Auto Manufacturer Gear and Tech at SEMA

The Kia Sorento Ski Gondola is equipped for snow and is also a self-driving concept.

At the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, most of the focus is on aftermarket companies and their products. But many automakers are here as well, showing off the items you’ll be able to order through dealers, or displaying wild concepts made specifically for the show.

BMW

BMW offers a new Flow-Through wing for its M2, M3 and M4, hand-formed out of carbon fibre.

BMW offers a new Flow-Through wing for its M2, M3 and M4, hand-formed out of carbon fibre.

BMW has some new products for its 3 Series and some of its M cars. There’s a new M Performance Power and Sound exhaust kit for the 340i that not only improves the exhaust note, but ups the engine output. Horsepower rises from 320 to 355, while torque moves from 330 to 369 lb-ft with the automatic transmission, and to 355 lb-ft for the manual.

BMW offers new lightweight carbon fibre wheels for its M performance editions.

BMW offers new lightweight carbon fibre wheels for its M performance editions.

The show marks the world premiere of a new M Performance Flow-Through Spoiler, a lightweight carbon fibre unit that a BMW representative says takes five people a whole day to make. It’s also the first time out for a new M Performance steering wheel, manual shift knob, engine cover, and new carbon-fibre wheels. The wheels come in 19-inch for the M2, while M3 and M4 owners can opt for 19-inchers all around, or 20-inch in the rear. They’ll launch next summer and are the lightest wheels BMW has made for these three models.

Ford

The concept Ford Raptor Pre-Runner, with higher ride height, 39-inch BF Goodrich tires, and six-piston Alcon calipers.

The concept Ford Raptor Pre-Runner, with higher ride height, 39-inch BF Goodrich tires, and six-piston Alcon calipers.

Ford always has a large booth at SEMA that it fills with concept cars and trucks, including a 2017 F-150 Raptor decked out as the “Pre-Runner”, which Ford says will “set the pace for future builds in the industry going forward.” The concept truck features more suspension travel than stock, stretched fenders over 39-inch BF Goodrich tires, and six-piston calipers. There is also a Raptor race truck, built by Foutz Motorsports, mostly stock but with Fox Racing shocks and a Foutz roll cage.

Ford's F-150 SuperCrew is modified by Bojix Design with larger turbochargers on the EcoBoost engine, Full Race intake system, seven-inch lift kit, and Brembo brakes.

Ford’s F-150 SuperCrew is modified by Bojix Design with larger turbochargers on the EcoBoost engine, Full Race intake system, seven-inch lift kit, and Brembo brakes.

For those not going racing, Ford has introduced several new dealer accessories, including tray-style floor mats; running boards for the Explorer; carbon-fibre dress-up kits for Focus, Raptor and Mustang; corner LED strobes for pickup trucks; and clear plastic film to fit the Fusion deck lid. Why the deck lid? It seems that Fusion is a popular choice for fleets, and too many sales reps are putting their briefcases on the trunk and scratching the paint.

Honda

The Honda Civic Hatchback is displayed with all of its new optional accessories painted red.

The Honda Civic Hatchback is displayed with all of its new optional accessories painted red.

Honda has new accessories for the newest additions to its showrooms. Those buying a 2017 Civic Hatchback can trick it out with several new Honda Factory Performance accessories, including a deck lid spoiler, rotors, carpeted floor mats, underbody spoiler, and 19-inch alloy wheels with black wheel locks.

New accessories for the 2017 Honda Ridgeline include clearance lights and a hard tonneau cover.

New accessories for the 2017 Honda Ridgeline include clearance lights and a hard tonneau cover.

The all-new Ridgeline pickup truck also adds some optional features to its portfolio, including a hard tonneau cover, roof rails, running boards, fender flares, sport grille, 18-inch diamond-cut wheels, high-wall floor mats, and body side molding. The truck on display also features two prototype items that may come to market: LED fog lamps and a rooftop light bar.

Kia

Kia explores autonomous driving with its “Soul First Class,” which has rear-facing seats and no steering wheel.

Kia explores autonomous driving with its “Soul First Class,” which has rear-facing seats and no steering wheel.

Kia doesn’t have any new accessories, but has some new concepts made specifically for SEMA. The theme of its booth is autonomous driving, and several of the concepts have wildly outfitted interiors, but no dash or steering wheel. The Soul First Class features rear-facing front seats, and instead of watching the road, occupants can view a 40-inch LED television controlled by two tablets hidden in the motorized central console.

