Every day we're bombarded by new product releases. Most are forgotten by the time they hit the trashcan. Typically "new" products are simply reinterpretations of other products already in existence-regurgitations of the successful and inventive. Once in a while, though, we get something that's genuinely clever, a product we might actually use. We stack these atop a sizable pile and choose a few for each issue.
And then there's the stuff we just gotta have, gear that makes you wonder how you lived without it. We spend more time on these, browsing the forums and websites, poring over every inch of data we can find. Typically we obtain said product for testing purposes, to really see if it's as good as it looks.
Once a year we like to showcase the shining stars of the industry, stuff that raised eyebrows and had us checking our credit card limits. The following stood out to us as representing the best of the best-this is Select Gear.
NM Engineering MINI
Cooper S Turbo Heat Shield
When it came time to design the exhaust manifold heat shield on the R56 MINI Cooper S, the decision to use titanium was simple. Sure stainless steel would have been cheaper but the added benefits of titanium were well worth the expense. When compared to stainless steel, titanium offers weight reduction, increased strength, and reduced thermal conductivity (stays cooler). Manufactured from commercially pure titanium, the NM Engineering TitaNM turbo heat shield is designed to direct heat from the turbocharger down and around the engine, not over the top of it, helping to reduce intake temps and protect the paint.
VF Engineering E46 M3
Streetsport Supercharger system
The VF Streetsport Supercharger system can get your E46 M3 to produce 420 peak horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque for just shy $6K (parts only) with their non-intercooled self-lubricating Vortech V3-SC trim supercharger system running only 4.0-4.5 psi. Other key components of the kit include cast aluminum intake plenum, CNC Billet 6061-T6 mounting bracket system with OEM BMW idler, Bosch EV6 high flow fuel injectors, cast aluminum intake with K&N filter, Bosch MAF housing, GReddy Type R BOV, and GIAC ECU flash. What makes this kit unique is that it was designed to be a starter kit and can be easily upgraded to Stage 1.
Mods4cars Smart FOB
Sometimes it is the simplest things that can agitate you the most. Like the BMW's 1,3, and 5's inability to roll down the windows with the key FOB to let the heat escape before you get in. Mods4cars provides the solution with the remoteKEY, a module that interfaces with the factory system, allowing the driver to open and close the windows or sunroof with the push of button. For convertible owners Mods4cars offers the smartTOP module designed to give your key fob complete control over the vehicle's top.
Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Mercedes, Porsche, VW
ECS Wheel Hanger
In the past, most European vehicles came equipped with a wheel hanger in the tool kit. The problem with these OEM versions is they were made either of plastic or soft metal and were useless since the plastic would break under the weight of some wheels or easily cross thread and the metal ones did not tap in enough. While most manufacturers have scrapped the tool altogether, the wheel hanger is an invaluable tool that makes mounting 10 times easier. The ECS wheel hanger is a vast improvement and features an extra long shaft with plenty of treads to ensure stable support when mounting the wheel. Use two ECS wheel hangers to easily install wheel spacers and significantly reduce the risk of chipping painted calipers. Available in 14x1.5 and 12x1.5 tread.
BMW Sport Steering Wheel
The BMW Performance sport steering wheel uses a motorsport-inspired design tocombine form with function. No-slip Alcantara side grips (reminiscent of an F1 wheel) keep your hands at 9 and 3; the rest of the wheel is wrapped with black leather. Contrasting stitching adds a stylish design accent. At the 12 o'clock position there's an integrated performance computer with a three-section display. The middle screen is a larger icon-based display flanked by progressive LED shift lights. The center screen displays numeric real-time oil and water temperatures plus g-force readings and a lap timer. Scrolling through data is a breeze with hidden buttons located at the 10 and 2 positions below the grip area.
BMW North America
One thing you can always count on is that when it rains it pours. That is why the ContiComfortKit makes perfect sense especially if you decided to replace your vehicle's run-flat tires with non-run-flats, if you're taking a long road trip, or have the unfortunate luck of getting stuck with two flat tires a hundred miles from nowhere with one spare. ContiComfortKit combines a 12-volt compressor with a pressure gauge and a latex liquid sealant that with the push of a button simultaneously seals the puncture and inflates the tire, allowing you travel at a maximum speed of 50 mph for up to 125 miles. It can be used to extend the range of most run-flat tires. The ContiComfortKit sealant will service one tire; additional refills can be purchased separately.
refill kit: $25
The CANbus serial bus framework in most modern vehicles is like the human body's central nervous system-it connects and sends impulses to and from every system to the brain. The MTM Cantronic interfaces with the system to gather all relevant system data, recalculate input variables, and feeds them back into the system they are trying to optimize. Currently, MTM offers its M-Cantronic to increase performance on Audi and VW diesel engines, and the F-Cantronic to optimize handling and performance in Audi, Bentley, Porsche and VW vehicles equipped with an adjustable air suspension. Both systems are plug-and-play and can be easily removed when you sell the vehicle or go in for service.
MTM (North America)