The annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, was at one point considered the place to see the latest and greatest in the tuning industry. Anyone who was anyone in the industry was there, and that was especially true for the European tuning industry. Buyers and media alike would show up to see the debut of all the newest products that would be on enthusiasts' wish lists. Times have changed and manufacturers no longer wait for the SEMA show to release new products. Online and social media have made it possible to communicate to customers and media in real time, so waiting for a big show no longer makes sense. You have a product ready, start making money on it now.
There are still some new products at the show that every enthusiast may not be aware of, and even those in the know have an opportunity to get hands on products they may have only seen so far on their iPhone screens. We have rounded up some of the best products and trends of SEMA 2015 and assembled them here. After three days of scouring the show, we think it is pretty comprehensive, but we can't guarantee we found everything—the show has gotten far too big for that.
The biggest single trend was a carryover from last year. Wide fenders were a must-have for everything from classic Firebirds to Ferraris. Some were expertly executed, with what appeared to be countless hours of bodywork spent sculpting and molding a cohesive package into the factory designer's elegant lines. Others got out the power drill and pop rivet gun to create something that looked like inverted rain gutters covering ill-fitting wheels. The king of the exposed-fastener fender is without question the RWB Porsche. The RAUH-Welt BEGRIFF widebody cars have become the talk of the tuning community. The name translates to something like "rough world concept," which made sense in the beginning. The first RWB cars appeared unfinished, almost like rat rods in their purposeful nature. They spit in the face of show cars and parking-lot queens. These modern RWB cars have become exactly what the original spirit rebelled against. At one point, an RWB car was a rare creation with the patina and "roughness" making each car unique. Now, each car is shiny, over-worked, and with some reports saying as many as a dozen of them were at the show, no longer rare.
Akira Nikai, the man behind RWB, travels the world spending several hours screwing on fenders for well-heeled customers. His body kits are remarkably similar to pieces used for years by Porsche for race cars. The RWB cars at SEMA this year were beautifully finished and the crowds ate them up. For exhibitors looking to draw attendees into their booths, they certainly worked. Taste is subjective and I can certainly appreciate these cars, but I do wonder if in a few years, Porsche enthusiasts will be spending tens of thousands of dollars to return them to stock the same way the ridiculous Koenig, Gemballa, and Strosek slantnoses from the 1980s and '90s are today.
At the opposite end of the spectrum sat a "BMW" aptly named Rusty Slammington. In contrast to the dozens of hours that Nikai spends on a car, Mike Burroughs spent hundreds of hours building a tube-framed creation that truly wears the badge of one of a kind. The first iteration of this car ended in flames, literally. It burned to the ground in a garage fire, which necessitated the complete rebuild. When we say "complete rebuild," we mean it.
This isn't the type of project that even a skilled enthusiast could tackle, but it should serve as inspiration. People who notch their Golf's frame, bolt on purple wheels, glue in a plaid headliner, and then call themselves "car-builders" should take note. This is what imagination looks like. It's also what a pile of money and access to a fabrication shop look like, but this should make you think bigger. What it should also make you think about are the possibilities inherent with older cars.
Whether we're looking at the domestic, Asian, or European markets, one of the biggest trends was classic cars. New cars are getting tougher and tougher to modify. Older cars are a blank canvas. The tuners at the show kept talking about the resurgence in parts for older platforms. Older enthusiasts are finally able to build the MK2 Golf, e30 BMW, or W123 Mercedes they dreamed about as teenagers. The younger generation is looking at affordable project cars and finding them in cars from the '70s, '80s, and '90s. We couldn't be more excited about the trend.
SEMA 2015 was, according to the organizers, a huge success. Most of the veterans we talked to were less convinced that it isn't outgrowing its usefulness. Hopefully next year will see a show focused more on growing the hobby than growing the show. In the end, this is still the annual pilgrimage everyone in the industry must make; let's hope it stays that way.
BBS CI-R Wheels
BBS's all-new, low-pressure-cast CI-R wheels are manufactured using flow-form technology that results in a wheel that's nearly as strong as something that's been forged, but for a whole lot less money. The Platinum Satin-finished rims with their unique, Y-spoke design will be available for multiple Audi and BMW applications in 19- and 20-inch diameters early next year.
JE Pistons BMW N54 / N55 Forged Pistons
No engine build can be called complete without some sort of forged-aluminum pistons, like those from JE Pistons. JE recently added applications to its already massive lineup of high-performance pistons, including 9.5:1-compression slugs for BMW's direct-injected N54 and N55 turbo engines in standard, 84mm, and 85mm bores.
Hotchkis 2015 + BMW M3 / M4 Anti-Roll Bar Kit
Spend any amount of time on the track and you'll know just how important the right antisway bars can be. When matched with an otherwise well-equipped suspension, Hotchkis' CNC-bent, lightweight, hollow antisway bars can help improve cornering even more by significantly reducing body roll.
