If you want to go off-road with Porsche, the German brand can offer you a few different SUVs for that. But if you want to take a 911 sports car off-road, Porsche has officially introduced just the right car for you.
Named after the Paris-Dakar off-road rally, the new 911 Dakar has big knobby tires and lifts off the ground about two inches higher than a regular 911. It was designed to resemble a particularly famous 911, the first with full all-wheel drive , which won the 1994 Paris-Dakar Rally.
For decades, Porsche fans have created their own off-road-oriented versions of the 911, often referring to them as the “Porsche 911 Safari”. Inspired by the company’s heritage in rallying, vintage Porsches with big tires and the occasional raised suspension are often found leaping across deserts and slinging through muddy corners. Now Porsche is conquering a piece of this market.
With SUVs accounting for an ever-increasing share of sales, even among sports car brands, Porsche isn’t the only one mixing them up. Lamborghini has announced that it will soon be introducing an off-road version of its 10-cylinder Huracán supercar. Both Porsche and Lamborghini belong to the Volkswagen Group.
In situations where that extra ground clearance isn’t enough, the 911 Dakar can raise an additional 1.2 inches to climb over taller obstacles. At this altitude, the car’s top speed is limited to just 105 mph. But at its normal ride height, the 911 Dakar with its 473 hp 6-cylinder engine can drive up to 240 km/h and launch from zero to 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds.
According to Porsche, the car’s all-wheel steering system – the rear wheels can be easily turned just like the front wheels – and its computer-controlled stability system were specially tuned to loose dirt and gravel roads. There are two selectable driving modes specifically for off-tarmac use, rally mode and off-road mode. Rally mode is intended for relatively smooth dirt or gravel roads, while off-road mode automatically raises the car for rougher terrain and driving over loose surfaces.
This model is also particularly expensive for a Porsche 911. Prices start at $222,000, but the cars will no doubt sell for far more when various options are included. The first cars will be available in the US next spring. According to Porsche, only 2,500 will be built.
The carbon fiber bonnet of the 911 Dakar is the same as that of the 911 GT3, a high-performance, track-focused variant of the 911. To save more weight, the 911 Dakar has no rear seats, unlike most 911 models, and features special lightweight glass in the windows.
Available options and accessories include a roof basket that can hold up to 92 pounds of gear and a roof top camping tent, and there’s a roof outlet to plug in lights. An optional Rally Design Pack gives the car a white and dark blue livery modeled after the 911 that won the 1984 rally. With this livery, buyers can choose their own up to three-digit starting number.