Our ’07 Audi A3 2.0T project build is starting to gain some nice momentum. We’ve already installed H&R Ultra-low coilovers, 19x8.5" matte-bronze TSW Nurburging wheels, 235/35 R19 Continental ExtremeContact DW tires as well as a JOM badgeless grille from Black Forest Industries. With these few parts, the Sportback is looking meaner than ever and gets plenty of recognition on the road.
For this installment, we worked with OEM Plus in Laguna Hills, CA. The company has become the recognized authority for official VAG parts. So if you’re looking to build an OEM+ project car, these are the people to talk to.
We recently had a chance to look through their inventory and it’s mouth-watering. They find the cool parts VW and Audi doesn’t import and, because it’s OEM, the fit is exemplary and the quality second-to-none.
We’re hoping to work closely with OEM Plus as Project A3 progresses, and we’re starting with this delicious Audi RS3 aluminum-carbon interior trim kit.
When you’re talking about European performance cars, the Audi RS range is always given huge respect for the high performance, exclusivity and rarity. In fact, very few RS models ever make it Stateside, including the tantalizing Audi RS3.
Powered by the same 340hp 2.5L five-cylinder TFSI engine as in the Audi TT RS, the RS3 reaches 62mph in 4.6sec thanks to lightning-fast DSG changes and quattro AWD. It gets RS styling in the form of a deep front airdam, roof spoiler and rear diffuser. Inside, there are wonderful sports seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and optional “aluminum race inlays”. It’s the latter we’ll be fitting here. The four door trims, gear lever surround and ashtray cover come in a silver carbon-look aluminum finish that instantly adds sophistication to any A3.
Our lowly 2.0T will benefit greatly from these additions because our base model was fitted with somber, black plastic trim. It’s certainly unremarkable, so we were delighted at the improvement from the RS3 trim pieces.
 Our dull stock door trim needed refreshing
 To remove the trim, lift the bottom edge near the interior handle to release three pro
 Each trim piece has a locating hook on the far end, for this reason you start at the h
 To fit the new trim, locate hook into its hole and press the three prongs into their c
 In a few seconds, doors look so much better with aluminum-carbon RS3 trim
 Stock gear surround and ashtray are similarly somber
 Shift surround is held by clips, so pull boot or the boot frame upwards to release the
 Boot is secured to the shift surround by four clips. Release these and remove the surr
 Undo two T20 star screws from the base of ashtray. Lift ashtray to disconnect wiring,
 Ashtray comes away with rubber tray attached. This tray simply pulls off with light p
As the first people to install this $850 kit in the US, we did encounter a slight problem. Basically, the shift surround was manufactured for a DSG-equipped RS3, so the shift boot on our manual lever won’t clip into place, leaving a small gap around the outside of the boot. On DSG cars, an insert to detect what gear you’ve selected would ordinarily occupy this space. Inevitably, you shouldn’t have any problems if your A3 is fitted with DSG.
Fortunately, all is not lost for cars like ours with a clutch pedal; OEM Plus has several solutions. The first is to only buy only the RS3 door trims at $670. The second is to combine the RS3 door trims with the brushed aluminum shift surround and ashtray cover from the European Audi S3 at $205. Alternatively, OEM Plus can supply the six-piece S3 trim kit for $850 as well.
It’s also worth noting that some A3s were fitted with optional silver trim that looks similar to the RS3 parts. If your car has this, you might get away with retaining the stock shift surround.
Our final option is to get some plastic beading to fill the small gap around the shift boot to hold it in place. We’re going to try this before abandoning the RS3 kit.