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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Jan 18 2010, 1:49 PM


Unveiled late last week at the Tokyo Auto Salon, AutoGuide was first to bring you news of the mysteriously-named Lexus IS-F CCS Concept. It was easy to recognize the many changes made to the car, with plenty of body panels replaced by carbon fiber components, including the hood and truck. Now we have learned just what the “CCS” stands for and, as we expected, the name is “Circuit Club Sport.” Now we didn’t exactly foretell the name, but we did surmise that, much like the bright-orange BMW M3 GTS, this IS-F is a look at a potential track-ready version of the high-horsepower sedan.

Along with the lighter weight body components, there’s also an aero-enhancing front splitter (also made of carbon), plus some light-weight wheels, a lowered suspension and a new exhaust system that adds roughly 12-hp for a total of 428-hp.

There’s no word from Lexus or Toyota if there are any serious plans to bring this concept to production, but we’ re certain they’d find a few buyers.

[Source: Le Blog Auto]

GALLERY: Lexus IS-F Circuit Club Sports Concept


 |  Jan 15 2010, 4:09 PM


After covering all the major tuner and manufacturer booths located inside the Makuhari Messe’s Convention Center, we decided to wander the Tokyo Auto Salon’s floor to see if we could spot anything that interested us. It didn’t take long before this Abflug “Pink Spider” FD3S Mazda RX-7 really caught our eye.

Easily considered extreme by some, this RX-7 is an example of quality workmanship. The paint job is magnificent and we really love the wheels. More respect has to be given to the owner for the immaculate engine bay. North America may not have seen much of Mazda’s FD3S chassis over the recent years, but in Japan they are still one of the most respected tuner vehicles around.



 |  Jan 15 2010, 3:41 PM


Popularly known for tuning Audis, Sportechnic was present at Tokyo Auto Salon this year with an equal number of Audi and Porsche products. Alongside a Q5 and more highly modified A4 model, sat a Cayenne and a brand new Panamera. The Panamera was mostly stock except for a set of Sportech wheels. We’ll be interested to see where Sortechnic and other tuners (Japanese, German and even American) do with this incredible new platform.

GALLERY: Sportechnic Porsche and Audis


 |  Jan 15 2010, 2:22 PM


While Subaru-fans in North America love the STI-tuned Impreza WRX, they are deprived of other STI cars offered in Suby’s home-market of Japan. One such model is the STI-tuned Legacy Wagon, sold as the Exiga 2.0 GT STI in Japan.

Powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter boxer engine, the Exiga 2.0 GT STI makes 221-hp and 240 ft-lbs of torque. Additional highlights include an STI sport exhaust, 17-inch wheels, a leather shift knob, Alcantara seats, a subtle STI aero kit and a MOMO steering wheel.

This was also our first chance to see Suabru’s new Impreza WRX STI R205. The R stands for “Road Sport” and positions this model as the top STI in Suby’s lineup. Under the hood there’s a new turbo and ECU, along with a new exhaust system to deliver 316-hp and 319 ft-lbs of torque. The suspension has also been upgraded, as have the brakes, with new shocks and springs, as well as a a new front strut tower bar and lower arm brace. The brakes are six-piston front and four-piston rear units, with 18-inch cast aluminum wheels and special Bridgestone Potenza RE070 245/40/18 tires. Outside the R205 gets some new aerodynamics include a new front lip spoiler, new rear diffuser and rear spoiler, while inside the car remains stock except for some R205 badging.

The entire package has also been tested on the Nürburgring, where Subaru ran an R205 spec STI at last year’s 24 Hour race.

Just 400 Impreza WRX STI R205 models will be offered in Japan at a price of 4,510,000 yen (roughly $49,000).

Sadly, but not surprisingly, neither of these will be offered in North America.

GALLERY: Subaru Legacy Wagon STI


GALLERY: Subaruy Imreza WRX STI R205


 |  Jan 15 2010, 1:48 PM


How much could possibly be reported out of Toyota’s Tokyo Auto Salon booth? With G Sports and Gazoo Racing sharing the real estate it’s no surprise there’s plenty to see. Along with the FT-86 G-Sports Concept, Toyota displayed a pair of Gazoo Racing cars: the iQ-based FR Hot Hatch with a widebody and stylish flat black accents as well as a track-ready MR-S roadster. Toyota’s MR-S never got the cult following that its predecessor the MR2, but it was nice to see a tuned MR-S nonetheless.

