MERZOUGA, Morocco– Dawn in the Sahara Desert is why the expression “deafeningly peaceful” exists. A light wind encounters like a loud murmur as the climbing sunlight lights up the dunes and also bluffs. It’s happiness, actually; a serene enhancement to cleaning away the rest from my eyes. After that the desert silence is ruined by an audio that’s as acquainted as it is out of area: the scratchy chilly beginning of a flat-six engine.
Paying Attention to a Porsche 911 Dakar shooting up throughout the Sahara’s waking hrs has to do with as disconcerting as David Lee Roth screaming, “Are you prepared to rock-o, Morocco ?!” Definitely absolutely nothing concerning this vehicle is refined; it uses its dirt-flinging, dune-crushing intents on its sleeve. The minute you struck the sand, the 911 Dakar comes to life. And also divine moly, can this point split.
Genuine fast, allow’s support. In 1984, Porsche won the Paris-Dakar Rally with its very first all-wheel-drive 911 race vehicle. The brand-new 911 Dakar admires this mainly via among its optional Rallye Style Bundles, planned to appear like the famous ’84 Rothmans livery (listed below left). Yes, the message currently claims “Roughroads,” which is truthfully type of ineffective, however car manufacturers do not do cigarette firm sponsorships– also inoperative ones– and also besides, licensing is costly. The Martini cover is way much more my design (listed below right).
In the succeeding years, an entire mess of rally-ready Safari 911 upfits struck the scene, consisting of one-off personalizeds from noteworthy receivers like Ruf and also Vocalist. Due to that, you could assume Porsche leapt the shark by providing its very own 911 Dakar, however I assure, this point is official. Based off the Carrera 4 GTS, the Dakar has 2 inches of added ground clearance in its basic setup, and also a high setting can increase the vehicle by an additional 1.2, for an optimum flight elevation of 7.5 inches. This adjustability isn’t attained via an air suspension, either; Porsche customized the 911’s optional front-end hydraulic lift system and also mounted it on the back axle. By the way, the added room needed for the hydraulic configuration is just one of the reasons that the 911 Dakar does not have rears.
The no-back-seat strategy additionally conserves weight. The 911 Dakar pointers the ranges at 3,552 extra pounds, or a little 16 greater than a Carrera 4 GTS (with the transmission). That’s quite outstanding, taking into consideration every one of the Dakar’s attachments. Porsche additionally offered its off-roader the carbon fiber hood from the GT3– awful nostrils and also all– plus light-weight product on the roof covering and also back wing to alleviate some of the added heft.
Most Importantly, the Dakar’s suspension has more powerful dampers and also longer web links, and also the staggered 19- inch front and also 20- inch wheels come basic with Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain And also tires. You’ll discover 245/45 s in advance and also 295/40 s out back, and also the tires have a 9-millimeter step deepness and also dual-carcass layout for much better longevity. Pirelli P No summer season tires are readily available as a no-cost choice, however begin. Do not do that.
Regardless of the raised suspension traveling and also meaningful tires, the 911 Dakar’s on-road flight high quality is stiffer than you could visualize for something made for the dust. It’s even more similar to a street-spec 911 Carrera, which indicates points like pitch and also dive under velocity and also stopping aren’t a trouble– ditto body roll. The guiding is as crisp below as it remains in various other 911 s, the vehicle’s managing capabilities actually just restricted by the minimized asphalt hold of the all-terrain rubber. The basic steel brakes are flawlessly skilled below, too, and also no, Porsche does not provide a carbon-ceramic upgrade.
Like the basic Carrera 4 GTS, the 911 Dakar utilizes a twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-six engine with 473 horse power and also 420 pound-feet of torque, coupled with an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission and also four-wheel drive. On sidewalk, the Dakar will certainly strike 60 miles per hour in 3.2 secs– the like a rear-wheel-drive Carrera GTS– and also it’ll peak at 149 miles per hour. You can just maintain it at max flight elevation up to 105 miles per hour, so do not attempt to v-max this point on crushed rock roadways.
You must certainly introduce it off-road. Porsche crafted a brand-new Rallye Release Control system that permits for even more off-the-line wheel spin than regular. There’s an entire different Rallye drive setting, which rejiggers the all-wheel-drive torque split to offer it a more powerful back prejudice, and also loosens up the reins on the grip control, deliberately enabling even more tail-happy shenanigans. Hold the PSM switch on the dashboard for a couple of secs to totally disable the grip control and also the 911 Dakar develops into a complete criminal– albeit one that’s extremely simple to manage. Quick, receptive guiding allows you make tiny adjustments to maintain the 911 in line, and also the rear-biased power distribution with side torque-vectoring ways you can manage the back side’s playfulness with the throttle.
Click the drive setting dial to the best again to gain access to Off-Road setting, which instantly elevates the suspension to its highest possible ground clearance. This additionally secures the all-wheel-drive system right into a 50/50 front/rear split, though the side-to-side torque vectoring throughout the back axle stays energetic. Go one action better and also air down the Pirelli tires, and also the Dakar will certainly remain in full-on dune strike setting.
Porsche obtained the 911 Turbo’s cooling system, consisting of a set of huge, 650- watt air conditioning followers, to assist take care of air movement and also since the layout of its facility intercooler is much less most likely to be harmed off-road than those of various other 911 s. The GTS’ facility radiator was additionally gotten rid of to permit the improved front fascia. The Dakar has stainless-steel underbody security for when you bang the nose down on a dune, and also brand-new consumptions and also air filters assist alleviate all the dust and also dirt you’ll no question kick up. If points actually fail (not actually, ideally), intense red tow hooks at the front and also back must make healing a cinch.
I can not bear in mind the last time I had this much enjoyable off-road. Remain in the throttle and also the Dakar will certainly claw up any kind of incline, leap the crest and after that kick up significant plumes of sand when you sling it sidewards at the end of capital. During, the 3.0-liter engine barks behind you, the transmission holding 2nd equipment to maintain the throttle reaction sharp.
The most effective point I can state concerning this experience is that, on sand and also crushed rock, the Dakar still seems like a911 It’s simple to manage. It never ever seems like it’s going to obtain far from you. It deals with you, egging you on go much faster and also much faster. Like a Carrera 4 GTS is on-road, the Dakar is equally as skilled in the dust.
It’s equally as simple to deal with, as well. The Dakar comes requirement with one-piece carbon-fiber container seats, though you can choice in 18- method flexible chairs if you choose. Or else, it’s all your regular 911 things in the cabin: Porsche Interaction Administration technology on a receptive and also vivid touchscreen, electronic screens flanking a huge analog tachometer and also a degree of fit and also coating that maintains this vehicle without rattles, also when you’re drinking it to little bits over rutted roadways.
However, that’s to be anticipated provided the Dakar’s outrageous price: $223,450 consisting of $1,450 for location, or, for contrast, somewhat much less than a brand-new 911 GT3 RS. Not that this issues, naturally. With just 2,500 predestined for worldwide usage, Porsche will certainly have no worry marketing every Dakar it can make.
My largest hope is that individuals that acquire the 911 Dakar in fact spec it in great shades and also drive the snot from it; not simply garage this point and also flaunt it from time to time at their neighborhood Cars & & Coffee. The Dakar is amusing and also silly, and also there’s absolutely nothing else like it when driving today. If you do not allow it play in the sand, you’ll be doing this 911 an injustice.
Relevant video clip: