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Modified Cars ...Straight Off the Showroom Floor

Mini Cooper S Works

Mini Cooper S Works
Base Price : $25,000 (est.)
Engine : 4 cyl. suprchg, 200 hp, 177 lb-ft
0-60 mph : 6.5 sec.
0- mile : 15.5 sec @ 94.0 mph
60-0 braking distance : 130 ft
200 ft skidpad : 0.91 g

The 163 hp supercharged Mini gets a horsepower kick up to 200 hp with the John Cooper Works package, named after the man who is the grand daddy of racing Minis. The package is offered by Mini (or shall we say BMW?) dealers complete with installation and full warranty. You get sportier exhaust, a differently-styled front bumper with a larger lower air intake grille, larger wheels, optional bolt-on foglights and white racing stripes along the hood. The Works Mini has a more powerful and higher revving compressor. giving 200bhp at 6950rpm with a top speed of 141mph, and the increased torque, with 177 lb-ft available at 4000rpm sends the Cooper S flying to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds. Special sports seats with optional seat heater and huge 18 inch wheels with 250/40 R18 run-flat tires are part of this package. As in the stock Cooper S, the six-speed manual transmission is standard. Prices should be around the $25,000 mark "for the works."

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII
Base Price : $27,987
Engine : 4 cyl. turbo, 271 hp, 273 lb-ft
0-60 mph : 4.8 sec.
0- mile : 13.1 sec @ 105.1 mph
60-0 braking distance : 110 ft
200 ft skidpad : 0.95 g

The rally-proven Lancer Evo finally makes it to the States. Limited to 6000 cars per year, it is one of Japan's fastest cars. Mitsubishi has proven that supercar performance does not have to come with superhigh price tag. The U.S. market Evolution VIII, although detuned compared to the Japanese version, can still kick the collective asses of Z28, Mustang GT, WRX and Z drivers. Quite a list, eh? It has competition in the form of the 300 hp Impreza WRX STi, but this rally monster can still hold its own, plus it looks the part. To think that this car is based on the lowly Lancer econo-compact is mind-boggling. The Evo features a turbocharged 271 hp engine fed to the tarmac through a complex all-wheel-drive system. Gimmicks include a nozzle that sprays water on the intercooler to improve cooling, a large optional carbon-fibre rear wing to improve downforce, a trick differential setup to improve cornering and huge brake discs to improve braking. Cool.

Subaru Impreza WRX STi

Subaru Impreza WRX STi
Base Price : $30,995
Engine : 4 cyl. turbo, 300 hp, 300 lb-ft
0-60 mph : 4.7 sec.
0- mile : 13.2 seconds @ 104.0 mph
60-0 braking distance : 114 ft
200 ft skidpad : 0.90 g

The hottest version of the Impreza all-wheel-drive sedan is, quite possibly, the only other alternative to the Lancer Evo. A more aggressive machine than the basic WRX, this car is so fully loaded with performance goodies that it is virtually impossible to modify it in an attempt to make it better. The only thing a compulsive hands-on tuning fanatic can do is add more horsepower, but 300 hp should be fine for most people. More than fine. It's also got an advanced all-wheel-drive system with a driver-controlled central differential. You can't even do much in terms of making it look better. It's got the obligatory oversized wing and ground effects all round, plus massive bronze-looking wheels showing off its enormous Brembo brakes. At just $30,995, this car is an amazing bargain, considering it can hang with BMW M3s and Corvette Z06s. Only 320 cars are coming to U.S. shores each month, so you can be sure of huge waiting lists and dealer markups.


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