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Modified Cars ...Straight Off the Showroom Floor

Acura RSX Type-S FP

Acura RSX Type-S FP
Base Price : $29,745
Engine : 4 cyl., 200 hp, 142 lb-ft
0-60 mph : 6.7 sec.
0- mile : 15.2 sec @ 92.7 mph
60-0 braking distance : 125 ft
200 ft skidpad : 0.89 g

The RSX is the second car in Honda's lineup to get the "Factory Performance" treatment after the Civic EX Coupe, but the first in Acura's range. The package costs $4800 and transforms the stock RSX Type-S into a Japanese-market new generation Honda Integra Type-R. For the money, the FP adds Type-R suspension, larger wheels, slotted brakes rotors, better brake pads and special interior trim and a body kit complete with a huge wing. What you don't get is the extra 20 hp that the Type-R engine makes. Nor do you get the JDM smoked headlights and the all-important Type-R stickers. The good news is all this equipment will be available straight from your local Acura dealer and will be covered under the standard warranty. The stiffer suspension definitely turns the already slick-handling front-driver into a rear- wheel-drive killer at the track. Some say to just pay the premium and get a Honda S2000. But then you lose out on the full-size rear seats, the great stereo and the prestige of the Acura badge!

BMW 330i Performance Package

BMW 330i Performance Package
Base Price : $37,890
Engine : 6 cyl., 235 hp, 221 lb-ft
0-60 mph : 5.9 sec.
0- mile : 14.6 sec. @ 96.0 mph
60-0 braking distance : 120 ft
200 ft skidpad : 0.92 g

The 330i is the hands-down no-contest king of the compact sport sedan market. That it is a luxury marque is just icing on the cake. The 3-Series-based M3 coupe is out there killing Corvettes and what not, but many want the convenience of four doors, don't really need too much horsepower, and also consider the sport-package-equipped 330i as not sporty enough. To get it just right, BMW is now offering a performance package with larger wheels, sporty suspension, smoked headlights, a unique front bumper, ground effects and 10 more naturally- aspirated horses under the hood for a total of 235 hp from a higher-revving engine. The interior gets cloth sports seats and Alcantara trim all over the place. Handling is now even more world-beating, and the six-speed short-throw manual shifter combined with a shorter final drive ratio makes this car the closest to a full-factory-warranty four-door M3 you can get. Just be prepared to pay the extra $3900 for all these goodies.

Ford Mustang Mach 1

Ford Mustang Mach 1
Base Price : $28,510
Engine : V8, 305 hp, 320 lb-ft
0-60 mph : 5.3 sec.
0- mile : 13.4 sec @ 106.0 mph
60-0 braking distance : 120 ft
200 ft skidpad : 0.90 g

The Mach 1 is just one of a string of limited edition Mustangs churned out by Ford. Except this one is more than just a minor appearance package. This one packs the naturally aspirated DOHC V8 from the 2001 SVT Cobra, now tuned for more low end torque. Along with the healthy V8, you also get a unique paint scheme, in red-black or blue-black, plus a "shaker" hood complete with a hood scoop that actually shakes. Though the performance benefit of the scoop is minimal in this application, it still looks cool and you can brag to your Mustang GT-owning friends that your hood scoop actually works! Pity the non-functional side scoops though. Aside from the cheesy styling details and retro wheels, the car is the best powersliding rear-driver you can get for under $30,000. No other car in this price range has a 305 hp V8 feeding 320 lb-ft of torque to the tarmac every time you floor the throttle. About 7500 were produced in late 2002 and a few thousand more will be available for 2003.


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