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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.
 |  Apr 28 2011, 8:41 AM

The CR-Z that Honda fanboys have been begging for is on its way thanks to Mugen. The European division of the tuner has just released new details on its high-performance version of the sporty hybrid coupe, with the big news being a supercharger under the hood to deliver 200-hp.

Mugen Euro hasn’t released exact specs but says the supercharger mated to the 1.5-liter engine (which retains the hybrid electric system) will make “around 200PS” with 181 lb-ft of torque. That’s roughly an increase of 50 percent over the standard CR-Z.

“The idea was to use the significant advantage of the early torque provided by the Honda IMA electric motor, then increase the torque available from the petrol engine gradually, to first maintain and then increase this,” says Colin Whittamore from Mugen Euro. “A supercharger and complementary electronics allow us to very neatly map the IMA to the extra power and torque of the engine in a unique package, giving a smooth and integrated powerful driving experience.”

In addition to the added power, the Mugen CR-Z will also sport 5-way adjustable dampers, a wider track and lower weight. New 17-inch forged wheels will cut unsprung mass while bigger brakes are also a part of the package. Plus, there’s going to be a typically wild Mugen aero kit.

Alas…. there’s a gray cloud to this silver lining. Yes, the Mugen CR-Z, set to debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July, is just a one off. Will they offer production versions or sell the supercharger kit solo? They damn well better!

Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2011 Honda CR-Z review

 |  Feb 17 2011, 1:36 PM

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Honda is well aware that it has a strong following of enthusiasts who love to modify their cars and with the launch of the 9th generation Civic expected later this year, the Japanese automaker is catering to its fan base, displaying a few tuner cars at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.

Flanking the new Civic Si Concept and Civic Sedan Concept are what Honda is calling the REMIX CR-Z and REMIX Accord Coupe, built in association with Performance Auto & Sound Magazine (PASMAG).

As expected with PASMAG, both cars have big audio systems, but otherwise the builds are surprisingly clean, both using matte white and matte black paint, with tame aero kits, suspension drops and some nice Enkei wheels. For all the details, hit the jump for the press release, and check out the galleries below.

GALLERY: Honda REMIX Accord Coupe

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GALLERY: Honda REMIX CR-Z

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Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Feb 10 2011, 8:17 AM

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Lexus is a brand desperate to grow its appeal among younger buyers and while the new CT200h hybrid hatchback might be more of a European-targeted vehicle, apart from the IS series, it’s easily the most attractive car to the Gen-X and Gen-Y crowd from the Toyota luxury brand here in North America.

To help convey that message and to draw attention to the fact that Lexus does offer something to suit the interests, lifestyle and budget of younger buyers, the Lexus commissioned tuner and design studio Five Axis to build what is being called the Five Axis Project CT. Unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show the car gets a custom widebody with an aggressive rear end complete with a massive diffuser. The ‘Dark Passage’ paint helps convey the car’s ‘Darker Side of Green’ marketing slogan, while under the hood the factory powerplant remains untouched, delivering 42-mpg average.

Inside there’s everything from custom seat inserts to an impressive looking touch-screen interface that looks perfectly suited to the CT and could easily be passed off as factory equipment.

GALLERY: Five Axis Project CT

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Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Lexus CT200h Review Here

Get more CT200h news and info at CT200hForum.com

 |  Feb 02 2011, 9:31 PM

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Modifying hybrids has turned into a solid market out in Japan, and one of the oldest aero kit designers has joined in on the fun. In the late 1990s, C-West had immersed itself into the American market with its popular Honda and Acura body kits but recently the buzz for C-West’s infamous styling had subsided. We did report last year in April that C-West would be developing a kit for the CR-Z and now we’re finally able to enjoy the finished (and real) product.

C-West is offering two different front ends for the hybrid CR-Z; one which is a front half spoiler (add-on lip) and the other being a full bumper replacement that sports traditional C-West styling. Fitting with either front end is a pair of side skirts and a rear half spoiler that makes the CR-Z quite a bit more aggressive.

In addition to the four piece body kit, C-West also offers a rear spoiler and a hood for the CR-Z.

Overall the CR-Z market is shaping up to be very attractive – perhaps it’ll do a better job than the Fit did in bringing Honda back to becoming popular among the sport compact enthusiasts.

GALLERY: C-West Honda CR-Z

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[Source: Farm of Minds]

Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Honda CR-Z Review Here

 |  Feb 02 2011, 9:47 AM


Lexus will use the upcoming Chicago Auto Show to keep the focus on its new CT200h hybrid luxury hatchback.

