The Porsche 911 Dakar is a sports car you can drive anywhere



Porsche is perhaps more well-known for their road-hugging, rear-engined sports cars, but they’ve actually been pretty proficient at off-roading, too. Look back some 40 years ago, and you’ll see that they’ve even won the Paris-Dakar Rally outright.

These days, the only off-roading Porsche you’ll see are ones that have been Safari-modified by rich owners. But that’s all about to change because Porsche is finally rolling out their own off-road ready 911, dubbed the 911 Dakar, which comes from the factory with all-terrain tires, lifted suspensions, and even a roof rack. We’re so here for this.

First up, let’s get the numbers out of the way. The Porsche 911 Dakar is powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline-six mill, making 480 hp and 570 Nm of torque – the same as you’ll see on the 911 GTS.

The engine is paired to an eight-speed PDK gearbox as well as an all-wheel drive system taken from the Carrera 4S for a 0-100 km/h time of 3.4 seconds, onward to a limited top speed of 240 km/h, which porsche says is due to the all-terrain tyres. We assume those figures are done on the asphalt, but it should also be pretty close off the beaten track.

The powertrain has been modified for off-road use, such as using side intercoolers (like the 911 Turbo) instead of centrally mounted to improve ground clearance, and a new airbox design that’s meant to prevent dirt and dust intrusion.

But more importantly, the electronics package has also been significantly tuned for off-road performance. There are two new driving modes on the Porsche 911 Dakar, including a Rallye mode which lets the car do big naughty slides, and Off-Road mode which is meant for slower driving on tougher terrains. But on both modes, the launch control system has been tweaked to allow for around 20% more wheelspin, giving you – counterintuitively – the best traction on loose surfaces.

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Of course, powertrain alone isn’t what makes this an off-road Battle 911; the magic of the Porsche 911 Dakar is in its suspension and tyres. To that end, Porsche has equipped the safari 911 with a two-mode height-adjustable suspension, adding 50 mm to the standard 911’s ground clearance, and an additional 30 mm on lift mode (at speeds of up to 170 km/h) to give it a ramp angle that’ll “rival those of conventional SUVs”.

The 911 Dakar also rides on specially-developed Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus tyres, sized 19- and 20-inches with 9 mm-deep tread patterns and reinforced sidewalls to give it that extra bite and durability on rally stages. But don’t for a moment think that it’s only meant for the gravel – Porsche claims that the 911 Dakar will work just as well on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, with a time similar to the 996-generation GT3. Sure, that’s now a few generations old, but it’s still a GT3, on aggressive tyres too.

(The normal P Zero tyres are also offered as an option, but we’re not sure why anyone would ever want those on the 911 Dakar.)

To match its off-road capabilities, the Porsche 911 Dakar comes with a carbon fibre fixed rear spoiler, as well as a carbon-fibre front “luggage compartment lid” (can’t call it a bonnet here), which has air outlets borrowed from the 911 GT3. The side air intakes on the front bumpers get additional stainless steel grilles to protect against flying rocks, while the wheel wells have been widened to fit the chunky all terrain tyres.

The Porsche 911 Dakar also gets additional off-road details, such as the red aluminium towing lugs on both ends of the car, alongside the stainless steel protective elements on the sills. The roof even gets a 12-volt power outlet to power the additional rally lights on the optional roof rack.

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As for the interior, the 911 Dakar focuses much of its modifications on lightweighting. The windows are equipped with lightweight glass, and the only option you’ll have for the front seats are full buckets; the rear seats are completely removed, too. Paired to the lightweight battery, the Porsche 911 Dakar weighs in at just 1,605 kg, or only 10 kg heavier than the standard 911 Carrera 4 GTS.

Opting for the Rallye Sport Package adds a roll-over bar, six-point seat belts, as well as fire extinguisher to the cabin. And for those who are more… shall we say sentimental, there’s also a Rallye Design package from Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur which gives the 911 Dakar a two-tone livery-like paint work in White/Gentian Blue Metallic, alongside the red and gold rally stripes and Roughroads decals on the side, plus white-painted wheels, all of which inspired by the 1984 Dakar-winning rally car.

All of these sound completely brilliant, but there’s bad news. For some reason, Porsche doesn’t think that the safari 911 is worth of series production, so only 2,500 units of the 911 Dakar will ever be made. Even worse, they’re priced from starting from USD223,450 (approx. RM1 million before tax), and as is always on a Porsche, it only goes up from there.

Oh, how we wish to be rich.


GALLERY



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