More stories related to Geneva Motor ShowChopped, dropped and tuned are terms normally reserved for hot rods and sport compact cars, not cross/utility vehicles.

But Rinspeed AG and EDAG Engineering & Design AG have side-stepped conventional thinking and exploited their collective custom car-building knowledge to develop what may be the world’s most extreme CUV, the Rinspeed Chopster, which makes its formal debut at this week’s 2005 Geneva auto show.

Rinspeed, an exclusive Swiss automotive tuning house, is no stranger to custom cars. The company is responsible for some of the wildest concepts on the auto show circuit, including several reengineered Porsches, a collapsible city car and the Splash, a concept car so tricked out it can drive, float and fly.

In comparison, the Chopster may seem a little bland – but it isn’t a concept, it’s a limited-production custom vehicle.

Rinspeed and EDAG describe the Chopster as a luxury-class lifestyle CUV “that was specifically designed for automobile enthusiasts who appreciate a sporty and highly extroverted appearance.”

Rinspeed Chopster priced at €325,000.

Based on the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Chopster is a collaborative design effort between Rinspeed and EDAG, a full-service automotive development partner. Although Rinspeed’s name is on the Chopster, EDAG is responsible for some of its more custom features, including the 2.75-in. (7-cm) chopped roof and muscular fender flares that make Chopster instantly recognizable as a custom, but purportedly take nothing away from its structural rigidity.

“Our inspiration was the image of an American football player, whose outfit and athleticism stands for enormous strength and assertiveness,” says Johannes Barckmann, EDAG design studio director. The new roof and wider stance, combined with the chunky side skirts and aggressive front bumper, which houses larger intercooler inlets, gives the Chopster the image of an animal ready to pounce.

And an animal it is, with more than 600 hp coming from the BSO 2001 Software & CAD Engineering GmbH-modified 4.5L twin-turbo V-8. The Cayenne Turbo is already a pretty solid performer, but to get Chopster’s horsepower levels up even more, BSO installed a pair of larger water-to-air intercoolers, upgraded the turbochargers and reprogrammed the engine’s computer.

A completely redesigned free-flow exhaust also was fitted, and BSO developed prototype high-performance catalytic converters that feature a special coating that actually reduces emissions compared with a stock Cayenne, the company says. BSO claims the Chopster produces about 610 hp and 590 lb.-ft. (800 Nm) of torque.

To cope with the effects of significantly increasing the air pressure to the motor, BSO reinforced and reprogrammed the 6-speed automatic transmission. BSO also fitted Chopster with larger, cross-drilled brake rotors with 8-piston calipers at all four corners. The rotors are of the floating, 2-piece design used on racecars, which are larger in diameter yet much lighter and stronger than conventional discs.

The Chopster’s power meets the road through four 315/25YR-23 Continental ContiCrossContact ultra-high performance tires on custom 23-in. (58.42-cm) alloy wheels developed by CW Fahrzeugtechnik Vertriebs GmbH. The tires are well suited for powerful all-wheel-drive cars and are good for up to 187 mph (301 km/h), which is just shy of the Chopster’s claimed 181 mph (291 km/h) top speed.

Rinspeed Chopster interior boasts carbon fiber pieces.

Rinspeed says the vehicle will go from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.4 seconds.

The exterior’s aggressive design continues on the inside, where Alcantara leather, carbon fiber and advanced electronics come together in a menagerie of race-inspired luxury. Chopster will hold four lucky occupants in carbon fiber-framed Recaro sport seats with MP Design & Technik GmbH-crafted carbon fiber pieces scattered about the interior of the truck, most noticeably on the wild center console that spans from the shift lever back to the rear seats.

The console serves as a design piece, but also has been fitted with cup holders, numerous switches and an infotainment system complete with Blaupunkt video monitors, DVD player and a Sony Playstation 2 game console.

The rest of the interior is swathed in black and dark gray Alcantra leather and topped off with INT Autotechnik GmbH illuminated doorsill plates.

While the Chopster that will appear in Geneva is Rinspeed’s example of what can be done with the Cayenne, Rinspeed Chairman Frank M. Rinderknecht says “customers can individualize the interior of their Chopster to suit their personal preferences.”

Rinspeed says the Chopster will be built in an exclusive limited-production run starting in April with an asking price of €325,000 ($429,818).

msutton@primediabusiness.com