Super Tuners-Road and Track


Forum Addict
Dec 11, 2005
Seren?sima Rep?blica de California
1997 BMW 528i
It wasn't that long ago when automotive society frowned upon aftermarket customization. Now it's a vital part of the industry with many car manufacturers doing the nasty deeds themselves. Brands like AMG, SRT and Nismo are wholly owned subsidiaries of major automakers. But for the ultimate in personalized automotive expression, you need to look outside the box, to noted car tuners like the ones represented here.
The performance and sophistication of today's cars are at such high levels that only a handful of serious tuners can truly "improve" the product. So we visited a few of the best aftermarket specialists here and in Germany to see how they were dealing with the current crop of ultra-high-performance machinery like the Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911 and BMW M5. We discovered that it isn't all about having the fastest thing on the road anymore, it's about having the ride that best fits your lifestyle and tastes.

Lingenfelter Twin Turbo Commemorative Corvette
A thoroughly exhilarating exercise in throttle management.

Andrew Bornhop ? Photos by Jeff Allen

During our photo shoot at the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Emergency Vehicle Operations Center, the rat-a-tat-tat of large-caliber automatic weapons from a nearby shooting range made it sound like advancing troops were ready to crest a nearby hill. No worries, though, because we had some large-caliber hardware of our own; namely, a Lingenfelter Twin Turbo Commemorative Corvette C6 whose twin-turbocharged 427-cu.-in. V-8 would get us out of harm's way in a sincere hurry.

Just how sincere? Well, in the quarter mile, this 725-bhp Corvette ? the first of 25 limited-edition models celebrating Lingenfelter Performance Engineering's 25 years in business ? hits 136.0 mph, a velocity exceeding every car in our Road Test Summary. That includes an Enzo, a Carrera GT, and even the vaunted McLaren F1.

Sharp-eyed readers will see, however, that the Vette's 11.6-second elapsed time is eclipsed by those mid-engine supercars. What gives?

Simply put, this Vette is limited by grip. Try launching a front-engine/rear-drive car with 730 lb.-ft. of torque; it's difficult, especially with DOT street tires, albeit Viper-sized 345/30ZR-19 Michelin Pilot Sports. Launched at the recommended 2200 rpm, you'll find wheelspin in 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears, each run a challenging (and exhilarating!) exercise in throttle restraint. If you get it right, you'll minimize wheelspin, keep the car straight and shift just soon enough to stay out of the 6500-rpm rev limiter, which comes up incredibly fast when peak boost of 10.0 psi hits. On boost, this is a wild bronc in desperate need of taming (with a top speed estimated at 205 mph in 5th gear); at small throttle openings, it's nearly as docile as a production C6 Corvette.

As expected of Lingenfelter, this Commemorative Corvette is beautifully turned out, far from a car with a few bolt-on aftermarket parts. With your new Z51 (in red or yellow only) at the shop in Decatur, Indiana, for about 10 weeks, the car is stripped of its engine, interior, and wheels and tires. Then the crew builds the twin-turbo 427-cu.-in. V-8, using either an LS7 or C5R block and a few parts (such as the accessory drives) off the original engine. The balanced and blueprinted powerplant is built to produce (and handle) the added power, with forged crank, rods and pistons, plus CNC-ported and polished heads with stainless-steel intake valves and Incanel exhaust valves. Larger injectors and increased voltage to the fuel pump help supply the fuel it needs (100-octane unleaded for our tests) and custom stainless-steel 4-into-1 exhaust manifolds feed a pair of hybrid Garrett GT28 ball-bearing turbochargers that supply 10.0 psi of boost.

There's not much room for turbos in the Corvette's engine bay, so Lingenfelter trims back and seam-welds the frame for a half-inch of added clearance on each side of the aluminum powerplant. Through silicone ductwork, the water-jacketed turbos send boost to the port-matched LS2 intake manifold via a liquid-to-air heat exchanger mounted above the radiator. This intercooling system has its own coolant and pump, with a reservoir where the battery used to reside. The battery has been moved to the rear of the car (which helps weight distribution) and the reservoir's opening is large enough for ice, if you're crazy enough to seek an even chillier intake charge.

