Remember when a Ferrari or Lamborghini sighting was the talk of the town? Well in some cities you can get sick of the sight of them these days. And that’s a problem for the people that buy them, a problem they have fixed by tuning their supercars.
You see the modern day supercar owner is the equivalent of a scantily clad female attention whore. Cars jumped the shark long ago. Top end supercars, even mid-range sportscars, are now simply too fast for the public road and too expensive to drive on track. They have just one real purpose then: standing out from the crowd.
But with Ferrari and Lamborghini selling more cars than ever before, buying a supercar just isn’t enough. Yes, you can go a bit left-field and buy a Pagani or Koenigsegg, but even then you could end up parked next to another at the polo club.
So the super rich have taken matters into their own hands. They’ve enlisted the help of some of the world’s most famous tuners to customize their road rockets and make sure that they get the attention they crave so badly.
The price of entry can run into millions of dollars and the cars generally end up faster and pimped out with all kinds of oddities, from racing wings to Ostrich leather interiors. Sometimes taste and decency get left at the door. But then it’s their car. So who gives a shit what we think?
Here are 11 of our favorite tuned supercars of recent times:
1. Novitec Rosso Ferrari 488 Spider
Top speed: 213mph
The Ferrari 488 GTB is already a serious bit of kit, but German tuner Novitec Rosso has given it 100bhp more power, more torque and all the carbon-fiber in the world.
Novitec used to specialize in twin supercharger conversions of Ferrari’s naturally-aspirated engines, which cost upwards of $50,000 for the engine work alone. Now Ferrari has gone to a twin turbo set-up in the name of emissions, Novitec’s job is a little easier.
An engine remap liberates the extra power and turns the 488GTB into a real hypercar. It sits 40mmmlower than the standard car, too, which is borderline ridiculous. It does have a lifter kit that pushes the car back to the original height beneath 50mph, though, so it will get over speed bumps and through potholes.
Cosmetically the Novitec Rosso Ferrari 488GTB gets a new spoiler lips, aerodynamic flaps, a lip spoiler and you can choose an optional racing wing. Inside, they’ll do what you want if you have the money. If you own a Ferrari, you probably do….
2. Mansory Carbonado Apertos
Price: $1.6 million
Top speed: 236mph
The Lamborghini Aventador wasn’t exactly slow to begin with, or subtle, but now it’s a whole new world of crazy thanks to one of the craziest tuners here. In fact, they’re so off the wall that they’re on this list twice.
Mansory threw all the perfectly decent carbon-fiber bodywork in the bin and made their own. Then they didn’t paint it, at all, so you get a naked carbon car that looks like it’s about to star in the next Batman movie.
It’s even more aggressive than the base car, which was hard to imagine at first. There’s a fixed, racing-style rear wing, an even sharper front end and a front splitter that looks like it could slice through pedestrians.
A tuned Lamborghini Aventador that costs five times as much as the base car is an absurd concept, but it sort of works here. Under the skin, Mansory has fitted two turbochargers and a car like this simply wouldn’t be complete without a bespoke interior. It’s bright fucking yellow, but then color coding this thing just wouldn’t be appropriate, somehow…
Critics sneer at Mansory, but rest assured that he doesn’t give the slightest bit of a shit. He caters to oil barons, Middle Eastern royalty and Russian oligarchs that could buy and sell the keyboard warriors lambasting their new baby in a heartbeat.
So, it doesn’t matter what it costs. It matters that this Mansory Lamborghini Aventador is different to every other Lamborghini Aventador on the road.
That shouldn’t be an issue…
3. Singer Porsche 911
Top speed: 175mph
It looks like a classic Porsche 911 doesn’t it? In reality, this is a ground-up rebuild using a Cosworth-tuned, 460bhp engine and a blend of modern technology and classic style.
Calling it a tuner car is a bit of an insult, as Singer cars come with their own unique registration. Former singer Rob Dickinson, frontman of band Catherine Wheel, has dedicated his life to these reimagined Porsche 911s and the attention to detail is mindblowing..
The bodywork looks retro, but it’s ultra-modern carbon-fiber and that helps the Singer weigh in at approximately 450lb less than a modern 911. In the corners, that’s a lot.
The brakes are modern, the suspension actually works and it feels like a racing car next to the modern line-up of Porsches. It also gets an optimized version of the air-cooled engine that Porsche snobs still maintain gave the original car its character, long after Porsche abandoned the concept for a more practical water-cooled option.
Every car is bespoke, too, so you can choose your favorite moments of Porsche 911 history and combine them to create the Porsche of your dreams. You can have a racing car with a rollcage or a luxurious machine with a quilted calfskin interior and modern infotainment.
Each car takes 4000 man hours to build, which is why it costs so much. But every car is unique and that is worth the price of admission for super rich Porsche nuts around the world.
