If you attended the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this January, you couldn't miss Volvo's bold XC60 Concept. The thrust of this project was two-fold: first, to offer a preview of the next XC-series model, and second, to show off the evolution of Volvo's design language.
"We're elevating our design DNA to an entirely new level by pumping up our cars' visual volume," says design director Steve Mattin. "With more expressive, emotive shapes, it will be a magnet for the viewer's eyes. If a Volvo is recognizable from 100 feet away today, I want to get to the point where you will instantly spot it from twice that distance in the future."
True to the basic concept purpose, the XC60 one-off features innovations that give insight into how all Volvos may look and operate in just a few years' time. These include the attractive and ergonomic 'slim' seats, transparent panel sections such as the lower tailgate that allows improved driver visibility, and the next generation of Volvo's iconic center stack, which projects the vehicle's dash controls in a decidedly futuristic way.
MTM S6, S8
Ve haf vays of making you faschter
"Whichever model you choose, the Bavarian firm always has ways of refining it." So MTM of Germany says of its Audi tuning programs, and S6 and S8 owners need not be excluded. MTM ups the S6's power level by the missing 15 bhp, bringing its total output up to that of the flagship S8 at an even 450. MTM also removes the top-speed limiter on both cars, allowing each to reach the magical 300-kph mark, about 186 mph. Full stainless steel sport exhausts are available for each, along with new suspension systems, a trick air suspension for the S8 and sport coilovers for the S6. For the wheel wells, MTM offers its nine-spoke Bimoto design in a 21-inch format, available in Polished Titanium or Shiny Silver finishes.
It'll surprise an M5 or two
You can't buy a BMW 535d in the United States, but if you could, we suspect you'd tweak it with Hamann's diesel tuning program. We would, at least. The first stage attains 319 bhp and drops the zero-to-62 acceleration e.t. by about half a second. The stage-two 'sport version' treatment pushes peak power to a claimed 350 bhp. Better, Hamann claims max torque figures in the range of, oh, say 487 lb-ft. According to Hamann, zero-to-62-mph times are shaved down to 5.8 seconds, and of course the speed governor is also removed, allowing top end cruising at around 172 mph. We'll remind you again: we're talking about a 3.0-liter straight-six diesel engine here. The M5 would outrun you at higher revs, but you'd sure as hell shock and awe him off the line. And since the 535d is a 5 Series, Hamann's complete aero, interior, suspension, and wheel options are available for it as well.
There's no such thing as too much torque
If you drive a 12-cylinder Mercedes-Benz coupe or sedan, you might be intrigued to know Carlsson offers its CK60 engine kit for both the Biturbo V12-equipped S600 and CL600. The company claims this performance package improves engine performance to the tune of 600 glorious bhp and a crust-crumpling 755 lb-ft of torque. Carlsson's press release proclaims: "The CK60... has more than enough power and torque in every conceivable situation." We haven't driven one yet, but it seems likely we'd agree. Zero to 62 mph-or 100 kph, your choice-can be achieved in a purported 4.4 seconds in the S-Class application, and two tenths quicker in the CL. Top speeds could flirt with 200 mph. And of course the full array of Carlsson supporting equipment is available for each: C-Tronic suspension lowering modules, aerodynamic components, stainless steel sport exhausts, and multi-piece forged wheels.