The desert 911: Porsche 911 Dakar - with the sports car over gravel

Sand, gravel, stones - all of that is nothing for a Porsche Carrera? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! The 911 Dakar shows that it is possible.

The desert 911: Porsche 911 Dakar - with the sports car over gravel

Sand, gravel, stones - all of that is nothing for a Porsche Carrera? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! The 911 Dakar shows that it is possible. And even very well. An ultimate driving experience that takes some time to be perceived as real in the brain.

Driving a sports car icon like the Porsche 911 over sand and gravel pretty much turns the car world upside down. Dunes are well known for specially prepared buggies or robust all-terrain vehicles. But for a 911? He belongs more on the race track. But if you leaf through the motorsport history of the Zuffenhausen-based company, you will quickly discover that there is another way. In 1984, a Carrera won the notorious Paris-Dakar Rally. The overall victory also marked the birth of all-wheel drive in the 911.

More than a quarter of a century later, the Porsche strategists had the ambitious idea of ​​putting such an off-road 911 (991/1 series) on wheels as a production vehicle, intended primarily for China, because the roads there are still bumpy in places. That's ten years ago. The project failed. Too much development effort, not enough quantities. The feat only succeeded on the second attempt. The 911 Dakar was created on the basis of the 992 series - and it looks so cool that it was only a matter of a few weeks before the limited edition of 2,500 units was sold out. Unit price: 220,020 euros. But Porsche could probably have put any other number on the sign. Men will pay any price for such a large sandbox toy.

The best environment to test what the 911 Dakar is capable of is of course the desert. Porsche chose an area south of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The area is one of the training locations for the professionals of the Dakar Rally. sand to the horizon. You almost don't dare to drive off. Because our brain is not programmed for it, rather thinks that after a few meters this car will get stuck hopelessly.

But reality looks different. It really works. So good that even die-hard off-roaders should be amazed at the ease with which the two-seater coupé masters the dune landscape and crawls almost effortlessly over the sand like an insect. The necessary power is supplied by the six-cylinder boxer with 480 hp and a torque of 570 Newton meters. The potent unit comes from the 911 GTS.

Porsche's head of development, Thomas Krickelberg, is also convinced that the cross-country ride is great fun with a high addictive factor: "Many customers will certainly come here with their 911 Dakar to have this extraordinary experience." For this, Krickelberg and his team dug deep into their bag of tricks.

The amazing off-road capabilities are no accident, but the result of professional engineering work. The 911 Dakar has five centimeters more ground clearance than a normal Carrera, and with the standard lift system even eight centimeters more. A result of longer struts and tires specially developed by Pirelli (19 inches at the front, 20 inches at the rear). They have a tread depth of nine millimeters, treads made of two carcass layers and extra-reinforced flanks to survive even stony passages without flat feet.

To the biggest surprise, these tires are also suitable for asphalt, which should be everyday life for the 911 Dakar. No howling, no swimming, the desert 911 loses almost none of its usual sportiness and precision.

At 19 degrees, the 911 Dakar has a ramp angle like the Cayenne. The higher body allows an approach angle of 16 degrees. Only then does it threaten to touch down. In order not to let the weight increase too much, the all-terrain 911 was given a plastic hood reinforced with carbon fiber (CFRP) and lighter windows. The rear seats also fell out. All in all, at 1,605 kilograms, the 911 Dakar is only ten kilograms heavier than a 911 Carrera 4 GTS with PDK.

Of course, all the electronic control systems had to be recalibrated for the new area of ​​application. At the same time, the developers programmed two new driving modes that you would never have guessed in the instruments before: "Offroad" and "Rally". The latter puts the focus a little more on rear-heaviness and drift fun on gravel, "Offroad" is intended for pure sand driving, the body automatically goes into the high level with the maximum ground clearance of 19 centimeters.

Of course, Porsche's designers have transferred the adventure outfit of the 911 Dakar to the interior as well. The clear distinguishing feature is the Racetex equipment with contrasting decorative seams in Shade Green. The color is exclusive to the 911 Dakar, even as a metallic exterior finish. The full bucket seats, on the other hand, have a high functional value. Especially in off-road use, they offer pleasant support and keep the occupants in the best possible position. If you want it a bit more professional, Porsche offers the Rallye Sport package, with a roll bar, six-point belts and fire extinguisher.

Associations with past rally eras and in particular with the Dakar winning vehicle from 1984 are intended to be evoked by a special paint job that Porsche has never offered for a production car before. A decorative foil (stripes in red and gold) and a two-tone paint finish in white/gentian blue metallic are combined here.

In addition, the name "Roughroads" is written on the flank. Its design is intended to commemorate the former Rothmans cigarette sponsor. A number is provided for the white field in front of it. The customer is free to choose which one should go there. The only condition: it must be between 1 and 999.

The order rate shows how well this exclusive rally design package is received by customers. So far, according to development manager Krickelberg, almost 70 percent have opted for it - the 26,061 euro surcharge was probably accepted without a murmur. The 911 buyers should find the optional roof basket no less cool. Gasoline and water canisters as well as folding spades and rescue boards can be lashed to it, in case your driving skills should fail in the dunes.

Porsche 911 Dakar - technical specifications