Midsize cars offer a compromise between expensive luxury and cheap cars. They are comfortable and nicely equiped but they often look a bit dull and not real fast. But they will often be the best deal for the money conscious consumers.
Kia’s partnership with DC Entertainment to raise awareness for the latter’s We Can Be Heroes campaign against hunger in the Horn of Africa apparently extends further than the recent Optima "Batmobile" we saw a week ago.
Turns out, the Korean automaker has another superhero-inspired model headed to the 2012 SEMA Auto Show. Together with the fellas over at West Coast Customs, Kia brought the Forte Koup "Flash" at Las Vegas.
Considering that there’s no car in the automaker’s entire line-up that can really give justice to The Flash and his lightning speed super powers, we’re not going to hold it against Kia. After all, the Forte Koup Flash actually looks sizzling. The red, orange, and yellow airbrushed exterior color is a trademark of Flash’s costume. The hood also bears the iconic Flash logo with a cutout right in the middle, allowing everybody to see the kind of engine this bad boy packs. A custom coil over suspension was also added, effectively improving the Forte Koup Flash’s handling while a new set of 20" Asanti color-matched wheels wrapped in Continental Extreme Contact tires.
Inside, the Forte Koup Flash’s seats have been reupholstered in black nappa leather with contrasting red suede and yellow stitching. Character artwork has also been embroidered into the seats. Likewise, the headliner also gets black suede upholstery with custom stitching and custom-painted pieces. West Coast Customs also installed two, 10" sub woofers and two sets of coaxial component speakers with a Quart four-channel amp. Finally, a pair of 7" Rosen Entertainment monitors plays a "We Can Be Heroes" campaign video in the front headrests.
For those old enough to have witnessed the glory that was "Robocop" in theaters, you not only got to see an ultra-modern, crime-fighting machine, but you also got to see one of the most modern American cars of the era. That’s right, back in 1986, the Ford Taurus with its rounded body and fuel-injected V-6 was actually one of the most modern-looking and driving cars manufactured in the U.S. Sure, it fell by the wayside as the years went on, but nearly everyone that was around and not busy watching "Alf" or "Back to The Future" I through III still recalls the fanfare that the first-gen Taurus received.
There was so much fanfare that it managed to weasel its way into a supporting role as Alex J. Murphy’s car of choice. Well, the Taurus is once again one of the more modern American cars of its time, particularly the SHO model, and there is now a remake of "Robocop" in production. So we now have the perfect setup for a reunion of the two, and that looks to be what is going on, thanks to the savvy camera work of one person.
Above we have a late-model Taurus or what looks to be the SHO variety caught out in the open wearing obvious Robocop-esque duds. Could it possibly be that the "Robocop" of 2013 or 2014 will whip the same model its predecessor did in 1987? It looks mighty possible to us.
We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available about this new "Robocop" car.
In 2011, MRT Performance went to the SEMA Auto Show to present a fully customized Ford Mustang. That custom build caught our eye not only because of the two-tone orange and black paint finish, but also because it came packed with a comprehensive performance upgrade that included a ProCharger supercharger, an MRT stainless steel MaxFlow h-pipe and half-back exhaust system, and an H&R coilover performance suspension.
This year, MRT Performance is back at SEMA, except that this time, they’re trading chops and leaving the Mustang behind in favor of another vehicle from the Blue Oval: the 2013 Ford Fusion.
Instead of the orange and black set-up that they’ve come to use int he past, the tuning firm went for a blue-and-black paint scheme that gives the Fusion a far more aggressive look. Not to say that the hybrid sedan is a mundane car, but the colors speak to a more impressive profile. The program builds on the sporty style of the Fusion to go with enough performance upgrades to stand its ground at the SEMA show floor.
The fun and stylish street performer that will definitely catch your eye, while the performance stance and sounds from the newly installed Eco-Flow exhaust system will undoubtedly keep your attention. Rounding out the modifications are a new set of custom blue Forgestar wheels also play into the color’s well, creating a balanced and aesthetically pleasing look without going overboard.
