Unraveling 3.2 FSI V6 performance in a Q5

A good friend of mine bought a red 2009 Q5 with the 3.2 FSI V6 engine to be able to carry around his dog and his family. But he was disappointed with the performance of this V6. After some research he found that NOBODY did anything performance related for this Q5.

This is the progress thread that I am going to posting in to show how I fixed it and made it faster.

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I think APR was making a tune at one time, not sure if they still do. I think they claimed around 15bhp & 15 lb/ft of Tq, not going to get much more from a normally aspirated motor like you’re going to get from a Turbo or Supercharged car with a tune. Gutting the Cats might get you 10bhp but then again you will fail emissions if you are in a testing area. Not much you can do to a normally aspirated engine like the 3.2, that’s why Audi used it as a basis for the 3.0t and added the Supercharger, more bhp & Tq all while being slightly more efficient.

So that is a typical narrative that I have seen over the years on different VAG model and engine platforms. Along with people saying to simply sell the naturally aspirated engine for a forced inducted engine. For example some people saying to sell this 3.2 FSI V6 for a 2.0T or a 3.0T.

However I have been around this forum and others long enough to remember that the very same thing was said about the 4.2 V8 in the B6/7 S4, the 4.2 FSI V8 in the B7 RS4, the 3.0 timing belt V6 in the B6 A4/C5 A6, 5.2 FSI V10 in the C6 S6/D3 S8, and very recently the 4.2 FSI in the RS5. That is until an Audi Revolution was started in each different platform.

Please come along with me on this journey because it is getting fun.

There is stuff that can be done to increase the power incrementally but not as easy or as cheap as a boosted car. In general I think Cat back exhausts will only get you a different sound, any power claims are minimal or non-existant. Cats are usually the biggest restriction and gutting them or at least going with High Flow cats will almost always show an improvement. A free flowing intake may give a couple of HP. I think the cams are the same in the 3.0t so no choices there. Might be worth checking out the 3.6L normally aspirated as I think it’s also related to the 3.2. The 3.0t was developed from the 3.2 so they share a few parts but other than possibly the exhaust manifolds, not sure if there is anything that can be used that might be an improvement. Check out APR and maybe MTM and see if they still sell a software flash, probably discounted now and pretty reasonable for at least a noticeable difference. I’m sure if you’ve got better than 91AKI fuel then you can see a difference with their mapping. They usually have a 91 and 93 maps for Boosted cars but for most normally aspirated they mostly only have a 93 map, taking advantage of timing advance to get a little more power, but it usually comes with a Octane requirement increase.

While I greatly appreciate you trying to help, I have a few things sorted out already so again please follow along with the updates to come.

Just to clarify a few things that you mentioned from my perspective:

  1. A properly sized exhaust for the power level of the engine will increase the horsepower and torque regardless if the engine is NA or FI. These 3.2s were restricted from the factory to meet emissions and noise requirements.
  2. The cats are definitely restrictive and that has been true since the older B7/B6/B5 cars.
  3. These later B8 style 3.2 FSI V6s have the Audi Valvelift system or the German version of V-tech so it has two cam lobes right next to each other on the intake camshaft. Basically a low rpm range cam lobe and then a high rpm range cam lobe that shift with solenoids at a certain rpm crossover point. That combined with the variable length intake manifold helps promote more low end torque and then high end horsepower.
  4. The NA 3.6 liter engine used in the Q7, multiple VWs, and the Cayenne was a VR6 or a straight six with staggered cylinders for a gross oversimplification. As the 3.2 FSI V6 in this Q5 is a traditional 90 degree banked V6 engine. I understand that you might be confused since the TTs and A3s also had a 3.2 liter VR6 too.
  5. Already have a good company in mind for the tuning.

Some things from the 3.0t technical spec manual:
The cylinder block is identical to that of the 3.2l V6 FSI
engine. However, the load on the engine is higher due to
the increased mean peak pressure (combustion pressure).
To ensure high stability, the bearing seats undergo a
special heat treatment process during manufacturing.
Also, higher strength main bearing bolts are used.
Identical camshafts bu the Audi Valvelift system deleted on the 3.0t.
Adaptations from the 3.2L FSI engine:
– Intake system
– Camshafts
– Valves and valve springs
– Flange for the tumble fl aps
Yes, my mistake about the 3.6L, I should have known better if I had thought about it longer. I remembered they had replaced the 3.2 with the 3.6 in some overseas Q7 applications as well as the first V6 Cayenne’s were originally 3.2 and replaced with the 3.6L.
Good luck, post updates as it goes, will be interesting.

I have that SSP as well and had to pass the assessment for technical training back in 2010. Imo it is one of the better SSPs.

The good news is that the block is similar enough between the two engines. That different hardware is the big E-Torx bolts that hold the lower crankshaft girdle/bedplate with the lower main bearing shells. If I have to go in and check out the piston ring gap at some point I will consider upgrading the hardware.

The camshafts are not the same between the 3.0T and the 3.2. In the SSP it actually states “The chain drive is identical design to that of the 3.2l FSI engine. Differences are the modified valve timing and the absence of the exhaust camshaft adjusters.”

Modified valve timing is imo engineer speak for different camshaft duration. From past experience with the very old 2.8 liter V6 and the 2.7T V6 in the B5/C5 cars, the NA 2.8 liter V6 had more camshaft duration to try to help the NA engine make more power. Some of the 2.7T guys actually run 2.8 heads and cams on their 2.7T engines to make more base engine power before boost multiplies that power. It was a while ago but I remember a B8 S4 3.0T guy on Audizine actually decided to run the intake cams from a 2006 A6 3.2 V6 in his 3.0T to make more power at a lower boost pressure. He might have said that the exhaust cams were the same but I need to confirm that.

An added bonus is that the 3.2 FSI V6 has variable exhaust camshaft timing too as the 3.0T does not.

I will keep you posted. Thanks again.

Started tearing into this Q5 after getting it up onto the lift.

Disconnected the battery buried in the trunk.

We wanted to do some deffered maintenance on this Q5 because it had some issues like an oil pressure light on, check engine light on, and multiple fault codes stored.

So I started with draining out the old engine oil to find that over ten quarts came out. That is very unusual since normally only seven quarts come out.

It was concerning that there was so much red RTV around the lower oil pan. That made me want to pull the oil pan to look inside for a quick inspection.

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