The SUV phenomenon that seems to be sweeping across the automotive industry is because people love the feeling of driving them and being in them. The high driving position and the ability to just go about anywhere makes them practical.
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Sports cars on the other hand are a one-trick pony, destined for special occasions or when the roads are pebble smooth.
However, what happens when you combine both? Well, we saw the genre of the performance SUV before. But this time it is something quite different in the form of a more appealing concoction. The 911 Dakar is a supercar for all reasons and seasons while touching down upon its illustrious rally past. Rightly called the 911 Dakar, this is a special limited-edition Porsche of which only 2500 examples would be made.
Porsche 911 Dakar: Sportscar meets SUV
However, the design and the ethos behind this car is arguably more desirable than the new GT3 RS for one!.As the name says, the car doffs off its imaginary hat towards its predecessors when it first won the Paris-Dakar Rallye in 1984. That win was crucial since it marked the birth of the all-wheel-drive 911 along with giving this sports car another layer of versatility.
The new 911 Dakar looks like a pumped up 911 with its ground clearance jacked up. To be specific, the Dakar adds up-to 50 millimetres over a standard Carrera with Sports suspension. That said, you can further ramp up the ground clearance by 30 mm with a lift system. This is also not just limited to very slow speed manoeuvres as the ‘high level’ setting is available for ambitious off-road adventures at speeds of up to 170 km/h.
The new 911 Porsche Dakar looks like a pumped up 911 with its ground clearance jacked up.
Price tag around $250k
The car cuts a more menacing look than the track-focused vibe that we are used to from GT Porsches. There are specially developed Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus tyres (sized 245/45 ZR 19 at the front and 295/40 ZR 20 at the rear). The chunky tread pattern is nine millimetres deep and the reinforced sidewalls and the threads consist of two carcass plies. What this means is that they are cut resistant and able to withstand the kind of tough tests that the car would be put through.
The engine is a familiar one with the standard 911 fare of a three-litre biturbo six-cylinder with 480 PS (353 kW) and 570 Newton metres. Despite not having any track-oriented pretensions, it will still clock 0-100 km/h in 3.4 seconds. All-wheel tyres limit the top-speed to 240 km/h. PDK automatic gearbox and rear-axle steering are standard with no manual unlike the hardcore track oriented 911s.
Porsche 911 Dakar: 0-100 km/h in 3.4 seconds
Like all fast Porsches, there is a rotary switch on the steering wheel and with the Dakar, there are two new modes being added: Rallye mode and off-road mode.
Some of the stripped our ethos with the GT Porsches have also crept up here with the same engine mounts as a GT3, removal of rear seats and thinner glass.
There is clearly a sense of purpose. Only this time, it is not a racetrack but a loose rally surface that is the natural habitat of the 911 Dakar.
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With a price-tag which is hovering around $250,000, the 911 Dakar is expensive but fulfils a certain niche in being a sports car that you can take just about anywhere. The cool styling has the vibe of a rally car along with the genes of a true-blue performance GT model albeit with an added layer of versatility being brought into the mix. Amongst Porsche’s long list of models within the vast 911 family tree, the Dakar is probably the most desirable iteration of the world’s most famous sports car.