Kia has teamed up with DC Entertainment and Rides magazine to create a one-off version of the 2013 Optima that is inspired by the DC Comic “Batman.” This creation is slated to be part of a benefit dubbed the “We Can Be Heroes” campaign, which helps fight hunger in the Horn of Africa. The benefit itself is a great cause, but the car is simply awesome.
Kia started off with the range-topping Optima SX, which boasts a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that pops out 274 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and an impressive 269 pound-feet at torque at an ultra-low 1,750 rpm. This is enough to get this sedan to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds, but still turn in a 22 mpg city and 34 mpg highway EPA fuel economy rating.
Though there are no engine modifications, sans the performance exhaust system, to this Kia turned Batmobile, it does boast a lowered coil-over suspension to help it in the twist and Ksport performance brakes to grind it to a halt a little quicker. On the exterior, Kia draped the Optima in a matte- and piano-black color combination and tossed in a set of 20-inch black wheels wrapped in low-profile rubber. Kia also modified its trademark grille to look like the batman logo and even placed the batman logo in place of the “Kia” logo in the center of the grille. Wrapping up the exterior are yellow LED lights underneath the vehicle and the bat signal etched into the HID headlights.
Inside the Optima, Kia wrapped the interior in custom black leather and suede with yellow accent stitching to maintain the Batman theme. You even get a “Bat suit” in the trunk and a set of throwing stars in the center console. Two video screens on the front headrests cap of the interior and will be playing a video during the campaign that will showcase how people can get involved with the “We Can Be Heroes” project.
Our hats go off to Kia for building such an awesome car for just an awesome cause.
The 2013 Ford Fusion will be well represented at the 2012 SEMA Auto Show. That much appears to be evident with the release of a number of previews for the hybrid sedan, all of which come with their own unique modifications from a variety of aftermarket companies.
One of the SEMA-bound Fusion models comes from a team that’s no stranger to the SEMA floor: Tjin Edition.
Last year, Tjin Edition brought four models to SEMA. This year, we still don’t know how many they have under the sheets. What we do know is one of them is the Ford Fusion. For their take on the hybrid sedan, Tjin Edition started off by dressing up the Fusion in a DuPoint Beige paint finish to go with a 3D Carbon lip kit. There’s also a fancy set of 21" copper iForged Concave wheels wrapped in Falken tires, copper mirror caps, a Baer big brake upgrade with lime green brake calipers, and modified suspension from Pedders.
Inside, the modifications are also extensive, although full details are still being withheld. Tjin Edition does look like its bringing some more of that lime color as shown by the dress-up done on the steering wheel. The aftermarket company also installed a new Scosche Audio audio system to give the car some serious audio power. Par for the course on a car headed to SEMA, right?
Rounding out the modifications for the Fusion Tjin Edition is the addition of a custom turbo kit from Unique Fabrication and a side-exit exhaust system from Magnaflow. No word yet on how much of a performance boost this will generate, but we expect it to be on the up-and-up side.
Back in August 2012, Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid established an impressive speed record of 185.394 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Just a couple of short months later, the vehicle returned to the scene of the victory to break its own record, and succeeded in doing so! The car averaged 186.313 mph over two runs during the SCTA’s World Finals event, eclipsing the previous record by 18.8 mph. Even more impressive is that, during the first round, it hit a top speed of 187.147 mph.
For those who do not remember, the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid combines a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline generating 150 HP and 184 lb/ft of torque with an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery that produces an additional 27 HP. The battery consists of 60 individual cells with a combined energy capacity of 5 Ah.
"We’re very proud that the Jetta Hybrid has not only posted the fastest speed for a hybrid at Bonneville, but that it has gone out and broken an SCTA land speed record as well," said Jonathan Browning, CEO and President, Volkswagen Group of America. "Achieving this record at Bonneville shows that the all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid is a distinctly different offering in the compact hybrid class, offering excellent fuel economy while retaining the fun-to-drive nature expected from a Volkswagen."
