We're no stranger to the beefed-up hatchbacks available to purchase these days having worked upon our fair share of Ford Focus RS, BMW M140i and Volkswagen Golf R's. Recently, these hot hatchbacks have began to get a bit more grown up with some now being released as estates and saloon variations, just like the new Audi RS3 which can be spec'd in either a sportback (hatchback) or a saloon depending on your lifestyle or preference, although we think the saloon offers a lightly more mature approach with no compromise of performance.
The RS3 saloon being worked upon here is finished in the very popular Audi 'Nardo Grey', and had traveled over 70 miles for us to carry out our Single Stage Detail and Gyeon Quartz Q2DuraFlex treatment. As the owner lives in the rural area of Hereford, the RS3 was delivered in a very well-used condition with plenty of grit and road soiling accumulated...
We began by misting Gyeon Q2MIron onto the matte finished diamond-cut alloy wheels and allowing the product to dwell for around 3-5 minutes whilst we filled our buckets with some fresh water. In this time, the Q2MIron turned from a semi-clear liquid into a deep purple shade to indicate a chemical reaction between the product itself and any ferrous particles found within the brake dust. The wheels and arches were then given their first initial rinse with a pressure washer which removed approximately 80% of the build up with no need to physically touch the surface. A liberal amount of an All Purpose Cleaner (APC) was then sprayed onto the tyre walls and into the arches before using dedicated brushes to agitate any stubborn soiling; a stiff bristle brush was used to cleanse the tyre side walls whilst a long reach soft bristled brush allowed access to the wheel well openings. The wheels were then sprayed with Auto Finesse Imperial wheel cleaner and an assortment of brushes allowed the final remains of brake dust to be easily broken down. We use a a bucket of Auto Finesse Revolution wheel soap solution to safely lubricate the brushes to prevent unsightly scratches on the wheels. At this point the gloss red brake calipers were cleaned before another pressure rinse of both wheel and arch before repeating this process for the remaining three corners.
We opened the bonnet of the RS3 and inspected the engine compartment. As the vehicle is only a few weeks old, the engine compartment wasn't overly soiled, a simple covering of dust with a few heavier soiled areas where dirty water can ingress whilst driving. We applied a light layer of Bilt Hamber Autofoam over the engine compartment in order to breakdown and loosen any surface build up before using a large detailing brush and APC to agitate all accessible areas such as under-bonnet, engine & ancillaries and the scuttle panel. A rinse carried away the lifted debris whilst being careful to avoid soaking any electrical components. Any standing water would be blown away with filtered air later. The bonnet was closed and the bodywork was next on the agenda..
Using a foam lance attachment for our pressure washer, we covered the entire car in a layer of Bilt Hamber Autofoam and left to dwell for 2-3 minutes. During this time, we worked any intricate areas free of dust and soiling using a detailing brush and a trigger bottle of APC. The front nose grills took a reasonable amount of time to agitate so a second layer of foam was applied to the car to prevent it drying out prematurely. Once all other hard to reach areas had been agitated, the entire car was given a thorough pressure rinse to carry away both foam residue and any lifted road grime, making the bucket wash process far less harmful.
Moving on to two bucket wash, one bucket with the wash shampoo (Auto Finesse Lather) and the other with clean water only, we carefully washed the RS3 to remove the soiling that a foam and high pressure rinse could not remove. A CarPro lambs wool wash mitt was used to gently work the paint surface without leaving swirling or scratches. Between each panel/section that was washed, the mitt was dunked into the fresh water bucket and shaken out, releasing any grit and dirt particles into that bucket which woulf then become trapped by the grit guard at the bottom. Only once the mitt has been shaken out of this grit will it be re-dunked into the shampoo solution and used to wash another section of the car, preventing cross contamination and thus preventing wash marring and swirls. Rinsing the car as we complete each area we continue to wash all surfaces including under the skirts, rear diffuser and door shuts to ensure the most thorough wash before giving a final rinse to the entire car.
As part of any Detailing Service, the vehicles are put through a three-step decontamination process. Step one is to remove any tar spotting, sap and adhesive that may be on the vehicle. To do this, a dedicated tar remover was liberally sprayed onto a panel and left to dwell for a few seconds before a soft microfiber is used to massage the tar spots away from the paint. If required the panel was treated a second time before moving on to the next. Rinsing the vehicle between each treated section until the car was completely removed of tar, adhesive and other sticky substances the entire car was once again rinsed thoroughly. A liberal application of Gyeon Quartz Q2MIron was sprayed onto all exterior surfaces including glass, paint and plastics. The product was left to dwell on the RS3 for approximately 7-8 minutes allowing any ferrous particles to be chemically broken down, which in turn is highlighted with a change in colour (much like the wheel reaction shown above). We found that the RS3 had a reasonably low amount of bonded contaminants, which the Q2MIron application along removed upto 80-90% without the need to touch the paintwork. A thorough pressure rinse carried away the residue before the car entered the third and final stage of its decontamination, a physical step using a surface preparation towel to abrade any remaining stubborn contaminants and leaving the paintwork smooth and totally cleansed. The surface preparation towel is an alternative to the traditional claybar, although a surface prep towel allows more surface area to be worked upon as well as having a longer life expectancy than a bar. Once the car was decontaminated a second layer of Gyeon Q2MFoam was applied to the car, allowing any remaining tar and fallout residues to be broken down and carried away safely. The foam also pushes trapped product residues out of traps such as wing mirror bases, badges and panel gaps.