Two additional concepts from G Sports were also present in the booth with the Mark X (aka, Lexus GS) being converted from a mundane commuter sedan to an aggressive street prowler while the G Sports Prius Concept took the car’s aerodynamics to the extreme, covering up the rear wheels in order to reduce drag as much as possible.

GALLERY: G Sports Prius Concept


GALLERY: G Sports Mark X Concept


GALLERY: Gazo Racing FR Hot Hatch and MR-S


 |  Jan 15 2010, 1:09 PM


We can still remember when European vehicles first started making their way over to the Tokyo Auto Salon. It raised a lot of eyebrows and had many people buzzing on how receptive the Japanese tuners and consumers would be. Fast forward a few years and now European vehicles have become a norm and it looks like American vehicles are now making their way to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Over at the Goodyear booth, we spotted this Chevy Camaro, kitted out, slammed and sporting a massive set of wheels. The Camaro, a large car even in America, looks simple enormous next to many of the subcompacts and MPVs at the Tokyo show.

The Camaro really helped to set the Goodyear booth apart, looking completely unique from the modified Japanese and European cars. It’s not exactly the best America has to offer, but it will be interesting to see if American cars continue to penetrate the Japanese market.

At last year’s SEMA Show, the Camaro was easily the car of choice, with practically ever tuner displaying a modified version of the muscle car. At TAS, the Camaros have been relaced with Priuses.

GALLERY: Goodyear Chevy Camaro


 |  Jan 15 2010, 12:54 PM


Damned if we report another body kit manufacturer but DAMD’s Styling Effect is highly worth mentioning. (Groan… we know). DAMD showed off a selection of its latest products at the Tokyo Auto Salon, with two new aero kits for Subaru products as well as one for, you guessed it, the Toyota Prius.

As the most popular car sold in Japan last year, the car’s style and hybrid efficiency have made it popular and now owners are looking to personalize their car to hel it stand out from the thousands of others on the street.

DAMD decided to take its Prius in a “VIP” luxury direction, slamming it low with glossy black paint and wheels. There’s also a beautiful custom tan leather interior.

As for the Subarus, we’re not huge fans of the “Oreo” themed WRX STI, but the new Legacy kit looks to be a perfect fit, especially for the North American market.

GALLERY: DAMD Modified Prius, WRX STI and Legacy


 |  Jan 15 2010, 12:45 PM


Not many aftermarket parts manufacturers have been in existence as long as Blitz. Continuing to uphold their reputation of high quality and groundbreaking performance products, Blitz kept things rolling as usual at the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon. Much like many body kit manufacturers, Blitz has also expanded its line to include some European tuning, with a brand-new Volkswagen GTI on display.

In addition, the Blitz booth also features the prerequisite Mitsubishi EVO X and Skyline R35 GT-R, while notorious drifter Nomuken’s R34 Skyline marking the first time we’ve ever seen an anti-virus software company sponsor a race car.

GALLERY: Blitz Display at 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon


Tokyo Auto Salon 2010: Toyota Displays Japanese-Market Mark X and Sai

Toyota-branded models sold as the Lexus GS and HS250h in North America

 |  Jan 15 2010, 12:39 PM


With all the commotion surrounding the FT-86 G Sports Concept and the collection of G Sports vehicles at the Tokyo Auto Salon, it would have been easy not to notice several other Toyota models worth a mention. Eventually we did manage to tear our eyes off the FT-86, only to discover the Japanese-specific Mark X and Sai on display.

Essentially the Toyota-branded versions of two Lexus models, the Mark X is sold in the U.S. as the Lexus GS. In Japan its offered with either a base 203-hp 2.5-liter V6 or an optional 315-hp 3.5-liter V6, both with six-speed automatic transmissions. Only the 2.5-liter models are available with AWD, otherwise, both models come standard with a rear-drive setup.

As for the Sai, it’s the Japanese version of North America’s HS hybrid but with a much more “Toyota-friendly” front end.