The cool thing about a show like SEMA is you see customized vehicles that you normally wouldn’t see in other auto shows. In addition to that, you see companies put their auto tuning skills to good use, which isn’t a widely expected scenario in other auto shows.
This year, Hyundai and Re:Mix Lab are going the extra mile again to present three customized Hyundais that each have their own unique flavor. One of these models is the Elantra GT, a normally subtle mid-sized hatchback that was turned into a bonafide stud on wheels - with plenty of accessories inside.
For starters, the Elantra GT has been finished in matte military green, already giving a much needed attitude adjustment to the car. From there, the two companies also used recycled tweet fabric while setting up the ride with a new set of 24-carat gold colored wheels. Likewise, there’s also a roof rack, a ski compartment, and a Nintendo Wii.
Yep, a Nintendo Wii.
There was no mention on whether the interior also has a TV set-up but the image of the rear of the vehicle clearly shows a television screen nesting comfortably in the back hatch. That should make massive traffic jams go by much faster.
After providing an extensive tuning package for the 3-Series sedan, AC Schnitzer has moved on to its station wagon sibling to provide similar upgrades. Their new package for the BMW 3-Series Touring improves upon the exterior and interior look of the vehicle, as well as its power output.
The exterior upgrades include a new front spoiler, a chrome front grille, a rear roof spoiler, and a rear skirt. There is also a wide variety of wheels to choose from, ranging from 18" to 20" and different designs and colors. The interior combines aluminum elements with a very cool Black Line package.
The full line of engines for the 3-Series Touring was updated, providing an increase minimum of 28 HP. The 318d now delivers 171 HP, up from 143 HP; the 320d produces 218 HP, up from 184 HP; the 328i delivers 294 HP, up from 245; and the 335i pushes 360 HP, up from 306 HP. These updates were achieved with the addition of a sports rear silencer and a new exhaust system. There is also a new suspension spring kit combined with a lower suspension to bring the car closer to the ground by 25 mm.
The Nürburgring, we’re sure, has seen plenty of animal casualties throughout its life span. Many of deer, squirrels, rabbits, and other fauna have likely tried their luck crossing it, only to be met by the front splitter of many supercars.
This time around we get to see a little bit different of an animal meet a high-speed vehicle, as an eagle of some sort – hopefully not bald – decided to soar into the flight pattern of a Nissan GT-R as it circled the `Ring. The predatory bird smacked the top passenger side of the windshield while the GT-R was going roughly 140 mph and flew right over the top of the car.
The thud alone is telling of exactly how hard the bird hit and the damage to the glass in the pictures shows you that the bird was likely not in great shape after this battle with Godzilla. “Ouch” is an understatement for this one.
When Chrysler replaced the Sebring with the 200, the world rejoiced at the elimination of the outdated and never truly impressive drop top. Unfortunately, the 200 was not a full redesign of its predecessor, rather just a nip here, a tuck there, some new headlights and basic interior changes. So, essentially, the 200’s body style is in its 6th production year, making it a year overdue for a revision.
According to reports from the Wall Street Journal, this revision has been partially revealed to dealerships in a meeting in Las Vegas. The details are very scarce yet, but there are a few things of note. First is that Chrysler plans to launch the new 200 in the first quarter of 2014, making it a late-2014 model year. With that sort of release date, we should see the final model at a mid-2013 auto show.
Dealers also learned that the 2014 Chrysler 200 sedan will boast a 9-speed transmission, which enables it to get an astounding 38 mpg – an 8 mpg increase over the 2012 Chrysler 200 with a 2.4-liter. We expect to see a 4-cylinder as its base engine and possibly the elimination of the 6-cylinder model altogether, unless Chrysler chooses to develop an SRT6 model.
While Chrysler only revealed the sedan model to its dealers, we do anticipate a convertible model joining it.
We’ll continue to monitor the 2014 Chrysler 200’s development and get as much information as we can to add onto this review. Until then, check out our rendering of the future 200!