words: George Achorn, photos: Nicholas Caron
I’m just going to say it. OEMplus is an overused term. Originally coined to describe automotive modifications primarily using OEM parts to create something the factory could or should have built, it tends to be more loosely used as any modified car that’s cleanly built. Were it applied more strictly, few modified cars would pass the test… though we suspect this A4 allroad (B9) built by Jaron Brass of the ACNA Golden Gate Chapter would definitely make the cut.
In OEMplus parlance, Jaron may represent the best of the best. Regarding the building of his Gotland Green Avant, Brass says rather matter-off-factly that all he wanted to do was build what he couldn’t get from Europe given the limited Avant offerings Stateside. To that end, he may have a bit of an unfair advantage because the current executive at camera startup Light has formerly held posts at Audi’s Silicon Valley Electronics Research Lab (ERL) as well as Audi AG in Germany. If there was someone capable of dissecting the book on Euro-only components and kit, Jaron would effectively be that guy.
On the outside, the modifications start casually enough with the typical bits such as aluminum optic mirror caps to match the allroad’s already ample alloy brightwork and aspherical mirror glass. From there he goes next level with fully functional Matrix Beam LED headlights and associated washing system. You might expect the bumpers to need modifying as a result, and Jaron did replace both with their European equivalents… though also to support installation of a fully functioning Europe-only Audi parking assistant! A set of Audi Accessories clear Avant taillights not yet offered in the USA cap things off at the rear.
Inside, the acute attention to detail continues. Here again, typical additions such as a flat-bottom perforated S-line steering wheel, matching perforated shift handle, aluminum pedals and red start/stop button were each added. Other changes are much more atypical, including OEM Alcantara door panels, nougat brown stitched armrests, knee rests and rest of world headrests front and rear. Rest of world sun visors get rid of the warning labels, leather piped Audi exclusive floor mats look great down below and luggage compartment rails offer more functionality complete with a gluttonous display of European unobtainium.
It’s not that Jaron skipped out on the aftermarket entirely. He embraced that too, though judiciously. Cosmetically, you’d be hard pressed to find the non-Audi parts with the exception of a set of HRE Flow Form FF01 ET 25 wheels rolling on 245 35 ZR20 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. Beyond that, the only other visual tell is a Cut By Caschy Audi Sport Rhombus badge that integrates with the allroad text on the trunk.
Other mechanical improvements are under the skin, and sourced entirely from 034Motorsport. There’s a P34 cold air intake to help the allroad breathe just a bit more. Everything else goes about setting the car at a ride height and making it handle more similar to what one might expect from an RS 4 Avant. This includes a front strut brace, 034’s Dynamic+ lowering springs and Dynamic+ rear adjustable sway bar. Further tightening of the chassis comes from a billet aluminum rear sub frame mount insert and transmission mount insert, again from 034 Motorsport.
When it comes to OEMplus, this Californian A4 allroad sets new levels of impressiveness. While anyone can fit a set of polished mirrors or alloy pedal covers, it takes an incredibly unique level of knowledge and overseas access to functionally install complex components such as Matrix Beam headlights or parking assistant. Even more impressive, the most impressive tech components are something that’d be lost on even the most ardent enthusiasts who may encounter this car in the wild. In as much, this grocery getter walks softly but carries the largest of OEMplus sticks.
This story originally ran in the Fall 2017 issue of the Audi Club North America quattro quarterly print magazine. In order to subscribe to quattro quarterly, join the Audi Club North America HERE.