Turbosmart ProGate 50 Lite
For higher-boost turbo applications where pressure control is critical, an external wastegate can be indispensable. Turbosmart's new 50mm ProGate 50 Lite wastegate is the smallest of its kind, allowing it to fit inside almost any modern, cramped engine bay. Like every Turbosmart wastegate, the ProGate 50 Lite allows for easy spring changes and the ability to index its cap in 12 different positions for precise fitment.
SPEC Clutch Lamborghini Gallardo Carbon Triple Disc Clutch
You don't own a Gallardo (probably), but if you did, you'd do well to have a look at SPEC Clutch's new triple-disc application. More discs mean there's a whole lot more surface area to do work—1,800 lb-ft worth, to be exact. According to SPEC, Gallardo applications are fully rebuildable by you, the end user, with a wide range of replacement parts always in stock.
Mishimoto BMW 335i Baffled Oil Catch Can
Mishimoto's specially baffled oil catch can was designed to reduce carbon buildup and protect the N54 engine's intercooler, intake system, and VANOS system from oil blow-by, which can lead to decreased octane levels and detonation. Each CNC-machined can features a bronze filter element and internal baffling to better separate engine oil from crankcase vapors and features inlets and outlets that connect to the factory ventilation system.
Spyder Auto 2013 + VW Golf Headlights
Spyder Auto's direct-fit, projector headlights were designed to increase visibility and look good while doing it. According to Spyder Auto, each housing is manufactured using an OEM-approved and ISO-certified process, which results in a factory-like fit but with better-than-factory performance.
Vorsteiner Flow Forged V-FF 105 and 106 Wheels
Vorsteiner says its V-FF 105 wheels are its lightest yet, featuring flow-forged technology that's resulted in some of the most impressive details around. The company's 10-spoke V-FF 106 wheels blend classic looks with the sort of modern designs that are characteristic of Vorsteiner and offer maximum brake clearance for even the most aggressive of calipers. V-FF 105 applications are available in Audi and Lamborghini fitments while the V-FF 106 will be compatible with select Audis, BMWs, and Mercedes.
Turbo Zentrum BorgWarner EFR 2.0L TFSI Turbo Upgrade
Bolt BorgWarner's EFR-6258, 6758, or 7163 turbos onto any Audi or VW 2.0L TFSI engine with Turbo Zentrum's all-inclusive kit and realize the 500hp BorgWarner's EFR series of turbos are famous for. Every EFR turbo features low-weight, Gamma-Ti turbine wheels and shaft assemblies that mean quicker boost response for you. Stainless-steel turbine housings are also standard with every EFR unit, which is more efficient and more durable than conventional, cast-iron housings.
Turbosmart Race Port Sensor Cap
Know exactly what's going on with your turbo engine's blow-off valve with the help of Turbosmart's Race Port Sensor Cap. Data-log any Turbosmart Race Port blow-off valve's behavior and see what's happening under just about any condition.
MagnaFlow 2016 Maserati Ghibli Sport Series Exhaust System
MagnaFlow's all-stainless-steel cat-back exhaust system for Maserati's Ghibli features 3-inch tubing throughout and two 4-inch exhaust tips each paired to their own muffler. Sport Series systems are designed to reduce weight, increase performance, bolt in place, and sound good while doing it.
Mishimoto BMW E36 Electric Fan Shroud
Mishimoto's electric fan shroud kit eliminates the E36's mechanical fan for a more reliable and higher-flowing electric unit. The shroud mounts directly to the factory radiator as well as most aftermarket cores and includes a 16-inch fan that delivers more than 1,850 cfm worth of airflow for better cooling at the track or when parked on the freeway.
Mishimoto BWM E46 Intake Boot
Mishimoto's two-piece, silicone intake boots replace the crack-prone factory pieces for a longer-lasting, and more heat-resistant solution. Available in black, blue, and red, the hoses position the stock airbox and mass airflow sensor in their original locations for a factory fit without any of the cutting, trimming, or permanent modifications you're not willing to make.
Specialty Products Co. AlignGuide
Never wonder what your car's alignment ought to be set to so long as you download Specialty Products' all-new AlignGuide app, available for iOS and Android. Open the app and you'll find factory-recommended settings for most post-'85 vehicles along with SPC product suggestions that'll help correct any toe, camber, or caster problems you may be experiencing.
Innovate Motorsports ECF-1 Ethanol Content Gauge
Combine a sophisticated wideband oxygen sensor, fuel pressure and fuel temperature sensors, and ethanol content sensor into one package and you've got Innovate's new ECF-1 gauge. E85's ethanol content can vary a whole lot, which means you not knowing how concentrated yours really is can lead to poor performance or even engine damage.
