Commuter Cars — to the Max
Not everyone's everyday commuter is a compact or a sedan, and for the high-performance enthusiast who also favors a pickup truck, Chrysler's Mopar Underground unit presented the Ram 392 Quick Silver at the 2011 SEMA show. A custom suspension on 22-inch wheels drops the Ram R/T-based truck to hot-rod-like proportions (the Mopar body kit completes the look), while the same 6.4-liter V8 engine featured in the asphalt-burning SRT products from Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep gives it the grunt to match. Power goes to the rear rubber, and the Hemi engine also gets a cat-back dual exhaust, headers with electronic exhaust cutout and cold-air intake.
Honda HFP Accord V6
The Honda Accord is one of the most common commuter cars around, so it was nice to see an uncommonly powerful version bow at — you guessed it — the 2011 SEMA show. The Honda Factory Performance team took on the challenge of upping the Accord's base 271 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque to the tune of 333 horsepower (that's 10 more ponies than the current V6 Chevy Camaro convertible) and 285 lb-ft of torque. The HFP team got there via a prototype supercharger and custom intake and exhaust systems created especially for the concept. And it is a concept, one that Honda says is meant to gauge public appetite for a spicier Accord. Yes, please.
For off-roading types there's nothing quite as insane as the Jeep Wrangler Blue Crush, which resembles a stock Wrangler about as much as the regular Wrangler resembles a Hot Wheels toy. Meant to combine, according to Jeep, "high-speed off-road racing and rock-crawling capability," the go-anywhere beast rides on 39-inch tires and a performance off-road suspension, and it is powered by a 426-cubic-inch Hemi V8 with 540 horsepower. In case the massive tires, ultracapable suspension and Herculean engine don't get the point across, the full Baja-style roll cage should tell you that the Blue Crush Wrangler means serious business.
Much has been made of the Juke-R, aka the Super Juke, Nissan's engineering experiment that transplanted the guts of the GT-R supercar — including the 3.6-liter V8 engine — into the bug-eyed body of the Juke compact crossover. The project was more than just an engine swap. Everything from Godzilla's 6-speed transaxle, suspension and modified 4WD driveline to the gauge cluster was subbed in, requiring a full retrofitting of the body and electronics system. The result: The diminutive crossover produces 485 horsepower and can hit 62 mph from a standstill in just 3.7 seconds.
Hennessey MaxBoost 435 Lincoln MKS
There are few brands as unlikely for a go-fast makeover as Lincoln, which is why Hennessey Performance's MaxBoost 435 Lincoln MKS is so awesome. The "435" refers to, of course, the 435 horsepower that Hennessey massages (along with 405 lb-ft of torque) from the base model's twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, which, we admit, develops a not-too-shabby 355 horses. Hennessey does the trick by optimizing the stock turbos and performing some basic tuning work, along with the addition of a massive cold-air intake and a stainless-steel cat-back exhaust. What the Lincoln flagship gets for the effort is a zero-to-60-mph sprint time of 4.5 seconds — on par with the venerable BMW M5 — on its way to a top speed of 106 mph.
Josh Condon has covered everything from nanotechnology to champagne and caviar for the likes of The New York Times, Popular Science, Men's Journal, Cargo and RL Magazine. He's recently relocated from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Los Angeles and is spending way, way more time in his car as a result.
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Check on that Juke-R. It has a twin-turbo V6, not V8. And how does the Lincoln only acheive a top speed of 106, yet another typo...
The Juke's specs are wrong. It has a 3.8L V6 not a 3.6L V8. This was a simple mistake that should have been caught.
"And with attractive aesthetic touches — including a blacked-out exterior with a chrome grille and blue pin-striping, "