To do so Lexus will have on display a new concept version of the car build by tuning-house and design studio Five Axis. A single teaser sketch of the car has been released, with the CT sporting some custom aero work, a Tein suspension, 19-inch wheels, Stoptech brakes and a custom touch-screen interface.

Five Axis has a long-standing relationship with Lexus and Toyota, having build numerous SEMA vehicle for them over the years.

Targeted at younger buyers, Lexus has already shown an F-Sport styling and handling package for the CT and company execs have admitted they are looking at delivering a more potent version of the car. Could this wild concept preview such a model? We can only hope.

In addition, Lexus will show off two of this year’s SEMA vehicles, the VIP Auto Salon LS600hL and the Paul Tolson, EST Styling RX450h.

[Source: MotorAuthority]

Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Lexus CT200h Review Here

And get more CT200h news and info at CT200hForum.com

 |  Jan 28 2011, 10:07 AM

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You know the saying, “as American as apple pie”? Well, in Qatar they say, “as Qatar-ian(?) as a modified SUV.” OK, maybe not, but wealthy Middle-Easterners really know how to blow their oil-soaked money: like on the Invader L60.

Japanese tuning house Invader recently unveiled its new L60 truck at the Qatar Motor Show, based on the massive Lexus LX570. Along with an excessive widebody kit and some massive front-end opening, the truck also gets some obligatory gold wheels (optional) and an aggressive rear diffuser with four exhaust pipes.

A completely custom interior is also a part of the package, and who can forget the supercharged mated to the big V8 engine to help pump out 600-hp.

Invader is planning to bring the L60 to the Geneva Auto Show in March, so we’ll be sure to snap plenty of live pics then.

GALLERY: Lexus LX-based Invader L60

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[Source: Automobile]

 |  Jan 25 2011, 8:27 PM

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Considering how many years the MKIV Toyota Supra has been out of production, it’s amazing that the aftermarket continues to come up with new parts for it. But why not? The Supra remains one of the most versatile vehicles in the world when it comes to customization.

Veilside possibly has some of the world’s most famous Supras, and it looks like they wanted to make yet another statement at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon with the introduction of their 4509 GTR. Based on the MKIV Toyota Supra Turbo, Veilside decided to blend some luxury styling to the sports coupe.

A quick glance on the exterior and it’s easy to mistake the Supra with a Bentley, given its massive front grille. The front bumper also clearly hints at the Bentley Continental GT, while the headlights provide a tip of the hat to Audi’s R8 supercar.

And naturally, the Supra sports a massive widebody, allowing Veilside to squeeze 20-inch wheels in the front and massive 22-inch wheels in the rear. The custom body is constructed out of a combination of carbon fiber and fiberglass.

For the interior, the luxury theme continues with leather and diamond-stitched Alcantara, a sporty steering wheel and custom gauge cluster/panel.

Squeezing horsepower out of the Supra’s 2JZ is no secret nowadays, so it’s not too impressive, but worth noting, that Veilside’s Supra sports an HKS upgraded turbo kit to help put down 680-hp and 594.5 ft-lbs of torque. Complementing all the performance modifications is a new clutch, exhaust, Rotora big brakes and suspension mods.

GALLERY: Veilside 4509 GTR Toyota Supra

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[Source: Carscoop]

 |  Jan 25 2011, 11:08 AM

The old age debate of imports vs. domestics, four-cylinders vs. V8s, high-revving horsepower vs. low-end torque… the argument continues to rage on despite a whole new era of simple hybrids. And while we won’t see many GM enthusiasts swapping in a Honda S2000 powerplant into their domestic machine, there have been plenty of import enthusiasts taking big V8 muscle and shoving it into their engine bays.

Over the years we’ve seen plenty of engine-swapped hybrids from the Honda camp, from GS-R B18′s into Civics to Prelude H22′s into CRXs. Of course with the only popular RWD application from Honda being the S2000, it would only be a matter of time before enthusiasts began swapping in American V8s under the hood of the high-strung two-seater.

So here’s one of the cleanest builds we’ve ever laid our eyes on. Jason, the owner of this Honda S2000 on S2ki, did one hell of a project from the bottom up. Under the hood is a V8 LS1 powerplant while the rest of the car gets subtle upgrades to kept it extremely clean and functional. While some enthusiasts would probably go overboard with the aesthetics, this S2000 is conservative, giving no indication at what’s underneath the hood.

