GRR

The Marsien is a Dakar-ready 911 Turbo

13th July 2021
Bob Murray

Have a hankering to blast your Porsche 911 Turbo flat chat across a desert, Paris-Dakar style? Do we have news for you. A reimagining of the potent Porsche will allow you to kick up a real desert storm. One half of the new machine’s name is new – Marsien – but the other half will be familiar: Gemballa.

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But this is not the latest creation from Gemballa GmbH, that icon of tuned Porsches in the 1980s and ‘90s. This is the first creation of Uwe Gemballa’s son, Marc Philipp. The 27-year-old entrepreneur obviously has petrol in his veins like his late father – murdered in South Africa in 2010 – and has founded a new company, Marc Philipp Gemballa GmbH, to bring to life his vision of the perfect Porsche. There is no connection with the longer-established Gemballa company.

The first effort from the son of the master is the Marsien, which as you may know is French for Martian. As in, from Mars. An out-of-this-world supercar? Certainly the price is in the stratosphere…

Marc Philipp describes his creation as the ultimate adventure supercar. As the pictures, and the video, show, there is clear inspiration here from Paris-Dakar desert raiders, with perhaps a bit of 959 thrown in around the shapely rear. They say: it perfectly blends all the comforts of a modern-day supercar with incomparable off-road capabilities. We say: we didn’t particularly want to like it, but it does look pretty darned good.

Underneath the all-new, all-carbon-fibre body is the latest 992-generation Porsche 911 Turbo S. It is all-wheel-drive already of course and already quite powerful – but not powerful enough for Marc Philipp.

The motor has been turned up by 100PS (74kW) so now the flat-six peaks at 750PS (560kW) with 930Nm (688lb ft) of torque, all engine work courtesy of another famous name from the Porsche tuning world, Ruf. And if you want more? Ruf is offering a second-stage upgrade that takes power to 830PS (619kW).

Stick on the road tyres and performance is 0-62mph in 2.6 seconds with a top speed of 205mph. For off-road driving, the Michelin All Terrain rubber is limited to 130mph.

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Even at that speed a bit of wadi-bashing could do serious damage. What about the poor exhaust system for instance? That’s entirely new, entirely titanium and developed for the Marsien by Akrapovič.

Other changes? The suspension is bespoke with new double wishbones up front and active dampers. There’s hydraulic ride height that can be adjusted to give 250mm of ground clearance. A giant solid aluminium skid plate is fitted under the entire body. There’s a redesigned cooling system to get the air in and keep the sand out, and a beefed-up PDK transmission.

To get the required wheel travel, special extended driveshafts with reinforced Porsche Cayenne joints are fitted. The Turbo’s drive modes have been extended to include settings for driving on gravel, sand, mud and snow. Wheels are centre-lock forged aluminium with a choice of road or off-road Michelin tyres.

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Inside gets a Marc Philipp makeover too with no skimping on the hand-crafted luxury: there’s leather or Alcantara throughout the cabin along with carbon accents and floor mats – hand-stitched of course.

The must-have machine for desert princes looking to let off steam bombing around in the desert? Probably. In which case the price won’t be a factor, but for the record Marc Philipp Gemballa wants to make 40 Marsiens at a cost of half a million euros apiece, plus taxes and shipping. Oh, and plus the cost of a new Porsche 911 Turbo S…

  • Porsche

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