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  • Writer's pictureMark Webb

The new Porsche 911 Dakar

Porsche is celebrating an extraordinary world premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show: the new Porsche 911 Dakar. Limited to just 2,500 examples worldwide, this exclusive model is just as comfortable off road as it is on road, and demonstrates the possibilities of the Porsche 911 concept. It takes inspiration from the first overall victory by Porsche in the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally, which was simultaneously the birth of all-wheel drive in the Porsche 911. As a nod to this win, the new 911 Dakar is offered with an optional Rallye Design Package, reminiscent of that iconic, winning car.

Great Britain. The first striking detail of the Porsche 911 Dakar is its ground clearance, which is 50 mm higher than that of a 911 Carrera S with sports suspension. It can be raised by a further 30 mm using its lift system, resulting in ground clearance and ramp angles which rival those of more conventional off-road vehicles. The four-corner lift system is not designed merely for driving over obstacles at low speeds, but is an integral part of the re-tuned suspension. The ‘high level’ setting is available for ambitious off-road adventures at speeds of up to 106 mph (170 kph). Above that speed, the car automatically lowers back down to its normal level. Complementing the car’s high-speed off-road attributes are specially developed Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus tyres (sized 245/45 R 19 at the front and 295/40 R 20 at the rear). The chunky tread pattern is nine millimetres deep and the reinforced sidewalls rest on two carcass plies, helping ensure the tyres are highly cut resistant. This makes the tyres of the Porsche 911 Dakar ideal for challenging terrain while retaining a high level of on-road sports car dynamics. Optional Pirelli P Zero summer and winter tyres, also with two carcass plies, are also available.

Commanding power on all driving surfaces Familiar from the 911 GTS models, the 3.0-litre biturbo six-cylinder engine with 480 PS (353 kW) and a maximum torque of 570 Nm delivers strong performance with a compelling boxer sound. The car sprints from rest to 62 mph (100 kph) in 3.5 seconds and reaches a top speed, limited due to the all-terrain tyres, of 149 mph (240 kph). As standard, the engine comes with an eight-speed PDK and Porsche all-wheel drive. Standard equipment also includes rear-axle steering, dynamic engine mounts from the 911 GT3, and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) anti-roll stabilisation. The interplay of these components results in the 911 Dakar being just as capable on sand and gravel as it is on the Nordschleife. Its maximum off-road performance is also thanks in part to two new driving modes selectable via the rotary switch on the steering wheel. Rallye mode is ideal for loose, uneven surfaces and features rear-focused all-wheel drive, while Offroad mode is for high-clearance driving. Both of the new driving modes also feature Rallye Launch Control, which can handle loose surfaces and wheel slippage of 20 per cent.

Room for equipment on top Other characteristic features of the 911 Dakar include the newly developed, lightweight fixed rear spoiler made of CFRP, as well as the CFRP front lid taken from the 911 GT3. There are also standard off-road details such as aluminium towing lugs at the front and back, widened wheel wells and sills, and stainless steel plates on the front, rear, and sills. The side air intakes on the redesigned front are also protected against flying rocks with stainless steel grilles. The roof of the Porsche 911 Dakar features a visible 12-volt power outlet for the headlights of the optional roof rack. With a capacity of 42 kgs, the rack can accommodate equipment such as fuel and water canisters, folding shovels, and traction boards. A roof tent is also available for the 911 Dakar. In the interior, the 911 Dakar underlines its sporting abilities with full bucket seats as standard, and the omission of the rear seats. Lightweight glass and a lightweight battery reduce its mass yet further, enabling the Porsche 911 Dakar to weigh in at just 1,605 kgs – only 10 kgs heavier than a 911 Carrera 4 GTS with PDK. A defining feature of the Dakar interior are the standard Race-Tex surfaces with decorative stitching in Shade Green, a colour which is also exclusively available as a metallic exterior finish for the 911 Dakar. A Rallye Sport Package with roll-over bar, six-point seat belts and fire extinguisher is optional.

Rallye Design Package evoking the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally winning car The optional Rallye Design Package from Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur features a two-tone paint finish in White and Gentian Blue Metallic. This combination of two-tone paintwork and decorative vinyl on a standard production model is a first for Porsche. On each door, customers can choose an individual starting number between 1 and 999. The look of the 911 Dakar with Rallye Design Package recaptures the winning car from the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally and, in addition to decorative stripes in red and gold, features a ‘Roughroads’ logo on the doors. The term is a registered trademark and reflects the off-road concept of the 911 Dakar. White rims and a red taillight strip, in contrast to the standard car, round off the distinctive appearance. Interior highlights include extended Race-Tex and leather surrounds as well as seat belts and accents in Shark Blue.

