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Show the whole car kingdom “What’ll you do?”, Porsche (Part 3)

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Ever since Carl Benz strapped a three-quarter-horsepower four-stroke to his Big Wheel, man has been fascinated by the top speed of an automobile: How fast does it go? And more important, can I make it go faster?

Nardo > Test facility in the heel of Italy; features a 7.8-mile banked ring that simulates driving in a straight line at 149 mph. Built by fiat in 1975, now owned by Porsche.

With the van’s572-hp flat-six finally running, the pop-up roof latched, and all cushions stowed, it manages 168 mph. Not bad fora vehicle with a fully functioning beer tap.

“We’ve used the same tires before on a Brabus at 230 mph and had no problems,” Siemons tells me. “It’s not the tires making the car unstable, it’s the other way ’round.”

GSC’s car isn’t quite that quick, but even with its stability issues, it pulls 205 mph on its first run, with more to come, thanks to engine mods boosting the car’s twin-turbo AMG V-8 from 550 hp to 671. The CLS from tuner GAD Motors makes even more—almost 800 hp courtesy of larger turbos and a custom exhaust—and rock­ets to 220 mph, but then limps into the pits with a suspected head-gasket failure. That still puts it 3 mph ahead of the 795-hp Audi R8 V10 turbo from SKN, and into first place overall.

Description: While reviewers derided the outgoing R tronic transmission for shifting too slowly, the exceptionally swift S tronic solves all those lag-y shift issues and routes power in a business-like manner to all four wheels through the infamous Audi quattro all-wheel drive system.

While reviewers derided the outgoing R tronic transmission for shifting too slowly, the exceptionally swift S tronic solves all those lag-y shift issues and routes power in a business-like manner to all four wheels through the infamous Audi quattro all-wheel drive system.

The handful of other tuners that top their speed targets include Gemballa, now back on an even keel after founder Uwe Gemballa was murdered in South Africa. Its 690-hp Pana- mera Turbo goes 211 mph, up 22 mph on the stock 520-hp machine. Another is MTM’s Audi A8 TDI, which, barring some cool forged rims, looks like a bone-stock business express, right down to the blazer on the hanger behind the driver’s seat. At 186 mph, it’s the fastest diesel of the day, but the 174 mph posted by Techart’s hideous Porsche Cayenne is almost as impres­sive, given the truck’s cliff-face aerodynamics.

Description:  We also squarely believe that as ugly as it is, it gets light years worse every time a tuning house lays a finger upon it. The Techart seen here is a case in point.

We squarely believe that as ugly as it is, it gets light years worse every time a tuning house lays a finger upon it. The Techart seen here is a case in point.

Hanging out with Techart’s PR guy, Bastian Schafer, I get some insight into the tuner’s world. He reveals how difficult it is to get the media to cover new product unless it’s a 700-hp 911, and how tense his firm’s relationship with Porsche is. The Techart team adores Porsches; that’s why they’re in the game. But this is an unrequited love affair, one sadly punctuated by legal threats and a cold shoulder from the Stuttgart mothership, which doesn’t allow Porsche branding on Techart’s cars or promo­tional material.

Crazy as a 174-mph diesel SUV is, it can’t com­pete for silliness with HGP’s 735-hp Mk 6 VW Golf, whose twin-turbo VR6 chucks it around the bowl at 205 mph. Or the 543-hp, front-drive Opel Corsa from Klasen Motors. Imagine going 192 mph in a Ford Fiesta. Terrifying.

Description: Sporty elegance characterizes the design of the TechArt aerodynamic-enhancement kit which was developed in the wind tunnel.

Sporty elegance characterizes the design of the TechArt aerodynamic-enhancement kit which was developed in the wind tunnel.

But this is what makes these events—the “what if?” creations and the guys who dream them up. Not near-stock cars like the Edo 458, which manages a paltry 3 mph more than Fer­rari claims for the stock machine. Guys like Sven Thomsen, whose TH Automobile exists to make Volkswagen vans go unfeasibly fast.

 

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