The initial dyno run turned out 317-hp and 333 ft-lbs of torque, a serious increase in power and more than double the factory block’s torque. Plus, it sounds like a beast.

GALLERY: LS1 Powered Honda S2000

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[Photo Credit: Chad Lunn, Source: S2ki]

Check out two videos of the S2000 after the jump.

Continue Reading…

 |  Jan 16 2011, 8:28 AM

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If you’re looking for the VIP section at the Tokyo Auto Salon, this is it. The RH9 Club, is a loose network of tuner shops that have built Nissan GT-Rs that can run a 9 second quarter mile or faster.

As the legend goes, the shops all meet and discuss tuning ideas and even build parts under one RH9 brand name. The list of exclusive tuners reportedly includes such big names as: Top Secret, Top Fuel, Jun Auto, Signal Auto and about a dozen more.

The collection of cars gathered at the Tokyo show wasn’t limited to GT’R's however, and it’s not clear if the RH9 club has expanded to include other vehicles or if these are just some of the other cars build by RH9 member shops.

Check out all the pics below and see our complete 2011 Tokyo Auto Show coverage here.

GALLERY: RH9 Cars on Display at Tokyo Auto Salon

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 |  Jan 15 2011, 5:47 PM

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It wouldn’t be the Tokyo Auto Salon without an appearance by a few specific tuners and that list includes Top Secret. Best known for building unmistakably gold high-powered machines – like the Toyota Supra – the Top Secret display in Tokyo this year includes a stunning Nissan GT-R.

Sporting a special aero kit (including a carbon fiber front splitter and large rear spoiler) the GT-R gets the gold treatment and is accompanied by two Honda CR-Zs as well as a Suzuki Colt. None of the cars are close to stock and the dark gray CR-Z even has an HKS turbo kit.

Check out all the cars (and a few extras) in the gallery below. And see our complete 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon coverage here.

GALLERY: Top Secret Nissan GT-R, Honda CR-Z

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 |  Jan 14 2011, 3:11 PM

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One reason to attend the annual Tokyo Auto Salon tuner show is to see Japanese Domestic Market vehicles extensively modified by some of the best aftermarket companies in the business. A second reason is to have a good laugh.

A car culture that can deliver the NSX and GT-R, is also responsible for 1980s-era Transformers-styled big rigs and Hello Kitty themed Ferraris. A tuner by the name of Joy Worx most certainly fits into the latter category, debuting a new hydraulics-equipped commercial truck with an excessively Japan-themed paint job.

But there’s more. Check out the hidden rear wheels (inside flared fenders no less) and the absolutely massive rear spoiler that’s certain to come in handy when it’s completely dumped (yes, that’s sarcasm).

GALLERY: Joy Worx Truck

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 |  Jan 14 2011, 10:16 AM

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Nissan/Infiniti tuner Impul chose the Tokyo Auto Salon to make the public debut of its new 651S tuning package for the new Infiniti M luxury sedan.

While some of the aerodynamic modifications aren’t to out taste, thankfully Impul isn’t just some plastic-fantastic shop. They actually offer a full line of modifications.

Shown on this car is a spring and shock combo package, as well as a big brake upgrade with 6-piston front calipers and 4-piston rear. Added power comes thanks to a dual-exhaust system, as well as a retuned ECU and larger throttlebodies. Those upgrades are, however, only offered for the M37 and M25 models (yup, they have an M25 in Japan) and Impul has yet to announce any performance upgrades for the big-dog M56.

GALLERY: Impul 651S

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 |  Jan 14 2011, 9:49 AM

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One of the premiere tuners for Honda and Acura vehicles, J’s Racing is known for building parts for those who want to get out on the track.

On display at the Tokyo Auto Salon, the J’s Racing team brought along fully modified versions of the Civic Type R and the new CR-Z. Both models feature custom bodywork with vented carbon fiber hoods and the CR-Z gets a large carbon fiber rear wing that actually suits the sporty hybrid’s shape.

Other upgrades include 18-inch Rays wheels, Recaro seats, a J’s Racing exhaust for each car and the company’s own Hyper ECU tuning.

GALLERY: J’s Racing Honda CR-Z

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GALLERY: J’s Racing Honda Civic Type R

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 |  Jan 14 2011, 9:12 AM

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Hybrids are increasingly becoming the car of choice in Japan and as a result the country that’s responsible for popularizing electrified motoring is also the Mecca for hybrid tuning.