Kia’s "School of Rock" Sedona minivan, in keeping with the booth’s autonomous-driving theme, has no steering wheel and instead features a recording studio inside.

Kia’s “School of Rock” Sedona minivan, in keeping with the booth’s autonomous-driving theme, has no steering wheel and instead features a recording studio inside.

The Sorento Ski Gondola features snow tracks. These aren’t new to vehicles at SEMA – we’ve seen them before on Subaru and a vintage Jeep – but they’re possibly a first on a model that’s intended to drive itself. Finally, a minivan is transformed into the School of Rock Sedona, where the lack of seats or steering wheel allows its designers to turn it into a mobile recording studio.

Lexus

Lexus introduced its new LC 500 at the SEMA show.

Lexus introduced its new LC 500 at the SEMA show.

Lexus is showing off its new LC 500, which will debut next spring as a 2018, but it’s not stopping there. It’s also debuting the world’s first customized version, created by Beyond Marketing, alongside Evasive Motorsports, Hard Media, and D SPORT magazine. The original Lexus 471 hp 5.0L V8 has been transformed into a 525 hp 5.6L, while the exterior receives modifications including an upgraded suspension, body kit, and new brakes and wheels. The custom car was started so early in the production LC 500’s development that these kits may be available in the aftermarket right when the LC 500 goes on sale. The body kit includes fender flares, front and rear diffusers, skirts, and a rear wing.

Mazda

Mazda’s MX-5 Miata Speedster Evolution Concept was built by Mazda Design Americas and includes an adjustable suspension, 17-inch lightweight wheels, and a carbon fibre aero kit.

Mazda’s MX-5 Miata Speedster Evolution Concept was built by Mazda Design Americas and includes an adjustable suspension, 17-inch lightweight wheels, and a carbon fibre aero kit.

Mazda brought two MX-5 Miata concepts, and they’re both beauties. The Speedster Evolution Concept loses its windshield and some 159 kg (350 lb) in weight, and gains a Mazda Design carbon-fibre aero kit and lightweight wheels. The RF Kuro Concept, finished in satin black metallic, uses technologies from the MX-5 Global Cup race car, and is based on the RF-retractable fastback that goes on sale next year.

Mopar

The Dodge Challenger Shakedown is a 1971 Challenger that includes a 392 Hemi crate engine making 485 horsepower, along with “Bitchin’ Black” exterior paint, concept SRT Hellcat wheels, and headlamps and taillights from a 2017 Challenger.

The Dodge Challenger Shakedown is a 1971 Challenger that includes a 392 Hemi crate engine making 485 horsepower, along with “Bitchin’ Black” exterior paint, concept SRT Hellcat wheels, and headlamps and taillights from a 2017 Challenger.

In a nod to the famous 426 Hemi, Fiat Chrysler’s Mopar parts division waited until 4:26 pm to unveil its SEMA specialties. It pulled the covers off two Hemi crate engines, the 345 (5.7L) and 392 (6.4L), both designed for plug-and-play installation. Choose the engine, add a controller and harness kit, and then add the required front accessory drive kit, including the alternator, pulleys and belts. The entire kit adds up to $8,490 USD for the 345, and $11,755 USD for the 485 hp 392.

Toyota

Built by Toyota and Cartel Customs, the “XTREME Corolla” is transformed into a two-door hardtop and includes a Garrett turbocharger, Cartel exhaust, and floating centre console.

Built by Toyota and Cartel Customs, the “XTREME Corolla” is transformed into a two-door hardtop and includes a Garrett turbocharger, Cartel exhaust, and floating centre console.

Toyota is showing both old and new vehicles, bringing along classics from its collection alongside concepts built for SEMA. All eleven generations of its Corolla are on display, along with the Xtreme Corolla, a four-door made into a two-door by Cartel Customs. A first-generation Prius sits alongside the Prius G, so named because this race-inspired hybrid pulled 0.99 on a skid pad in testing, which Toyota says is comparable to a Corvette. And alongside a 1961 Land Cruiser, the automaker is also showing a 2016 Land Cruiser – a model not available in Canada – modified with a turbocharged 5.7L V8 race engine that has hit 354 km/h (220 mph). It’s all part of the craziness that is SEMA.

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Jil McIntosh

Jil McIntosh is an auto reviewer, feature writer and driving advice expert.