GALLERY: Toyota Mark X and Sai


 |  Jan 15 2010, 12:19 PM


While not as well known in North America as VIP tuners like Wald International or Junction Produce, Branew is a Japanese tuning powerhouse specializing in various luxury and tuning markets including Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Nissan, Bentley, Hummer, Porsche and Land Rover. The big buzz leading up to the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon from Branew was the debut of their 370Z kit. Sadly, we don’t have a time machine to go back to before we saw this. We just feel so bad for the Z.

Branew should probably stick to designing aero kits for luxury cars. We took a close look at several of their luxury car designs and really took a liking to the modified HS250h on display.

GALLERY: Branew 370Z and Lexus Models


 |  Jan 15 2010, 12:08 PM


Standing out in stark contrast to all the Japanese cars, and even the other European models at the Tokyo Auto Salon, were two little toys from Fiat tuner/sub-brand Abarth, a 500 and Grande Punto. The hard-core Abarth 500 is a hoped-up version of the Fiat 500 and this particular Abarth is even more extreme thanks to an Esseesse kit.

What makes this car so special is that it has roughly double the output of the stock Fiat 500. The Abarth model already makes impressive power from its 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, but the Esseesse kit takes output from 170-hp all the way to 197-hp. As for torque, it’s rated at 170 ft-lbs, which is more than enough to make this pint-sized Fiat a pocket rocket.

Additional Esseesse package modifications include larger brakes, a lowered suspension and 17-inch wheels.

The perfect mix of style and performance, the Abarth 500 seems like the perfect car for Japan and we’re excited about yet-unconfirmed reports that it will be offed in North America soon. Make our Abarth 500 an Esseesse, please!

GALLERY: Abarth 500 Esseesse


 |  Jan 15 2010, 11:54 AM


As if the Nissan booth at the Tokyo Auto Salon wasn’t action packed enough with its NISMO offerings, Autech Factory Custom was present with its “Rider” series of vehicle enhancements.

Offsetting the high-horsepower and high-dollar NISMO offers, the Autech cars are more about personalization than power and are aimed at entry-level buyers.

On display in the Autech section are the Serena Rider, Note Rider and Cube Rider. All three vehicles come dressed in pristine white with styling accessories, chrome accents and various in car electronics goods. There’s no denying that these boxy MPVs play a major role in the Japanese tuning car culture.

GALLERY: Nissan Autech Factory Cars


Tokyo Auto Salon 2010: ARK Design Butchers 370Z Converible

ARK fuses ultra-modern Z lines with some retro-inspired Mercedes SLS style

 |  Jan 15 2010, 11:10 AM


We’re not too sure what to think of this 370Z Convertible. Scratch that, we know exactly what we think of this butchered 370Z. When the newest Z debuted we immediately fell in love with its progressive lines and remarked how, unlike its predecessor, it looked purpose built to be a convertible.

As for the ARK Design vehicle, it just doesn’t seem to work at all. The complete aero kit looks somewhere between Nissan’s ulra-cool URGE Concept and the newly-released Mercedes-Benz SLS retro supercar. The modern and retro designs just don’t seem to work together at all.

But don’t listen to us. Tell us what you think.

GALLERY: ARK Design Nissan 370Z


 |  Jan 15 2010, 10:58 AM


Honda is hoping to build a following with its line of Modulo parts in Japan, in a bid to replicate the the success that Mugen has had. On display at the Tokyo Auto Salon, Honda showcased three different Modulo-equipped versions of its Insight hybrid.

First up is a mostly stock looking Touring Modulo Insight, featuring a short list of Modulo parts than can be purchased through dealerships. Up next is the Modulo Touring race car (yup, a hybrid race car), which Honda is using to build awareness and credibility for its Modulo line of parts.

Finally, Honda displayed its Insight Sports Modulo Concept, which takes a look at where Modulo parts may go in the future. The Modulo Concept carries a theme of “Exciting Eco” and is equipped with a new front bumper, lower grille, diffuser and LED lighting. The wheels are certainly interesting, looking like some of the aerodynamic designs currently used in Formula One.

GALLERY: Modulo Equiped Honda Insights


 |  Jan 15 2010, 10:38 AM


Even though Nissan’s readily available market vehicles were the center of attention at the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon, the company’s flagship GT-R also had an offering from NISMO: a Club Sports Package. The Club Sports Package doesn’t overhaul the exterior of the GT-R, but rather includes a new data logger for track use and a fine collection of suspension tuning modifications.

