UFO Brakes, How Bad Could They Be?

This morning’s NPoCP reminded me that UFO brakes exist. Are they a dealbreaker?


This has finally piqued my curiosity enough to ask. Changing them doesn’t seem all that bad, judging by the video above. I’m kind of curious what you’d do if you ever encountered a seized caliper, though. Looks like you really need that wiggle room just to get the rotor out of the way.

Worst-case scenario, is there any chance that a seized caliper could be unbolted and removed together with the rotor as one piece? Not sure if there’s room for that, as the caliper’s mounting ears appear to be inboard of the steering knuckle, and there might not be enough room to rotate the assembly to clear those mounting ears either.

And then of course there’s the whole thing about parts availability and pricing. Wherever I tried to look up parts, the vendor would only display conventional discs, not the UFO rotors. Audi’s nomenclature is a little weird, so maybe I’m just not selecting the right car for parts lookup?


I’ll be honest: this is really starting to reach the limits of the amount of research I’m willing to do just to satisfy my curiosity over a car that I have no intention of buying. Fortunately, a fellow commenter managed to dig up this link, which quotes $988.80 for a pair of rotors. Oof. Well, it’s nice to know that they’re out there, I guess. Not sure how long the supply will last for owners of these cars, though.

At any rate, swapping to a conventional disc setup is apparently a thing that some owners do, but I’m still curious about how they go about that. The whole point of these internal caliper brakes was to maximize the size of the brakes that could fit within a 15" wheel. So it seems to me that converting to conventional discs would mean one of two things: Either you’re downgrading to a smaller rotor to fit the wheels, and missing out on some braking performance... or you’re forcing yourself to invest in a new set of wheels/tires to fit having calipers on the outside of the rotors.


Anybody familiar with this swap, or interested enough to pick up where I left off researching? Where do you stand on these oddball brakes, and how far would you go to preserve the original design (or overhaul it to something easier to maintain)? Would you be willing to sacrifice braking power for an easy-to-maintain design that was small enough to let you keep using the original 15" wheels?

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