Top 10 Cars That Dont Deserve Their Engines

The engine is the crown jewel of any automobile and can make or break a car in the eyes of an automotive enthusiast. No matter how sweet a car’s handling or how neutral its balance, a limp-wristed engine can completely kill the machine’s ability to put a smile on your face. Conversely, nothing screams buzzkill quite like a glorious engine cooped up in a dowdy package. Such is the case with the ten vehicles that made their way on our Top Ten Cars That Don’t Deserve Their Engines list. Unfortunately, the powerplants under the hoods of these ten cars are forever destined to mediocrity. Some may consider these cars sleepers due to their often unassuming wrappers, but we maintain these engines would rather live a life free of their humble trappings; free to ingest the atmosphere with reckless abandon and exhale their burnt offerings to the gods of a good time.

10. Chevy Impala SS (LS4 5,3 l V8)


9. 2003-2004 Mercury Marauder (4,6 l V8)


8. Dodge Caliber SRT4 and Dodge Neon SRT4 (2,4 l turbo)


7. Dodge Spirit R/T (2,2l line 4 cylinder)


6. Ford Taurus SHO (Yamaha 3,0 V6 )


5. Oldsmobile Achieva SCX (Quad 4)


4. Lamborghini LM002 (5,2 i 7,2 V12)


3. Saab 9-7X Aero (LS2 2005-2007 Corvette)


2. Dodge Omni GLH-S (2,2 l turbo)


1. GMC Syclone and Typhoon (4,3 l V6 turbo)


Nissan GT-R SpecV

Before the 2009 Nissan GT-R ever hit the streets, fans of the Japanese supercar were already salivating over the possibility of an even-higher-performance Spec-V model. Rumors have flown and spy shots have been captured, and now, the 2009 Nissan GT-R Spec-V has finally been officialy unveiled, but alas, for the Japanese market only. Nissan hasn’t said what kind of performance we can expect from this limited-production model, but there are some clues. To become the Spec-V, the GT-R had to go on a diet, something we felt the 3891-lb car definitely needed to do. A generous helping of carbon-fiber and other lightweight materials have found their way on to the Spec-V, though Nissan has yet to say just how much weight was saved.

On the outside, those parts will manifest themselves in the form of a carbon-fiber grille, rear spoiler and brake ducts, along with forged aluminum wheels. Inside, Nissan has ditched the rear seats and swapped out the front seats for carbon-fiber buckets from Recaro. Some carbon-fiber trim has also been thrown in for good measure. Also missing are the two speakers normally found in the center console between the rear seats.

Unless more details are forthcoming, it would appear that Nissan’s primary strategy for turning a regular GT-R into a GT-R Spec-V was the aforementioned diet. Under the hood, the only noted differences are a “high gear boost control device” and a titanium-coated exhaust system. The new boost controller will allow the twin turbochargers to momentarily increase their output for more torque at medium- to high-speeds. Aside from providing a “more powerful feeling of acceleration,” Nissan says this will allow the engine to run at lower RPMs, increasing fuel efficiency.

Keeping this newfound performance under control is an “exclusive” suspension featuring Bilstein shocks, high-grip Bridgestone Potenza tires and carbon-ceramic binders that will likely be even more effective now thanks to the weight loss. While we don’t know what kind of performance the Spec-V is capable of yet, it’s safe to say that it will beat the stock GT-R. Will it beat the stocker’s 3.3-second 0 to 60 time, its 11.2-second quarter-mile time and 102-foot stopping distance? We don’t know yet, and we may not know for some time.


The GT-R Spec-V will go on sale February 2 at seven select Nissan dealers in Japan. Those dealers each have mechanics who are specially trained to work on the Spec-V and who are knowledgeable about racing and race driving. No mention of a U.S. model has been made yet, so we can only hope that the Spec-V will someday see our shores. Every Spec-V will come in Ultimate Black Opal and will retail for 15,750,000 yen with tax (US$170,283.47 at the current exchange rate, nearly $100,000 more than the stock GT-R).

Volkswagen Scirocco Studie R

Volkswagen used the Bologna motor show to roll out the Scirocco Studie R concept. And what we see is pointing the way to a car we expect to replace the Golf R32 in VW’s lineup about a year from now. This new car is likely to be called the R20T.

volkswagen scirocco studier 1
Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at about 270 hp. The engine is mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

volkswagen scirocco studier 2
The exterior of the Studie R wears bodywork– including hood vents and a rear spoiler–similar to that used on Sciroccos that grabbed racing victories at Nürburgring earlier this year. The car also sports high-gloss black detailing and red and green accents.

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It also gets a racing-derived sports suspension, four-piston brake calipers and triple-spoke, 19-inch alloy wheels.