Motoramic

Ford plays dress-up with new Fusion for Vegas tuning show

Justin Hyde
Motoramic

While humans have Halloween to put on costumes, the auto industry uses the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas for add-on parts vendors as a rolling cosplay convention. Here's the first of this year's attempts to make restrained family cars seem like race gods, a quartet of heavily modified Ford Fusions. If history holds, they'll be good buys when they turn up in a few years in a overlooked lot at the Barrett-Jackson auctions. The top example comes from Ice Nine Group, which used the Australian V8 Supercar series as an inspiration, even though this Fusion gets its power from a 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder and might strain to put the massive brakes to use.

The other examples run from the oddly restrained to the oddly tinted. The 3d Carbon AirDesign "EuroFusion" has a lower body and this year's fashion of near-stanced tire/wheel combos that would turn the car into a paint shaker on American roads.

"Blending performance and luxury, the Tijin Edition Fusion is modified with some of the best aftermarket parts available," says Ford, leaving out the sparkly beige paint and lack of any motor upgrades. Porsche put green brake calipers on the Panamera Sport Turismo Hybrid at the Paris Motor Show, so let's just call it a trend now.

While SEMA used to be a show full of factory hot-rods, modern engine and emissions controls require more engineering resources to boost performance than most tuning shops can muster on short notice for a new model. The Sport Touring Fusion by MRT Performance appears to be the only model that more than a costume, with a drag-race quality methanol injection unit among a bevy of other chassis and handling upgrades. We've heard no rumblings of Ford building a SVT-quality Fusion, so the Sport Touring will, like many indulgences, stay in Vegas.

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