The data logger allows owners of this Club Sports model to record all of the vehicle’s telemetry and then download it via a USB stick. Owners can then examine the data at home or on their laptop, as well as share it with other drivers. This new setup will be particularly helpful for those looking to get the most out of their GT-R on the race track.

And speaking of the track, NISMO also displayed its Super GT race car.

GALLERY Nissan GT-R Club Sports and NISMO GT-R Race Car


 |  Jan 15 2010, 12:29 AM


Custom paint has always been a staple of modifying a car. Over the years trends have come and gone, many of them debuting from Tokyo such as Maziora or “color changing” paint. We ran across this pair of cars with a paint style we have yet to see.

The car above is called the Toban Shokunin by a shop called And Factory Produce and appears to have started life as some sort of Suzuki. We honestly can’t say what the other car is, or was.

Regardless, the new paint scheme is brilliantly metallic and has a serious 3D look to it. Who knows, perhaps we’ll see more cars painted this way in the future. It’s definitely extreme, but used in moderation, it could really work for some nice pinstiping action on a classic American hotrod.

GALLERY: And Factory Produce Toban Shokunin


Tokyo Auto Salon 2010: Lexus IS-F CCS Concept

Light-weight Lexus could foreshadow hard-core production model

 |  Jan 14 2010, 11:50 PM


Tucked away towards the back of Toyota’s booth at the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon was this IS-F CCS Concept that looks to be a lightweight version of the performance-minded sedan. Not much details could be found on this CCS Concept, but we definitely fell in love with the bright orange shade and carbon fiber accents. The hood, trunk, and spoiler were all constructed on carbon fiber while the front bumper and side skirts got a mild trim accent and the rear bumper its own carbon fiber diffuser. A slightly different exhaust system also appears to be a part of the package, as do the light weight wheels. It also doesn’t take an expert to see that this IS-F features a significantly lowered suspension.

Looking at the IS-F CCS Concept, we can’t help but think of the equally-orange BMW M3 GTS, which debuted recently in Germany as a track-only club racer. Is Lexus thinking of offering a similar model, or perhaps a light-weight street legal version? We certainly hope so.

GALLERY: Lexus IS-F CCS Concept


 |  Jan 14 2010, 11:39 PM


Several years ago D.A.D took center stage at the Tokyo Auto Salon in Japan and the SEMA in Show North America by showing off their crystal-encrusted Mercedes-Benz SL. For TAS 2010, D.A.D added another SL to their collection sporting a gold theme rather than the bright white crystal theme we’ve come to love feel nauseous about over the years  Impressively enough, D.A.D also had a DVD playing, which showed the gaudy Mercedes prowling various streets around the world.

GALLERY: D.A.D. Mercedes-Benz Cars at the Tokyo Auto Salon


 |  Jan 14 2010, 11:35 PM


Wheel manufacturer BBS turned to the European market to appeal to the Japanese consumers at the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon. The company’s RN wheel was the feature item on a pristine white Porsche Panamera 4S. And in true sensible BBS style, the fitment was conservative, as is the design. That design looks to be the perfect style for the Porsche Panamera: a luxurious one-piece that isn’t too busy or too sporty.

As the Panamera continues to grow on us, this set of BBS wheels is certainly helping.

GALLERY: BBS Porsche Panamera


 |  Jan 14 2010, 11:31 PM


Not to be left behind with all the other Japanese aftermarket manufacturers that have taken to the trend of modifying hybrid/green cars, Tommy Kaira not only impressed with its GT-R at the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon, but with its Prius and Insight offerings too. Earlier this month both vehicles were released to the public and onto the Internet but this was our first opportunity to get up close with the vehicles in person and we’re quite impressed.

Both Eco-Sports Edition vehicles, part of the new Tommy Kaira Eco Spo line of aerodynamics for hybrids, carry a mixture of light weight carbon fiber and fibreglass body accents that are both conservative and appealing.

GALLERY: Tommy Kaira Eco Spo Honda Insight and Toyota Prius


 |  Jan 14 2010, 11:13 PM


Over the years Wald International has solidified itself as one of the premiere tuners of luxury vehicles in Japan. Recently the company has expanded its line of styling products to include European vehicles, most noticeably those from Mercedes-Benz and BMW. A trio of Lexus vehicles, a Nissan GT-R, a pair of Mercedes and a BMW 5-Series made for one of the more prominent booths at the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon.