Yes, some performance shops are working on adding more power to hybrid systems, but as with the rest of the auto industry, the majority of tuning is dedicated areas outside the engine bay. And with the Prius being the best selling car in Japan, it’s the one that gets the most attention.

Built by Toyota‘s motorsports partner Gazoo Racing, the Prius G Sports Concept is a look at a future sports package that the company is considering. Debuting at the Tokyo Auto Salon, the modifications are minimal and look to consist of a set of 18-inch wheels to improve handling and an aero kit.

Toyota won’t say for sure, but look for this kit or perhaps a full production model based on this car to launch in Japan in the coming months.

GALLERY: Toyota Prius G Sports Concept

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 |  Jan 14 2011, 8:53 AM

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It’s not even for sale in North America yet, but over in Japan they’re already hard at work modifying the all-new Toyota Vitz – sold here as the Yaris.

A marked improvement on the current model in the style department, the G Sports team at Gazoo Racing have customized this little hatch with a selection of accessories including a complete aero kit. Of note is an aggressive race-inspired rear diffuser, as well as a subtle roof spoiler. As expected, there’s a lowered suspension, plus a set of 18-inch light weight wheels for this sub-compact.

Toyota isn’t one for building driver’s cars, but the G Sports line is helping give enthusiasts a reason to buy Toyota products – or at least they are in Japan. However, as it stands, this package is still just a concept.

GALLERY: G Sports Concept Vitz

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 |  Jan 14 2011, 8:38 AM

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Love the Nissan Juke? OK, you probably don’t, but that’s most likely because you haven’t driven one. Criticized from Tokyo to Tampa Bay, the Juke is a front-runner for ugliest car ever, but it’s also a seriously fun package with a turbocharged 4-cylinder and a sophisticated AWD system.

Targeted at young urbanites, Nissan is looking to add a selection of items to the Juke in the hopes of attracting a few more buyers and up-selling the parts to those already looking at the compact SportCross.

Called the Juke ‘Sporty Package’ it consists of new 17-inch wheels and Michelin tires, fog lights and chrome accenting around the bottom of the doors and rear liftgate. There’s also a body kit, plus a subtle rear spoiler – which really helps to improve the car’s back end.

Debuting at the Tokyo Auto Salon, Nissan intends to offer this kit to customers through dealers in both North America and Europe

GALLERY: Nissan Juke Sporty Package

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Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Nissan Juke Review Here

 |  Jan 14 2011, 8:19 AM

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Ever wonder what would happen if you let a high-performance tuning company run wild on a minivan? Well wonder no longer, as Nissan‘s NISMO division has just debuted a version of the new Elgrand (sold as the Quest in North America) at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon.

Already an imposing beast of a van, the NISMO Elgrand gets its own aero kit with an even more imposing front grille. Matched up with a complete aero package, the van also features a custom suspension drop by the handling experts at NISMO. A set of 18-inch wheels complete the look; although they do seem rather small in comparison to the huge slab-sides of this boxy people mover.

It’s just a concept for now, but knowing the market for these types of things in Japan, NISMO is almost certain to offer copies of this kit. Find the right JDM-market importer and you too can roll up to soccer practice looking like you’re from 2025.

GALLERY: NISMO Elgrand

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 |  Jan 14 2011, 1:19 AM

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While Lexus does already offer a selection of F-Sport branded TRD bits for the IS-F, the automaker now seems poised to deliver a selection of track-focused goodies for those who want to take their 5.0-liter V8 sedan around the track.

Looking nearly identical to the IS-F Club Circuit Sport concept from last yea’s Tokyo Auto Salon, the new TRD model sports some subtle front lip add-ons as well as a rear diffuser. A vented carbon fiber hood is also part of the package, as is a simply massive rear spoiler. And let’s not forget the light weight forged wheels.

Here’s hoping that Lexus does decide to bring these parts to market for customers in North America.

GALLERY: Lexus IS-F Club Performance Accessory by TRD

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 |  Jan 14 2011, 12:47 AM

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You’d be forgiven for thinking that Lamborghini’s designers had gotten a hold of the Honda CR-Z. Despite its matte-black paint and wild bodywork the TS-1X Concept has nothing in common with the Reventon supercar.

Based on the new hybrid sports car, the TS-1X gets a fighter-jet inspired aero kit that actually seems to work with the CR-Z’s futuristic styling. In both the front and rear are small aero-bits that remind us of the flying buttresses on the Ferrari 599, which are designed to increase downforce while not adding drag.

