Reader's Ride | Meet 'Sophie', a custom-built Audi S3 with bagged suspension

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Brett van der Schyff's modified Audi S3
Brett van der Schyff's modified Audi S3
Graeme Hank

• Brett van der Schyff has a penchant for customised cars, which led to his custom-built Audi S3.

• This S3 is fitted with air suspension and R8 coil packs.

• The car features relevant upgrades to the engine, too.

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One of my guilty indulgences while out on photoshoots happens to be gauging a car's desirability level' by the amount of attention it's able to draw from passers-by. It's one thing for a car guy 'in the know' to be able to appreciate the amount of work and effort that has been poured into a build. Still, it's an altogether different sense of satisfaction for the owner when ordinary, non-car folk literally stop dead in their tracks to take a closer look!

This is pretty much a regular occurrence for Brett van der Schyff, the proud owner of this beautifully-appointed and superbly finished fully-customized Audi S3, which he has affectionately named "Sophie". It might only appear to be a suspiciously low, neat-looking Audi with a set of nice 18-inch BBS CH rims on to the untrained eye, but to cop a phrase, the devil is in the detail with this one.

For example, the paint job: At a glance, you'll be forgiven for assuming it's black. Truthfully though, it's a kaleidoscope of colours that Titan Customs lovingly applied, with custom silver, blue and purple flakes popping through depending on how light hits it.

audi s3
Brett van der Schyff's modified Audi S3
audi s3
Brett van der Schyff's modified Audi S3
audi s3
Brett van der Schyff's modified Audi S3

When the magic happens

While in motion, the S3 adopts an acceptable (yet still rather low) ride height; but the real magic happens once it's been parked, and a simple touch of a button commands the full custom air suspension system to drop down: the visual impact of seeing the car settling down is undeniably dramatic!

When this Audi tucks its rims well into the arches, I'm sure ants are in danger of being decapitated; especially with the custom front lip, side skirts and rear diffuser (all carbon fibre), all making solid contact with terra firma. These wild, show-worthy lows are achieved thanks to the AccuAir Endo CT tank, along with the Airlift Performance 3P management system, which is beautifully contained in one of the coolest custom boot installations you've probably seen in a while.

READ: An ode to Ghaleeb Theys - The Cape Flats legend with a penchant for his (E12) BMW 535i

Which custom element immediately captures your attention? Is it the pair of Rockford Fosgate P1 10-inch subwoofers housed in custom enclosures, or that Cusco roll cage neatly positioned behind the carbon fibre-backed Recaro racing seats? What about the carbon fibre-adorned air tank bridging the two subwoofer enclosures, or perhaps that very cool MB Quartz five-channel amplifier floating directly beneath it? Or it might just be that little window in the floor, affording you a teaser peek at the air suspension components…

Actually, it doesn't even matter what you noticed first; it's merely a rather pleasing assault on the senses - whether you're into cars or not! Seven Customz really went to town with this build, and it certainly shows.

Brett van der Schyff's modified Audi S3
Brett van der Schyff's modified Audi S3

Love for carbon fibre

Brett's love for carbon fibre bits extends into the main cabin area as well, where a few choice trim panels have been redone. In the case of the Rockford Fosgate speaker system, all-round, custom carbon fibre pods (complete with effect lighting) were fabricated to house these little noisemakers securely - and trust me, it can get pretty darn loud! The full effect of the cabin and boot install lighting is best experienced after dark, with the blue and purple hues mysteriously emanating from all sorts of panels is simply mesmerizing.

Perhaps it's also worth mentioning that it's not a case of 'all show and no go'. After all, the S3 has always been one of Audi's more popular performance hot hatches throughout the years. As Brett explained, his goal was always to start off with a platform that offered reasonable performance; and then build from there - instead of needing to modify a tamer model to achieve the same result extensively.

READ: Many new vehicles have them, but what is the point of plastic engine covers?

With the addition of a few simple bolt-on mods (76mm downpipe, custom 100mm cold air intake, Audi R8 coil packs, and high-pressure fuel pump), and a Stage 2+ REVO software remap, the S3's Quattro system has its hands full trying to manage the 253kW/503Nm dished up by the engine.

One would think that after all the time and effort already invested in the car, Brett would be perfectly content with its head-turning abilities, but no, of course not. In true car guy fashion, he's already been collaborating with his builder on ways to take Sophie to the next level. And I do not doubt that whatever they come up with will be spectacular!

audi s3
Brett van der Schyff's modified Audi S3
audi s3
Brett van der Schyff's modified Audi S3
audi s3
Brett van der Schyff's modified Audi S3
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