Jason Haines, Lingenfelter's Project Director, says the Corvette's stock torque tube, Tremec transmission and 3.42:1 rear end are up to the task, but recommends upgrading the differential if the owner plans on using drag slicks. The stock clutch, though, has been tossed in favor of a twin-disc arrangement by Exedy, which is fully streetable but has a greater clamp load. It's a bit grabbier than stock, but by no means difficult to modulate.

Further helping put power down are the ultrawide rear tires. To make them fit within the Vette bodywork, the fiberglass inner fenders have to be removed and replaced with new ones that have 1.5 in. of extra clearance per side. As a result, new carpet is cut for the back of the Vette, and new mounts to stow the car's removable targa top are fabricated and installed with a very finished OEM look.

And that gets to the heart of this Corvette. Everything on it is done very well, with much thought and a professional finish. Braking is by Brembo, with large 4-pot calipers clamping drilled 14.0-in. rotors on display within the forged 3-piece HRE wheels. Koni shock absorbers team with the stock springs to deliver a comfortable but better-controlled everyday ride, and the beautifully stitched interior leatherwork gives this latest Lingenfelter Corvette an upmarket, luxurious feel.

At $86,995 over the cost of a stock Z51 Corvette, it had better. But remember, only 25 will be made, and the performance ? particularly from 100 on up, is absolutely phenomenal. How many cars can light up their rear wheels while cruising down the freeway at 70 mph? This Lingenfelter Corvette can, and it's all backed by a 2-year/24,000-mile warranty.

Lingenfelter Twin Turbo Commemorative Corvette
Price $86,995 plus $45,385 for 2006 Z51 Corvette: $132,380

Engine twin-turbo 7.0-liter ohv V-8

Horsepower 725 bhp @ 5400 rpm

Torque 730 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm

Transmission 6-speed manual

Brakes Front 14.0-in. drilled & vented discs

Brakes, Rear 14.0-in. drilled & vented discs

Tires, Front 255/35ZR-19 Michelin Pilot Sport

Tires, Front 255/35ZR-19 Michelin Pilot Sport

Tires, Rear 345/30ZR-19 Michelin Pilot Sport

Wheels forged alloy; 19 x 9 f, 19 x 12 r

Suspension upper & lower A-arms, transverse composite leaf spring, tube shocks, anti-roll bar/upper & lower A-arms, toe links, transverse composite leaf spring, tube shocks, anti-roll bar

Curb weight 3400 lb

Upgrades: Lingenfelter Gen-2 427-cu.-in. V-8 twin-turbo package w/high-efficiency heat exchanger and charge cooler, stainless-steel exhaust, heavy-duty clutch, Brembo brakes, Koni shocks, custom leather interior, Lingenfelter body kit (hood, splitter, side skirts, 1-piece rear fascia), forged 3-piece wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport tires with Lingenfelter mini tub kit, embossed seats


0?60 mph 3.9 sec

0?100 mph 7.3 sec

1/4 mile 11.6 sec @ 136.0 mph

0?150 mph 13.8 sec


80 mph?0 202 ft

60 mph?0 116 ft

Speed through
700-ft slalom 70.0 mph, mild understeer

Skidpad 0.94g, mild understeer

TechArt 997S
Sweet restraint.

By Douglas Kott ? Photos by Jeff Allen

In tuner-car circles, sometimes reaching for the stars can put you in the cellar. It's easy to overstep the bounds of style and good taste for dramatic effect. Or pump power to halfshaft-snapping levels while throwing the oh-so-civilized factory driveability out the window.

Thankfully, the TechArt 997S qualifies for none of the above. Instead, it's a tastefully modified Porsche Carrera S whose front splitter, side sills, rear diffuser panel and Type II rear wing give Zuffenhausen's golden child the sheen and special aura of a bona fide exotic?in a subtle way, if that's possible. The signature 20-in. TechArt Formula GTS wheels, whose five spokes are done in glistening black, really set off the bodywork, as does the ride height that's lowered 0.75 in., which still offers usable ground clearance. Hulking Michelin Pilot Sport 2s, size 245/30R-20 front and 325/25R-20 rear, look to be a friction fit within the fenders. Yet even at full steering lock, nothing rubs.

