The Porsche 911 Dakar looked bemused sitting pretty under the lights at the LA Auto Show as it just wanted to tackle sand, gravel or pretty much anything that a rally stage can throw at it. This isn’t another flavour of the delectable 911 range but a clever extension of what the 911 stands for and also increasing its already vast fanbase. This is a 911 built to bully rock strewn surfaces and go places no 911 has ever dreamt of.
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As the name says, the 911 Dakar doffs its imaginary hat to Porsche’s rally heritage including its first ever win at the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally.
Porsche 911 Dakar: Only 2500 being built
The styling is jacked-up 911 but with a hint of muscle added in for extra presence while the two-tone paint finish in White/Enzian Blue Metallic completes an enticing styling exercise which is pleasing to the eye. The fixed rear spoiler and air outlets do scream GT3 while it also has a wider track.
That said, the increase in ground clearance is what you will first notice with an extra 50mm over a standard Carrera with sport suspension. However, to cope with tricker surfaces, you can use the lift system to add in a further 30mm of ground clearance which Porsche says makes the 911 Dakar have a ramp angle which rivals those of conventional SUVs.
The aforementioned ‘high level’ setting is not only for low-speed manoeuvres as you can easily drive the car till 170km/h in this setting- useful when you’re channelling your inner Sébastien Loeb.
Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain Plus tires to get you there
Tyres is extremely crucial and here you get, Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus tyres (sized 245/45 ZR 19 at the front and 295/40 ZR 20 at the rear) with a chunky tread pattern which is nine millimetres deep along with reinforced sidewalls. In short, the 911 Dakar can withstand some serious off-roading.
Of course, the three-litre biturbo motor with 480 PS brings in enough performance while also drowning the driver in the characteristic flat-six howl. Regardless of the surface, the 911 Dakar will be able to match its tarmac-only siblings with a 0-100 km/h of 3.4 seconds. That said, due to all-terrain tyres the top speed is limited to 240 km/h.
New Porsche 911 Dakar: Just 2500 being built
Porsche has also added rear-axle steering, the engine mounts from the 911 GT3 and a rear-biased all-wheel drive system along with two driving modes. One of them is called ‘Rallye mode’ where the car automatically raises itself and there is even a bonkers ‘Rallye Launch Control’ function.
The 911 Dakar then promises to deliver GT3 level thrills albeit within a diverse environment and that is the key to its huge appeal. It is a hardcore 911 with no rear seats but instead of a race track, it has been built to decimate a rally stage. Also like its GT siblings, you won’t be able to get one so easily with only 2500 being built worldwide and Canada pricing is around $250,000. Overall, the 911 Dakar is expensive but easily the most desirable Porsche right now.