2017 Porsche 911 Avalanche By Gemballa Review

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It’s been a while since we last heard from Gemballa, but like most tuners who’ve been around for as long as Gemballa has, these prolonged times out of the spotlight often lead to something worth waiting for. And so, the German tuner took its time to release its new program, but now here it is, the latest iteration of the Avalanche program that Gemballa has been building since 1985 for the Porsche 911. Gemballa’s extended experience with the 911 has yielded impressive results in the past, so it’s not at all surprising to see the latest member of that lineage come with plenty of aftermarket features, including power gains for the current-generation 911 amounting to an impressive 820 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque. And that’s just the start of it because, well, it’s Gemballa.

True, the company has had some issues in the past, but none of those controversies has stopped it from being one of the best Porsche tuners in the business. That’s been the case then, and it continues to be the case with this new Avalanche program. You only need to take a look at the finished product to see how sophisticated this new program is. It has a rear wing and a rear spoiler, the exhausts look like jet turbines, and there’s even a GT-style fin at the back. How often do you see a Porsche 911 carrying a fin that big?

There’s obviously more this new Avalanche program than meets the eye. Most of the components on the exterior are more than just cosmetic upgrades. Even the interior has been dramatically altered, albeit for reasons that I’m going to expound on later. And let’s not forget about those massive 21-inch gold wheels. They’re a little tricky to pair on a car given their ostentatious look, but Gemballa makes it work, largely because of the aggressive aerodynamic bits that help jolt some intensity into the iconic Porsche nameplate.

In keeping with the tradition of its past programs, Gemballa’s new Avalanche kit for the Porsche 911 isn’t for the weak of bank accounts. But if anybody decides to make this rather extravagant splurge, it’s coming with a reworked Porsche 911 that borders on automotive insanity.

Exterior

Porsche 911 Avalanche By Gemballa

There are no let-ups with Gemballa’s Avalanche program, so off the bat, it’s important to establish that point since information about this kit is going to come fast and heavy. It’s only fitting that we start with the exterior where the Porsche 911 gets arguably one of the most extensive aerodynamic kits that have been fitted into a Porsche. Over in the front, a new skirt and a carbon hood dominate the proceedings. The latter, in particular, comes with a carbon fiber scoop. Gemballa also added LED daytime running lights and massive carbon fiber intakes to the 911, helping improve its profile while also adding a few more elements of aerodynamic aid to the sports car. As stout as the 911 looks in the front, its side profile is just as potent. There are new side skirts that improves driving stability and the fenders have been extended to make room for the wider tires.

Porsche 911 Avalanche By Gemballa

Move to the rear and this is where the potency of Gemballa’s aero kit is in full display. The gargantuan rear spoiler comes with an adjustable wing profile that provides the necessary increase in downforce that allows the car to remain firmly on the ground when it’s running on full speed. That’s especially important when it’s navigating along fast corners since all that power is going to make it especially tricky to drive. Then there’s the aforementioned GT-style fin, which is more than just there for aesthetic purposes. With all that power, that fin is going to play a crucial role in ensuring that the 911 Turbo becomes a lot easier to handle. The rear apron has also been redesigned and the designs of those quad tailpipes are particularly eye-catching in part because they create the look of four jet turbines. Completing this section of the Avalanche program is a new set of 21-inch gold-finished, forged alloy whees wrapped in 255/30 ZR21 and 325/25 ZR21 tires, respectively.

