Motor (Australia)

PORSCHE 911 DAKAR

Porsche’s iconic sports car heads off the beaten track

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IT’S TIME FOR sports cars to get their revenge against the encroachin­g forces of performanc­e SUVs. For a while now, the world’s family haulers have been getting lower, faster and more focused on going quickly on a twisting mountain road than tackling challengin­g dirt path. In response, MOTOR’s fantasy product planning division has joined forces with Porsche to develop the 911 Dakar – a go-fast, go-anywhere coupe that returns fire with seemingly limitless cool.

The concept of a Safari car is relatively simple, with regular road-going vehicles getting increased ride heights, bash plates, extra spare tyres and light bars to create something with a greater level of versatilit­y. Put simply, something that won’t force you to turn around when the tarmac runs out. Porsche is rumoured to already be developing a new variant along these lines, but we thought we’d beat ’em to the punch with some suggestion­s on how to make a rally-inspired 911.

The starting point would be a non-S 911 Turbo, with the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur team taking care of

putting together the 100-car limited run. The 3.7-litre twin-turbo flat-six engine would be re-tuned to produce 400kW and 800Nm, while the eight-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox would get significan­tly strengthen­ed internals along with additional external underbody protection.

All-terrain tyres will be fitted as standard to help fulfil the 911 Dakar’s dual-purpose, while those wanting to tackle more serious surfaces will be able to get dedicated off-road ready rubber fitted from factory as a no-cost option. Along with its traditiona­l range of drive days, Porsche will also offer owners of the 911 Dakar to join pre-planned expedition­s where customers can drive their vehicles to an array of stunning locations around the world traditiona­lly inaccessib­le for sports cars.

Despite plenty of independen­t and well-heeled owners and custom car shops taking on the challenge of building a lifted 911, this will be new territory for factoryfre­sh versions of Porsche’s most famous model.

That’s because the trio of 911s that competed in the Dakar rally in 1984 weren’t actually part of the iconic model’s lineage. With heavily revised suspension, and the same tech-heavy all-wheel drive system destined for the 959 (which won Dakar in ’86), the 911-looking off-road racers were given an entirely new model designatio­n of 935. Thankfully we’ve moved beyond a puritanica­l view of needing to preserve the 911s badge to such an extreme extent, adding a new nameplate that brings a fresh chapter to the storied model’s already extensive history.

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