Auto Meter DashLink
Auto Meter's iOS- and Android-based DashLink package provides wireless, customizable, virtual instrumentation, scan tool functionality, real-time data acquisition by means of a proprietary OBDII module, and full-color GPS track mapping all from one simple, all-inclusive box.
CCW CV570 Concave Monoblock Wheels
CCW's all-new Concave Monoblock line of wheels blend good looks and performance all while suffering all sorts of enduring quality measures, including 3,000-pound load tests. The CV570 is CCW's latest effort at pairing light weight with maximum strength. Applications are available in diameters ranging from 18 to 20 inches with widths as aggressive as 13 inches and in 19 different finishes.
G-Drive Geared Coilovers
Forget what you know about ride-height-adjustable coilovers. G-Drive's worm-gear-based coilovers allow for ride-height changes to be made without raising your car and without twisting the spring or damper assembly. Insert the provided tool into the damper's gear case and raise or lower the assembly as much as 4 inches. According to G-Drive, multiple BMW applications are on their way.
Spec-D Tuning BMW E60 5-Series Optic LED Taillights
Give other drivers better visibility and make the road a safer place with Spec-D's Optic LED Taillights. Each taillight is made up of a series of LED bulbs covered by a molded, opaque lens, yielding bright and consistent output.
Fortune Auto BMW E36 and E46 Dreadnought Pro 2 Way Coilovers
Fortune Auto's Dreadnought coilovers were designed for the track yet remain compliant enough for the street thanks to a wide adjustment range. Each system is based off of monotube dampers that feature independent, 24-way rebound and compression adjustability, radial-bearing mounts, and an aluminum construction. Fully rebuildable applications are currently available for BMW's E36 and E46 chassis complete with custom-specified Swift lowering springs.
Racepak IQ3S Street Dash
Racepak's all-new IQ3S Street Dash provides everything you'd expect from a Racepak dash plus what you would of one designed for your daily driver. The IQ3S has the ability to log the engine parameters you care about as well as display the sort of stuff only a street car would want to know, like fuel level and turn signal and high-beam activity. The IQ3S interfaces with late-model cars' OBDII ports as well as all sorts of aftermarket engine management systems for easy integration.
Turbosmart e-BoostHP Electronic Boost Controller
You've got the turbo, now you need a way to control it. Turbosmart's e-BoostHP electronic boost controller is good for up to 120 psi—or about 100 psi more than you actually need. The controller also features an auxiliary output for triggering methanol or nitrous injection and can manage shift-point and warning lights based on boost pressure and engine speed. And it's all packed into a self-contained billet housing for a neat and tidy look.
Eibach 2015 + BMW M3 / M4 Pro-Kit Lowering Springs
Eibach's Pro-Kit coils designed specifically for the current M3 and M4 result in a 0.8-inch lower ride height up front and a 0.2-inch reduction in the rear. The lower center of gravity and stiffer spring rates also mean cornering and braking just got a whole lot better. Like all Pro-Kit lowering springs, M3 and M4 applications feature Eibach's million-mile warranty.
Essex / AP Racing Porsche 991 GT3 / 981 GT4 Competition Discs
Essex's AP Racing two-piece discs feature a J-hook, full-floating design and are directly compatible with factory Porsche 991 and 981 calipers. The results are a significant increase in airflow, which means cooler brakes, better durability, and you being able to stop a whole lot easier.
Bilstein VW, Audi, and BMW B16 Ridecontrol and DampTronic Coilovers
Bilstein's added to its already long list of threaded, ride-height-adjustable damper applications, now including the VW Golf Mk7, Audi A3 and S3, and '08-'13 BMW M3. B16 ride control applications for VW and Audi allow for electronically controlled damping adjustments on cars not originally equipped with the technology. B16 DampTronic systems for BMW are plug-and-play solutions that work alongside BMW's electronic damping control for the ultimate in convenient adjustability and performance.
Bilstein 2014 + Mini Cooper B14 PSS Coilovers
Bilstein's mono-tube, B14 dampers and springs, now available for the current Mini Cooper, feature threaded bodies for easy ride-height changes, Bilstein's Upside-Down damper technology, and springs matched for optimal performance.
Bilstein Porsche 991 B6 DampTronic Dampers
Designed for 991 Porsches with Active Suspension Management, Bilstein's DampTronic dampers feature a mono-tube design that retains Porsche's electronic damping control. Dramatically alter handling characteristics for more performance or retain optimal drivability without swapping springs.
Bilstein 2015 + BMW M3 / M4 Clubsport Coilovers
Bilstein's high-end Clubsport coilovers are suitable for both the racetrack and the street thanks to independent rebound and compression adjustability and adjustable mono-ball mounting plates. More than 100 different damping variations are possible along with easy camber and ride-height adjustments to suit any driving condition.
