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Modified Cars ...Straight Off the Showroom Floor

Honda Accord EX V6 Coupe FP

Honda Accord EX V6 Coupe FP
Base Price : $30,500 (est.)
Engine : V6, 240 hp, 212 lb-ft
0-60 mph : 6.2 sec.
0- mile : 14.5 sec @ 98.0 mph
60-0 braking distance : 127 ft
200 ft skidpad : 0.88 g

The Factory Performance package for the Accord EX V6 coupe debuted at SEMA 2002, featuring large 17 inch wheels, firmer suspension, prominent rear spoiler, ground effects and some special interior trim. This coupe is already a pleasure to drive in stock form, thanks to its slick six-speed manual shifter, which is one of the best in the business. Power remains the same, but hey, 240 hp is enough for a front-wheel-drive such as this, but it could do with a little more torque. Maybe its for the best. After all, a Maxima has more power and torque, but it is a handful when the throttle is floored. The package will be available through dealerships in the $4000-$5000 range. The Accord, even with this package, still falls behind the RSX FP at the track. But this coupe can wipe out the Acura at the drag strip, along with Merc CLK320s, Stratus R/Ts and Toyota Celicas. It can do all this in stock form too, but you really need the FP trimmings to gain some respect in the twisties.

Lexus IS 300 L-Tuned

Lexus IS 300 L-Tuned
Base Price : $33,434 (S1), $37,133 (S2)
Engine : 6 cyl., 223 hp, 220 lb-ft (est.)
0-60 mph : 6.5 sec.
0- mile : 14.9 sec. @ 93.0 mph
60-0 braking distance : 115 ft
200 ft skidpad : 0.90 g

The L-Tuned badging basically refers to the Lexus division of TRD, Toyota's inhouse performance arm. The L-Tuned range offers performance accessories to the GS, and now, the IS range. The L-tuned package for the IS 300 comes in two levels. The first trim, called the Series I Package, gives you a body kit that includes a unique mesh grille, different front bumper, larger fog lights, side skirts, rear valance, rear lip spoiler and a sports muffler that makes your car sound growlier while adding 8 hp to the 215 stock hp. All this comes for a steep $3999. To actually improve handling, you have to drop $7,698 for the Series II Package, which gives you all the Series I pieces, plus 18-inch seven-spoke aluminum alloy wheels, larger tires, progressive rate springs and thicker anti-roll bars. Oh, and your car is lowered an inch. Colors are limited to silver, graphite and black. Price is steep for this add-on, but all pieces come pre-installed and are factory-warranted.

MazdaSpeed Protege

MazdaSpeed Protege
Base Price : $20,500
Engine : 4 cyl. turbo, 170 hp, 155 lb-ft
0-60 mph : 6.9 sec.
0- mile : 15.4 sec @ 91.0 mph
60-0 braking distance : 135 ft
200 ft skidpad : 0.85 g

This turbo Protege is the second generation of the line that started off with the Mazda MP3. Although commended for its excellent suspension setup (and standard MP3 player), it received tons of criticism for being underpowered (and having tiny stereo buttons). To silence the critics, MazdaSpeed, Mazda's motorsports arm, tapped into Corvette-tuners Callaway for their turbocharger knowhow, to create the new turbo Protege. The new engine's 170 hp is enough to cut down 0-60 times by almost two seconds, thus keeping speed freaks happy (although those tiny MP3 stereo buttons remain). The new turbo Protege also got bigger four-wheel disc brakes, even stiffer suspension and new 17-inch wheels, along with the extra braces, limited-slip differential, interccooler and high performance muffler, all for a two grand price increase over the outgoing $18,500 MP3. The interior features sports seats, the 450W MP3 player and various trimmings. This car's good enough to beat a WRX at the track.


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