The Top 10 Modified Tuner Cars of 2011
A new year is very nearly upon us (and in some parts of the world, it already is), and while it’s a good time to look forward to what 2012 will bring, it’s also a good time to take stock of 2011’s happenings. Modified and tuned vehicles are, if you haven’t noticed, near and dear to our heart, and the last 364 days have seen some downright dandies debut. But if we listed all the tuner cars, trucks and SUVs that scratched our itch, you’d be reading until at least half your friends and family broke their resolutions. Ergo, we’ve decided to cap this list of 2011’s top tuned rides at 10, meaning that only the cream of the last 52 weeks’ crop made the cut. Here they are…
Project Kahn Vesuvius Range Rover Sport
The Range Rover Sport is kinda like a factory-customized Range Rover, but some owners want one that’s even more customized. The folks at Project Kahn serve up one possible solution with the Vesuvius package. The interior and exterior get a comprehensive jazzing up and, if you live in one of the right countries, the optional V6 turbodiesel gets massaged by none other than Cosworth to the tune of 300hp. Now that’s a happy ending.
CLP Automotive Interceptor BMW M3
There’s hardly a shortage of modded BMW M3s in the world, but there are damn few GT racer replicas. One of the sweetest comes from CLP Automotive; its Interceptor package not only makes the E92 M3 look like the American Le Mans Series/Intercontinental Le Mans Cup endurance racer, but the G-Power-supplied supercharger (and resulting 592hp) means it also performs much like the race car. But please try not to bump every Corvette, 458 or 911 GT3 you want to pass.
D3 Group Le Monstre Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
It seems like just yesterday that Cadillac’s idea of a performance model consisted of a grille- rather than hood-mounted badge and suspension tuning that was closer to memory foam than waterbed. Thankfully, the current CTS-V family makes those days very distant memories, but some folks will still argue that 556hp is inadequate. Well, D3 Group has almost certainly managed to silence them with the 7.0L, 1,001hp Le Monstre, named after the Coupe de Ville-based special that ran in the 1950 24 Hours of Le Mans. The fact that this black bomber probably could have won that race outright by about 100 laps should not be lost on anyone.
Brabus 700 Biturbo Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
The Mercedes-Benz 300SL – the original Gullwing – was one of the few exotics of its time, and the SLS AMG – the new Gullwing – is wicked fast, there are quite a few cars capable of dusting it. To remedy this, the experienced Benz boffins at Brabus created the 700 Biturbo. While the snazzy Widestar body kit takes care of the visuals, it’s a twin-turbo setup that gives this silver bird a 700 horsepower license to venture where eagles dare (i.e. sub-four-second 0-60 times and 213 mph top end).
The Nissan Juke is a fine little crossover that’s equal parts cuddly and kooky. But that wasn’t enough for Nissan Europe; it wanted to see what would happen if you crammed a GT-R’s engine and drivetrain into the bugeyed trucklet. As expected, the resulting mutt – dubbed the Juke-R – is a neck-wrenching rocket sled that will, sadly, almost certainly never reach production. But galaxy-sized props to Nissan Europe (and the build team at RML) for having the attachments to make it happen.
Novitec Rosso Ferrari 458 Italia
The Ferrari 458 Italia is hardly a slug (Just ask any Enzo-driving son of a Middle Eastern sheik who’s tried to drag race one), but there’s even more performance hiding inside the latest “starter Ferrari,” waiting to be extracted. Novitec Rosso has managed to do this with a suite of upgrades that elevates the 4.5L V8 past the magical 600hp mark and puts it in even more exclusive company.
Edo Competition Moby Dick Porsche Panamera Turbo
Porsche’s 935/78 “Moby Dick” Le Mans racer is the stuff of legend, and the Edo Competition-prepped Panamera Turbo that takes its name and inspiration from it is likely to reach legend status as well. Hyperbole much? Not when you consider that this white whale on wheels packs 750 horsepower (50% more than stock) and a 211 mph top speed. If that doesn’t make enduring all the snickers from adolescent boys worth it, we aren’t sure what does.
Mopar JK-8 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Jeep freaks have been besieging Chrysler for a pickup truck ever since the Comanche was canned at the end of 1992, and now they’re finally getting their wish…sort of. The Mopar JK-8 is actually a kit you or your authorized dealer install on a current-gen Wrangler Unlimited to transform it from a 4-door convertible SUV to a 2-door pickup with a removable hardtop. Not exactly what most Jeepers had in mind, but we’re guessing Mopar will have no trouble selling every kit it makes.
MTM Audi RS3
It’s bad enough that Audi chooses not to send its Evo-exterminating, STI-stomping RS3 hot hatch to North America, but MTM has to make performance parts for it, too? Performance parts that offer three stages of power increase ranging from 410hp to 472hp total? It’s almost enough to make us want to move to Germany and pawn a vestigial/redundant organ or three.
Shelby GT500 Super Snake
With 650hp on tap, the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is guaranteed to be all the Mustang you’ll ever need and more. But what if you need even more muscle? What if you want oh, say, 750hp? Then you send your 2012 GT500 (which makes a mere 550hp) to Carroll Shelby’s facility in Las Vegas, which is where his employees will turn your “normal” GT500 into a Super Snake. And if you’re of the opinion that too much is not enough and way too much is just right, pop for the optional Kenne Bell package that boosts output to a nice, round 800hp. Naturally, the handling is also upgraded so it isn’t completely useless in anything other than a straight line.