Porsche’s off-road 911 “Dakar” will land in L.A. next week
After more than 6000 miles of hardcore off-road testing in the deserts of Dubai and Morocco, and in the frozen north of Sweden, Porsche’s 911 Dakar is ready to be revealed.
The car is named after the Dakar Rally, which Porsche first won in a modified, all-wheel-drive 911 known as the 953 back in 1984, conquering the race again in the incredible 959 two years later. Porsche is saving the technical details for its launch at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 16, but we do know that the Dakar features lifted suspension and bigger wheels with all-terrain tires—although not quite to the extent of its volcano-climbing prototype.
We also know that the Dakar 911 went through an incredibly punishing testing regimen in extreme conditions with drivers such as Romain Dumas and Walter Röhrl behind the wheel. In the south of France, Dumas put the car through its paces on a special stage at Château de Lastours where Dakar Rally entrants regular go testing. “I knew what a 911 could do on the road, but I was absolutely stunned by how well the car performed here on the loose,” he says.
Double World Rally Champion Röhrl was dispatched to Arjeplog in the Swedish arctic to drift across frozen lakes and ice roads. “The car is incredibly fun to drive,” says Röhrl. “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.”
The Dakar also headed to the Sahara desert, charging up and down massive dunes in temperatures well above 110 degrees.”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,” says Frank Moser, vice president of the 911 and 718 (Boxster/Cayman) model lines.
Development driver Jörg Bergmeister, meanwhile, tackled the asphalt where, let’s face it, the Dakar will spend most of its time. “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 enthuses.
Prices, full specifications and delivery dates will all be revealed at the L.A. show next week.