There are three transformed Scion iQ city cars at SEMA, each interesting, but the one that caught my attention is the iQ RX version, above, by Jon Sibal. The pumped-up and pimped-out cars that typify SEMA are frequently joke material, but Sibal’s car is beautiful, I think.
Details are here and include an engine fitted with a Nitrous Express injection kit. How’s that for improving fuel economy? It’s also got “an Xbox 360 game console, 32-inch Samsung LED TV and an Apple iPad2.” I know, I know.
Michael Chang’s iQ-RS, more straightforward in design, is strictly for racing and is fitted out with all the goodies you’d expect. More pix after the break.
Why are these guys modifying the iQ? Because it is coming to Scion stores soon and is arguably the best of the small city cars, or micro-subcompacts. It’s not like driving a go-kart, but the iQ is very different from most larger cars in being nimble, sporty, eminently parkable and stable—especially compared to the Smart fortwo.
The same appeal pertains to the Fiat 500 (below right), which doesn’t seem quite as well engineered. But don’t tell that to Fiat, as they are bringing the 500 Abarth version to the U.S. and showing it at the L.A. Auto Show, opening November 18.
The only details confirmed about the new car are that it will be powered by
an all-new 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged four, kept in check by upgraded brakes, handled by a sportier suspension, controlled by a higher level of technology and conveyed by a more aggressive appearance.
The European Abarth 500 can be had in two versions—with 130 or 160 hp. The latter comes with the Esse-Esse kit. There’s an interesting history of Abarth in the press release at the end of Autoblog’s story.
Fiat won’t sell a ton of these cars, but people who want more performance in a city car with some sharp looks and the cachet of the Abarth name could be willing customers. I might just be one.
What do the Europeans know that we don’t know about microcars? Would you consider one if it had decent performance?