Gemballa Avalanche GTR
This article has been re-edited countless times so that its PG-Rating is dropped. If what you see here revolts you, look away. But if you are pounded with god smack awe, weak knees and eerie chills down your spine….
By “2” Stokes of luck, we manage to secure an Avalanche.
First stroke, CHANCE. “I have deep pockets” you say? True but, due to overwhelming demand, Leonberg-based Gemballa is keeping its customers on a Select Basis. And even if you are on their select list, by the time you read this article, your order will likely be processed well in the following year. As their hand made productions are kept to a yearly minimum, rest assure they know everyone of their client’s waistline, scent and sense.
Secont Stroke, MONEY, inevitably yes… and lots of it too Thank you. The car from Gemballa costs about €240,000.00 (RM 1,080,000.00) out of the box, minus duties and taxes; and not specifying maximum options at that. In comparison, a Ferrari F430 costs €160,000.00 and a Lamborghini Gallardo €146,000.00. If you intend to convert your existing type 996/997; depending on engine specs, handling packs and aero gear, it can dent your fender a cool RM1,000,000.00; after all its for, your, charity.
As the Avalanche sits in our climate controlled garage, silence befell everyone. Eyes keenly looking, soft hands sweeping the bodyline, inquisitive minds pondering the countless contours, air ducts and vents. Some mental stimulation is required before the feeling of awe and impression sets in. Akin the phrase- “The ugly looking lady; before your 11th bottle”, this is similar but different. Imagine Jennifer Lopez or Angelina Jolie on your 3rd glass of Cabernet Sauvignon; in a rock concert.
Much of the Avalanche ensembles 997 type DNA. Significantly the Headlamps, Indicators, wing mirrors and the tail lights. Infusing OEM components with aftermarket couch building normally leaves room for improvement. But on this round it is difficult to spot the not. If it is not hand crafted or precision metal work, it is luxuriously layered carbon fiber and Kevlar. The huge rear diffuser alone is a medley of Carbon fiber, plastic composites and exotic metals, each material integral to their section’s performance and function.
If size matters, the Avalanche delivers too. It’s flaring wheel arches and sculpted form protrudes from east to west. The rear wingspan sweeps outwards many inches on either side; making it about 1 foot wider that Porsche’s widest road going 911 the GT2. No just for show though, it houses revised suspension workings which amplifies Avalanche’s handling dynamics. Avalanche is born with big 19” wheels from the factory, but whispers 20” Techno-Formed Alloys to their owners before taking deliver. This owner listened obediently.
Fitted onto this Avalanche are Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes mated with Agip ceramic F1 pads. Which unless you, are M. Schuey, will never get them up to operating temperature. This means virtually no wear.
In the front, its aerodynamically infused facia wears a devilishly smart grin. Underneath its dark gape mounts its water and oil coolers. On either sides it grows striped vents to feed adequate air cooling the front Ceramic Discs when under punishment; And that it did, winning the Nurburgring Tuner GP, posting the fastest lap way under eight minutes.
Another distinctive feature is its aggressive flare across the sides crafted in Carbon Kevlar; which is designed to channel copious amounts of air cooling its 2 bottom intercoolers. The Avalanche houses 4 Intercoolers to keep its Twin Turbine charge chilled. Release the huge rear spoiler to access the engine bay and you find its 2nd pair of intercoolers painted in Business-class red. Not much else differs from its GT2 roots and like most 911s nothing much to see here.
At the rear you’d pay and get exposed Carrera-GT-Styled Twin Bore exhausts. It is kept under wraps with alloy mesh permitting full view of its working internals plus expelling heat radiation.
If it is any consolation to meticulous detailing, even the roof line was re-profiled to the microns. According to the wind masters, the car now reduces the perfect amount of lift generated from something somewhere. But it is good to know.
Moment of driving gets closer. Door latch opens under, Testarossa style. Inside you are greeted by many things factory premium. There is the alcantara roof lining, Full Double stitched leather with carbon inserts, factory half rollcage wrapped in Nappa. Noticably the Steering wheel is smaller courtesy Gemballa and there is a slick short-shift gear set to the touch.
Additionally there are 2 gauges for Boost and Oil Pressure on the center console along side an external start button. That is pretty much all the hint you get that engine is serious too; just incase you haven’t noticed on the way in. Awkwardly the steering wheel has 4 horn buttons which means you may be unintentionally attracting attention if you are turning lock for lock
In goes the key, make sure the gears are free, foot on the brake and clutch. Crank. Electric starter pitches followed by a burbling howl coming on song. Its soundtrack is 911 but denotes of a different “Pedigree”. Surprisingly though, the package is refined and not just some Pavarotti wanna-be.
