Porsche could probably have simply produced the decals and left the rest of the car as standard and still sold all the 911 Dakars it wanted, such is the power of appearances. But Porsche, being Porsche, wanted the function to at least match the form. Of which more in a minute.
For now, you should know that customers can choose to spec their Dakar in silver, black, white, grey or blue or, for that additional £18,434 the 1984 Dakar-rally inspired ‘Rallye Design Package’. In addition, three further decal sets are available, reprising the look of the 911s that took part in the East African Safari Rally in 1971, 1974 and 1978. The Martini colours look best, at least to these eyes, but perhaps owners should think hard before committing to a paint scheme that will attract enormous attention wherever it goes, whether its owner wants it or not. Then again, for many, and maybe even most, that will be the reason for buying the car in the first place. Evidence of this can be found in the fact that so far fully 70 per cent of cars ordered will be delivered in Roughroads livery.
But it’s not just a paint job, not by a very long way. There are fundamental changes here too, not to the 473bhp flat-six engine or the four-wheel drive system sourced from the Carrera 4 GTS upon which the Dakar is based (regrettably no manual is available), but to almost all elements of the chassis.
Fundamentally the car sits 50mm higher than a GTS, which can be raised to 80mm for serious off-roading. Spring rates have been halved and unique twin carcass Pirelli Scorpion tyres developed to provide maximum grip and puncture resistance in the worst imaginable conditions. Their tall sidewalls mean the wheel diameters have dropped by an inch at both ends, so GTS brakes won’t fit, nor will carbon ceramics. So the discs from the Carrera S are used and as the limitations of the tyres also mandate a 149mph speed limiter, they more than suffice. Full underbody protection is provided and the front radiator deleted (while those at the side are from the Turbo to compensate) to improve approach angles. The rear spoiler is unique to the Dakar too.