Car Hack's Notebook: Reporting from the Essen Show, Day Three

Most people would be more than satisfied with the fast-as-amphetamines Porsche Carrera GT, which is famous for knife-edge handling and a capacity to test even the best driver. But apparently not everyone is so easily pleased, as Gemballa has now seen fit to strap two turbochargers to the Carrera's engine to create the Mirage GT.

Gemballa isn't known for subtlety, so it should come as no surprise that its range-topping supercar, which comes with a set of Gemballa plates, should be more than enough to satisfy the most ardent adrenaline junkie.

They could have wound it up to 1000 hp, easily, but that would have just been stupid, so they've reined it in to a more politically correct 750 hp, which should keep that expensive 5.7-litre V10 from melting all over the tarmac. The biggest, thickest set of Brembo ceramic discs put the anchors on, but even they'll struggle with a top-end speed of 250mph+ and a car that can scorch to 60mph in 3.4s.

Ruf came along to the party, too, with its brand new RGT based on the 997 GT3. Alois Ruf, arguably the most famous Porsche tuner of the lot thanks to canny PR, fantastic cars and its position in the Gran Turismo games, has produced a masterpiece based on the 1973 Carrera RS.

Car Hack's Notebook: Reporting from the Essen Show, Day Three

Bolt-on wheel arches, five huge air dams that leave little room for a front spoiler and a motorsport-style, single-plane rear wing all add to the appearance. A full rollcage clothed in Alcantara, new rear subframe and in-house suspension system make sure it handles the twisty bits as well as the straight-line assault.

The Pfaffenhausen company has pulled 445bhp and 309lb/ft of torque from a 3.8-liter engine rebuilt with hefty amounts of titanium and this little silver number with Viper stripes will hit 60mph in 4.2s, 125mph in 13.5s and on all the way to 197mph.

For those looking for the alternative to the GT3RS, this might just be the one.

AC Schnitzer brought the ACS3 to Essen, too, the 265bhp version based on the three-liter diesel variant. There will be a 335i version in the near future with lots more power, but for now this will have to suffice. The cosmetic kit was more than appealing, though, and this should sell like warm buns when the hotter cars hit the market.

Far more impressive was the production version of the Schnitzer Tension, which spawned from the near ridiculous concept launched last year. Only 50 will see the light of the day and the base car can be anything from a relatively limp-wristed 630i right through to the almighty M6, so there'll be a fair variety in there.

And for those with the small engines Schnitzer will undoubtedly offer its 5.1-liter V8 with 411 hp that works with an automatic transmission — if you're that way inclined. Now you have to wonder who would really want their 6-Series looking like this and that deep front spoiler with the monumental air intakes give it a certain buck-toothed look. I predict major sales in the Russia and the Middle East.

Hartge had the same problem as Schnitzer with the lack of a 335i engine, but they didn't give up so easy and built one themselves with the block of an M, the head of a 3-liter and a biturbo kit. If it sounds like grief, it was, considering all it would have taken was BMW being a bit sharper with the supplies of the transplant engine. But then again it looks more than worth it.

This car comes with 380 hp, a new suspension system, a 0-99 percent LSD that Hartge has become famous for, which allows for monumental powerslides through every bend without throwing this $100,000 weapon into the weeds. Hartge's ability to produce stunningly chuckable cars with even better weight distribution than Bavaria's that rarely actually possess the much boasted about 50:50 weight distribution.

It weighs less than the Z4M Coupe, at 3,075 lbs, looks tougher, comes with copious amounts of torque, and so should be faster throughout the range and through the bends. The 0-60mph time of 4.8s is exciting enough, but the top-end speed of almost 180 mph should leave fun to spare.

Eibach pitched up with a fine interpretation of the Aston Martin AMV8 that has 435bhp at its disposal, despite the rather misleading name of AMV8 400+. That will spirit this car to 60mph in 4.7s and with Prodrive's help on the ride and handling this car should prove a major improvement on the baby Aston when it comes to sticking to the apex. It looks the part, too, with a new aero kit, huge new wheels and a roughed-up aero kit decked out in carbon-fiber and an interior decked out with a much slicker center console.

There were plenty more, some good and some, like the Gulf Racing-liveried GeigerCars Humvee and Sbarro's pink Ferrari 360-based creation, were atrocities against the automotive world. But it was mighty good fun, and there's some enticing beasts to drive in the coming months.

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Car Hack's Notebook: Covering the Essen Show, Day Two [internal]