TechArt, based in Fellbach, Germany, was founded in 1987 by a businessman and an aerodynamicist. So it's not surprising that the beautifully finished urethane bodywork pieces offer significant reductions in lift, verified in the wind tunnel at the University of Stuttgart. At a speed of 140 km/h (about 87 mph), the TechArt car shows 3.3 lb. of lift (stock is 26.3) and 8.3 lb. of actual downforce at the rear (stock is 4.8 lb. of lift). On the freeway, it makes for a stable feel; and on the track, it should shave tenths of a second from your personal best.

Suspension gets a full makeover, with 9-position adjustable Bilstein shocks and progressive-rate Eibach springs that are about 15 percent stiffer than stock. Powertrain modifications are mild, as the Carrera S's 3.8-liter flat-6 already puts it in the near-supercar league. Stainless-steel headers, low-restriction catalysts, sport mufflers, a more aggressively mapped ECU and an oiled-foam high-flow air filter bump output to a claimed 375 bhp and boost the torque curve most noticeably in the 4000-6000-rpm region. With slight wheel hop that seems to be a 911 trademark, the TechArt 997 launches to 60 in 4.1 seconds, with a quarter-mile posting of 12.6 sec. at 112.2 mph?wicked quick by anyone's standard.

Out on the road, the TechArt car is an edgier, quicker-reacting animal than a standard Carrera S, with more immediate turn-in, less body roll and harsher-but-not-objectionable ride motions, the only real downside being more tire noise transmitted through the structure. And exhaust sounds are certainly more feral ? a reedier, harder-edged note that barks out of the TechArt's stainless-steel tips with big throttle openings, yet softens to near-stock sound levels when you're simply loafing along.

It's a well-sorted package that doesn't unduly compromise the civility of the stand-ard Carrera S, with curb appeal guaranteed to draw small, salivating crowds wherever it's parked. Yes, bring bags of money ? parts alone total more than $30,000 on our test car, $4300 solely for that trick rear spoiler ? but for some, the result will be well worth the price of admission.

TechArt 997S
Price est $125,000

Engine 3.8-liter flat-6

Horsepower 375 bhp @ 6500 rpm

Torque 300 lb-ft @ 4200?6200 rpm

Transmission 6-speed manual

Brakes, Front 13.0-in. drilled & vented discs

Brakes, Rear 13.0-in. drilled & vented discs

Tires, Front Michelin Pilot Sport 245/30R-20

Tires, Rear Michelin Pilot Sport 325/25R-20

Wheels cast alloy; 20 x 8 1/2 f, 20 x 11 r

Suspension MacPherson struts, lower A-arms, coil springs, tube shocks, anti-roll bar/multilink, coil springs, tube shocks, anti-roll bar

Curb weight est 3350 lb

Upgrades: TechArt aero & styling pieces (type I front spoiler, type II rear spoiler, side skirts, headlight covers, mirror covers, rear diffuser); remapped ECU, air filter, exhaust manifolds, cats, mufflers & stainless-steel tips; height-adj coil-over suspension; sport steering wheel; alum. pedal covers; Formula GTS wheels & Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires


0?60 mph 4.1 sec

1/4 mile 12.6 sec

Ruf 3.8 R Kompressor
Mean green machine.

Sam Mitani ? Photos by Marc Urbano

It's the Gumby color that grabsyour attention when you lay eyes on the Ruf 3.8 R Kompressor. This distinctive green hue was offered by Porsche in the 1970s though quickly discontinued because of lack of popularity. Alois Ruf says this green surface peels off (it's not paint but a decal) to reveal the car's true color, black. But the more time you spend with the Ruf R Kompressor, the more you realize it's what's inside that makes this thing so special.

The car began life as a standard Porsche 911 Carrera, with Ruf restyling the front and rear ends, fitting wider fenders all around, and lowering the body several centimeters. The front air dam has been completely restyled, with larger vents and a pronounced spoiler lip. There's a new rear wing that's similar to the classic whaletail of the 1970s. The overall look of the car is clean and aggressive.

