When you crave for power

By Jude Katende

There are times when as a driver you feel you deserve more power from your vehicle. However, not many vehicles were made this way. Most of them are made with the basics of moving us from one point to another in mind.

However, that said, some automakers know that human beings like to be entertained in differently ways. Whereas there are motorists who don’t mind having a less powerful car, there are those crave a more responsive car.

 So some automakers created departments within their car factories whose sole purpose is to fine tune a car from ordinary to more powerful. Others do have partnerships or do outsourcing of this service of fine tuning cars with other tuning companies. In the developed world, there are a number of companies which don’t make cars but have mastered the experience of fine tuning them.

 Let us look at some of these departments within automakers and others that are outsourced or they have partnerships with. This is important because you may have the money to buy a powerful car but end up being duped with one that looks similar but has just been branded with aftermarket accessories and stickers.

Mercedes Benz’s AMG, Carlsonn and Brabus are some examples. AMG is widely known for tuning all Mercedes Benz classes or call them models to even include the smallest in the A-Class. Meaning, every Mercedes Benz class has an AMG version which in most cases is the most expensive version in that class.

 The sound of an AMG Benz is different from the rest; it is heavy sound! Besides their own factory department in AMG, Mercedes Benz also partners with Carlsonn and Brabus to fine tune their machines. Instead of having the Mercedes Benz ring, you may be greeted by the Carlsonn name on the car or a B sign for Brabus, but it remains a Mercedes Benz and this sometimes confuses people who are not car fans.

Jeep-SRT-8: Jeep is largely synonymous for its SUVs, so some people may wonder why SUVs are given more power yet they are high. Well, that is no problem as long as they are stable. An SRT-8 (Street and Racing Technology) badged Jeep is the equivalent to Mercedes Benz’s AMG in the Jeep hierarchy.

If one passed by you, you would feel the sound of a really powerful machine and it may have twin exhaust pipes (single or double) and a black skirting across the car in the front, sides and at the rear.

Volkswagen has like other manufacturers not come out rightly to delve into auto tuning but they active participants and winners in FIA rallys under the name Volkswagen Motorsport. For street cars given more power, the Polo GTI and Golf GTI easily come to mind for many car fans.

But there is also the Golf R32, which was the most powerful Golf ever made with 3200cc but few were made. Then there is the Golf R, R here stands for racing. The R version is more expensive.

BMW-M-Division: M here stands for motorsport that is if you see it on any BMW grille in light blue, dark blue and red stripes. The logo is also on the door seals, floor mats and sometimes on the dashboard or steering wheel. BMW with this logo as expected are more powerful, faster and more expensive than ordinary ones.

Toyota-TRD: Perhaps you have seen some ordinary Toyotas with stickers screaming TRD. It means Toyota Racing Development.

Nissan-Nismo: This stands for Nissan Motorsport but it is not restricted to sedan or coupes. Even SUVs such as their flagship brand, Patrol, can be re-tuned and made more powerful.  Globally, the most popular is the GT-R and Skyline, which are also featured in the Fast and Furious movie series.

Mitsubishi Evolution: Like it is with other automakers, for Mitsubishi, its Evolution branded versions be it the SUV in Pajero, are more powerful than other versions and this is seen in their designs. These are essentially sports cars but street versions.

They have air vents either on the bonnets of the car or on the sides of its body. A huge spoiler for the sedan and a bigger exhaust pipe with a different sound from ordinary versions.

Subaru –STI: Subaru Techinca International is the department that handles the sporting business. STI badged Subarus are different in body design with some parts enlarged to resemble like a rally car. Huge spoilers, twin exhaust pipes, a heavy Boxer engine sound that many car fans are familiar with here in Uganda, some may even have sport lights and air vents on the bonnet or on the sides near the mud guards.

Renault: This French brand is not you may not encounter often in racing news but it has some Clios, small hatchbacks with lots of power such as the Clio RS and the Renault Megane RS.

Other car brands include

Opel OPC: Opel Performance Centre

Honda Type R Mugen

Ford Focus ST/RS

Citreon DSG Racing

Mazda3 MPS: Mazda Performance Series

The signs of a powerful car usually include more kW (horsepower) and more N.m of torque (which is linked to how the car quickly picks up speed), higher revs, powerful sounding engine, twin exhaust pipes (single pair or double) in some cars, very fast even when it is as big as an SUV, badging or with logos of that tuning firm usually on the car’s body, on its grille, windows or on the grille, door seals, floor mats and steering.

If your car does not have these logos in the right places, chances are that it could have been locally customized here in Uganda with aftermarket logos and stickers to give you the impression of the real deal yet it is not. Other features may include air vents on the bonnet of the car. Turbo engines or vents on the wings.

Some automakers may not outrightly go out of their way to add so many ingredients to make their cars more powerful. They make add more NMs and torque and then brand the car with the word “sport” or give it some lettering that alludes to sport such as “R” for racing or rallye or GTI for Gran Tourismo International, which has links to motorsport. Such cars are faster and more powerful than their basic counterparts and also usually more expensive.

Then lastly, there are some cars that are not fine-tuned but come in their original form as very powerful and fast. These include Porsche Carrera 911, Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport, Ford Mustang, Audi TT RS Racer, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Jaguar XKR, Aston Martin, AudiR8 GT3, Maserati Gran Sport and Lexus LFA.

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