The safari-style Porsche hype train is running red hot right now and Porsche is looking to get in on the action with the 911 Dakar. While this isn’t the first we’ve heard of this sand-friendly 911, Porsche decided to finally show it off in production form on the eve before the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show. Let’s dive into this thing to see what makes it special.
As far as unique performance tweaks go, the big show-stopper is adjustable suspension height. Not only is the standard ride height 50 mm greater than on a 911 Carrera with sport suspension, an off-road height with an additional 30 mm of lift can stay active all the way up to 105 mph. Top speed is limited to 150 mph due to the all-terrain tires, but the launch control system gains a Rallye mode for minimizing wheelspin on loose terrain. On tarmac, expect a zero-to-sixty time of 3.2 seconds despite those chunky tires.
Regarding other mechanical bits, think of the 911 Dakar as a sort of best-of package with some special bits thrown in. Power comes from a 473-horsepower turbocharged three-liter flat-six like you’d get in a GTS, while the PDK gearbox and all-wheel-drive come from the Carrera 4S. The hood is straight off the GT3, while the engine mounts are said to be GT3-derived. Speaking of GT3 bits, the Dakar borrows that hardcore car’s lightweight bucket seats and deleted rear seat, while the Dakar and the Carrera T both have lightweight glass. All that lightweighting means that the Dakar weighs just 16 pounds more than a Carrera 4 GTS with the PDK gearbox, not bad considering the complex suspension and considerable amount of plastic cladding.
If you’re the type who loves a bit of heritage, the Dakar will be available with a Rallye Design Package that basically emulates the legendary Rothmans Porsche racing livery. Gentian Blue and white with gold and red stripes is a great color combination, even if it’s an attempt at misty-eyed pandering. Mind you, shilling cigarettes is a bit frowned upon these days, so the livery says Roughroads instead of Rothmans. Cheeky.
Also on offer is the option of a roof basket or a roof tent, handy for those who really want to go camping. Speaking of camping, plastic cladding around the wheel arches and on the lower body should largely shrug off scratches from flying gravel, handy if you want to blast down a gravel track at Mach Jesus while bumping your favorite German techno mix. Should you end up properly bogged down, a pair of easily-accessible recovery points will prove their weight in myrrh. All in all, it seems like Porsche’s thought this out well.
However, there is some bad news amidst all this awesomeness: Porsche only plans to make 2,500 911 Dakar examples, so this special ass-engined sports car should be harder to obtain than a GT3. It’s a pity that the first water-cooled 911 designed for decaying infrastructure will likely be confined to collectors’ garages, but that’s how marques print money. Expect to see the 911 Dakar on influencers’ profiles starting this spring, with the car carrying a base price of $223,450.
All photos courtesy of Porsche
I have had a few Porsches. And I have had few desert race cars and pre-runners. This is nothing but a silly want to be poser car
I’m honestly surprised that we didn’t get a Charger/Challenger like this. It seems like a relatively simple way to milk that platform even further.
Neat, but maybe not basically a quarter million neat, so I’ll hold out for whatever plebe version this inspires.
Just gonna put this out there – the Nissan Z still rides on the FM platform that also underpinned the Infiniti FX, I assume they could piece together something kind of rad from the parts bin.
Sadly, numbered means this will likely be unobtanium and subject to the usual “gating” for special 911s.
… though for those who have the scratch, it’s worth asking your dealer. There actually were two 911Rs in the US *that I am aware of* (might be more!) that didn’t end up spoken for, and people who simply made inquiries (no prior history with the brand) ended up buying them.
For me, numbered 911 means getting one 2nd hand in a decade is a no go, as they’ll likely appreciate quickly. Here’s to hoping they do it again for the 992.2. To me this is a big boy Evo that isn’t a death trap and better future parts availability.
First person to make a technical out of one of these is a real badass. it’d need a sunroof and a ring-mount because ass engine. still. I’d be happy with a render of a 911 Dakar with freaking portal axles TECHNICAL!!
I’m glad they are using recovery points. The same thing can’t be said about the new Defender! I am surprised though that they didn’t make any accommodation for a full size spare. Putting one on the roof rack seems like a look people would want, in addition to being functional. This would be a ton of fun to have at Silver Lake sand dunes. While not in my price range, it is disappointing there is no manual.
Full size spare can be mounted on the roof rack. There are press photos with one.
This is silly and pointless and I’m glad it exists.
Unaffordable, unobtainable, don’t care.
I guess what this is vs the reveal car is that not only can Porsche build it, so can you! Just get a Carrera 4, toss some parts at it (any year will do, even a cheap 996!) and you’re done. For a lot less than a cool quarter mil.
This would be a great 911 to own in a northern states city.
I guess the Middle East market didn’t want a manual.
Ah yes, the classic $223k winter beater. 🙂
I’ll wait for the even more exclusive Dakar Noir package.
It’s a bit underwhelming, isn’t it? Porsche shouldn’t have teased us with this portal-axle-volcano-climber stud. They have given it a ducktail and made it a targa at least.
They should have given it a ducktail and made it a targa at least, of course.
Gravel grinding is a big deal in the road cycling community…I suspect that Porsche might be on to it…
Now I gotta figure out how to wax a Porschestache
Lovr the idea but quarter of a million for a parts bin special with air suspension… Porsche must have realized how much their limited runs are worth secondhand and cut straight into that market. Imo should have just made an option package for the suspension and let buyers put it on the trim they want.
It would have to look a bit more like those volcano-climbing ones to command that sort of price tag…
Porsche gets a quarter mill. You get the Roughroads replica.
(In the words of Micky Goldmill. Sort of.)