The appearance of the 3.8 R Kompressor is a direct reflection of how it drives. It doesn't behave like the 650-bhp thug, the Ruf Rt 12 (Ampersand, December 2005), but performs with the smoothness of a well-mannered assassin. The car accelerates in a surprisingly linear fashion, without the sudden jump to light speed you find in the Rt 12?at least that's how it felt from the driver's seat. Our test equipment revealed that the subdued Ruf flat-out flies. It ran to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds, despite being fitted with snow tires, required by law in many parts of Germany during the winter. The folks from Ruf said that the car would be a few ticks quicker with summer tires in the dry.

Although the car was essentially a base 911 before its transformation, the engine came from a Carrera S. Before dropping the 3.8-liter flat-6 into the 911's engine compartment, Ruf bolted on a supercharger and intercooler. The supercharger is a centrifugal type driven by a planetary gearset that works off the crank. Maximum boost is 7.3 psi gauge (or, as the Europeans often report boost, 22.0 psi absolute). The engine also gets Ruf's custom intake and exhaust system. The result is 435 bhp with 347 lb.-ft. of torque.

The suspension has been retuned to provide flatter cornering, which usually translates to a harsh ride quality. But the R Kompressor's ride is more than bearable because the base 911's was quite supple to begin with. Bilstein shocks also help the car's turning prowess.

After half a day with the R Kompressor touring the Swabian countryside, it's tough not to want one. The 3.8 R Kompressor may just be the ideal car for tooling around in Southern California: stylish, smooth-mannered yet very fast. Now the trick is coming up with $135,000 to buy one.

Ruf R Kompressor
Price est $135,000

Engine supercharged 3.8-liter flat-6

Horsepower 435 bhp @ 6000 rpm

Torque 347 lb-ft @ 2800?6200 rpm

Transmission 6-speed manual

Brakes, Front 13.0-in. drilled & vented discs

Brakes, Rear 13.0-in. drilled & vented discs

Tires, Front Fulda Kristall Supremo 255/35ZR-19*

Tires, Rear Fulda Kristall Supremo 305/30ZR-19*

Wheels cast alloy; 19 x 8 1/2 f, 19 x 11 r

Suspension MacPherson struts, lower A-arms, coil springs, elect. adj tube shocks, anti-roll bar/multi-link, coil springs, elect. adj tube shocks, anti-roll bar

Curb weight est 3200 lb

Upgrades: Ruf R Kompressor supercharer kit, Ruf body kit (front spoiler and rear wing), Ruf interior trim (Ruf gauges, steering wheel, pedals, footrest), Ruf/Bilstein sport suspension
* summer tire size and ratings.


0?60 mph 4.0 sec

1/4 mile est 12.0 sec

Oettinger Golf V GTI
Why wait for the R32?

Sam Mitani ? Photos by Jeff Allen

For Oettinger, the past several months have been dramatic, to say the least. It declared bankruptcy, then fought its way out of the financial casket with a new CEO at the helm, and is now back to doing what it does best: upgrading the performance of Volkswagen and Audi cars.

Its latest is the Oettinger Golf V GTI. My test drive of this car came only two days before sampling the latest VW R32, which may not be headed for our shores. The Oettinger GTI will be available in the States in three different variants, with 235, 245 and 310 bhp. Needless to say, we opted for the last version.

Unlike the new R32, the Oettinger comes only in front-wheel drive, which means when you floor the throttle pedal from a standstill, the steering tends to develop a mind of its own. You can't really blame Oettinger for this torque steer ? 310 horses are a lot to control when unleashed through just the front tires. That said, there was surprisingly little wheel slip at launch, and the steering smoothed out once you reached the taller gears, namely 3rd and above. But the way this thing accelerated was awesome, reminiscent of the way the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution gains speed. The GTI gets off the line with the front tires chirping, but all the fun comes when the tach needle sweeps past the 3000-rpm mark. Then hold on, because the instant rush of g's will press your torso into the seatback. The Oettinger GTI accelerates to 60 mph in about 5.9 seconds, about a match for the VW R32.

Oettinger squeezed about as much power as it could from the Volkswagen 2.0-liter inline-4 by bolting on one of its high-output turbochargers, recalibrating the chip and enhancing the intake and exhaust for better breathing. Output is rated at 310 bhp at 5800 rpm with 316 lb.-ft. of torque coming at a low 2700.

