The original Gemballa may be the most famous Porsche tuner in the world (Ruf is not a tuner, remember), and is universally best known for gaudy and over-the-top Porsche-based creations. Wild bodykits and huge horsepower are de rigueur for the company, and even with the tragic murder of founder Uwe Gemballa a decade ago, the company continues to honor that legacy. Now, however, Uwe’s son Marc Philipp has followed his father into the Porsche tuning scene with a new creation under his own company, the Marsien. This wild off-road supercar is based on a brand new 992-generation 911 Turbo S, and channel’s Porsche history with an instant visual homage to the 1980s when Porsche took its legendary 959 supercar to dominate the Paris-Dakar rally.
The eponymous Marc Philipp Gemballa will offer just forty of these machines to the public, and they will certainly not be inexpensive. Potential customers will need to provide MPG with a 992 Turbo S, plus a check for around $600,000 for the honor of being one of the forty. Marsien is a play on the French word for Martian, so it’s fitting that the price is also out of this world. Being that this is the company’s first product, it needs to come out of the gate swinging, right? Well, with all new carbon-fiber bodywork for the 992, plus a Ruf-tuned engine, and a completely redesigned off-road suspension setup, you can see where the money is going. It’s not cheap, but it’ll probably be faster off-road than anything Porsche has ever built, including a Cayenne.
So what’s up with that bodywork? In addition to providing a loose visual callback to the widebody 959s of days gone by, the Marsien is fitted with functional intake vents and aero that helps the car cool off, even in the desert, and keep its composure, even while jumping dunes. Obviously there isn’t much original 992 Turbo S bodywork remaining, aside from maybe the roof, and MPG will let you spec your Marsien in bare carbon if you really want to show off the delicate and intricate weave. A company called KLK did the aerodynamic development for the car, building on motorsport heritage to give the car the downforce it needs, while maintaining a totally bitchin’ aesthetic.
The 992 Turbo S is already an impressive specimen with a 640-horsepower 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged flat six engine under the rear lid. MPG hands the engine tuning off to Ruf, which is probably wise for the upstart brand to build on Ruf’s trusted name in Porsche tuning. There will be two different versions of the engine, one with 740 horsepower and 658 lb-ft of torque, while the other will be boosted up to 818 horses. Obviously the car will be quick and fast, but it doesn’t seem to be any quicker or faster than a stock 992 Turbo S, as its claimed 0-60 is still 2.6 seconds and its top speed is limited to 205 miles per hour. If you’re running on the car’s all-terrain tires, which you damn well should be, top speed is limited further to 130 miles per hour.
The suspension of the Marsien is also from outer space, as it ditches the 911’s standard Macpherson strut front suspension in favor of a double-wishbone setup similar to that found in the new 992 GT3. The Marsien will be fitted with a trick adaptive damper setup, and the hydraulic lift adjustable ride height can cycle between a standard ground clearance of 4.7 inches all the way up to a massive 9.8 inches. The car will come with two sets of wheels, one for the road and one for everything but. If owners so choose, the Marsien can be fitted with an optional off-road suspension package which will ditch the fancy electronics for a race-bred rally-spec suspension setup and even more ride height, though this time it is fixed and not adjustable on the fly.
Sadly most of these will end up in weird Porsche collections, mothballed with zero miles. The cretins who would spend the three-quarters-of-a-million for this 911 are bound to keep them clean and avoid even a little bit of dust on the paint. None of these will ever dominate at Dakar like they properly ought to. And it’s unlikely that any of us mere mortals will ever see a Marsien. That’s a shame, as the rear three-quarter shot of this car is just spectacular. I beg everyone who buys one of these to at least enter it in Baja or something. I mean, come on…