Sports Car Modification

Best cars to modify | carwow

Thinking about buying a car to modify and after a little inspiration? We have 10 suggestions…

To some, a car is simply a tool, a form of transport that doesn’t require them to stand in a line at the bus stop. But to others, their car is an extension of their personality, a blank metal canvas ready to be transformed into something far more personal.

This is where car modification comes in. Car manufacturers spend millions of pounds and countless hours honing their products, but their goal is to create a vehicle that will appeal to a broad audience.

This has created an entire industry that caters to those looking for something a little different, be it a simple visual or mechanical upgrade or even a complete redesign of the entire vehicle. Now not every car is tuner-friendly, though, so we have picked 10 of the best cars to modify, from tuner classics to the latest cars on sale.

Our pick of the 10 cars to modify in the UK are:

  1. Toyota GT86 / Subaru BRZ
  2. Nissan GT-R
  3. Audi TT
  4. BMW 3 Series
  5. Toyota Supra
  6. Mazda MX-5
  7. VW Golf GTI
  8. Ford Fiesta ST
  9. Subaru WRX
  10. Honda S2000

1. Toyota GT86 / Subaru BRZ

The Toyota GT86 and its twin brother, the Subaru BRZ, arrived on our shores in 2012 and became an instant, if rather niche hit. The front-engine, manual transmission, rear-wheel-drive layout was designed specifically for driving enthusiasts, and the slightly demure looks and modest power output were just invitations to the modding community to make some changes.

Starting with some stickier tyres and an engine remap, you can head to a specialist for a power-boosting supercharger or track-spec suspension upgrades. The newer Toyota GR86 improves on the basic formula, and will surely be another modder’s dream in the years to come.

2. BMW 3 Series

The original sports saloon has been a great modder’s car for decades. There are plenty of specialists out there that can transform your family-car into a track-ready machine and most things in-between.

Some, like BMW authorised specialists such as Alpina and Schnitzer offer a wide range of upgrades that have been comprehensively tested and still let you retain your factory warranty. Get started with a mild remap to unlock the latent performance potential in your executive saloon.

3. Toyota Supra

Toyota’s sporty Supra nameplate was resurrected in 2019 when the fifth-generation model was finally released. The BMW internals are proven components, and there’s plenty of latent performance potential hidden under the bonnet.

There are plenty of body kits, engine upgrades and suspension mods already available for these models. The previous generation Supra was one of the most modded cars in history and it looks as if the latest Supra is following in its footsteps.

4. Mazda MX-5

Driving pleasure distilled. That’s the Mazda MX-5 in a nutshell. The latest models have stayed true to this recipe of lightweight, affordable fun, and older MX5s remain highly sought-after by enthusiasts.

These little roadsters have been converted into track day toys, stripped-down rallycross cars and even been converted to electric power. The vibrant UK MX-5 owners club is a great starting point for all things MX-5, from replacing the factory radio to shoe-horning a V8 engine under that tiny bonnet.

5. Nissan GT-R

Readers of a certain age will remember the legendary Nissan Skylines of the ‘80s and ‘90s, all giant-killing sports cars that combined an advanced all-wheel-drive layout with a powerful turbocharged six-cylinder engine. The Nissan GT-R continued this fine tradition when it was released in 2009, and remains a formidable sportscar 13-years later.

Initially deemed ‘unhackable’, modified GT-Rs are now more common than standard ones. Some crazy builds produce up to 1600hp, although you can easily coax 650hp+ out of one with relatively minor upgrades.

6. VW Golf GTI

The original 1974 VW Golf GTI was arguably the first true hot hatch, combining a decent turn of speed with hatchback practicality and affordable running costs ,hallmarks that are still present in the latest GTI models.

All this has helped create a massive fan base and an entire industry dedicated to modding these great cars.

7. Ford Fiesta ST

In its many years as a sales chart-topping favourite, the Fiesta has evolved from a basic city run-around into an accomplished city slicker. In ST trim it is pretty quick, too. But in the world of modding, more is more and there’s plenty of performance upgrades on offer.

Mountune has offered OEM endorsed tuning options in the past and continue to provide a huge range of mods to turn your Fiesta ST into a little road rocket.

8. Audi TT

The Audi TT looks sharp and drives well, but the top-spec models can be rather pricey, so why not opt for the base 194hp Sport 40 TFSI and spend some of the savings on a few choice mods?

First off, you’ll need a remap to liberate a few more horses (up to 40hp according to specialists) from the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. Next, a set of sporty dampers and springs to improve the handling. Finally, a performance aftermarket exhaust system to wake the neighbours with. Now some mods can void a new car’s warranty, but you can always look at a used model if that’s a concern.

9. Subaru WRX

Subaru’s all about efficient hybrid and electric SUVs now, but back in its rallying heyday the WRX models were its halo cars. The latest generation WRX and hotter STI are no longer offered in the UK, but why not pick up a used example and turn it into a Colin McRae rally clone?

There are still plenty of aftermarket specialists out there ready to upgrade your turbos, crank up the boost and rejig your suspension to whatever level your wallet will allow.

10. Honda S2000

The Honda S2000 has been out of production since 2009, yet it has become more desirable than ever thanks to a purist mechanical layout that is unlikely to ever be repeated. The high-revving naturally aspirated motor is hard to improve upon, but there’s plenty of suspension and cosmetic updates to choose from.

From carbon fibre aero kits to advanced exhaust systems, there’s a lot you can do to make your S2000 stand out even more.

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