Although the Oettinger can't beat an Evo or a Subaru WRX STI to the quarter mile, the VW-based hatchback feels significantly more stable at high speed; credit this to the Golf's rock-solid chassis. You can feel its solidity through a variety of corners as well. Despite some pronounced understeer through the tight and semi-tight curves (winter tires were partly to blame here), the Oettinger GTI absolutely lives for sweepers. Where one would perhaps keep an even throttle through tricky high-speed turns, the Oettinger encourages you to keep pressing the pedal down.

The best part about the Oettinger is the price. The engine conversion runs about $2380. Add to that the wheels ($689) and subtle body kit ($3349), and other miscellaneous items, and you have a car that comes in at about $32,000. If the R32 ever makes it to our shores, it'll be priced in the same neighborhood. So it's up to you: Do you wait (perhaps in vain) for the 250-bhp R32, or do you go for the 310-bhp Oettinger and embarrass sports-car drivers right away? I say there's no time like the present.

Oettinger GTI
Price est $32,000

Engine turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4

Horsepower 310 bhp @ 5800 rpm

Torque 316 lb-ft @ 2700 rpm

Transmission 6-speed DSG

Brakes, Front 12.3-in. vented discs

Brakes, Rear 11.3-in. vented discs

Tires, Front Pirelli 240 Snowsport 225/40R-18

Tires, Rear Pirelli 240 Snowsport 225/40R-18

Wheels cast alloy; 18 x 8 1/2

Suspension MacPherson struts, lower A-arms, coil springs, tube shocks, anti-roll bar/multi-link, coil springs, tube shocks, anti-roll bar

Curb weight 3200 lb

Upgrades: Oettinger engine upgrade (includes Oettinger turbocharger, exhaust manifold, down pipes, exhaust system, intake system, carbon-fiber ram air, ECU), Oettinger aerodynamic kit (includes grille, front bumper, side skirts, rear bumper, roof spoiler), Oettinger suspension, 18-in. wheels, pedals and footrest


0?60 mph est 5.9 sec

1/4 mile est 14.5 sec

AC Schnitzer ACS5
A sharper-edged M5.

Sam Mitani ? Photos by Marc Urbano

We traveled to Aachen, on the western border of Germany and the home of AC Schnitzer, in search of the Tension, a pumped-up BMW 6 Series shown at the past SEMA show in Las Vegas. To my dismay, the car was out of commission, being transformed into a race car.

However, Rainer Vogel, the CEO of AC Schnitzer, led me down to the service center of his massive BMW-AC Schnitzer dealership and pointed to the next best thing, the AC Schnitzer ACS5, an M5 with the complete Schnizter treatment. The car stood out among other 5 Series like Beyonc? at a homemaker's convention. The aerodynamic enhancements to the BMW are highlighted by a carbon-fiber front air dam, side skirts and rear spoiler, all of which give the ACS5 a fast, clean look. A peek inside reveals carbon-fiber insets on the dash and door handles, a custom steering wheel and a brushed aluminum parking brake handle.

Most of the changes to the car are on the surface, unusual for AC Schnitzer, a company accustomed to lifting out engines and putting them back with lots of extra bhp. Vogel explains: "With the M5, the engine is just about perfect. At 500 bhp, the car really doesn't need much more. We're in the business of taking excellent cars and making them perfect. With the M5, we concentrated on other aspects that we felt needed attention, such as the aerodynamics and suspension."

Fair enough, yet all Schnitzer did was firm up the damping and lower the body. "Yes, but wait until you drive it and feel the difference it makes on the road."

Unfortunately, German winter days can be cold and rainy, so my test drive started with caution. As soon as I found a straight pass, I punched it. The ACS5's acceleration feels no different from stock; however, when it comes to high-speed stability, it's superb. At 100 mph, the car is simply walking; at 160 mph, it goes into a light jog, while still tracking straight and with no steering play.

Then we headed toward some curvy roads. Despite the slick driving surface, the ACS5's turn-in feels remarkably crisp. The ACS5 exhibits neutral balance exiting most corners, allowing you to get back on the throttle right after clipping the apex. And then that V-10 wails its lovely song.

Schnitzer's custom exhaust system (stainless-steel muffler with chrome exhaust tips) bumps power up to about 510 bhp and makes a great sound under load. Its growl is significantly deeper and louder than that of the stock M5.

