There's a high IQ score at Scion's 2011 SEMA stand. Actually, that should be the 2012 Scion iQ, the company's newest - and smallest - addition. The straight-ahead version of this supermini (starting price is slated to be around $15,000) hits the showrooms from December this year, but to herald its imminent launch and also show off some customization possibilities, there are four versions at SEMA, the result of challenges set to a quartet of specialist tuners.

Tuning house Cartel has taken an iQ, chopped the top, installed an air suspension, bigger brakes, a tool box filled with Snap-On tools molded into the rear bumper, mobile WiFi, an Alpine audio system to rock the Las Vegas Convention Center (where the SEMA show takes place), and made the whole thing controllable with an Apple iPad. It's called "Pit Boss" and is envisioned to be useful in a motorsport paddock.

On the more interesting side of the pit wall is where Michael Chang sees his project. He has decked out his iQ-RS with an adjustable air suspension, a front lower lip that sticks out more than an over-tired toddler's, a huge rear wing and bigger brakes. The air conditioning system has been ditched, while the cabin now plays host to a raft of racing equipment like sports seats and harnesses, plus a roll cage.

Tatsu's iQ-MR takes the track-focused idea and presses the throttle even further. Not only is there an array of racing parts like an aerodynamic body kit, roll cage, high-performance tires, sports seats and an upgraded suspension, but Tatsu has also changed the original configuration from front-engine/front-wheel drive to a mid-mounted driving the rear wheels.

There's more of an on-street presence to Jon Sibal's iQ RX, despite the body kit and beefed-up brakes. Sibal decided to fit an Air Runner inflatable suspension setup that can raise or lower the car with a remote control. He also included three 500-watt amplifiers for his Orion audio system, plus an Xbox 360 video game console, a Samsung 32-inch 3D, high-definition LED TV screen with built-in WiFi, and an Apple iPad 2 for good measure. To help get all that extra weight moving, there are two bottles of nitrous oxide under the hood so a Nitrous Express system can boost the car's acceleration.

See more coverage of the 2011 SEMA Auto Show.

 

COLIN RYAN has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.
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