Also included are a set of 18-inch wheels, which look absolutely massive on the tiny CR-Z. And inside those rollers (which look like painted Civic Type R models), is a set of TS-1X branded Nissin brakes.

GALLERY: Honda CR-Z TS-1X

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 |  Jan 14 2011, 12:36 AM

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The Acura (or Honda) NSX has been out of production since 2005, but icons are always worth revisiting. That, apparently, is the thought behind the new Sports Modulo NSX.

Unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon in Japan, Honda’s in-house Sports Modulo tuning division has just release a new selection of parts for the legendary Japanese exotic. They even went so far as to display them on a pre-2002 model with the old pop-up headlights (our fave).

The new items include a Modulo carbon fiber spoiler, Modulo shocks, springs and even control arms.

With Honda having taken a lot of flack recently for its product decisions, we welcome this small nod to enthusiasts. Now if only they’d deliver a successor to the NSX…

GALLERY: Sports Modulo NSX

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 |  Dec 29 2010, 1:44 PM

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With the Tokyo Auto Salon around the corner, Japanese tuners are working and wrenching around the clock for their 2011 debuts. One of these tuners is Axell Auto, which is currently working on a widebody conversion kit for the infamous Nissan R35 GT-R. And it looks like Axell Auto is looking to claim the title of most radical GT-R in the world with the debut of the finished product.

The crazy widebody reminds us of days long gone, almost a creation that would come from Veilside’s factory. The front end of the GT-R isn’t bad, but the excess use of vents throughout the rest of the kit – especially the rear – is far too aggressive for our tastes.

From the Lamborghini side skirts to the cheesy 1995 Honda Civic hood venting to the obligatory LED running lights, every aspect of this kit is a thing of beauty when compared to the rear end.

We’ll be sure to snap some pics of the car in person from the Tokyo Auto Salon next month.

GALLERY: Axell Auto Widebody Nissan GT-R

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[Source: Jon Sibal]

 |  Dec 28 2010, 5:53 PM

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Now here’s something you don’t see every day. And be thankful you don’t.

One of Vivid Racing’s customers, Shawn, out in Singapore, sent them over these shots of his Mazda RX-8 sporting a custom widebody conversion and a lot of design cues taken from Lamborghini. In particular there’s a lot of Reventon in the kit, not to mention a front end that resembles the Estoque sedan concept.

Modifications aren’t limited to the body either, with a nice set of Prodrive forged wheels and some AP Racing brakes.

GALLERY: Lamborghini-Styled Mazda RX-8

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[Source: Vivid Racing Blog]

 |  Dec 21 2010, 9:07 AM

Nissan is set to showcase nine models at the upcoming Tokyo Auto Salon, with the star certain to be the GT-R RC (Racing Edition).

Based on the production GT-R, the Racing Edition is built by NISMO specifically for track duty and will meet FIA standards allowing it to race in different series throughout the world. It will come with a roll cage, 120-liter fuel cell, air jacks and feature racing slicks and a custom suspension.

In addition to this car and several others, Nissan will also put the focus on tuning with two modified vehicles: the Juke and the Leaf. Starting with the Leaf, Nissan will unveil what it calls the Leaf Aero Style Concept. Essentially a Leaf with a wild body kit, Nissan intends to showcase what the future of electric cars might look like.

As for the Juke, it will be shown with a ‘Sporty Package’ including numerous accessories like 17-inch aluminum wheels. Nissan has said the parts will be offered in North America and Europe in the future.

Get the full details on all nine cars in the official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 04 2010, 6:18 PM
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Despite its huge throngs of worshipers, the Nissan GT-R is a rarity at this year’s SEMA Show. The few we did cross paths with were, however, seriously impressive machines, representing some of the biggest GT-R tuners in the world.

Among them we count AMS and Switzer as two of the biggest. The AMS Alpha 9 GT-R was prominently displayed at the Exedy clutch booth, looking like a car capable of easy 9 second 1/4 mile runs on pump gas. The detail work on the car is impressive with an ultra-thick weave carbon fiber hood and trunk. Also of note are the full carbon racing seats inside. As for the Switzer car (actually an Automotive Connoisseur Group tuned by Switzer), it features a P800 tuning kit that brings power to over 700-hp, while the car also gets some stunning aerodynamics and a functional rear spoiler.

Other notable GT-Rs include a stunning R34 model (a SEMA regular) and one of the Brass Monkey Racing GT-R race cars from the World Challenge series.

GALLERY: Modified Nissan GT-Rs of the 2010 SEMA Show

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