Fidanza Performance BMW Short Throw Shifter
Fidanza's all-new short-throw shifters for select BMW applications were designed for a factory-like fit but with a 40 percent reduction in throw. The result is quicker shifting thanks to the stalk's unique shape and length. All Fidanza shifters are machined from 6061 billet aluminum and hardened steel for optimal performance and durability.
K&N 2015 + VW Golf and GTI Typhoon Air Intake System
K&N's Typhoon intake system for VW's 1.8L and 2.0L turbo engines eliminates the restrictive factory tubing and sound baffling in lieu of a more streamlined intake tube and reusable air filter. A specially designed heat shield is also included to ward off under-hood temperatures, the result of which are nearly 13 hp and impressive torque gains across the powerband.
BorgWarner AirWerks and EFR Turbos
BorgWarner's released eight all-new AirWerks turbo applications as well as three unique EFR units, like the EFR-7163, which is the official turbo of IndyCar and now available to enthusiasts like you. Both lines were designed for motorsports applications, with EFR versions capable of as much as 1,000 hp and featuring ceramic, dual-ball-bearing cartridges and stainless-steel turbine housings for reduced heat and better durability.
Specialty Products Co. Audi and VW Performance Upper Control Arms
SPC's adjustable upper control arms for select Audi and VW models allow for 1.5 degrees of camber and caster changes thanks to their unique turnbuckle design. SPC's all-new xAxis Sealed Flex Joints are also included to eliminate bushing deflection and improve handling. Each arm is made of 6061-T6 aluminum and features maintenance-free ball joints for easy installation.
Turbonetics Porsche 996 Bolt-On Intercooler Upgrade
Increase intake cooling capabilities with Turbonetics' latest 996 intercooler system. The oversized core with its cast-aluminum end tanks features the company's W.A.V.E (Wide Area Vane Effectiveness) technology, which results in minimal pressure drop (less than 1 psi) and a temperature drop as much as 50 degrees F cooler than the factory unit, resulting in the ability to turn up the boost more safely.
AEM Dash Display and Logger
AEM's adding to its already extensive electronics line with its all-new dash display and data logger, set to release early next year. The display uses IRG (Instant Recognition Graphics) technology for high-resolution and superior visibility and includes a Vehicle Dynamics Module made up of a three-axis gyro, three-axis accelerometer, and GPS for track mapping. All sorts of other features will be included within the aluminum enclosed system that's said to be compatible with most existing CAN-bus networks, which'll make for an easy installation.
AEM X-Series Digital Gauges
AEM's expanding its digital gauge line with its all-new X-Series. Twelve gauges make up the new series, including a wideband controller, boost pressure, voltage, exhaust gas temperature, and more. X-Series gauges are easier to read thanks to an 87 percent larger LED display and sweeping needle that surrounds each gauge. Despite their larger faces, X-Series gauges feature the industry-standard 52mm diameter housing but with only a quarter-inch cup depth, making them suitable to mount just about any place you can think of.
Remus 2015 + BMW M3 / M4 Cat-Back Sport Exhaust System
Remus' recently introduced, all-stainless-steel exhaust system for current M3 and M4 models eliminates the front silencer and secondary catalytic converters for better turbo spool-up and engine performance. The factory dynamic valves are also incorporated at each side that open and close based upon engine speed and whether or not Sport mode has been selected. A total of four different exhaust tips are available, ranging from an angled, carbon-fiber design to chrome with carbon inserts.
Garrett GTW Turbos
Garrett's new GTW series of turbos feature forged-aluminum compressor wheels, either journal and ball-bearing cartridges, and T3 or T4 turbine housings. GTW turbos won't, however, be water-cooled, which means they'll likely be an affordable option for applications where center cartridge cooling isn't as critical, like for street cars or drag racing. According to Garrett, GTW applications will be good for 700-950 hp, depending on specifications.
Advan Racing Porsche GT Wheels
Advan Racing's GT wheels designed specifically for 991 and 911 chassis as well as the Cayman Boxster and Panamera feature a 20-inch design that allows for big-brake upgrades and a unique concave shape that maximizes Porsche's naturally wider rear stance. Standard-lug wheels are available as well as center-lock designs for 991 GT and 991 Turbo-S models with finishes, including blue, black, and red.
Seibon 2015 + BMW M4 and Lamborghini Huracan Aero
Carbon-fiber parts maker Seibon displayed its latest aero-enhancing composites for the current M4 and Huracan. Kits are made up of hand-laid side skirts and rear diffusers as well as a rear spoiler for M4 packages. Both cars also feature full-carbon-fiber front spoilers, the M4's being a unique multi-piece design.