The German Gemballa tuning outfit has witnessed one whirlwind of a year, but after reforming in the hands of new owners, the company is looking to return to its roots: tuning Porsches. The first new Gemballa project appears to be the Tornado, one wild performance SUV crafted from the new 2011 Porsche Cayenne.
Built around the 2011 Cayenne Turbo, the Tornado is virtually bathed in carbon fiber. Although it is de rigueur to fit the composite material to achieve a certain aesthetic, Gemballa insists the Tornado's use of carbon fiber is rooted more in function, not form.
"Carbon fiber is a high-strength, low-weight structural material that needs to be used honestly," CEO Andreas Schwartz explains in a prepared release, "not just for decoration.
Regardless, the new composite panels also transform the Cayenne's exterior while shaving weight. Gemballa has blessed the Tornado with door skins, front quarter panels, bumper skins, and a hood crafted from carbon fiber, allowing it to strip 154 pounds from the Turbo's 4784-pound curb weight. Deep scallops, which stretch from the front fenders and carry back to the rear doors, sport unpainted carbon fiber inlays, which helps tie the Tornado's side appearance to its front and rear fascias. Up front, the SUV's hood receives a not-so-subtle power bulge and a pair of scallops, the bumper is modified to incorporate a massive lower grille opening and wild side air intakes. Gemballa also used this chance to bless the Tornado with a wider track; the modified body panels make the finished product nearly 6 feet and 8.7 inches wide, nearly 4.4 inches wider than a stock Cayenne Turbo.
Those flared fenders help make space for Gemballa's custom rolling stock. The Tornado receives a set of unique five-spoke, 22-inch aluminum wheels; at 10 and 12 inches wide, the new rollers are 1.5 and 3.5 inches wider that the factory installed wheels. Peer through them, and you'll likely spot the new Brembo brake system, which incorporates six-piston calipers and 16.5-inch drilled rotors up front, and four-piston calipers and 15.9-inch rotors in back.
Considering what Gemballa has planned for the engine compartment, drivers will likely need most -- if not all -- of that extra stopping power. In stock form, the Cayenne Turbo's twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V-8 throws down 500 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Gemballa's so-called Stage Two upgrade kit fits larger turbochargers, which do a large part in helping escalate that power output to a whopping 700 horsepower and a stump-ripping 737 pound-feet of torque.
Wild? Certainly. Wacky? Perhaps. Wishful thinking? Hardly. Although Gemballa is still finalizing details of the new Tornado, the SUV will likely enter limited production later in 2011. Pricing hasn't been announced, but buyers should prepare to pay dearly -- previous Tornado models built from the last-generation Cayenne frequently wore price tags in excess of the $400,000 mark.