The tuners truly cut loose in Essen, bringing out weapons of mass destruction for our enjoyment and none were more extreme than the Gemballa Mirage GT.

The tuners truly cut loose in Essen, bringing out weapons of mass destruction for our enjoyment and none were more extreme than the Gemballa Mirage GT. Now you have to wonder about the man that decides his Porsche Carrera GT is a touch on the slow side and maybe this car is all about the bragging rights. Only one has sold so far and that is to Dubai, so maybe there's a Sheikh out there that tired of his friends parking Zonda F's next door in the company car park and laughing about his car's weedy engine. Whatever the case, Gemballa has taken the perfectly reasonable 5.7-litre V10 and strapped two turbochargers to it. Now they could have gone for a Veyron-baiting 1000bhp with ease, but decided to err on the side of caution and now this beast has a 'mere' 750bhp at its disposal. Obviously the aero side has come in for serious work, as evidenced by the hood scoops and various appendages to feed those almighty blowers. That carbon kit isn't just for show, too, Gemballa has worked hard on the overall balance in terms of suspension and downforce, the original Carrera GT is famously snappy and Uwe Gemballa was keen to create a more driveable car when he slapped his badge on the thing. The car took pride of place on Brembo's stand at the show, and it wasn't hard to see why. The new brake discs almost fill the wheels and have the consistency of a thatched roof. If they won't stop the car, only a brick wall would have. How does it drive? We're going to be lucky enough to tell you, although the top speed of well beyond 250mph might be out the question even on German Autobahns. We'll do our best to tax the 0-60mph time of 3.4s, though. The fuel consumption alone on a car like that would be worth a story in itself, but there were others taking a keener look at environmental issues, in their own way at least. Abt Sportsline came to the show armed with a dual fuel Audi TT that could switch over to LPG power at the flick of a switch and carry on with an ever-so slightly cleaner payload. That said this beast is still tuned up 355bhp with the help of a supercharger - more than enough for this lithe beauty to deal with. Abt has gone to work on the cosmetics, of course, bringing in a carbon-fibre bonnet and a healthy selection of aerodynamic tweaks. With this kind of power in the small and wieldy TT, the company responsible for Audi's works touring car effort in the past has built another winner. And it's green, too, sort of… With Essen being just down the road from their Bottrop base, it was no surprise to see Brabus turn out in force. They bought the CLS-based Rocket, all 730bhp of it, which topped 228mph at Nardo before the show in a simply ridiculous display of pure speed on Continental's new ContiSportContact3. The performance seemed to attract the right kind of attention, as the car was sold by the time it reached Essen. The T13 kit, though, was ready for market and fitted to the S600 at the show. Of course it can go on any car fitted with the twin-turbo 5.5-litre. The system includes new turbochargers, a more efficient intercooling system and low-backpressure catalytic converters, as well as reprogrammed engine electronics. Output climbs from 517-630 horsepower, with torque jumping from 612-738 pound-feet. This car hit 203mph at Nardo and 60mph in less than 4.3s, which you have to say is fast enough for an executive barge. Carlsson came close with its 430bhp, five-litre arsenal under the bonnet. Adding a supercharger has turned the five-litre CL from rapid yet comfortable transport into a comfortable rocketship and with the traction control off this beast will melt its tyres on a standing start with enough throttle. Rolf Hartge, the brother of Hartge boss Herbert, disproves the theory that the tuning world is the preserve of the young with a clientele pushing 50 on average. His subtle external modifications combined with serious performance gains appeal to those with deep pockets and the determination to blitz down the Autobbahn at the fastest possible pace. But for the corners, you need something else, something like Cargraphic's GT3 RSC, resplendent in the black-and-yellow colours that should serve the opposition with fair warning of the venom inside. Cargraphic won the GT class of the Tuner Grand Prix with the 996 model, beating much more powerful GT2 models with sheer poise and balance. And with the extra pace on top in the new car, it's hard to see any other result for the coming year. This new machine will unleash 430bhp of pure fury on the opposition and with the natural improvements in the GT3 chassis, plus a few lessons learned with the first car, this could well be the fastest point-to-point transport money can buy. Of course the tuners didn't just come with cars, they came armed with girls, too, although it has to be said that the Essen girls were some way behind the manufacturer-supplied motor show fare on offer in Los Angeles. A best of breed would have been close than a girl of the show title in most cases, although there were a few leggy lovelies to break up the task of ogling metal and carbon-fibre.

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