For more than 50 years, the Porsche 911 has been adding excitement to any daily drive, be it on the street or track. Sporting the same basic shape as it did when introduced in 1964, the 911 is easily the most recognizable sports car on the road. Now the German automaker takes on new challenging terrain as it introduces the first production off-road 911, the Dakar.
The name Dakar is a logical choice for this special 911 in tribute to the Paris-Dakar rally. In 1984 a purpose-built Porsche 911 won the race — the first 911 fitted with an all-wheel-drive system. Porsche plans to offer the 911 Dakar with an optional Rallye Design Package inspired by the 1984 race-winning car.
Porsche outfitted the 911 Dakar with a fixed rear spoiler and hood from the 911 GT3, made from carbon fiber reinforced polymers ; the hood has large openings for air extraction and cooling. Dakar also features red front and rear tow hooks made from forged aluminum, as well as large fender flares and rocker panels.
The new front fascia gets side air intakes with stainless steel mesh grills to keep rocks and other debris out. Stainless steel protectors can be found under the front, rear, and sides, and the front overhang is slightly shorter than a typical 911.
Still recognizable as a Porsche 911, the Dakar is easily differentiated from the iconic sports car by a ride height almost 2 inches taller than a standard 911 Carrera. A standard lift system can raise the car an additional 1.2 inches, which not only helps the 911 Dakar clear large obstacles but is part of the newly calibrated suspension. The Dakar’s highest suspension setting can be used at speeds up to about 105 mph which would be some pretty entertaining off-road driving.
The 911 Dakar will ride on specially developed Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain Plus tires — 245/45 ZR19 in front and 295/40 ZR20 at the rear. These off-road tires feature a 9-millimeter tread depth with reinforced sidewalls and tread made with dual carcasses for improved puncture resistance. Porsche will also offer Pirelli P Zero summer tires and snow tires for the Dakar.
A 3.0-liter twin-turbo Boxer engine powers the new Porsche 911 Dakar, producing 473 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, teamed with an 8-speed PDK transmission. The Dakar will sprint to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and will attain a top speed limited to 150 mph — restricted because of the all-terrain tires.
Porsche Traction Management all-wheel drive is standard on the 911 Dakar, as is rear-axle steering and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. These systems work together to allow the Dakar to perform like a 911 in sand or loose gravel.
Despite the vehicle’s off-road brio, the Dakar is still all Porsche 911 — engineers designed the car to provide proper performance on or off the road. “I wouldn’t have thought that a vehicle with such ground clearance and all-terrain tires would still feel like a Porsche 911 on asphalt,” observed Porsche brand ambassador Jorg Bergmeister
Porsche will offer two new drive modes for the 911 Dakar: Rallye and Off-Road. Activated via a switch on the steering wheel, Rallye mode adjusts the all-wheel-drive system to a rear-wheel bias, designed for better handling on loose or uneven terrain. Selecting Off-Road mode automatically raises the Dakar to its high suspension setting and maximizes traction for sand, mud, and other terrain. For additional fun, the 911 Dakar has new Rally Launch Control that permits up to 20 percent wheelspin, maximizing acceleration on loose surfaces.
“The 911 Dakar delivered strong performance even in the desert,” noted Frank Moser, vice president of the 911/718 model lines. “The 911 Dakar can make the most of its conceptual advantages — the combination of low weight, higher ground clearance, a powerful rear-mounted engine, and the short wheelbase make for an exhilarating driving experience. I was able to experience it myself on test drives in the Sahara,” Moser enthused.
The 911 Dakar is available with an optional roof basket with lights that can be plugged into a convenient 12-volt socket on the roof. The basket carries up to 92 pounds of gear. Porsche will also offer a rooftop tent for the 911 Dakar.
The cabin of the Porsche 911 Dakar is all about performance. Full bucket seats are standard, trimmed in Race-Tex upholstery with accent stitching that matches the exterior color. The rear seat has been removed to save weight. Lightweight glass also helps keep the Dakar to its curb weight of just 3,552 pounds — only 16 pounds more than a 911 Carrera 4 GTS with PDK.
As mentioned previously, Porsche will offer the 911 Dakar with a special Rallye Design Package that features a two-tone paint scheme with White and Gentian Blue Metallic as well as white wheels designed to look like the wheels on the original Dakar race car.
Porsche 911 Dakar customers will also have the option to order an exclusive Porsche Design Chronograph 1 911 Dakar Rallye Design edition.
The Porsche 911 Dakar will begin arriving in showrooms in the spring of 2023 at a starting price of $222,000. This special Porsche will be built in limited quantities — only 2,500 units are planned worldwide.