In the night, a factory 996 GT2 escorts the Avalanche for the maiden drive. First gear is pointless with all the engine whine and low speeds. Avalanche is more comfortable being in second here. There is so much low end torque even before the turbos spool, suggesting the likes of muscle car character, hinting of the power in store. You know that the engine is teasing as it eagerly pushes you forward. No worry about daily drives too. The motor is tractable and versatile through traffic and lanes. Clutch feel is much OEM. Surprisingly, it also clears bumps and dips as often as you use the horn... (Often)
We begin to pace up as the 996 GT2 in the rear is tailing with much exuberance. In current gear, the throttle depresses. Suddenly all of your rea… * Insert Premium Advertisement Here * …
Like a scalded cock, the Avalanche immediately decides to blast abruptly towards the horizon at a torrent pace. The view sideways horridly turns a blur and the only direction you can afford to look is way forward. Eyes scanning profusely for future traffic and potholes, hands grasping tighter and the steering becomes weighty from the downforce, you suddenly find yourself overworking last minute like a student in an exam hall finding religion.
The Dr Jekyll exhaust note turns Mr Hyde as the Biturbo fed power plant surges bar before you. A throaty howl ghouls from behind followed by synapses of the wastegate. Rudely it becomes eerie, rubbing on your back; and only by more acceleration, you seem to safely keep it distant. Your bionic instincts tell you to leave your hand on the gear stick. Those first few gears do not stay long.
Worryingly Avalanche seems to get quicker as the gears move up, and that’s not right. Suddenly we remember the escort GT2; and there is nothing in the rear. Then it appears in the far. Foot is off acceleration in 5th gear and we are just shy under 300 Kilometers Per Hour, reads the analog. And there is still 1 more gear to go. Then again maybe 1 more gear too many.
Then comes the slaloms and bends. As much the Avalanche and 996 GT2 differ in terms of sheer acceleration, cornering only separates them further. Comparatively the 996 GT2 feels unsettled when late braking into a turn. Mid corner it becomes nervous advising you back off. Avalanche seems to be more composed into the braking and shakes off the mid corner jitters with its wide stance. With the Gt2 you tend to be more careful as you know you are on knife edge when on the limit. The Avalanche takes away the discipline teacher and lets you go wild. With this much power at command, you are the weakest link and hopefully you listen to your good shoulder.
After a few runs you soon realize how effortless the Avalanche pulls away from its scenery. Anytime you are cruising in 5th the analog shows anywhere between 200- 250kph. Tease the throttle and you catch 270kph. Keep your foot down though, as brave as you can be, we’d like to hear from you.
As we are descending below 180kph into legitimate speeds the obnoxious Avalanche transforms seamlessly into your daily mode of transportation. It strides well, blending in, undeterred by a slower pace using the same fast gears.
The last moments in motion were spent contemplating how well mannered it was under speeds. Mind boggling it soon becomes. Its rides so well in the slow, you could have sworn it wasn’t a very fast car to begin with. But Seconds ago, you were doing 290kph and back then, you had already sworn it was not a slow car to begin with. In both cases you agree with yourself, coming to no conclusion in the end; you go crazy; and you buy one because others say you cannot do so.
But as 22nd century fetishes go, this is crème de le crème. Modern society craves the “nots”. This is timely as every modern car today, fast or slow, sedan or sports, all feel the same. *Audience nods their heads*. Yes you can buy a “raging bull”, but it feels like your Bavarian quarters, uniform and true.
And you can’t help but think, “Porsche should have GT2ed this” instead. Back track your foot steps to the fore father that is GT2 type 993 and you should see why if not clearly. Monstrous bi-plane rear wing with 747 jet-like air scoops at the side, ground shoveling splitters, road widening front air dams, plastic wheel arch extensions bolted with nylocs reminiscent of a last minute arts and crafts assignment. Yes it is rude, but it does not expect to make friends with everyone. Penalty for disobedience is terminal. The same reason why we eat expensive poisonous fish raw.
Contrary to belief this marks the end of an era where we can buy “cheap super cars”. Everything becomes more expensive in the future. And the price of hi-end speed increases as raw materials, inflation and fuel inevitably goes up. Future million dollar cars will be monotonous as designers draw the optimum aero silhouette and performance are based on CPU instead of BHP.
And if you still think that the Avalanche is pricey, a Reventon costs One Million Euros. In the Super Cars Dynasty, it is a bargain. See, the world is a bigger place now.