Porsche Design Chronograph 911 Dakar customers can exclusively order the Porsche Design Chronograph 1 ‒ 911 Dakar or the Chronograph 1 ‒ 911 Dakar Rallye Design Edition to match the vehicle. For the first time, the housing is made of particularly scratch-resistant and light titani-um carbide. The new Porsche 911 Dakar can be ordered now at a price of £173,000 incl. VAT with first deliveries in the UK due around Spring 2023. The Rallye Design Package is available from £18,434 incl. VAT. Customers will be invited to explore the potential of the new car, and further develop their own skills behind the wheel, by participating in a bespoke driving experience around the unique tracks at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone. Combined fuel consumption for the 911 Dakar is 25.0 mpg (WLTP), equivalent to 256 g/km CO2.

At the Los Angeles Auto Show on 16 November 2022 (17 November, 04:00 CET), Porsche will unveil a very special variant of the iconic 911: the new 911 Dakar. It will be the first two-door sports car to offer outstanding off-road capabilities. The model name is a nod to the first overall victory by Porsche in the Paris-Dakar rally. The breakthrough triumph came in 1984 in a modified Porsche 911 – which had been fitted with an all-wheel-drive system for the first time.

More than 10,000 kilometres of off-road testing In testing the car, the development engineers around General Project Manager Achim Lamparter didn’t only restrict themselves to intensive use of the off-road proving grounds in Weissach. In fact, the development team tested the 911 Dakar around the world under extreme conditions to the tune of more than half a million km, including more than 10,000 km off-road. The Château de Lastours test track in southern France, for example, was used to test the car’s handling on typical rally courses and fine-tune the suspension. Kilometre after kilometre of loose surfaces really put the Porsche 911 Dakar to the test. “All Dakar teams come here to test their cars in Europe before the rally,” says Porsche works driver Romain Dumas. At first, the Frenchman was puzzled by the assignment to drive a new 911 at Château de Lastours, of all places. But the astonishment quickly gave way to admiration for the Dakar’s spirited off-road performance. Even jumps were no problem for the chassis thanks to the robust design and increased ground clearance. Likewise, the 911 Dakar handled sweeping drifts with aplomb. “I knew what a 911 could do on the road,” says Dumas, “but I was absolutely stunned by how well the car performed here on the loose.” Walter Röhrl impressed by handling on snow and ice Two-time world rally champion Walter Röhrl naturally couldn’t resist the opportunity to put the 911 Dakar through its paces at the extensive testing grounds in Arjeplog, Sweden. The thick ice of the frozen lakes offers Porsche test drivers the ideal basis for an approximately 90 per cent closed compacted snow surface – a more realistic scenario than pure sheet ice. With the low friction coefficient on the snow, it was all about traction and steering precision. Even off-road, a Porsche 911 has to provide accurate feedback. Porsche brand ambassador Röhrl was enthusiastic: “The car is incredibly fun to drive,” he says. “Everything works so precisely and calmly. No Porsche customer will believe all the things you can do with this car before they’ve driven it themselves.”

Intensive test programme in rocky and sandy deserts The new 911 Dakar also had to prove itself on fast sand tracks and high dunes. In Dubai and Morocco, test drivers mercilessly drove the off-road sports car up steep, 50-metre dunes in temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius time and time again. “The 911 Dakar delivered a commanding performance even in the desert,” says Frank Moser, Vice President Model Line 911/718. “Especially here, 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.”

Bergmeister and Kern surprised by driving dynamics on all surfaces Porsche brand ambassador Jörg Bergmeister was also able to test the 911 Dakar as part of the car’s development and was surprised by the driving dynamics of the unusually high-riding sports car on both loose surfaces and asphalt: “I wouldn’t have thought that a vehicle with such ground clearance and all-terrain tyres would still feel like a Porsche 911 on asphalt,” he says. Development driver Lars Kern was also surprised during the final fine-tuning drives: “At first I didn’t have the nerve to push the car to its limits. But I am very satisfied with the handling on loose surfaces. Even the ABS is optimised for braking on gravel. It’s amazing how much traction the off-road tyres deliver. The car is a blast to drive.”


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