Porsche 911 Dakar arriving in Australia next year

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A limited number of the new Porsche 911 Dakar will be available to buy in Australia from almost half a million dollars.

In 2002, Porsche launched the first-generation Cayenne SUV – a landmark moment for the Stuttgart sports car maker that transformed the brand’s fortunes, returning huge profits. Purists were critical, doubly so when the Cayenne spawned a smaller and equally money-making sibling in the form of the Macan.

But the cash generated by these big selling models has always ensured a steady flow of investment into what has become an increasingly diverse 911 line-up. Perhaps, then, there’s a strong degree of irony to this new model, made possible by the profits generated by the brand’s SUVs. It’s called the Porsche 911 Dakar, and as the name – and its looks – suggest, it’s a 911 developed for off-road use. aria-label="Porsche 911 Dakar 12"

The 911 Dakar will be limited to 2500 units, and orders are now open, with it costing from $491,400 in Australia while the Rallye Design Package adds $54,730. Deliveries are expected from mid-2023.

The car takes inspiration from the victory scored by the Porsche 953 in the 1984 Paris-Dakar rally. And as per the legend created by that car, the 911 Dakar is available with an optional package called the Rally Design Package, equipping the new 911 with a tribute livery.

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The source of power is familiar, being the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre flat six used in the 911 GTS. It develops 353kW and 570Nm of torque, sending power to all four wheels via an eight-speed PDK transmission. All together, it’s capable of propelling the off-road ready 911 Dakar from 0-100km/h in just 3.5 seconds.

But what really makes the 911 Dakar stand out is its new stance, created via a combination of bespoke bodywork and a significantly raised ride height brought about by newly developed suspension technology.

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Its standard ride-height is 50mm higher than that of a 911 Carrera S on sports suspension, but it can be raised by a further 30mm thanks to a four-corner lift system, which the brand claims enables the 911 Dakar to take part in “ambitious off-road adventures.”

The car has been extensively developed off-road, on dirt tracks, desert dunes, snow and ice, as well as on loose surfaces, and the standard fit all-terrain tyres wrapped around 19-inch wheels at the front, and 20-inch items at the rear are more than a nod to this new capability. However, they do mean that Porsche has felt it necessary to electronically limit the top speed of the 911 Dakar to 240km/h (170km/h in the fully-raised suspension mode).

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In anticipation of the rougher, more physically demanding surfaces the 911 Dakar has been tasked with dispatching, it leverages the dynamic engine mounts of the GT3 model, providing a flexible and responsive level of rigidity. It also comes with rear-axle steering and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control anti-roll stabilisation.

Along with this existing technology, Porsche engineers have developed two bespoke drive modes for the Dakar. Rally mode is claimed to be a setup idea for loose, rally-stage like surfaces, delivering a rear-biased all-wheel-drive programme. Offroad mode is specifically for maximum 4×4 capability and clearance. Both of these modes feature a new Rally Launch Control system, too.

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The 911 Dakar’s body kit uses carbon-fibre reinforced plastic panels to keep the car’s weight down. At 1605kg, it’s 10kg heavier than a Carrera 4 GTS with a PDK gearbox. The bonnet is taken from the 911 GT3, but the fixed rear wing is new, as are the wider wheel-arches, the chunky side sills, and the new front and rear bumpers complete with additional underfloor protection and stainless steel protected front grilles.

Other off-road touches include towing lugs front and rear, while the car will also be offered with an optional roof-rack with a 42kg capacity, LED lighting and a 12-volt power outlet. A roof tent option has also been developed.

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The 911 Dakar is a strict two-seater, with a roll cage taking the place of the rear bench. Up front, two full-size bucket seats are equipped, while the cabin is lightly trimmed with Race-Tex surface with green stitching. Treadplates and a dashboard emblazoned with the 911 Dakar badge complete the interior makeover. The car will arrive on Australian roads next year.

James Brodie

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