The Porsche 911 is headed off-road with lifted suspension and intensive development programme taking it across the globe.
Update: The new Porsche 911 Dakar has been fully revealed, along with Australian pricing.
It’s been spied multiple times over the last year, but Porsche’s poorly kept secret is now official: an off-road version of the 992-generation 911 is imminent, and will be revealed at the Los Angeles Motor Show on 17 November. The 911 Dakar, as it will be known, is coming, and it will be a rival for the new Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato in a new and unique segment of off-road supercars.
The name is a reference to the marque’s breakthrough victory in the 1984 Paris-Dakar rally, using a modified 911 produced under the codename 953. This was the first 911 variant to ever be officially equipped with a four-wheel-drive system and the brand returned to win in the event again in 1986, using a specially prepared version of the 959.
The new 911 Dakar has undergone extensive testing off-road, Porsche claims, along with the Nurburgring development evident in the spy shots we’ve seen of the car over the last 12 months.
Porsche says that over 10,000 kilometres of off-road testing has been conducted. A lot of that has taken place at the Chateau de Lastours test track – a facility in southern France that many teams competing in the Dakar today use to develop and test their vehicles ahead of the rally. However, testing on ice and snow in the Arctic circle has also been conducted by two-time world rally champion Walter Rohrl.
The off-road development stage has been instrumental in fine tuning the new suspension setup used by the 911 Dakar, the technology of which has not been revealed just yet. However, the raised ride height is likely to be adjustable, possibly using a developed version of the Porsche Active Suspension Management with Air Suspension and Levelling used on the Panamera.
Arctic circle testing in Arjeplog in Northern Sweden was conducted to calibrate the car’s traction control and stability systems, while further testing in the sand dunes of Dubai and Morocco has seen the 911 Dakar put through its paces in regards to approach and departure angles and high heat.
The first official images of the car reveal little more than we’ve already seen in spy shots. The 992-generation 911’s bodywork receives only light modifications to accommodate the new, large wheels shod with all-terrain tyres and the additional ride height is also very clear.
Porsche has not issued any technical details relating to the car’s powertrain either, though from fuel consumption figures, preliminary data suggests that the 911 Dakar claims ever so slightly better fuel economy than the four-wheel-drive GTS model.
It’s all but certain that the 911 Dakar will use the 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged flat-six engine of the various Carrera models in the current 911 line-up, meaning a power output somewhere between 280kW and 350kW is likely.