Stuttgart – If you’ve always wanted a sports car that can venture off the beaten track as comfortably as it gobbles up those back road miles, then the Porsche 911 Dakar is here to answer your prayers.
Inspired by the Porsche 911 rally car that won the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally, the new 911 Dakar is a limited edition based on the latest 992-series sports car, with some useful modifications of course.
Global production will be limited to 2 500 units and some of these are heading to South Africa from the second half of 2023, with a starting price of R4 140 000. You can watch it in action in the video below.
Granted, that is 911 Turbo S money, but what you are getting is a special and exclusive sports car that can venture where no 911 has gone before – well, except the 1984 rally car of course.
For starters, Porsche has raised the ground clearance of the 911 Dakar by 50mm versus the Carrera with sports suspension. What’s more, the standard lift system can raise the front and rear ends an additional 30 millimetres, allowing its ground clearance and ramp angle to rival those of conventional SUVs, Porsche says.
There’s also a ‘high level’ setting for those brave souls who want to traverse terrain at up to 170km/h, but above that speed the car automatically lowers back to its normal level.
High-speed off-roading also requires the right kind of rubber, and to that end Porsche has fitted a specially developed set of Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus tyres with a 9mm-deep tread pattern. They're sized 245/45 ZR 19 at the front and 295/40 ZR 20 at the rear.
Providing motivation is the same 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat six that powers the 911 GTS. With 353kW and 570Nm on command, the 911 Dakar sprints from 0-100km/h in a claimed 3.4 seconds, while the top speed is limited to 240km/h due to the all-terrain tyres, which is more than sufficient in our view.
The engine is paired with an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox and Porsche all-wheel drive system. Rear-axle steering is also part of the deal, as are PDCC anti-roll stabilisation and engine mounts from the 911 GT3.
“The interplay of all the components results in the 911 Dakar being just as dynamic on sand and loose surfaces as it is on the Nürburgring Nordschleife,” Porsche boasts.
Drivers have access to two new driving modes – Rallye and Offroad – which are accessed via a rotary switch on the steering wheel. Rallye mode is ideal for loose, uneven surfaces and features rear-focused all-wheel drive, Porsche says. In Offroad mode, which was designed for maximum traction on sand and other difficult terrain, the high clearance is activated automatically.
But what’s with the roof rack that you see in some of the pictures? This is available as an option. What’s more, the roof features a visible 12-volt power outlet for the headlights of the optional roof rack. With a capacity of 42 kilograms, the rack can accommodate rallying equipment such as fuel and water canisters, folding shovels and traction boards without any problems. A roof tent is also available.
Inside the 911 Dakar you’ll find full bucket seats, and the rear seat bench has been omitted to save weight. Also setting the cabin apart are standard Race-Tex surfaces with decorative stitching in Shade Green. There’s also an optional Rallye Sport Package, consisting of a roll-over bar, six-point seat belts and a fire extinguisher.
Furthermore, buyers can also opt for a Rallye Design Package for the exterior, whose appearance harks back to the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally car.