Safari Porsche Builds Are All the Rage, But This “Martian” Supercar Stands Out

The limited-run Marsien comes via Marc Philipp Gemballa, son of a famed Porsche tuner

The new Marsien supercar from Marc Philipp Gemballa GmbH testing in the desert of the United Arab Emirates. It's based on the new Porsche 911 Turbo S.
There's a Porsche 911 Turbo S somewhere under all that carbon fiber.
Marc Philipp Gemballa GmbH

Marc Philipp Gemballa has some big shoes to fill and a renowned name to live up to. His late father Uwe Gemballa made the family surname famous through his namesake German tuning company that took perfectly good Porsche sports cars, amped up the power, decked out the interiors and radically transformed the bodies in his signature love-it-or-hate-it aesthetic. While the original company is still plodding along after the founder’s untimely demise in 2010, the younger Gemballa has just launched his first car, and it does the family name proud.

It’s called the Marsien (French for “Martian” or “from Mars”) and it’s a limited-run supercar based on the current generation of the Porsche 911 Turbo S (that’d be the internally designated 992). Yes, that means the car Gemballa is working from already starts at a whopping $207,000, and the customizations here will add somewhere in the ballpark of another $585,500; despite the eye-watering price tag and the fact that only 40 will be made, this off-road Porsche is still worth a gander even to those who aren’t oil barons in the United Arab Emirates.

You see, the Marsien (originally called “Project Sandbox,” which we quite like) was put to the test in the Al Faya desert just outside Abu Dhabi in the UAE. That’s because the supercar is following in the trend of Safari-style Porsche builds that are becoming all the rage lately, from heralded shops like Singer to a potential build from the marque itself. While the company doesn’t specifically call the Marsien a Safari 911, it does note that the build is “inspired by the legendary Paris Dakar rally era,” which gave rise to this type of rally-spec car. 

The new Marsien supercar from Marc Philipp Gemballa GmbH, the first vehicle from Uwe Gemballa's son
Over half of the 40 Marsien builds are already spoken for.
Marc Philipp Gemballa GmbH

So what makes this first effort from Marc Philipp Gemballa GmbH (which isn’t associated with the original Gemballa GmbH) worth shelling out upwards of $800K? As you may have guessed, there’s lots of carbon fiber involved; in fact, the entire body is carbon fiber (and the bodywork is all new, designed by Alan Derosier), as are a number of interior features like the middle console. As is customary of Safari cars, this one is lifted, either through an adjustable hydraulic system or a fixed off-road lift. The relatively new company also had some help, as Car and Driver notes, with racing experts KLK optimizing aerodynamics and Porsche engine specialist RUF Automotive boosting the performance of the flat-six in the Turbo S.

“Two versions will be offered, the less powerful one having 740 horsepower and 685 pound-feet of torque and the brawnier one raising peak output to 818 horsepower,” the outlet wrote. It should be noted that RUF previously worked with Gemballa’s father. It’s nice to see some of these partnerships carrying over across generations. 

While this is the first car from a new automotive concern, and one that will likely cost close to a million dollars apiece with added customization options and associated fees (taxes, shipping, etc.), the company said in a press release that more than half of the 40 units have already been sold. Since they were testing the Marsien in the UAE, we’d venture to guess wealthy collectors there may make up a large percentage of the buyers, but either way, if you want one of the most expensive Safari-esque builds out there today, you better give them a ring.

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