Where does the term souped up come from anyway? Many believe that the proper spelling should be suped, as in supercharged, but that’s actually not what makes souped up cars, souped up cars. No; in fact, this terminology appears to be from the early 1900’s, when racing horses might be injected with some cocktail of performance-enhancing drugs. These horses would go on to be referred to as ‘souped up’ because of the enhancement suite soup coursing through its veins. Is any of this true? Who knows? We’re here to talk about souped up cars, not souped up horses.
Wherever the term came from, we know this: souped up cars have serious power, and while the term might feel just a little too 2 Fast 2 Furious-esque for some of us, we’re here to bring the term into the modern age! Today, we’re counting down ten souped up cars you can buy from the factory that require absolutely no additional parts to make them awesome. These cars will either be A) rare, B) expensive, C) a performance version of a VERY common car that is almost unheard of, or D) all of the above.
We’re going to try to keep the list as modern as possible, so for the most part, these are all cars you can go out and buy today (or in the near future), new from the dealer. The theme today is comparisons, which means we’re going to be stacking these cars up side by side with their base model counterparts. This way, you can see exactly how much more powerful these iterations can be. That said, sit back and enjoy our list of 10 awesome, souped up cars that you can buy straight from the dealership.
2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
With the booming popularity of the GT350 and GT350R, and people still clamoring for the return of the beloved GT500 nameplate (it’s only been like 5 years, guys, chill out), Ford decided to finally unleash the beast we all wanted to see: a new GT500. As cool as that sounds, at the moment all we actually have is a garbage teaser video that’s entirely animated and doesn’t show the real car at all. Honestly, it makes me angry to watch because of how pointlessly cliche it all is; GIVE US THE REAL CAR, FOMOCO!
Now, Ford has somewhat recently released a turbo-four version of their beloved pony car to much anguish and ridicule in the automotive world, only for its competitors to follow suit almost immediately. While many knocked the new engine for being wimpy or even worse than a V6, I actually laughed out loud when I realized the 4-cylinder was now better and more powerful than the V6. I always had faith in the little four-pot, and now I have confirmation.
The turbo-four produces 310 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque where its V6 counterpart only makes 300 horses and 280 lb-ft. It also has it beat 24 to 21 in the combined fuel economy game and produces one literal, actual ton of CO2 gas less per year. The V6 is dead, y’all; dig the grave and let it go.
So how do the baby ‘Stangs compare to the new GT500? Returning from what will be a six-year hiatus after leaving the game throwing down 662 hp, here’s what we know. It is highly likely this car will feature a supercharged version of the GT350’s 5.2L V8, and it is extremely likely that this car is going to be pushing at least 710 hp. The GT350R was about precision, but this car? This car is about power.
We still know very little about the new GT500, as it is, after all, new, and won’t be introduced until 2019 as a 2020 model. Ford has gone so far as to say that the new car will be “twice as powerful as the original 1967 Mustang performance model.” Well, the original model had 355 hp, so now you know where we got 710 from. Also, the original car had 420 lb-ft of torque, and we’re excited to see if they plan to double that as well. One thing is certain though: we’re about to see a war in the muscle car world. The ZL1 1LE has 650 hp, the Hellcat has 707, and now the GT500 claims it’s going to top them all. Let’s see if the King Cobra really does return come 2020.
Audi TT RS
The Audi TT has been trying to shake its reputation as a ‘girl car’ since its cute and bubbly butt first arrived on the scene in 1998 (yes, it is actually THAT old). With the latest restyling Audi has done, it might finally be time to take this car seriously. It’s pretty much always actually been a capable car, but now, it finally looks the part too.
In the base model TT, you get to zip around town with a quirky little 2.0L turbo-four good for about 220 hp and a venti soy latte with extra whip. In the RS, however, you’ll be staring down the barrel of a somewhat strange 2.5L turbo-five good for 400 hp, 354 lb-ft of torque, and removing just a little bit of pee from your bladder when you stomp on the accelerator. The only unfortunate thing about this car is that it only comes with two pedals, but the 7-speed dual-clutch auto certainly doesn’t disappoint, and even suits the car rather well.
While this car doesn’t necessarily have a ton of power on tap compared to a lot of performance cars, what it does have is a tight little athletic body that grips great in corners. Thanks to the AWD setup, the TT RS really shines in the corners and not on the straights, and twisty roads are where you’ll want to be every second you’re behind the wheel of this souped up car.
Nissan Juke R
As far as souped up cars go, this one may just be the most ridiculous. The Nissan Juke is most definitely a city-trawling, grocery-getting, low horsepower, windows-down, hair-in-the-wind-radio-playing-in-the-summertime kind of car. It’s your typical CUV and may or may not be slightly marketed towards women over men. If you dig the stylings though, more power to you.
In its base form, the Juke is powered by a 188 hp 1.6L turbo-four which, as far as CUVs go, that’s actually pretty respectable. It’s by no means a bad car and, aside from its excessive use of personality, is a perfectly fine city car that will leave you probably not blending in and not quite standing out either. The Juke was pretty ok on its own until one day, a Nissan engineer smoked some crack and said: “hey, let’s make a Nismo version,” and so they did, and it was great.
