Ending years of rumors and speculation, Porsche has confirmed the first series-produced off-road-focused variant of the 911 is around the corner. Developed as a tribute to vintage rally cars, the 911 Dakar will make its debut during the 2022 edition of the Los Angeles auto show.
Porsche recently sent a pair of heavily-modified 911s to climb a volcano in Chile; this is not that, and the two projects are unrelated. Instead, the Dakar receives a lifted suspension system and several model-specific styling cues like wheel arch flares. The cars depicted in the firm's preview images are covered in camouflage, so we'll need to wait until the veil comes off in the City of Angels to see the Dakar in the metal.
In the meantime, the German company shed light on how it created a 911 that can be driven across a desert. Its engineers tortured the Dakar off the pavement for over 6,000 miles. They took it to the French track that rally teams used to test their race cars, to frozen lakes located in Sweden near the Arctic Circle, and to scorching deserts in Morocco as well as near Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Rally champion Walter Röhrl and Porsche works driver Romain Dumas were among the pilots that helped put the Dakar through its paces.
"No Porsche customer will believe all the things you can do with this car before they’ve driven it themselves," Röhrl concluded.
More details about the Porsche 911 Dakar should emerge in the coming days, and its debut is scheduled for the evening of Nov. 16, 2022 (4:00 AM CET on Nov. 17).
More credible than you might assume
Unless you're a dyed-in-the-wool Porsche fan, "WTF?" probably popped up in the text box above your noggin after you scrolled through the gallery. The idea of letting a 911 loose in the desert might initially sound interesting but wrong, that's what the Cayenne is for, but it's certainly not unprecedented. Porsche built several 911-based rally cars in the 1980s and one took first place in the 1984 edition of the grueling Paris-Dakar. The coupe's list of modifications was similar to the Dakar's: called 953 internally, it rode on a lifted suspension system and featured four-wheel-drive. In hindsight, the lessons learned from the 953 project permeated the 959 supercar, which won the 1986 Paris-Dakar.