2023 Porsche 911 Dakar is how we’d configure it

2023 Porsche 911 Dakar

2023 Porsche 911 Dakar is how we’d configure it: Porsche’s new 911 Dakar for 2023 is an attempt to cash in on the company’s legendary rally pedigree. This week saw the release of a new 911 variation named the 953 that paid tribute to the 1984 Paris-Dakar rally victory of the German automaker. The legendary 959 evolved from that car and won in 1986.

Even while the 2023 911 Dakar won’t be competing like its predecessors, it still has significant enhancements like a 2.0-inch suspension increase, chunky Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain Plus tyres, and stainless steel skid plates to help it overcome difficult terrain. Porsche is only producing 2,500 of the go-anywhere 911, and at a base price of $223,450, collectors are sure to grab them up soon. Yet Porsche included it in its configurator, letting us live out our wildest fantasies and create the ultimate rally 911. The following is the conclusion reached by our editorial staff:

It cost Jack Fitzgerald $246,500 to purchase his Porsche 911 Dakar.

When I was 15 years old, I was strolling along the pit lane at Road America and saw my first safari 911. My brain just couldn’t process what I was witnessing. Have they put wheels on that Porsche? Do the additional taillights and roof railing come standard? I had no doubt about its attractiveness, and I wished its owners put their improvements to good use. While navigating Porsche’s complicated 911 Dakar configuration, I had that car in mind.

I opted for the British Racing Green Paint to Sample, which cost me $12,830, and got the wheels to match. PPFing the entire front end cost me $2700, and I spent an additional $660 to have the base of my external mirrors painted to match. I didn’t like the look of the red brake callipers against the green body, so I shelled out $900 to have them refinished in stealth black. Because of this, I installed Surround View cameras, which will come in handy both in crowded parking lots and in the wilderness.

Besides a $3980 Burmester sound system so I can blast the Proclaimers in high definition, the only interior extras I opted for were a $180 fire extinguisher and a $180 spare tyre. I spent a total of $23,050 on supplementary tools. For the price and the variety of choices, it suits me fine. It’s a bad Porsche doesn’t come with a roof rack and rally headlights from the factory. If only I’d been more careful when choosing my Powerball numbers. Fitzgerald, Jack

To the tune of $254,080, is the Porsche 911 Dakar owned by Caleb Miller.

The base price of a 911 Dakar is over $200,000, so I figured it was worth it to splurge on Porsche’s Paint to Sample programme and add another $12,830 to the price tag. I opted for Viola Purple Metallic ($660) with coordinating accents like wheels and side mirrors. When I realised that the car’s original red brake callipers contrasted with the new paint job, I spent $900 changing them to black and another $430 on silver tailpipes.

To prevent my Dakar’s paint from chipping when passing semi-trucks that kick up pebbles ($2700 front-end protection film) and undesired scratches ($1430 Surround View camera system), I took preventative measures. Puddle lights cost me $370, and custom lit aluminium doorsills set me back $1350; the driver’s side sill features an illuminated 911 silhouette, and the passenger side just reads “Porsche,” with white backdrop light, because I enjoy such frivolous gadgetry.

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Because I am a creature of comfort and because, let’s be honest, the most of the car’s life will be spent tootling around the suburbs running errands, I replaced out the bucket seats for the 18-way adjustable memory sports seats. To keep warm through the bitter Michigan winters, I installed the no-cost optional heated seats and heated steering wheel.

The analogue Porsche Design Subsecond clock that I put in the dashboard cost me another $1120 because, well, it just looks good. Then, to spice up the cabin, I opted for the white tachometer ($420) and the Porsche crest ($340) embossed on the lid of the centre console. So that everything I come into contact with is smooth and silky, I had the air vents ($1800), door panels ($1910), and sun visors (apparently a free add-on) all upholstered in silver-painted leather.

In lieu of exterior carbon-fiber trim, I opted for the $390.00 Burmester surround-sound system and the $390.00 matte carbon-fiber replacement of the inside dashboard trim. My Porsche 911 Dakar, with its $30,630 worth of optional extras, cost a grand total of $254,080, which isn’t as outrageously expensive as I had anticipated but is still an appropriately crazy amount of money for this unique 911. To quote: —Caleb Miller

Irwin’s Porsche 911 Dakar cost $256,080.