A final rinse of the car and the RS3 was moved indoors and dried down using a combination of drying towel and warm filtered air to blow standing water out of badges, grills and other water traps before being maneuvered into our working area and onto our lift. Our studio lighting was then used to highlight any light surface defects such as marring and very fine swirls which were reduced or removed through our Single Stage Detail which uses Gyeon Q2Primer, a super fine finishing polish designed to prepare the paint for any Q2 ceramic coating.
Gyeon Quartz Q2Primer is capable of being coated with no IPA or panel wipe degreasing after 24hrs, which is the timescale in which the solvents contained in the Q2Primer evaporate from the surface after polishing (which is perfect for those super soft paints which are prone to marring during the panel wipedown and can cause nothing but frustration and headaches). As we did not have the full 24hr window before moving on to the next step of the RS3 service, a wipedown using Q2MPrep means the vehicle can be treated immediately after polishing.
Once the car had been wiped down suing a liberal amount of Q2MPrep, the RS3 was then due to have a full frontal paint protection film (PPF) installation using SunTek Ultra. Our friends at AutowerX Detailing & Paint Protection Film travelled a four hour journey to our premises in order to complete the installation. The owner opted for the complete front end to be protected along with the additional side skirts, rear bumper deck and headlights for the best protection against daily use. Some images of the AutowerX guys installing the film..
As the PPF application is a wet process, being the same basis as window tinting, the film edges required time to dry before being wrapped. The pre-cut kit used for the Audi was perfectly designed and digitally plotted to ensure the best possible fit without the need to cut the film on the vehicle, eliminating any potential cut marks in the paint below. A full day of installation saw the PPF installed, wrapped and checked over to ensure that there were no areas of concern before the guys left our premises for their long travel back. At this point, the RS3 was left alone whilst continuing with some Maintenance Services the following day to allow the film to settle its adhesion.
When we returned to the service at hand, we began with another Q2MPrep wipedown to remove any remaining residues from the paint protection film application and ensure the film itself was degreased to accept the Gyeon Quartz Q2DuraFlex system. Gyeon Quartz Q2DuraFlex is the latest Certified Detailer protection and comprises of the latest formulation of Q2Base and Q2Flexi. Q2Base being (no surprise here) the base coat, which replaces Q2MOHS from the older Certified Detailer systems, was applied to the RS3 one panel at a time. Straight applications adopting a criss-cross pattern allowed the most uniform leveling of the product, our studio lighting allowed us to see any missed and/or high spot areas. Q2Base forms an almost immediate bond to the paint surface, meaning it can be buffed away with a brand new microfiber directly after application with no extended flash-off time. We separated large panels such as the roof and bonnet into smaller manageable sections during application.
A four hour intermission is required between completing the Q2Base and beginning the Q2Flexi layers. Within this time we applied Q2Trim to all exterior plastic surfaces including wing mirror mounts, rear wheel arch pieces and the scuttle panel. Q2Trim darkens the plastic to a perfect 'as-new' condition and preserves the finish for a minimum of twelve months. The matte finished diamond cut alloy wheels were buffed free of dust and waterspotting using Q2MCure Matte before Q2MTire was applied to the Pirelli tyres.
The interior of the Audi was in reasonably great shape, nothing more than a few loose crumbs and the odd spec of dust. A vacuum of all surfaces including any switchgear and intricate areas being agitated with an Auto Finesse interior brush ensured no dust or debris remained. The interior glass was cleaned with Auto Finesse Crystal and a pair of Microfibre Madness Cloudbuster glass towels to ensure smear free results. Any dashboard and plastic interior trim was given a wipe with Auto Finesse Spritz, an interior quick detailer that leaves an anti-static layer without altering the finish of the surface.
We turned our attention back to the exterior of the vehicle in order to complete the Gyeon Quartz Q2DuraFlex application. A lambswool duster was used to remove any light surface dust that had accumulated in the intermission period. In the same manor as the Q2Base was applied, Q2Flexi was installed in criss-cross motions to ensure the leveling of the product was even. Buffing away the residue immediately after levelling, using multiple microfiber towels to ensure no high spots remain using our studio lighting to highlight any smears. During the buffing of the Q2Flexi, the paintwork becomes super slick as the Q2Flexi reacts with Q2Base (its so satisfying!). As we completed the the top layer of the Q2DuraFlex system, it was time to begin the infrared curing, a process that maximizes the performance of the coating whilst shortening the overall cure period; Gyeon Quartz coatings require a full 24hrs in a dry garage before it can be driven, unless using IR which can cure each panel in ten minutes when baked at sixty degrees.
Following the IR curing, the exterior glass was cleaned free of any smudges using Auto Finesse Crystal and the gloss black exhaust tips were cleansed free of emission soiling using a diluted solution of Auto Finesse Imperial and a small piece of super fine wire wool. The engine compartment received a generous covering of Auto Finesse Dressle before any excess was wiped away with a clean microfiber towel before the under-bonnet and door shuts were buffed and protected with Gyeon Q2MCure. The RS3 was then lowered from our scissor lift to complete its Single Stage Detail, Suntek Paint Protection Film (PPF) and Gyeon Quartz Q2DuraFlex treatment.
RS3 complete, the only thing left to do was sit back and admire the results..