20 Memorably Pumped Up Cars, Trucks From CES 2011

Crazy About In-Vehicle Technology

Americans love cars almost as much as they love television, and nowhere was this more apparent than at CES 2011. This year's crop of audio and video products for cars and trucks was more expansive than in previous years, providing anecdotal evidence that the longstanding fog of economic recession may finally be lifting.

One thing's for sure: judging from the energy in the Las Vegas Convention Center's North Hall, vendors in this space definitely have their mojo back.

Not Your Father's Cadillac

Remember those big honking Cadillacs from back in the day? Well, they're pretty much the polar opposite of General Motors' Electric Networked Vehicle (EN-V), a new prototype that attracted considerable attention at CES. The two-wheel, two-seat EN-V has an array of advanced sensors that allow it to self-park and automatically detect and avoid obstacles. Best of all, the EN-V has a distinctly egg-like alien shape that's symbolic of the automotive future it represents.

UTV Vehicle That's Ready For Anything

Cabazon, Calif.-based Dyno Motorsports and Memphis Car Audio teamed up to build this pimped-up 2007 Yamaha Rhino UTV and show it off at CES.The stereo system includes Memphis' weatherproof amplifier, head unit and speakers.

OK, so it's not the most practical vehicle ever made, but it's very likely to be one of the most fun and frivolous. The Rhino includes waterfall speaker box encasement between the back seats, custom built pods for the front, custom made tower pods and hidden speakers throughout the vehicle.

Audi's Scintillating CES Debut

CES newcomer Audi was on hand with what was easily the most impressive booth at the show. The car maker showed off its new A8L sedan, a ridiculously luxurious piece of automotive excitement, with a 500-horsepower 6.3-liter W12 engine, massaging leather seats, glass roof and base price of $126,000.

In a CES keynote, Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler said Audi and Nvidia are working together to integrate the chipmaker's Tegra 2 processor into future Audi models. To really pound this point home, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang then drove an A8L onstage, startling some attendees seated in the front rows.

Golf Cart On (Audio) Steroids

Arc Audio, a Modesto, Calif.-based maker of car audio amplifiers, equalizers, and crossovers, brought this souped up golf cart to the CES show floor. Remember the high tech audio golf bag Rodney Dangerfield used in Caddyshack? Well, Arc Audio's modern day equivalent would have made Ted Knight even madder, judging from the ample array of high performance speakers on board.

The Future Of Sports Cars?

Audi also used CES as a stage for e-tron, a high-performance sports car that runs on a lithium-ion battery, and Chairman and CEO Rupert Stadler drove one onto the stage during his CES keynote.

With two motors on the front and rear axles, e-tron can generate 313 horsepower and 3,319 foot-pounds of torque, which enables it to go from 0 to 60 in less than five seconds. Range is a bit limited -- about 154 miles -- but judging from the reaction of Audi booth visitors, e-tron will make a splash when it arrives on the market around 2013.

Make Your Lamborghini Even Better

Dice Electronics, a Stateline, Nev.-based OEM vehicle integrator, touted its new Lamborghini compatible integration kit for iPod at CES. This $169 product connects to the car's factory audio system through a hard-wired connection and includes browsing features accessible through the user's head unit. If you didn't think your Lamborghini could get any more enjoyable, think again.

Make Way For The "Batt Kruiser"

You thought 'Pimp My Ride' only applied to beat-up cars? Well, don't feel bad, because this souped bicycle up shown at Arc Audio's CES booth -- dubbed the "Batt Kruiser," is pretty much one of a kind. The bike features a powerful audio system that's capable of disturbing neighbors within a three-square-mile radius, and there's no denying that just about everyone who saw it thought about how much fun it would be to ride.

Little Orange Corvette

This 1962 Corvette with a supercharged LS2 engine was one of the most impressive sights on CES North Hall show floor. Although a replica, looking at this immaculately kept vehicle one could literally feel the tireless effort and countless hours that were expended to keep it in shape. And with subwoofers from Cadence Sound Systems, Howell, N.J., one could also feel the rumbling bass emanating from the car's audio system.

Sacrificing Space For Superior Sound

Who says a car needs to have space in the back to store suitcases, groceries, and shopping bags? In some people's view, it's best just to pack as much audio equipment into a vehicle as it will hold. At CES, Boss Audio Systems, an Oxnard, Calif.-based purveyor of car and marine audio systems, espoused this belief. In fact, it was difficult to get close enough to take this photo, so deafening was the din.