Then, one day, another engineer knew he had to do more than smoke crack to achieve higher greatness, so he chartered a flight to South America for a shaman-lead ayahuasca ceremony. When he returned from the misty mountain peaks of Peru covered in plant secretions and beads of grimy sweat, he performed a tribal dance channeled through him by the forest Gods themselves to convey one thing, which became immediately clear to all who watched: Nissan was going to put a GT-R engine in the Juke. (Literally none of that happened. Well, probably none of it.)
So Nissan took the 600 hp twin-turbo V6 (and AWD to match) from a Nismo GT-R, shoehorned it into the Juke’s engine bay, and the result was batshit insane. They made fewer than 20 and unless you’re some form of royalty, you’re probably not gonna be anywhere near one, ever. The first iteration of this car went for nearly $600k, and there’s really still no word on how this one is priced or if they even ended up making the 17 promised examples. If they exist, they’re surely hidden away in the foothills of some far-off foreign countries by now. One thing is for certain: comparing the Juke R to the regular Juke reveals that this is definitely one of the most souped up cars we’ve ever seen come from a manufacturer.
Honda Civic Type R
There was a point in time recently when the likelihood of the Civic Type R landing on U.S. shores was very much unknown. We started to become concerned when we saw Honda testing their Asian-market Type R a year or so after the newest redesign. When we learned the new Civic would offer a turbo variant that was faster than the outgoing Si, we panicked, thinking this was the best Civic we were going to get…
And then, Honda finally gave us a break, and the Type R arrived on U.S. soil shortly thereafter. While the Type R is still front-wheel drive, that’s one of the very few things it has in common with its 2.0L 158 hp base version. Actually, the Type R also has a 2.0L four-banger, but it’s accompanied by a turbo and is good for a whopping 306 hp. Quite an improvement over the economic base version, huh?
The Type R also features a sportier design, tight, athletic suspension, a pair of really great racing seats, Brembo brakes on all four wheels and yeah yeah I’ll talk about how it differs from the Si, keep your pants on. The Si is based on the U.S. market Civic, which was designed in the U.S., for the U.S. The Type R, however, was designed completely separate from U.S. Civics in Japan. The Si features a 1.5L turbo-four good for 205 hp, aka 101 fewer horses than the Type R. The Si is essentially better suited for daily driving (adaptive suspension anyone?) whereas the Type R is more suited for ripping your face off and hugging curves. Thanks to Hondata, it’s just got even better at exactly that.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
So, the regular Giulia is no slouch. It’s powered by a 2.0L turbocharged inline-four that’s good for an impressive 280 hp and 306 lb-ft. of torque. It can be had in either an RWD or AWD setup and features exactly the level of luxury you’d expect from a name like Alfa Romeo. And then, there’s the Quad.
The Giulia Quadrifoglio is powered by a 2.9L twin-turbo Ferrari V6 and does 0-60 in 3.6 seconds. It’s been described as extremely comfortable to be in and drive, and according to Car and Driver, it lacks every shortcoming you’d expect from an exotic Italian sports car. Also, it does the quarter mile in just 11.9 seconds and can pull 1.0 G of force on acceleration. Talk about punch.
It’s the car that everyone has been ogling over since its release and that’s probably not going to change until we get a Quad take on Alfa’s new Stelvio CUV. The Giulia is sexy at every curve, powerful, graceful, and probably the best-damn looking four door car to ever grace the surface of the Earth. That’s just how it is.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is possibly the most ridiculous SUV on the market that probably shouldn’t exist. The idea behind the Trackhawk was incredibly simple: take the Hellcat engine out of the Dodge Challenger and gently place it in the engine bay of the Cherokee, making sure to back away slowly and definitely keep your eyes low and NEVER turn your back to it.
The 707-hp jungle cat under the bonnet is unnecessary to say the least, but man are we glad it’s there. The weakest Grand Cherokee mill is a 240 hp turbo-diesel V6 while the next closest V8 option only pumps out 360 horses. The most common intermediary V6 is a 295 hp 3.6L unit, and the Hellcat is still nearly 2.4 times as powerful. If souped up SUVs count as souped up cars, this one is Campbells Chicken Noodle served at 666 degrees.
So obviously there’s some drawback right? Well, yes. For starters, it’s actually more expensive than a Dodge Demon. Also, while the 707 hp mill is extremely capable of hauling the Cherokee’s ass clear to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, keep in mind that this is still a 5,363 lb monstrosity. If you’re a perceptive one, though, then you’ve no doubt picked up on the fact that this thing is faster than the Giulia Quad and does the 1/4 mile in 11.6 seconds. Try doing that in any other Cherokee.
So, most people probably wouldn’t consider the F-Type on a list of souped up cars because it’s the obvious choice. You’d be very surprised to find out exactly how wimpy the lowest version of this car can be compared to the highest trim, though. Just like the Giulia, the base F-Type isn’t by any means a bad car. It has a perfectly capable 2.0L turbo-four (surprise, surprise) good for a very respectable 296 hp. It’s RWD, does 0-60 in 5.4 seconds, and starts around $61,000.
