911 Dakar, Porsche’s sports car becomes SUV

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Californian presentation, on the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show, for the Porsche 911 Dakar: “The only two-door sports car capable of tackling off-road”, guarantees Oliver Blume, number one of the Stuttgart company who flew to the east coast to “officiate” the preview ceremony. “It’s a project close to my heart,” he insists. The American choice is not accidental: the United States will be the market for the largest number of cars in the limited series, just 2,500 units. Even California traditionally has a soft spot for German premium brands and a particular one for Porsche, which has had a dedicated closed space at the Los Angeles Convention Center for some time: a sort of private showcase within the Salon.

The 911 Dakar is a tribute, even aesthetic by opting for the almost 27,000 euro Rallye Design package, to the 1984 success achieved with the Porsche 953 by René Metge and Dominique Lemoyne in the rally that still started from Paris and still ended in Senegal. With this model, continues Blume, who has also been CEO of the Volkswagen group since September (his American trip also includes a visit to the Chattanooga plant), Porsche wants to “push the boundaries beyond what is possible”.

In other words, challenging off-road terrain up to 170 km/h with a sports car. The ground clearance of the 911 Dakar reaches 190 millimeters: when the pace reaches that threshold, the set-up automatically normalizes. Compared to an “ordinary” 911, the suspension guarantees a 50 millimeters higher ground clearance to which another 30 are added thanks to the system (also standard) that raises the chassis. The maximum speed stops at 240 per hour due to the choice of tyres, moreover developed expressly by Pirelli.

The Scorpion All Terrain Plus tires have different dimensions according to the axles (245/45 ZR 19 at the front and 295/40 ZR 20 at the rear) and a 9 mm deep tread pattern. Shown in road versions with the exclusive Shade Green metallic bodywork or inspired by the 1984 953 with a combination of two-tone paint and wrapping with the possibility of choosing the number for the side (between 1 and 999), the 911 Dakar can also be equipped with luggage racks, additional headlights and other off-road accessories to complete the… survival paraphernalia.

With this special series, Porsche is offering a model that collectors still lacked, namely an SUV variant of the most glorious model: “Our tradition becomes our future”, recalls an inscription behind Blume. The Porsche 911 Dakar weighs 1,605 kg and mounts the 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder engine with 480 HP and 570 Nm of maximum torque. The cue from 0 to 100 takes place in 3.4 seconds.

It is naturally all-wheel drive and is equipped as standard with both the eight-speed PDK transmission and rear-axle steering as well as active roll stabilization. It has two new driving modes that enhance its characteristics: Rallye and Offroad.

Exclusive in number, the limited series is not popular in price either, which starts at just under 231,000 euros. Detlev Von Platen, the blue-blooded manager in charge of sales and marketing, speaks of Italy as a market destined to play an important role: “There are many enthusiasts”, he admits. Numbers does not rattle off, but it seems to understand that about fifty 911 Dakars will land in the Belpaese.

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