Engine Of The Future

Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies' H-Racer 2.0 is only about 6 inches by 3 inches and it wasn't shown off with the real cars. But its hydrogen fuel cell technology is poised to have a far more significant impact than in-car audio and video systems. H-Racer has been a CES attraction since 2006, and over the years its power output has been steadily growing as the technology matures. It's definitely a powerful educational vehicle (no pun intended) for the younger generation.

BPG Motors' Versatile U3

BPG Motors' U3 was right up there with GM's EN-V when it came to attracting attention at CES. At low speeds, this electrically powered, zero emissions vehicle operates on two wheels like a Segway, but at high speeds the U3 transforms into a three-wheel vehicle capable of speeds up to 35 miles per hour. The U3 uses conventional motorcycle controls and its versatility allows it to be used both indoors and outdoors. The U3 also comes with new active tilt technology that allows for more stable turns.

General Lee Look-Alike

Car audio giant Pioneer had a trio of tricked-out red Chevys imbued with the company's latest and greatest in-car audio technologies. Pioneer also unveiled its SmartCradle, an iPhone/iPod dock for cars, on the CES 2011 stage. In this case, however, the General Lee lookalikes stole the show and left a lasting impression in the memories of CES attendees.

Customized Automotive Indulgence

Scosche Industries, an Oxnard, Calif.-based maker of car audio and portable electronics accessories, showed off a seriously pimped 1975 Ford Bronco with high performance audio and a custom-built iPad dash kit. Under the hood is a 347 cubic inch engine with 350 horsepower and Edlebrock aluminum heads. Advanto Roccia wheels and custom twisted stitch vortex seats round out this fine specimen of automotive indulgence.

iPod/iPhone Cradle Just For Porsches

Dice Electronics also brought this snazzy looking Porsche to CES, which came installed with the company's new G2 Cradle, a Porsche-specific product that's designed to enhance the in-car iPod and iPhone experience. The G2 Cradle securely holds any iPod or iPhone while it's connected to in custom built in-car audio systems, rear-seat entertainment systems or even a cigarette lighter charger.

Earthquake Sound Gets Reckless

Earthquake Sound, a Hayward, Calif.-based seller of in-car audio systems, proudly displayed this custom-built Ford pickup truck with a bed jammed with its latest speakers and subwoofers. We're not sure what's more impressive: The meticulous attention to detail paid to the vehicle or the fact that its license plate says "Reckless"?

Probably The Most Impressive Scion On Earth

2011 custom built carbon fiber wide-body Scion tC was a showcase for many of Sony's latest car audio products, including the Sony Dash touch screen tablet, various speakers and sub-woofer and a 32-inch LCD flat panel television. Seemed like a perfect car to bring to tailgate at a football or baseball game. Heck, you could even just stay in the parking lot and watch the game on television from the comfort of your own car.

Nitro Power

Brownsville, Texas-based car audio specialists DB Drive showed off several custom built vehicles with insanely loud stereo systems, but these nitro tanks show that audio is just part of the equation when it comes to building a car that'll make people stand up and take notice.

A High School Kid's Ultimate Fantasy Car

DB Drive's Black Camaro attracted its share of glances on the CES show floor, and many were seen standing silently watching the vehicle, perhaps wondering how differently their lives would have turned out if only they'd been able to roll to school in a car like this.

Little Dogs Need Not Apply

This big, bruising pickup features the Vibe Audio Space 6 3D 3-way System and a whole bunch of small television displays situated at various points around the vehicle. This would be another great tailgating vehicle, with the only problem being that there wouldn't be much room to put the food and beer. But in life, sometimes we must make sacrifices, and so it is in this case.

Muscle Car Extraordinaire

This 2011 iSeries Camaro features the new i-Series amp and sub-woofers from Phoenix Gold, a Clearwater, Fla.-based car audio specialist. The new products have been designed for the Camaro, and this custom-built muscle car also comes with a Lexani grill, Lorenzo wheels (model WL28, for those taking notes) and an RK Sport Spoiler. If you were to look up the term "muscle car" in the dictionary, an image of this car would serve better than any words ever could.