Steve2020/07/15

Audi 3.0T S4 S5 Prevent Wandering and Disconnected Feel

Audi is known for their raw, uncompromising performance and all-wheel-drive handling. The 3.0T platform achieves 333hp and 325 lb-ft out of the box and comes equipped with a root style Eaton TVS supercharger. Unfotrunately, the 2013 B8.5 and years later use an electrical mechanical steering system which can leave the driver feeling disconnected from the vehicle. Additionally, Audi users have also noticed that the cars 'wander' or 'float' and sometimesd feel misaligned or like the car can't quite keep straight on the highway. This requires a bit of extra steering attention when compared to other cars. The wandering and disconnected feeling are common acomplaints among audi enthusiasts and audi critics alike. 


So how the heck do you fix that? I asked my mechanic and the folks at Audizine.com and luckily luckily there are a couple different ways to help make the car feel more planted and less wandery. Some involve software changes and others involve installing new hardware. 


Disable Audi DSR (Driver Steering Recomendation) 

This is often recomended as the first step to removing the wandering feeling. The engineers at Audi introduced DSR into the 2013 S4's and S5's in hopes of improving the overall steering and slip response. Well, they dun goofed. The "DSR attempts to use steering wheel angle, yaw angle, yaw angle rate change, and differential wheel speed to compensate for differences in traction between the right and left sides of the car." -Slacktide. Disabling this module has shown time and again to dramatically improve steering characteristics and remove much of the wandering. I personally disabled DSR on my 2013 S5 and noticed a huge improvement. I wasn't fighting with the car as much especially on the highway. 


Ok cool how do I do disable DSR?

Using a vag com cable (like the one from Ross Tech) and VCDS software:

Module location: Chassis tab --> 44-Steering Assist 

  • Wait for codes to load
  • Click "Coding - 07" button 
  • Click "long Coding Helper"
  • Uncheck the box "Bit4 - Driver SDteering Recomendation (DSR) active" 
  • Apply changes (move the long coding helper box to apply changes in the previous screen. Do not close the long coding helper or the changes will not be applied.) 


"I made this change within the last couple of months and it does make a noticeable difference. I feel like the steering wheel is more connected to the wheels now and less input to change direction. I would compare it to changing from Comfort to Dynamic only the steering does not get heavier, if that makes sense? Less float, wander and input required to steer." -Masemoto 


"Just drove 400 miles with this mod....TOTALLY different car, steering is so much more precise." -fmzip


CR-15 Front Strut Tower Chassis Brace

The Canyon Run 15 (CR-15) was designed by an Audizine member to help combat wandering and steering response. ECS also has a similar tower brace. One of these will run you about $120 and can be installed at home in about half an hour with limited tools. "The Canyon Run Front Strut Tower Brace is proven to reduce chassis flex and in return gives a more responsive steering wheel and improves suspension feel." - CR15. From ECS: Strut tower bars are an excellent and common handling upgrade that work by bracing the shock towers together to reduce chassis flex during cornering." 


The front strut tower brace (CR-15) is regarded as the cheapest and most bang for your buck aftermarket modification to help with streering response and to reduce wandering. After surverying Audizine, this seemed to be the most popular mod to help with wandering and most users start here to address the issue. At just over $100 it's a no brainer and gives you additional steering and cornering benefits. This can be (and often is) combined with disabling DSR. I'll mention the next most common mods next.


"I would second the CR15 front strut brace. Should make a noticeable improvement in turn in for very cheap and super simple install. It's a no brainer." -jimrobbington


X-Brace Chassis Reinforcement & Drivetrain Stabalization 

An X-Brace is the next most raved about mod to help with overall steering response. This may not be the biggest bang for your buck, but this is one of those "you get what you pay for" mods. If you want to spend little and simply improve the issue then disabling DSR and installing a CR-15 are the way to go. If you really want to improve steering responsiveness, go harder into the corners, minimize understeer, feel more connected, and remove wandering, the X brace is the way to go. the X-Brace from 034 Motorsports will set you back $550 and the one from eurocode is about $420. 


From Eurocode: "there is a common sentiment amongst auto journalists and professionals: Audi’s weakness is their steering feel/response.  And while we are Audi fanatics here at EuroCode, we are inclined to agree- the steering is just not as precise as some of its competitors."


Benefits List:

  • Better steering response- both at the limit and in normal day-to-day driving
  • Improved steering accuracy- more “point and shoot” versus a vague steering feel
  • Less “play” or sloppiness- better composure on uneven pavement with less shimmying
  • Less torsional flex from the chassis (some even report less creaking in the interior) 
  • Vastly improved driving dynamics along with increased refinement


"I used to be annoyed by the vague steering feedback every time I drove the car. I got a cr-15 ($120) and an x-brace ($400) and haven't been annoyed since." -mungie


Rear Sway Bar and Lower Control Arm Brace

Adding a rear sway bar is another common mod to improve steering responsiveness. While not known specifically to remove wandering, it helps other aspects of steering and responsiveness which can stack well with other mods on this list. rear sway bars are mostly known for improving understeer so you can attack the corners harder. However, in addition to generally improving steering response, it can also help remove wandering and noticibly improve "point and shoot" steering. From 034 Motorsports: the "Solid Rear Sway Bar substantially reduces body roll while greatly improving turn in and off throttle oversteer, without compromising comfort on the street." The 034 Motorsport rear sway bar will set you back only $300. 


A lower control arm brace gives you a similar outcome to the rear sway bar. It is generally regarded as the little brother to the rear sway bar because it does not produce quite as noticible results, but at a price point of only $120, it is an extremely attractive option for those looking to save money. From ECS: "Control arm braces are an excellent and common handling upgrade that work by bracing the arms together to reduce flex during cornering and suspension travel." 


"The x-brace helps with the wandering. Better suspension bushings as well. Sway bars improve responsiveness to steering inputs." -jbullin2 


Final Comments

There are several mods you can do to improve steering response, understeer, minimize wandering and floaty feel, improve cornering ability, and become more connected with the car. Audizine members refer to these bolt-on mods as "OEM+" because they have an OEM feel but can make your Audi S4 or S5 3.0T perform on par with the next platform up; the RS4 and RS5. It is common to have these parts installed regardless if you notice wandering on your car because they make the car more fun to drive. So, if you're interested in making any upgrades, there are many different options at different price points.