The top-of-the-line model, an AWD 575 hp monster fueled by a 5.0L supercharged V8, does 0-60 in 3.5, tops out near 200 mph, and starts around $123k. Since this is basically Jaguar’s ultimate offering, you can expect this to be accompanied by a luxurious interior appointed with the best features the auto industry has to offer. While most would assume that the F-Type R is the best of the best, this model has actually been placed a tier above that and is dubbed the SVR.
The most news about the SS most people heard was likely regarding its tragic discontinuation after the 2017 model year. Most people never even knew the SS existed, and many still don’t, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome. Hell, most people probably think it’s just an extra good-looking Impala or something. Thing is, the SS isn’t actually based on anything sold stateside, but rather, the Holden Commodore of Australia.
For this comparison, since we don’t have a direct relation to compare to that people are actually familiar with, I want you simply to imagine a mid-level family sedan. It’s got a nice little V6 in it good for maybe 240 hp that makes getting around town easy enough and passing on the highway very approachable. It’s got a nice interior, leather seats, touchscreen infotainment and all the bells and whistles. Now, I want you to take the 6.2L LS3 out of the nearest Corvette and dump it into your family sedan’s engine bay. Welcome to the Chevy SS: one of the most souped up cars built for families in a hurry we’ve ever seen from an American brand.
The monstrous V8 under the hood is good for an actually-pretty-tame-for-a-V8 415 hp and 415 lb-ft, and the car gets to 60 from a standstill in just 4.5 seconds. The thing to understand about the SS is that it isn’t supposed to be raw power or even the height of luxury. Many complain that the ride isn’t quite where it needs to be for daily driving, but that’s mostly just when compared to offerings from German luxury brands. What the SS really is, is a very good take on a very good family car. It’s safe, it has features, it has power, but it isn’t exorbitant in any sense of the word; it’s actually rather well-balanced. It looks good, performs much more well-mannered than one might expect, and used models can easily be had for cheaper than a brand-new Mustang GT.
Ford SVT Raptor
When the Raptor first came out, it was powered either by a 5.4L 310 hp/365 lb-ft. V8 or a 6.2L 411 hp/434 lb-ft. V8. The idea of anything smaller than a V8 powering Ford’s new off-road machine was ridiculous and unheard of. Surely you can’t do what the Ford Raptor does best, aka driving 100 mph on literally any surface you touch the tires to, with a measly V6, right?
Wrong. As hell. The current iteration of Ford’s performance “F-150” (like it’s even a comparison) is powered by a modestly-sized 3.5L twin-turbo V6 good for an astounding 450 hp and 510 lb-ft. of torque. Now, I don’t want to say that the Raptor is better in every way, because the truth is, if you’re towing or hauling, or just need something practical and powerful for city use, the regular F-150 is the way to go. The Raptor is a performance-oriented machine, and isn’t capable of towing or hauling nearly as much as a proper truck.
That said, this souped up truck takes the rigid and orderly characteristics of the F-150 and throws that shit out the window faster than you can say “tow mirrors add +5 horsepower.” This truck is the bee’s knees and that bee has extra-long-travel suspension, knobby off-road tires, and a terrain-management system with 6 selectable driving modes. Expect it to be nothing less than the most capable vehicle you’ve ever driven off-road while still being perfectly comfortable in the city.
Most of us should have heard by now that instead of announcing a mid-engined Corvette, Chevrolet has gifted us with this generation’s bedroom poster pinup ‘Vette: the prodigal ZR1 returns. A lot of people were upset when they started comparing the ZR1 to the Z06 saying that there wasn’t enough of an improvement (because +105 hp is insignificant, right?). To avoid this dilemma, we’re opting to compare the base model this time around so you can really understand what makes these souped up cars so special.
The base C7 Corvette starts around $55k and for that money, you get a car that does 0-60 in 3.7 seconds thanks to a 460 hp 6.2L V8 and a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. It has tons of creature comforts available to combat the everyday worries of city driving, and even the base model features a luxurious Bose 9-speaker audio system. Simply put, the car is fast and not a piece of crap.
The ZR1, however, is a track-focused fire-breathing dragon capable of 212 mph, 0-60 in under 3 seconds, and thanks to its supercharged 6.2L V8, 755 hp and 715 lb-ft. of torque. This supercar (that’s right, it’s a supercar) is the fastest and most powerful production ‘Vette ever produced. Becuase of that fact, there is also an optional massive wing (mechanically adjustable up to 5 degrees) that provides upwards of 950 lbs of downforce.
Souped Up Cars Without Aftermarket Parts
So there you have it, our list of some of the best souped up cars that came straight from the production line. Probably the best thing about souped up cars that haven’t been upgraded using aftermarket parts is that you can get most of the upgrades from the stock version you want while still hanging onto that sick manufacturer warranty. Working smarter not harder is the name of the game here, and by investing money up front, you’ll be spending a hell of a lot less in repair fees later down the road.
If we left out some special editions you hold near and dear to your heart, let us know in the comments below!