Just like you wouldn’t make a Thanksgiving turkey without stuffing it, the 911 Dakar is incomplete without the Rallye Design package. The best element is optional, yet without it the bird is simply another one. While my coworkers’ colour preferences fall anywhere between a KitchenAid mixer and McDonald’s Grimace, I will not pass up the opportunity to paint my 992-S in white with Gentian Blue Metallic.

Porsche offers a Shark Blue Rallye Design interior to those who choose to honour the Paris-Dakar Carrera. The design in the middle of the race bucket seats is beautiful, but the adjustable sports seats are considerably more comfortable. It will rapidly revert to its original black colour from normal use, so I didn’t bother repainting the wheels, brake callipers, or exhaust pipes. You may obtain the heated seats and leather steering wheel from the GT Sport trim level without spending any extra money on the inside.

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I’ve decided to spend the extra $180 on the optional fire extinguisher for no good reason at all. The Jones Girls’ “Nights over Egypt” and Bubbles’ “Bidibodi Bidibu” are just two examples of the international mashup that may be enjoyed on the Burmester sound system (for an additional $3,980). Future upgrades include a genuine Rothmans vinyl to replace the Roughroads stand-in and an LED light pod for the nose. It would be ideal to have the hard-shell rooftop tent that Porsche will be selling later this year, but it appears that it is incompatible with the roof rack.

When some Bronco driver challenges me with, “That vehicle can’t make it through here,” having a tent handy will be a relief. A special-edition Porsche 911 costs $256,080, then the price of If something drops in the forest, you’ll hear it. I can only image the tears and laughs. Author: Austin Irwin

The history

An off-road Porsche 911 might sound like the crazy ravings of a tuner with too much time on his hands and too many well-heeled customers to the uninitiated. However, the ability to take a 911 off-road (and we don’t mean simply driving a 911 Carrera 4S to a trailhead in the woods) is ingrained in the design of the car from its inception.

The foundation for what would become a brief but remarkable factory off-road racing career was built during the very first motorsport event the Porsche 911 ever participated in. Porsche’s works team opted to enter a 911, with only minor modifications from stock, in the 1965 Monte-Carlo Rally, less than two years after the 911’s premiere at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show and only months after its market sale.

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However, winning wasn’t the goal, as Porsche also fielded a mid-engined 904 that finished in second place. Instead, the new 911 was designed to be both a gentleman’s sports car and a daredevil’s race car, a notion spearheaded by Huschke von Hanstein, who wore two hats at Porsche as the company’s racing director and press officer. The campaign’s ideal setting was decided upon as the glitzy, international Monte-Carlo event.

As is often the case with the Monte-Carlo Rally, held in January in the French Alps, the asphalt race circuit was coated in snow that year. Herbert Linge and Peter Falk, driving a Porsche 911, battled through the rain and wind to finish the race in fifth place—not bad for an advertising ploy. Importantly, the result validated the 911’s status as a formidable rally car, which ultimately led to three consecutive wins at Monte-Carlo (1968–1970).

It wasn’t until the 1970s that Porsche trained the 911 for all-out off-road rally racing, torturing a specially outfitted car across the thousands of kilometres of cold-blooded, untamed wild areas that featured in the East African Safari Rally. It was here the 911 SC Safari car was born. It never won, despite numerous efforts, although it came very near in its most memorable race, held in 1978.

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Porsche’s off-road rallying efforts with the 911 peaked in the 1980s, when the company tasted its first true win. 911 4×4 won the Paris-Dakar rally in 1984 with Rene Metgé and Dominique Lemoyne at the wheel, using the 911’s first-ever all-wheel drive. The 959, which would go on to become one of the most revered high-tech supercars of all time, had the AWD system and went on to win the Dakar Rally in 1986.

2023 Porsche 911 Dakar
2023 Porsche 911 Dakar

From there, Porsche’s rally participation dwindled, leaving future 911 rally efforts to privateers, but the legacy was etched in stone and would never be forgotten. The Porsche 911 Safari vehicle has become something of a resurrected legend among rally and off-road fans as well as motorsport and automotive fans in general. Off-road Porsche sports car designs have seen a revival because to renewed interest from do-it-yourselfers, restomod companies, and even would-be polar explorers.

Porsche considered, albeit secretly, reviving the 911 Safari for the 21st century. It took a 991-generation 911 and modified it into a prototype Vision Safari based on the East African Safari automobiles from 1978. However, Porsche did not reveal the existence of this concept vehicle until 2020, when it unveiled many previously unrevealed design concepts as part of the Unseen project.