4. Hennessey Performance Exorcist
Top speed: 210mph+ (Est)
The Camaro ZL1 started life as a muscle car, rather than a true supercar, but when Hennessey Performance was finished with it then it seemed childish to leave it out on a technicality.
The Hennessey Performance Exorcist is a 1000bhp monster that could annihilate most of the cars here on the dragstrip. It’s also cheaper than most of them by a long, long way. There’s a lot of engineering goes in to this car, but Hennessey charged ‘just’ $55,000 on top of the base car.
It looks ridiculous, too, with that low slung front end that seems to consist entirely of air intake and sharp, angled splitters that bring to mind the blades sticking out of a gladiator’s chariot. It’s about as subtle as a punch in the face, but then that’s kind of the point.
Hennessey will build just 100 and he’s undoubtedly sold out already. That’s because, after a rocky start, John Hennessey has built a reputation for some of the craziest tuner cars in the world. He even held the production car speed record for a while with the Hennessey Venom.
The Exorcist is undoubtedly overpowered and your tire budget would be frightening. But then you’d have fun every time you left the drive, which is really what cars like this are all about.
5. Edo Competition Ferrari Enzo XX Evolution
Top speed: 240mph
The track-only Ferrari FXX special editions were built so rich tools from around the world could pretend to be professional racing drivers at a set number of events a year.
But the owner of this particular car, a base Enzo, wanted something different.
The German tuner fitted a new triple plate clutch, and then bored out the engine to give an additional helping of power. This car was always going to be a match for the FXX track car, that was the plan.
The end result is a car that revs to 9,600rpm, accelerates like a scalded cat and screams so loud that you’ll be lucky to get a clear drive without police intervention.
He fixed the cooling system too and the end result was a reliable car that owner Zahir Rana took to the Targa Newfoundland, a road rally. He promptly crashed it into a lake.
One rebuild later and the car is fresh and as good as new, better even. Since then it has got Zahir into trouble after he posted videos that suggested serious speed on public roads.
The tuner then went one better and converted a real FXX for road use, and a Maserati MC12 Corse. Ferrari hated him for a while, but they’re all cool now. That’s good, because the LaFerrari is here and Edo probably has a few ideas up his sleeve…
6. Underground Racing Lamborghini Huracan Twin Turbo
Price: $500,000 (Est)
Torque: 900lb/ft (Est)
Top speed: 250mph+
The Lamborghini Huracan is the baby of the line-up and in its most potent form it boasted 610bhp. So, it really wasn’t designed to handle the 2200bhp that Charlotte-based tuning shop Underground Racing was determined to crowbar into the engine bay.
The North Carolina tuner made its name with twin turbo Gallardos and the rest of the world really didn’t take them seriously at first. There were reliability issues, which are kind of inevitable when you boost a car to four times its original power.
But there are more and more satisfied customers, too, and you’ll get a two-year warranty on the major mechanicals.
What you will also get is a pretty basic engineering solution to boost the power of the baby Lambo well beyond anything that Lamborghini intended. So it will push the limits of the four-wheel-drive system and will feel like a bucking bronco. Considering how refined and, dare we say it, tame, the original version felt, this might be a good thing.
The car gets up to 1200bhp on road fuel and 2200rpm on race fuel on the dragstrip. It’s really too much, if we’re honest, but it should be fun until it kills you. It is also the fastest street legal car over the half-mile and hit 247.5mph to claim the record.
If you buy a Lambo and you get bored, or you just want to beat your friends in the pissing contest that is acceleration numbers and horsepower numbers, well this is one way to do it. But maybe look into therapy, it will be cheaper and probably more effective.
7. MTM R8 V10
Top speed: 224mph
This looks like just another tragic chrome wrap, but it isn’t. MTM stripped the R8 down to bare aluminum and too 700 man hours to polish it up to create the shiniest R8 to ever roam the Earth.
The Audi R8 challenged the Porsche 911 for the mantle of the ultimate everyday hypercar when it landed in 2006. This one, though, is another level. The bare metal is covered with layer after layer of lacquer. It’s an insane thing to do to a car you want to drive, but then someone placed the order and that’s good enough for MTM.
After that it went to work with the twin turbo kit that turns a fast car into an absolute rocket. There are a lot of tuned Audi R8s in the world, but this one might just be the finest of the breed. It’s as fast as a LaFerrari, more or less, and without the crazy bodywork then you probably could drive it every day.
8. Liberty Walk McLaren 650S
Top speed: 205mph
British manufacturer McLaren has taken the world by storm with its first road cars for 20 years of late, with the 650S heading the sales. It has been called bland, though, and Japanese tuner Liberty Walk has the answer with a race-style, bolt-on bodykit.
