Wouldn't Want To Be A Supercar Tuner Now...

What could be more fun than taking someone else's pricey supercar and squeezing more go out of it? Ollie's not convinced...

Remind me later
Supercar tuners could be in trouble, on this latest evidence: That's a Novitec Rosso Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. Novitec have been fiddling with Ferraris and Maseratis for years, teaming big power gains with subtle visual mods. I might not be too keen to pimp my own ride, but for a while there was a spot for a Novitec 430 Scuderia in my lottery garage. So, what have the Italian power freaks done to the F12? What sorcery and madness lurks beneath the almost standard looks? Erm, an extra 22bhp. Wait, what? A remap, injection upgrade and redline bump yield only 22bhp more? Admit it, you're a little disappointed. The top speed? A whole 2mph faster than stock, at 213mph. Essentially, this is a car that may well be slightly faster to accelerate than before, but harder to launch, harder riding thanks to to 22-inch rims and ride height drop, and a lot pricier. You've got to feel for supercar tuners. The guys who build the cars in the first place have got so hot on wringing masses of batsh*t crazy power from highly strung engines that they're practically ultimate already. Take the Lambo Aventador: a 690bhp V12 monster. Oakley Design ramps it up to an admirable 749bhp, but then goes an undoes all its good work by stripping out the front driveshaft gubbins. So can you guess which one launches off the line faster, and can put more power down out of turns? Seems like change for change's sake to me. (Awesome change, though it is). Course, the other side of supercar tuning is what G-Power, Hennessey and Underground Racing do: twin-charger conversions. Bolt on two turbos or superchargers and you breeze a Ford GT, Gallardo, 599 GTB or Enzo to over 800bhp, but be honest: these are dragsters. I mean, how much poke would Brabus have to give an SL to make it worth your attention? The standard SL63 AMG has an R8 V10-shaming 529bhp. Opt for Merc's own Performance Pack and you reach an SLS AMG-chasing 556bhp! So would a healthy 600bhp do the job for Brabus? Nah. It'd be outrun by the 612bhp SL65. Dead end, boys! Is tuning dying? Are supercar pimps being made redundant by the very cars they make a living off? Nope. Because the melting ice caps are going to save them. Seriously. Engines are being downsized, and turbos are back in vogue. The next Ferrari California could get a twin-turbo V6. McLaren is a turbo-only supercar brand. The new Corvette is likely to get a 'charged V6. All future M-cars and AMGs will be twin-turboed - right down to every hot hatch packing a blower. Even F1 goes turbo in 2014! Blown engines, as any GT-R, Evo, Impreza or Supra fan will tell you, love to be tuned. They take big power in their stride: 1000bhp was being pumped out of Skylines in the mid 1990s long before the Veyron swaggered in. You heard it here first. Just as tuners were about to be priced out of the remapping and tweaking game, eco-campaigners and save-the-world laws will land a lifeline in their lap. This should be fun: a turbocharged brave new world. As my friend Snoop Doggy Dogg puts it...