Software is a powerful tool. In the right hands, it can mean a lot more power without much effort. A simple $1,200 remap on this 2017 Audi RS3 unlocked an extra 100 horsepower and quicker shifts, almost putting it on par with its bigger, more expensive sibling, the RS7 Performance.

The little Audi now makes 500 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque from its turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five engine. That’s a big improvement over the 400 hp it produced stock, but it's still far below the output of the RS7, which has an un-tuned twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine churning out 630 hp and 626 lb-ft of twist.

Both cars have all-wheel drive, although they’re different systems. The RS3 has a transversely mounted engine, while the RS7's engine is positioned longitudinally. The RS7 is also 1,223 pounds heavier, leveling the playing field between the two Audis.

While the RS7 won the first drag race, the RS3 won the second, culminating in a third run where the RS7 cemented itself as the ultimate winner ... but not by much. The bigger Audi completed the quarter-mile race in 11.3 seconds, while the tuned RS3 was right behind it with an 11.5-second time.

Millions of lines of code keep everything from the infotainment system to fuel delivery running smoothly, and updated code can unlock additional benefits. $1,200 isn’t cheap, but it’s an easy way to extract extra performance from a car without the need to pull out the tools and install new hardware.

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