It’s just a bodykit, the car doesn’t go any faster. That’s a bit weird, because the 3.8-liter twin turbo set up lends itself to easy tuning. All you have to do is remap the engine and raise the boost pressure to get some serious horsepower. Alpha Performance in the US have squeezed 100bhp more out of the powerplant already.
To be fair, though, the McLaren is fast enough and Liberty Walk’s bodykit costs ‘just’ $43,000 on top of the base car. You can order a titanium exhaust, which liberates a few more horses and makes it sound even tougher, but for the engine tuning you’ll have to go elsewhere.
We like this kit, though, because it makes the 650S look like a proper old-school racing car. It’s got a hand-finished feel that appeals and those wide fenders mean you get a little extra width on the car, so it might handle slightly better.
The P1-inspired rear wing looks awesome, the pinched in rear skirt reveals a little of the wheels and in certain colors this car just looks the mutt’s nuts.
It does not look as good as the actual McLaren GT3 racing car, though. So, if you want to go really badass then you could buy one of those and make it road legal. The 675 LT is effectively an in-house tuning job from McLaren, too, which comes with a factory warranty. I sold out pretty fast, but you might find one on the open market.
You could also buy a 650S, or the 720S that is about to replace it, and send it to McLaren Special Ops. That’s the in-house tuner that will do what you want to your McLaren, providing you can pay.
9. Brabus Bi-Turbo Widestar 800 G-Wagen
Price: $400,000 (EST)
Top speed: 155mph
It might make more sense to include the tuned Mercedes GTS, but we just can’t leave this battle bus out. It’s a near as dammit 800bhp Mercedes G-Wagen and that is fucking nuts.
The G-Wagen was an old German military off-roader that has found a new life as a fashion accessory for rappers and footballers. It’s like a Range Rover on steroids when it leaves the factory. Then legendary Mercedes tuner Brabus got hold of it and things just went a bit weird.
This is a three-ton block of metal with the aerodynamic efficiency of a house. It’s high set, it rolls in bends and it is still as fast as a high end sportscar. You’ve got to be a certain breed of person to want a car like this. But, whoever you are, we’re glad you’re out there so they keep making mad shit like this.
Brabus will do whatever you want to the interior and it comes with a badass bodykit, which includes a wider stance. It’s just an animal of a car, or a truck, or whatever you want to call it.
We love it.
10. AMS Nissan GT-R
Top speed: 220mph+
The Nissan GT-R is a legend in stock form and the tuning community that was already in love with the Skyline predecessor welcomed it with open arms.
This is a four-seater coupe that can wipe the floor with much more serious looking cars thanks to a trick four-wheel-drive syste, a twin-turbo engine and a wealth of clever technology. It’s a supercar for the Playstation generation and it’s easy to make it go even faster.
AMS will build you a 2500bhp GT-R, but that’s really a drag racer. This is the ultimate street package and it’s more than enough for even the most hardened adrenaline junkie.
You get a full engine rebuild, with increased displacement to 4.2-liters, new turbos, pistons, the works really. The end result is a car that will do the quarter-mile in nine seconds and physically rip apart most of the competition here.
It’s a performance bargain, when you think about it, and a tuned Nissan GT-R that will wipe the floor with the LaFerrari and McLaren P1. There are others out there, but this might just be the best tuner GT-R in the world.
There aren’t many pictures, so watch it kill a Bugatti Veyron Vitesse on the dragstrip instead…
- Mansory Linea Vincero d’Oro
Price: $2 million
Top speed: 253mph
Bugatti only made 450 of the Veyron and half of them seemed to be special editions. Add to that fact that half of them probably never hit the road and buyers often took three cars, rather than just one, and you have to wonder why you need to stand out from that exalted crowd with a tuned Bugatti Veyron.
Somebody did, and that’s all that matters. So Khourosh Mansory went to work, throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars of bespoke bodywork in the bin and replacing it with new stuff that is almost the same. Almost, but not quite.
The new naked carbon-fiber is a ‘chunky knit’ design that you can see from way off and those silver arches and doors are actually chromed, with layer upon layer of lacquer. The wing mirror covers cost more $10,000 apiece and a single scratch would cost more than most people’s cars to repair.
The interior is pretty nasty, if we’re honest, with metallic gold Ostrich-skin leather and more of the chunky carbon.
It doesn’t really go much faster, because Mansory didn’t want to take on the warranty for that scary complex quad turbo, W16, 8-liter engine. So the changes are largely cosmetic. It’s best not to repeat what Bugatti said about the end result.
Mansory did another car without all the gold shit, which was better. I know because, in a previous life as a motoring journalist, I drove it.
Now, the Bugatti Chiron is here. So we’ll wait and see if Mansory has something in store for us….