Vogel understands that because the M5 is such an excellent car, not many people would care to improve it, especially if it's going to cost them an additional $30,000. But he says the world is full of those seeking an extra edge, and the case will be no different with this car.

AC Schnitzer ACS5
Price est $115,000

Engine 5.0-liter V-10

Horsepower est 510 bhp @ 7750 rpm

Torque est 485 lb-ft @ 6100 rpm

Transmission 7-speed SMG

Brakes, Front 14.7-in. drilled & vented discs

Brakes, Rear 14.6-in. drilled & vented discs

Tires, Front Michelin Pilot Sport 245/35R-20

Tires, Rear Michelin Pilot Sport 285/30R-20

Wheels forged alloy; 20 x 9J f, 20 x 10J r

Suspension MacPherson struts, double- pivot lower arms, coil springs, elect. adj tube shocks, anti-roll bar/multilink, coil springs, elect. adj tube shocks, anti-roll bar

Curb weight est 4225 lb

Upgrades: ACS aerodynamic package (includes carbon-fiber front spoiler, chrome aluminum brake brackets, carbon-fiber cooling duct, chrome grille, rear roof spoiler, rear spoiler, carbon-fiber mirror covers), ACS interior package (includes steering wheel, carbon-fiber trim pieces, aluminum handbrake handle, aluminum pedal set, aluminum cover for iDrive controller, floormats), ACS dual sport tailpipes, ACS lowering kit, and wheel and tires


0?60 mph est 4.0 sec

1/4 mile est 12.5 sec

Lorinser S550
Luxury with attitude.

By Sam Mitani ? Photos by Marc Urbano

Although the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been touted as one of the finest automobiles in the world, there are those who say that the flagship of the world's most prominent luxury-car maker lacks sport. Even after AMG started spicing things up in-house, people wanted more. Well, Lorinser has been answering those critics for decades by not only giving an extra edge to the S-Class, but also to every Mercedes-Benz car that comes down the line.

Take the new Lorinser S550, which just hit showrooms in the U.S. Lorinser already offers an engine upgrade, as well as a stunning body kit that'll make you wonder if this car was once a Mercedes. The car is lower, with a redesigned grille and air dam, side skirts and a rear spoiler. You can also get vents on the rocker panels to let everyone know you mean business. Forged 21-in. alloy wheels give the car street cred, making it the ideal ride for hitting the town after dark.

Under the hood, Lorinser gave the 5.5-liter V-8 some attitude via a new chip, intake manifold and exhaust system that take power from 382 to 425 bhp. Torque has been bumped up to about 430 lb.-ft. You'll not notice this extra power driving around the city, but when the time comes to blow the doors off the sports car next to you at a stoplight (an experience I encountered at an uncrowded intersection in Germany), it makes itself known. The big sedan seems to forget it weighs 4700 lb., as it jumps off the line with the rear wheels spinning (I had the traction control turned off). The S550 seamlessly works through the 7-speed automatic gearbox as the tachometer needle bounces at each gearchange like a hyper kid on a trampoline. In less than 13 seconds, you're past the century mark. Lorinser says the car will sprint to 60 mph in 4.8 sec.

As for handling improvements, Lorinser performed the usual changes, which consisted of lowering the body and firming the shocks and springs. Although the tweaks were minimal, you can feel the difference in corners. There's significantly less body roll through all types of turns, with much of the car's inherent understeer absent.

The Lorinser S550 is currently available in the U.S. It sports a price tag of about $120,000. For those who want still more performance, you may want to wait for the supercharged 530-bhp version due out late this year or early next.

Lorinser S550
Price est $120,000

Engine 5.5-liter V-8

Horsepower 425 bhp @ 6000 rpm

Torque 430 lb-ft @ 2800 rpm

Transmission 7-speed automatic

Brakes, Front 13.9-in. vented discs

Brakes, Rear 12.6-in. vented discs

Tires, Front Continental Sport Contact 255/30R-21

Tires, Rear Continental Sport Contact 285/30R-21

Wheels forged alloy; 21 x 9 f, 21 x 10 r

Suspension 4-link, air springs, adj hyd servos, adaptive tube shocks, anti-roll bar/5-link, air springs, adj hyd servos, adaptive tube shocks

Curb weight est 4700 lb

Upgrades: Lorinser body kit (front bumper w/integrated foglights, side skirts, rear bumper w/integrated sport exhaust, rear decklid spoiler, roof spoiler); Lorinser Sport lowering module; intake manifold, exhaust system, revised ECU


0-60 mph est 5.0 sec

1/4 mile est 13.5 sec

GS Motorsports Supercharged 300C SRT8
Traveling incognito.