What other tuners are offering

The past few months have given us a number of Porsche tuning programs for the 911 Turbo and a handful, in particular, are interesting to take note of in light of what Gemballa has created with its new Avalanche kit. First up, let’s look at TechArt, who also is considered as a savant when it comes to building aftermarket kits for the 911. TechArt’s program also involves around an aero kit that includes goodies like a multi-stage, adjustable, two-piece front spoiler with an integrated splitter and a fixed rear wing. Cosmetic modifications are also on the table, including side skirts, air intakes, and side mirrors. All of these parts, mind you, are made directly from the German tuner’s very own in-house carbon fiber shop, hence the

TechArt is also offering carbon fiber parts as cosmetic additions to the 911’s exterior. These parts are made from the German’s tuner’s in-house carbon fiber shop and can be personalized in a variety of finishes, including matte or high-gloss on a number of the Porsche’s body components like the side skirts, air intakes, and side mirrors.
TechArt’s offer is a good alternative to Gemballa, but if there are 911 owners out there that don’t particularly care for aerodynamic bits, a tuner like Wimmer and its fancy paint colors and graphics makes for an equally interesting option.

Porsche 911 Turbo S by TechArt

Porsche 997 Turbo By Wimmer RS

Note: side by side photo of the Porsche 911 Turbo S by TechArt and the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet by Wimmer RS.

What Porsche is offering

While we’re in the business of simpler modifications, there’s also the door that leads directly to Porsche Exclusive. Stuttgart’s very own personalization division has a plethora of packages and options to choose from. Color options are extensive if owners of the 911 go this route. A lot of these colors even come as exclusives that won’t be found anywhere else. There’s also the Aerokit Package that his package consists of two key components: a front spoiler lip and a redesigned rear lid. Other Porsche Exclusive-designed components include bespoke headlamps and taillights, exclusive wheels, body trims, and custom paint colors of the bespoke variety.

Interior

Porsche 911 Avalanche By Gemballa

Gemblalla’s Avalanche interior program for the Porsche 911 is a picture of refinement, even if it looks a little overblown for some. The overarching modus here is to dress up the interior space, which in this case involves adding plenty of black and white leather to go with heavy doses of Alcantara and visible carbon fiber. The result as a clean driving space and one that creates a nice contrast to the dramatic body color of the sports car. There is one particularly significant change to the interior layout. The rear seats have been changed to a pair of foldable seats, which Gemballa accomplished by removing the stock rear seats, fitting two distinct seats, and extending the center tunnel to create an independent separation of the two. It’s not the most ideal aftermarket interpretation of the 911’s interior, but it certainly is a unique one.

What other tuners are offering

Going back to TechArt’s program reveals a lot of interesting details about what this tuner has in store for the Porsche 911. Just like Gemballa, leather, Alcantara, and carbon fiber all play prominent roles in the program. TechArt even has color-matched instrument dials and lacquered seat backpanels to anyone who may want to get them. Last but not least is an exclusive “Type 7” sport steering wheel that is actually based on the raw steering wheel trim of Porsche’s optional GT Sport steering wheel for the 911. The steering wheel’s functions are obviously kept intact, but the design itself has been reshaped and dressed in the good stuff, which by the way means plenty of fine leather, Alcantara, carbon fiber, and leather piping.

What Porsche is offering

It’s been established that Porsche Exclusive is its own go-to tuning house for all things Porsche 911. In this instance, owners of the sports car are in line for some saucy upgrades. Two previous examples, including the 911 Turbo Lime Gold, provide stunning examples of the potential of Porsche Exclusive.

Porsche 911 Turbo Lime Gold by Porsche Exclusive

Note: side-by-side interior photos of the Porsche 911 Turbo Lime Gold and the 911 Cabriolet by Porsche Exclusive.

Care to dress the 911 in a full red leather treatment with splashes of aluminum inserts and carbon fiber surrounds? Porsche Exclusive has those in spades, and a whole lot more.

Drivetrain

For a car that already packs a 3.8-liter bi-turbo six-cylinder engine that produces 560 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque, the Porsche 911 Turbo S is already an impressive car. But “impressive” only goes so far as what tuners are willing to settle for, and in all the years that Gemballa has been around, settling for something is one of the things it has never done.

