Porsche won the prestigious 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally with the legendary 911 4x4. Revered by a whole lot of people around the world, the adventurous sports coupe is being resurrected with the latest-generation 911.
The German automaker celebrated the premiere of the new Porsche 911 Dakar at the Los Angeles Auto Show last night, and warned potential customers that production will be limited to 2,500 units for the 2023-2024 model years combined.
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The 911 Dakar’s ground clearance is 50 mm higher than that of a 911 Carrera 4 GTS with sports suspension. In addition, the standard lift system can raise the front and rear ends a further 30 mm. The “high level” setting is available for off-road blasts at speeds of up to 170 km/h. Above that speed, the car automatically lowers back down to its normal level.
Naturally, the twin-turbo 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine is included, producing 473 horsepower, but the high-capacity cooling system comes from the 911 Turbo. With just 10 kg of excess weight, the new sports car sprints to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds, and top speed is limited to 240 km/h due to the all-terrain tires.
Built to Go Anywhere
The 911 Dakar is obviously designed to tackle the worst conditions. Whether it’s mud, sand, dirt or snow, it can adapt to anything thanks to a selection of drive modes including Off-Road and Rallye, both of which are unique to this model. The former is designed for maximum traction on difficult terrain and on sand (high ground clearance is activated automatically), while the latter is ideal for loose, uneven surfaces and features rear-focused all-wheel drive. The two special modes also feature the new Rallye Launch Control, which allows wheel slippage of around 20 percent.
Porsche turned to Pirelli to equip the 911 Dakar with a proper set of tires for the job. The specifically designed Scorpion All Terrain Plus tires (P245/45ZR19 front, P295/40ZR20 rear) are highly cut-resistant and therefore perfect for challenging terrain. Optionally, Pirelli P Zero summer and winter tires are available.
The Look of a Warrior
Physically, the new 911 Dakar stands out with unique bumpers, a 911 GT3 hood and classic wheels inspired by those of the original. The side air intakes are protected against flying rocks by stainless steel grilles, while stainless steel skid plates (just 0.8 mm thick) protect the underbody.
The newly developed, fixed lightweight rear spoiler is made of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic to optimize performance. Lightweight glass and a lightweight battery derived from the 911 Carrera T reduce the car’s weight further.
The roof of the Porsche 911 Dakar features a visible 12V power outlet for the headlights of the optional roof rack, which can accommodate rallying equipment up to 42 kilograms. A roof tent is also available. As for the interior, styling emphasizes the car’s warrior look including standard Race-Tex (synthetic leather) surfaces with decorative stitching in Shade Green. Similar to the 911 Carrera T, there are no rear seats.
One of the highlights of the 911 Dakar is certainly the Rallye Design Package, the look of which reprises the winning car from the 1984 Dakar Rally. At $32,490, it adds a two-tone finish in White/Gentian Blue Metallic and a Roughroads logo on the doors, plus decorative stripes in red and gold, white-painted rims and a red taillight strip. Customers can also choose an individual race number from 0-999.
One thing’s for sure, you won’t see too many 2023 Porsche 911 Dakar models in Canada, where pricing starts at $247,300. By the way, there’s no limit to the number of Rallye Design Packages, so we expect most customers to opt for it.