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What is the most easily tunable car?

"MAX POWER MIN EFFORT?"

What are the most tunable cars in 2005? This is going to be rather subjective and I rule out new cars as most tuners are modding cars that are at least 5-7 years old.

This is a question TorqueCars get asked frequently. The answer depends how much you want to spend.

If you are after a big power figure and loads of Torque you should really go with something big like a 5 litre V8 engine.

There are some practical considerations. You need a fairly hefty piece of metal to bolt an engine of that size to and you will need to strip and rebuild the engine to achieve the mythical power gains.

We want a car that we can easily tune up on a Friday night and then stick the family in and go for a weekend away.

The 2 most easily tunable cars, maximum power for minimal effort.

Most people though are thinking about a strong base engine when, with a modest amount spent on it, can provide substantial gains in power and torque.  We shall examine 2 options, a true sports car and a family (practical) car. Some people still need certain practicalities and others just want the fastest car within their budget. The larger the base engine power figure the greater the potential power gain.

The answer on this basis has to rest squarely on the no longer produced Toyota Supra Twin Turbo. The standard engine produces sufficient power to out accelerate many supercars and will cost considerably less to run. The main running cost of a Supra is fuel especially if driven hard and then tyres which you will burn through with alarming regularity. Other cars will brake and need constant tweaking to keep them running but a well serviced Toyota will go on for years.

The basic engine is very strong and with a larger turbo conversion power figures of 700bhp are quoted without undermining the reliability of the base engine. Many owners settle for less and with a boost controller air filter and sports exhaust system hit figures in the 400-500bhp ballparks.

The next best car is, and I will admit to being a little biassed here as I own one, is the Audi A3 1.8T. Indeed any car with this popular engine provide a great base from which to tune up from (the Audi A3 came with the stronger AGU engine with larger exhaust ports). So this includes a few offerings from Seat in the guise of the Cupra and Leon and the VW Golf, Passat and Bora and even the Beetle and wide range of models from Audi including the A4 and TT. The engine can be factory tuned to put out 225 bhp with little more than a different turbo and a remap.

The majority of these cars come out with 150-180bhp with essentially the same block as the higher powered models. A small outlay of a few hundred will buy a remap which ups the power by another 50-70 bhp. Get a little more adventurous and fit a larger turbo and you will see figures approaching 350bhp on standard engine internals.

Although quite different from the Supra the 1.8T offers much to the budget conscious motorist. Firstly the engine will return up to 37mpg on a run, the service intervals are long and items like spark plugs are good for 40,000 miles. The base vehicle they reside in is commonly produced and ensures a good supply of spare parts to cover any unfortunate mishaps and the re-sale ability is good with a strong demand for any car with this VAG engine fitted.

If you do not have a family, don't mind shelling out for new rubber twice a year,  and are not shy the Supra is probably the ultimate choice. But sadly they are getting hard to come by - especially a non imported model which has not been badly modified. If you want one you had better track one down quickly.

Already we are getting feedback asking why we did not pick the Skylines, Imprezas or Evos etc. The aim of this article was looking at cost, the tuning parts required to tune these cars is substantially lower. The percentage of power gain to cost is the thing that separates these cars. The other benefit is the reliability, running costs and practicalities. Feel free to join us in our forum and debate this, and other topical motoring related issues.

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