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.
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.