At the same time I need to warn you that not all wheels will clear the Brembo caliper. OEM 17s do not, and I am not sure about the OEM 18s. Currently I run 19" OZ Superlaggeras, 18" would clear easily, and 17" OZ should clear as well. But before you commit to a wheel, make sure these brakes will fit under it. (I will be posting dimensions on my web site shortly.)
Finally, how does StartupRacing do more for you? Well, these kits are not just SKUs for us. I have personally installed them and am using them on two cars. I will be testing one of the kits extensively at track events in all conditions. I also allow my customers to order street ceramic pads instead of the FM1000s. Ceramics are not necessarily better, but they easily interchange with the race ceramic pads without the need for bedding in between swaps. So, if you have a dual use car, and are looking for BBK that is easy to maintain - please e-mail us.
(Track testing. I tested these brakes with the FM1000 pads at Portland International Raceway. I used my track S4 to perform this test. Although most of the sessions were run in rain, I used these brakes repeatedly to slow down from about 120 to 40 (coming into the chicane). I am happy to reports that I got ZERO fade, even with the street pads. And no vibrations at the track or on the way back home after this two day event.)