So instead of being happy that the 911 Turbo is now just a cartwheel shy of producing 600 horsepower, Gemballa went ahead and developed a newly programmed engine and gearbox electrical system, added a performance turbocharger system, and installed new intake manifolds and air suction housing made of carbon, new throttle valve bodies, a high-performance air filter and reworked cylinder heads and valves. The result is an output of 820 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque out of the six-cylinder engine.

Do the math and that adds up to an extra 280 horses and 214 pound-feet of torque from the aforementioned standard output. Gemballa has yet to say how the massive shot in power attributed to its program affects the car’s performance time, but since the 911 Turbo is already capable of covering 60 mph from a stand-still position in a staggering 2.6 seconds to go with a top speed that should easily eclipse 220 mph.

Gemballa’s achieved output is incredibly difficult to compete against, but don’t discount what TechArt was able to accomplish. For its part, TechArt is offering two separate power kits highlighted by improvements to the engines’ engine management unit. In the case of the 911 Turbo S, the modifications add up to an output of 640 horsepower and 649 pound-feet of torque, enough to help the psports car sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds before peaking with a top speed of 210 mph. Even better, TechArt has said that it’s lining up a more potent program for the 911 Turbo S that’s scheduled to arrive in 2017. That one gets an output of 720 horses and 678 pound-feet of torque.

If Porsche 911 owners want something that already sits close to what Gemballa achieved, TopCar’s Stinger GT3 Gen2 kit is a good option. The tuner didn’t reveal the extent of work it did on the turbocharged six engine, but it did claim to get a new output of 750 horsepower out of it, resulting in a 0-to-60-mph sprint time of 2.6 seconds and a top speed of 217 mph.

Check out the table below to see how these programs compare to one another.

Tuner Power Torque 0 to 60 mph Time Top Speed
Gemballa 820 horsepower 700 pound-feet of torque 2.4 seconds* 225 mph*
TopCar 750 horsepower none mentioned 2.6 seconds 217 mph
TechArt 640 horsepower 649 pound-feet of torque 2.7 seconds 210 mph

Pricing

Porsche 911 Avalanche By Gemballa

The whole Avalanche program, donor car included, comes up to a price of €389,600, which is about $411,750 based on current exchange rates. Considering that the standard 911 Turbo retails for just under $200,000, the Avalanche program itself costs a little more than what the actual 911 Turbo goes for. It’s certainly not for those who can’t handle tuning programs costing more than the actual car itself.

By comparison, Wimmer’s program for the 911 Turbo S comes up to a little over $100,000 while TechArt’s engine program only costs around $4,300. Big difference in prizes, right?

Competition

Porsche 911 Turbo S By Edo Competition

Porsche 911 Turbo S By Edo Competition

Lining up competitors to Gemballa’s massive Avalanche program is made a little trickier by how extensive the kit really is. Even this old program from Edo Competition for both the 911 Turbo and Turbo S models only comes with an increase in output of about 600 horsepower, less than the numbers achieved by Gemballa, TechArt, and Wimmer. It’s still a pretty significant program though as it’s capable of giving the sports car a 0-to-60-mph sprint time of just 2.8 seconds to go with a top speed of 213 mph.

Conclusion

Porsche 911 Avalanche By Gemballa

There are a number of different ways on how owners of the Porsche 911 can go about getting programs for the German sports car. Gemballa’s Avalanche program may be the most expensive option (by a mile, really) but it also ends up with the 911 looking like this. I know it’s not for everyone, but for those who are looking for a program that’s heavy on the upgrades with a price tag that’s just as extreme, this one just might be for you. Remember though, anybody who does get the Avalanche program for the 911 should understand the kind of power this kit is able to unlock out of the Porsche.

LOVE IT

  • Heavy on the aeros
  • Fancy interior
  • Almost 300 extra horsepower on tap
LEAVE IT

  • Very expensive
  • Not for everyone
  • Other options available

(topspeed.com, https://goo.gl/QZJ5Xo)

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