Known for more outlandish designs, WALD has had success in North America with Mercedes products, due to the more urban style of the parts, which are also high quality and significantly less expensive than parts from German competitors.

We’re used to seeing WALD parts on luxury sedans like the 5 Series and Lexus LS, but we were really taken aback by the wild kit WALD offers for the Lexus RX crossover.

GALLERY: WALD International at the Tokyo Auto Salon


 |  Jan 14 2010, 11:05 PM


While many Japanese aftermarket tuners are taking on the newest models including many of them turning towards European applications, J’s Racing has stuck to what they know best: Hondas. The company’s booth wasn’t overwhelmingly large, but it was clear that J’s Racing is aware of the new Hybrid-tuning craze, displaying its own version of a tuned Insight, complete with light-weight RAYS wheels, an aero kit, lowered suspension and some nice Recaro seats inside. It even featured a unique combination of decals that gave it a widebody look.

Next to this Insight sat a car that represents the other extreme at Honda, the now out-of-production S2000. This model featured the J’s Racing widebody kit that is anything but subtle and has appeared on more than a few cars and more than a few magazine covers on this side of the Pacific.

GALLERY: J’s Racing Honda Insight and S2000


 |  Jan 14 2010, 10:54 PM


Nissan never fails to impress at Tokyo Auto Salon and 2010 was no exception to the rule. In-house tuning company NISMO showed off its offerings for the brand’s most popular performance platforms, the FairladyZ, Skyline Coupe and Skyline Sedan, or as they’re known in North America: the Nissan 370Z, Infiniti G37 Coupe and G37 Sedan. All three carry the “Sporty Package” option from Nissan which looks to include a mild performance increase though a new sporty exhaust system, as well as a new lip kit for both the NISMO Skline Coupe and Sedan. The Skyline Sedan package also looks to include some additional LED fog lights.

As for the NISMO 370Z, that model is already offer in the U.S. after being introduced at last year’s New York Auto Show. This NISMO edition takes the Z to an even higher level in every performance category with 350hp – an increase of 18 ponies over the stock Z. Torque is up as well, but just slightly, to 276 ft-lbs – an increase of 6 ft-lbs. Power is also achieved at a higher rpm with the 3.7-liter V6 strung-out to 7400 rpm to acheive maximum horsepower, as opposed to the stock cars, 7000 rpm max power level.

To give the car even better track performance, Nissan gave it a standard limited slip differential and stiffened up the chassis with special “body dampers” on the front frame rail and below the rear cargo area. And of course, the car comes with a NISMO springs and a big NISMO strut tower bars front and rear. The front springs are 15 percent stiffer and rear springs are 10 percent stiffer, with the new strut bars incresing stifness by 15 and 50 percent respectively.

As expected, the stock brakes are replaced with front 4-piston calipers and 14-inch rotors and rear two-piston calipers and 13.8-inch rotors. Those big brake sit inside a set of amazing looking 19-inch NISMO wheels. Manufactured by RAYS forged, the new wheels measure 19×9.5-inches up front and 19×10.5-inches in the rear witt front 245/40/19 tires and rear 285/35/19 tires.

Finally, the NISMO Z gets some styling additions including a new front bumper, side skirts, rear bumper and rear spoiler that are all functional, reducing lift on the front axle and increasing downforce in the rear.



GALLERY: NISMO Skyline Coupe


GALLERY: NISMO Skyline Sedan


 |  Jan 14 2010, 10:49 PM


As much as the Japanese love modifying and tuning their cars, enthusiasts in the land of the rising sun love to get their hands on a fine German luxury car. While names like Brabus might be known best in Germany, Benz-tuner Carlsson has a huge following in Japan, thanks in part to its smart marketing efforts – like always displaying at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

Always a show staple, Carlsson was dressed to impress at TAS 2010 with an impressive corral of vehicles ranging from a modified Mercedes McLaren SLR 722, to a pair of modified and personalized Smart Cars.

In addition to these, the German tuner also has on display one of its newest packages for the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, including a complete aero kit, exhaust system, lowering kit for the suspension and interior accessories.

GALLERY: Carlsson at the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon