Porsche is building an off-road "Dakar" 911

10th November 2022
Bob Murray

“No Porsche customer will believe all the things you can do with this car before they’ve driven it themselves.” That’s two-time world rally champion Walter Röhrl talking. And the car? A 911 variant, but one we haven’t seen in the range before. The Porsche 911 is going off-road.


It’s to be called the 911 Dakar and will be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show on 16th November. Porsche is billing it as the first two-door sportscar to offer “outstanding” off-road capabilities.

The 911 has never been afraid of getting its boots muddy. Over the decades it’s left the black-top behind for the rough and tumble of trials and rallies many times, most famously in 1984 when the iconic Rothmans-liveried 911 driven by Rène Metge was first car home in that year’s Paris-Dakar rally.


But that car was a factory-modified 911, a four-wheel drive testbed for the 959, and never sold to the public. In contrast the new 911 Dakar seems set to join the range in limited series production, and be sold all around the world.

Which is precisely where it has proven its worth. Testing the 911 Dakar ­– pretty much all Porsche wants to talk about until the full reveal next week – involved some remote and challenging locations, some famous drivers and half a million kilometres, 10,000 (6,200 miles) of them off-road. While the Dakar’s focus will be off-road prowess, it will be street-legal.


Testing went from test track and off-road proving grounds at Weissach to rally stages in France to the sand dunes of Dubai, the deserts of Morocco and the ice and snow of northern Sweden where rally champ (and Porsche brand ambassador) Walter Röhrl was let loose in it.

“The car is incredibly fun to drive,” Röhrl says. “Everything works so precisely and calmly. No Porsche customer will believe all the things you can do with this car before they’ve driven it themselves.”


That is echoed by factory works driver Romain Dumas whom Porsche put behind the wheel for the loose-surface stages at Château de Lastours in France where top rally teams test their cars before events. He told us: “I knew what a 911 could do on the road, but I was absolutely stunned by how well the car performed here on the loose.”

So what will an off-road 911 “Safari” type car of the 992 generation be like? Details to be confirmed but our bet is on a four-wheel-drive Carrera 4S-based machine with raised suspension, roll cage, lots of underbody protection, off-road tyres and heavy-duty springs, wheels and cooling system. Apart from the increased ride height, the pictures show the car to be pretty standard-looking but with a modified spoiler, wheelarch inserts, a roof rack and skid plates.


The four-wheel-drive system, anti-lock brakes and traction control will all have to be recalibrated for driving in low-friction environments. Power? That will be the 992’s turbo flat-six, in likely S tune, so 450PS (336kW). Porsche hints that weight has been kept low (no rear seats etc) so it should fly.

We’ve known for decades that the 911 is as tough as old boots, and now with the 911 Dakar is showing us just how tough. We will get the lowdown on the highest-riding 911 next week.  

  • Porsche

  • 911

  • Dakar

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