What’s in the car

Porsche debuted the considerably more formal 911 Dakar at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show, ten years after the Vision Safari. Even while the reality of a factory-built off-road 911 for customers still comes as a surprise, this is a project with the gale-force winds of a perfect storm at its back.

Porsche has gotten more involved in off-road(ish) activities with SUVs, models like the Taycan Cross Turismo, rooftop camping experiences, and factory accessories, in addition to the aforementioned modern upsurge in interest in the 911 Safari car and the accompanying third-party reinterpretations. To sum it all up, it’s easy to see why, 38 and a half years after Dakar 1984, this event is happening now.

In comparison to the 2022 911 volcano climber duo, the limited-edition 911 Dakar falls short, but it does gain a lift of 2 inches (50 mm) compared to a 911 Carerra with sport suspension. The Dakar’s ground clearance and breakover angle are comparable to those of an SUV thanks to the improved suspension system, which can raise the front and rear by an additional 1.2 in (30 mm) when cranked to their highest settings. In order to maintain 911-like handling and stability, the Dakar’s system automatically lowers the vehicle to normal height once the speed reaches 105 mph (169 km/h).

No matter how unruly the ground is, the 911 Dakar’s specially engineered Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus tyres will lodge themselves in the soil and take you exactly where you want to go, when you want to go there. These 245/45 ZR 19 front and 295/40 ZR 20 rear tyres have a 9 mm tread depth and reinforced sidewalls for enduring off-road performance.

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The Dakar is propelled forward over a variety of terrains including sand, rock, mud, and macadam by a 3.0 litre twin-turbo boxer six engine, an eight-speed PDK transmission, and all-wheel drive as standard equipment. This setup generates 473 horsepower (350 kW), and 420 lb-ft (570 Nm) of torque. In 3.4 seconds, the car can go from 0 to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometres per hour), though hopefully not through any mushy, tire-sucking gloop. To save the AT tyres from being overworked, top speed is capped at 150 mph (240 km/h).

Porsche has included two additional driving modes at the stroke of a button to instantly adjust the 911’s primary systems and components for rough terrain. The Dakar’s “Off-Road” setting performs exactly what the name implies: it raises the vehicle to its maximum height and prepares the drivetrain for maximum traction over unimproved, rocky ground. The “Rallye” mode shifts the all-wheel-drive system to favour the rear wheels, making it easier to maintain control on sections of rough, uneven ground.

Rallye Launch Control, unique to both modes, helps the vehicle get up to speed faster when the ground is soft and the tyres are slipping around. Furthermore, standard rear-axle steering and body roll-inhibiting Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control aid in off-road stability and manoeuvrability.

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Steel front, rear, and side sill protection, flared fenders, and front and rear aluminium tow hooks are some of the other off-road-specific upgrades. The optional roof rack can hold up to 92 pounds (42 kilogrammes) and features built-in lights; it just plugs into a 12-volt outlet on the roof. Porsche also offers the 911 Dakar with the option of a newly introduced rooftop tent, transforming the car into a high-performance overland micro-camper unlike anything else that is likely to be parked within hundreds of miles of camp.

The external package includes a fixed rear wing and the carbon hood from the 911 GT3 with functional nostrils.

Those who like to flaunt their 1984 Dakar 911 4×4 connection even more can do so by purchasing the optional Rallye Design Package, which brings back styling cues from the world of rallying in the 1980s. The full-width taillight strip and trademarked “Roughroads” lettering are included in this package, as well as the two-tone white and “Gentian Blue Metallic” paint job, painted white wheels, and “race” number selected by the buyer (between 0 and 999).

To get the 911 Dakar down to its minimum weight of 3,552 pounds, Porsche eliminated the rear seats entirely (1,611 kg). Both of the bucket seats are covered in green-stitched Race-Tex.

To prepare for its debut at the LA Auto Show this week, Porsche put the 911 Dakar through a rigorous worldwide testing regimen, which included four-wheeling through the scorching sands of Dubai and Morocco, the icy snow of Sweden, and the winding, hilly dirt of France’s Château de Lastours rally testing grounds. Not to mention the roughly 300,000 test miles (483,00 km) it logged on pavement to guarantee that every nut and bolt is properly tightened and adjusted for the optimal performance expected of a genuine 911—a 911 that isn’t afraid to get down and dirty.

There will be 2,500 total 911 Dakars produced by Porsche for sale around the globe. A base model will cost at least $223,450 (including shipping, processing, and handling) when it first lands at US dealerships in the spring of 2023.

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