Car Hack's Notebook: Reporting on Porsches from the Essen Show

At a show where pure lunacy struggles to get through the door, it was always going to be tough to pick out a star, but that's the job and ignoring the more obvious option here it is: The Mission 400 Plus. Now why this modified Porsche above the countless others that littered the show? Well how's about the basic figures of 1,069 hp and 921 lb-ft of torque achieved with the delicate act of strapping two dirty great turbos to the 3.8-liter 997 engine for a start?

The 997 Carrera S's aerodynamics have been totally revised with a new roof, shallow-raked screen and smoothed just about everything. It works in the wind-tunnel, but that is all for now and the men behind the project were surprisingly candid when they admitted the road testing will be a whole new world and there's no guarantee that it will work at all.

J rgen Alzen Motorsport is responsible, though, and they know a thing or two about Porsche tuning, racing and everything that goes with it. I would be willing to break the journalistic bank and lay five bucks on this machine hitting Nardo or even Bonneville Salt Flats like a whirlwind at some point and both are already being considered for the run that 9ff has already proven can be done. So has this group, as attested to by the 216 mph, 600bhp+ Audi A4 sitting next to the Mission 400 Plus.

Car Hack's Notebook: Reporting on Porsches from the Essen Show


If they can make it work, and keep it on the road long enough to break the magic 400 km/h mark, then the Bugatti Veyron had better watch its back, literally, as this is lighter, cheaper and infinitely more fun. There's that sneaking suspicion it will take the bends about as well as a fast-surfacing scuba diver, but who really cares when a car is this insanely fast.

Cargraphic's 4-liter GT3 RSC, meanwhile, is all ready to go. Resplendent in wasp-style warning colors, this lightweight leviathan is sure to continue the company's near violent reputation when it comes to high performance through natural aspiration. This is a company that produced a 420 hp car that held station with 650 hp GT2s at the recent Tuner Grand Prix. And the 997 variant should be even better.

So with a refined aerodynamics kit, new suspension, lightweight wheels and a dollop of extra horsepower, the company should have a hit on its hands and rivals will not be happy when this car comes to defend the 996's crown at subsequent Tuner Grands Prix at Hockenheim.

Michael and Thomas Schnarr have mastered the GT3 like no other and have learned to bring out its natural character with flashes of color rather than the broad strokes of the brush some tuners just cannot resist — sometimes to the detriment of the end product.

I would include TechArt in that list, but then the truly mad TechArt Widebody kind of makes up for anything that happened before. This is the Leonberg firm's second crack at the mid-engined instant classic after the Cayman GT that won serious praise from some serious places. This one is 8mm wider for improved cooling and aero work, and will be a better car. So forget the fact that it's only marginally more subtle than Russian-bound Sushi, it's going to be almighty.

Car Hack's Notebook: Reporting on Porsches from the Essen Show

TechArt's engineers felt the need to fit a 3.8-liter powerplant from the Carrera S and then still weren't happy, so they bored it out some more. The new capacity of 3.843 litres is still some way short of 9ff's 4.1-liter monster, but then this may just be a useable every day road car, if you can handle the attention.

If not, just floor it, as this beast will get to 62mph in less than 3.5s and roar through the gears, although Porsche's gearing means it simply will not go faster than 190mph in any tuners' hands, for now anyway. The Cayman is not about eye-blistering terminal velocities, though, it's all down to the cornering. With the inevitable slip diff that comes with that much power and fully adjustable suspension, TechArt may finally have unlocked the true potential of this gem from Zuffenhausen.

And you can't see what it looks like from the inside anyway...