For months, there have been prototype photos of raised Porsche 911s on the web. But now it’s official: A new model called the Porsche 911 Dakar will be presented at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 16th. It will be Porsche’s first shot at putting an off-road sports car based on the 911 into production. We’ll give you all the info in advance.
Unlike many well-known conversions, for example, the first truly off-road Porsche 911 will not be called Safari. Instead, it will be presented as the Porsche 911 Dakar. Porsche is thus commemorating the overall victory at the 1984 Paris Dakar Rally. There a Porsche 953, which anticipated the all-wheel drive system of the later 959, took first place. It was the first ever all-wheel-drive Porsche.
Porsche is still holding back on exact specifications for the car. However, their press release on the 911 Dakar gives a hint on the basis of the consumption figures and emissions. These are suspiciously close to the 911 Carrera GTS for the Porsche 911 Dakar. We therefore suspect that the GTS’ 3.0-liter turbo six-cylinder boxer engine will also be used in the Porsche 911 Dakar.
Following this logic, we can assume at least 480 hp that will catapult the all-wheel-drive 911 forward. Surprisingly, the Porsche 911 Dakar probably borrows the front bumper from the Porsche 992 Turbo. We would have expected a more independent, perhaps less filigree variant for an off-road vehicle.
In contrast to the technology, Porsche has already revealed some details about the testing of the first 911-based off-roader. Most surprising about these insight is the mileage: Porsche is only talking about 10,000 kilometers of off-road testing. Considering the usual testing periods and distances, this is a very low figure. By comparison, the Porsche 992 covered more than three million kilometers before being put into production! Presumably, this starting position simply meant that more tests were not necessary.
But the 911 Dakar car was not only tested on the off-road track at the Weissach Development Center either. Final chassis tuning took place at the Chateau Lastours test track in southern France for example. This is also where Dakar teams come “to test their cars before the rally in Europe,” Romain Dumas knows. As with the altitude record with the extreme 992 Carrera 4S-based prototypes, the two-time Le Mans winner was also directly involved here. But the Porsche 911 Dakar also had to prove itself in the sand dunes in Dubai and Morocco at temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius.
The testers’ verdict was unambiguous. Dumas, initially irritated by the assignment to test a Porsche 911 off paved roads, was finally impressed. “It was clear to me what a 911 can do on the road. But how well the car performed on gravel was an absolute surprise for me.”
“The car is insanely fun. Everything works precisely and without fuss. No Porsche customer will think it’s possible to do all the things you can do with this car until they’ve driven it themselves.”The accolade for the project came from Walter Röhrl himself. In Arjeplog, Sweden, the rally legend put the spurs to the Porsche 911 Dakar.
Brand ambassador Jörg Bergmeister also had nothing to complain about. He was particularly surprised by the handling on asphalt. “I wouldn’t have thought that a vehicle with such ground clearance and chunky tires would still feel like a Porsche 911 even on asphalt,” he concluded.