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Porsche introduces road-going rally raid 911

Dakar-inspired, go-anywhere Porsche 911 here next year with just 2500 to be made

17 Nov 2022

PORSCHE has unveiled a road-going, rally raid version of its 911 sports coupe at the Los Angeles motor show that is guaranteed to attract a heap of attention.


First Australian deliveries commenced next year, the eye-popping 911 Dakar priced from $491,400 plus on-road costs and options.


If that price was not enough to ensure exclusivity, Porsche is also limiting the production run of the Dakar to 2500 units for global consumption..


The Stuttgart manufacturer has a long history in off-road rallying, including the arduous Dakar Rally, where it has been successful chalking up numerous class wins – mostly with 911 derivatives.


Beaten to its official reveal by a few days by VW Group stablemate Lamborghini, which has just unveiled the Huracan Sterrato off-road supercar, Porsche has long been rumoured to be building its own high-riding, ruggedised version of the 911 that is as much at home in the dirt as it is on the tarmac.


This unusual off-roader is described by Porsche as being “just as comfortable off-road as it is on the highway.”


“The car doesn’t just demonstrate the possibilities of the Porsche 911 concept but also evokes the first overall victory by Porsche in the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally.”


But what many enthusiasts probably want to know is how it would perform in a real rally.


That 1984 Dakar Rally win marked the start of all-wheel drive availability in the Porsche 911.


If a standard 911 Dakar is not enough, for an extra $54,730, the model is offered with an optional Rallye Design Package reminiscent of that iconic winning car including a specific colour scheme harking back to the days when cigarette advertising was acceptable.


Because of the high stance – the Dakar sits 50mm higher than a regular 911 Carerra with sports suspension owing to the ground clearance demands of off-road driving – this is a striking vehicle given everyone is accustomed to seeing low-slung 911s.


Adding to its off-road capability is the standard lift system that can raise the front and rear ends an additional 30mm. 


This gives the Dakar ground clearance and ramp angles to rival those of conventional SUVs, according to Porsche.


Porsche also says the lift system is not merely designed for driving over obstacles at low speeds but is an integral part of the re-tuned suspension.


For instance, the highest suspension setting is designed for “ambitious’ off-road adventures.


Aiding traction off-road are specially developed Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus tyres (245/45 ZR 19 at the front and 295/40 ZR 20 at the rear) with chunky 9mm tread depth and reinforced sidewalls featuring two carcass plies.


Combining beefier suspension and cut-resistant tyres makes the Porsche 911 Dakar a strong proposition in tough off-road driving. Although tackling some of Australia’s gnarlier tracks in a half-million dollar car might not be to everyone’s liking.


Road oriented ‘summer’ tyres that also feature two carcass plies are available as an option. 


Motivating the muscular beast is a version of Porsche’s 3.0-litre bi-turbo flat six-cylinder with 353kW of power and maximum torque of 570Nm that Porsche assures us “delivers superior performance with a compelling boxer sound”.


The 911 Dakar is capable of accelerating from rest to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds, says Porsche and the engine is matched with an eight-speed PDK transmission plus, of course, all-wheel drive.


Standard equipment includes rear-axle steering, engine mounts from the 911 GT3 and PDCC anti-roll stabilisation. 


Porsche says the interplay of all these components results in the 911 Dakar being just as dynamic on sand and loose surfaces as it is on the Nürburgring Nordschleife.


Off-road performance is maximised via a choice of two driving modes, which are selectable through a rotary switch on the steering wheel.


“Rallye” mode is calibrated for loose, uneven surfaces and features rear-focused all-wheel drive.


In “Off-road” mode the high clearance is activated automatically. This mode is designed for maximum traction on difficult terrain and on sand.


Both these modes feature Rallye Launch Control, which enables strong acceleration on loose surfaces. 


As an option, the Dakar is available with a cool looking roof basket or roof tent.


Then there is a fixed lightweight rear spoiler in carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) and the CFRP front luggage compartment lid with striking air outlets taken from the 911 GT3.


There are also standard off-road details including red aluminium towing lugs at the front and back, widened wheel wells and sills and stainless steel protective elements on the front, rear and side sills.


Side air intakes on the redesigned front end are also protected against flying rocks by stainless steel grilles.


The roof features a visible 12-volt power outlet for the auxiliary lights on the optional roof rack that has a capacity of 42kg and can accommodate rallying accessories such as fuel and water canisters, folding shovels and traction boards. 


Inside are sporty bucket front seats and the omission of the rear seats, while lightweight glass and a lightweight battery help reduce weight to 1605 kg – or 10 kg heavier than the 911 Carrera 4 GTS with PDK.


Suede-like ‘Race-Tex’ surfaces with decorative green stitching feature inside while the car itself is another shade of green called Shade Green metallic.


Going even further down the all-terrain rally raid road is the Rallye Sport Package with fire extinguisher, roll cage, six point harnesses that brings echoes of the 1984 Paris-Dakar winning vehicle.


Other options and option packages will be available when the 911 Dakar arrives here in the second half of 2023.

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