By Jim Hall ? Photos by Jeff Allen

Look closely. Other than the GS Motorsports windshield decal, aftermarket mesh grille and a small "supercharged" badge at the rear, there is little evidence that points to this Chrysler 300C SRT8 as being anything other than stock. Traveling incognito; that's just how the folks at GS Motorsports like it.

While the exterior remains essentially untouched, there are major changes underhood in the GS Motorsports Supercharged 300C SRT8: A Paxton supercharger, massaged cams and ported heads and intake, accompanied by custom headers and a Magnaflow exhaust system. Add it all up and the stock Chrysler 300C SRT8's numbers look timid in comparison to the beast produced by GS Motorsports. While DaimlerChrysler's as-delivered machine pumps out an eye-popping 425 bhp and 420 lb.-ft. of torque from its 6.1-liter engine, the La Habra, California-based tuner's reworked ride makes these numbers look downright puny ? try a monstrous 650 horsepower and a full 620 lb.-ft. of torque.

For more photos of GS Motorsports' hot 300C SRT8 ? plus tire-burning video action and a breakout of the car's modifications and accessories ? check out

GS Motorsports Supercharged 300C SRT8
Engine Modifications GS Motorsports SRT8 6.1 Supercharged Kit, Stage II, Paxton Novi 1500 head unit, high flow aftercooler with twin-fan Setrab heat exchanger. Estimated 650 bhp/620 lb.ft. of torque

Exhaust Modifications Long tube headers designed by Kooks Custom Headers, Custom 3-in. mid-pipes with ultra-high-flow metallic cats, Magnaflow 3-in. SRT8 stainless steel exhaust system

Suspension Modifications KW Suspension lowered struts

Other Modifications Boston Acoustic Stage III upgraded audio system, Gauge Pak auto meter works 2 pillar pod, Auto meter recall boost gauge, Innovate XD-1 wide band A/F gauge, T-Rex mesh grille with Chrysler emblem, GS Motorsports supercharged logo on deck lid

The Other Side of the "Aftermarket" Action

The aftermarket is no longer the only way to modify or customize your car. Auto manufacturers have noticed the enormous amount of money spent beyond their dealership doors and are quickly forming tuning and customization divisions of their own. And the manufacturers offer something many aftermarket companies can't: a factory warranty. And with a lot more R&D money at their disposal, a manufacturer-tuned car usually performs better than stock, which isn't always the case with tuners.

The most notable example of manufacturer customization is Porsche, which has been offering customer-specific cars for decades through its Porsche Exclusive Center in Zuffenhausen, Germany. You can custom-tailor your new Porsche just about any way you'd like ? special paint, wheels, body pieces, custom gauges ? for a price, of course.

Here are a few others: Minis can be tailored with a multitude of mirror and roof colors, as well as special country flags for the roof and the John Cooper Works package. Honda offers go-faster goodies through its HFP division (Honda Factory Performance), while Acura does the same with A-Spec. Audi offers an S-Line of performance/body accessories, Nissan has its Nismo-brand hop-ups, and Scion offers dealer-installed "aftermarket" options on everything from wheels to gearshift knobs to superchargers through TRD (Toyota Racing Development, Toyota's in-house tuner).

Even the American manufacturers are getting onboard ? Chevrolet has its SS line, Ford has SVT and Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep have SRT (Street and Racing Technology), which is their own "speed shop."

Of course, Maybach is the most extreme of them all, with every car completely custom ordered by each prospective owner. ? Mike Monticello

Lingenfelter Twin Turbo Commemorative Corvette


TechArt 997S

Ruf 3.8 R Kompressor

Oettinger Golf V GTI

AC Schnitzer ACS5

Lorinser S550

GS Motorsports Supercharged 300C SRT8
mmmmhhh... RUF!
None of those are worth the price except maybe that 300C