There’s a number of great cars out there nowadays, but so many just seem to fall short. There are more cars (and even some manufacturers) who no longer have a high performance version or never even did. That’s just downright disheartening. After a long look at cars that are currently out, along with a look at available engines that are from the same manufacturer and sold in other vehicles, I’ve compiled a list of the top factory engine swaps. At it’s core the following is a list of ten souped up versions that should be available for purchase from the factory.
Scion as a brand and the TC specifically have a fun style, in that they allow for personalization in their customization’s that can be purchased straight from the factory. In this case the sportier version could use the optional equipment already available as the standard such as the: TRD alloy wheels, TRD front strut tie brace, and TRD lowering springs (pictured right). The fun begins when choosing the engine,
which could be something like the 268 hp Camry V6 from parent company Toyota or something a little more practical albeit mild like the two liter found in the FR-S. A 20 horsepower increase and standard sports equipment would make a more a nice upgrade.
Ford Fusion SHO
The Fusion is competitively priced midsize sedan that could use a nice Hi-Po model. Insert the Ecoboost Twin Turbo from the overpriced Taurus sedan. Throw it on top of the Fusion’s all-wheel drive setup and you got a lighter, faster, and even better looking sedan than the Taurus is. Ford won’t do it because they have no reason to essentially sell a cheaper SHO sedan.
Nissan Altima SE-R
The Altima SE-R was produced for a couple years in 2005 and 2006, why not bring the nameplate back for our performance model? You could take Nissan’s halo car’s, the GTR, 3.8 L twin turbo six and the ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system and up the price tens of thousands of dollars. Or the more realistic option, would be the dual overhead cam V6 from the 370Z. Output is just over 330 horses and that would be more than plenty in a FWD Altima.
Subaru BRZ STi
Subaru has an awesome 2.0 L boxer engine in the Impreza WRX STi, that if placed in the BRZ would give it the power that it currently lacks. The BRZ and it’s Toyota GT86/Scion FR-S bretheren are awesome lightweight RWD sport coupes, which is something that was severely lacking in the marketplace. The only knock on these little guys is power levels, that come in at a respectable 200 hp. It’s been highly speculated a performance version will come and fingers crossed for that, but it’s likely not going to be for another year or two.
Buick Turbo Regal GNX
Now to be completely bland a performance Regal could start with the top of the line GS turbo model but forget that. The original GNX was insane and this should pay homage to that. A turbo V6 should be used simply to keep it it line with it’s historic predecessor. A great option would be the twin turbo six from the Cadillac CTS-Vsport, which is good for 400 horses. Front-wheel drive is not acceptable for a GNX and even all-wheel drive doesn’t do it any justice, the only acceptable option would be a rear-wheel drive platform. General Motors would be foolish not to build this bad Buick.
Volkswagen Jetta R
When even the Beetle is getting a performance R model, shouldn’t the Jetta? This would be one of the easier performance transformations. Some Golf R enhancements like the 4Motion all-wheel drive and the dainty turbo four engine would do nicely here. If you’re extra cool, you’ll get it in the Sportwagon (read: station wagon) layout. Seems simple enough, what are you waiting for Volkswagen?
Chrysler 200C SRT6
The Chrysler 200 is truly an upgrade, both visually and internally, over it’s Sebring predecessor. They even have an all-wheel drive 200C which puts out a respectable 295 horsepower and that’s all well and good, but what if there was an SRT version? Now the last SRT6 was the Crossfire, which came from a partnership with Daimler-Benz, that had a supercharged 3.2 liter V6. Take that formula, i.e. supercharge the current 3.6 liter, and apply it to this new model. This should easily exceed the 330 horses seen in the Crossfire SRT6 and could even be applied to a Dodge Avenger SRT model.
Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V
The SE-R Spec V model of the Nissan Senta went the way of the dinosaur. Enter the new Nissan LeMans engine with over 400 horsies and 280 lb/ft of torque. All that comes from a turbocharged 1.5 liter 3 cylinder motor, yes you read that right it’s a 3 banger. This would make for an extreme makeover mainly into the drivetrain and suspension, but if the engine can fit wear it!
Chevrolet Malibu SS
Currently a Malibu can be configured with a two liter turbo that puts out a nice power rating of 260 horses. Now what if they stepped it up a notch for an “SS” model and used a Camaro V6 with 323 ponies. Torque steer wouldn’t be a huge issue as the torque rating is actually a touch lower in the Camaro and fuel economy doesn’t take a huge hit at 30 MPG on the highway. If Chevy could up the lbs-ft a touch, it would seem to like a no brainer.
Is there a performance model you’re particularly found of? Or perhaps a car that was overlooked? Let us know in the comments below and you’re guaranteed a response!