The Los Angeles Auto Show is upon us, and Porsche is using the opportunity to unveil an all-new 911 variant which celebrates their rally heritage: the 2023 911 Dakar.
This model celebrates Porsche’s historic win in the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally and the 911’s off-road capabilities as a whole. And it does so by going far beyond a simple appearance package, as the 2023 Dakar is backed up by a slew of off-road-ready additions and a power plant ready for the task.
The new Dakar is powered by Porsche’s 3.0-liter twin-turbo Boxer engine, displacing 473 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. It’s put down to the ground through an eight-speed PDK and, one of the most important implementations, the Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive system– an off-road performance boost doubling as a callback to the ‘84 Dakar which saw the first implementation of AWD on a 911. Tallying it all up means a 0-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds, with top track speed limited to 150 mph due to the special off-road tires.
We’re used to hearing about active air ride or suspension upgrades which make sports cars lower and lower, but the Dakar benefits instead from a heightened stance: 50 millimeters (about 2 inches) higher than the 911 Carrera. On top of that, a standard-equipped lift system is capable of going into a “high level” setting, raising the front and rear by an additional 30 millimeters (just over an inch more). This, of course, makes off-pavement traversal that much easier; hitting the trails up to 105 mph at this height. Go any faster and it’ll return to “normal” ride height.
That suspension makes room for a new tire: Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus tires. These were specially developed for the Dakar, measuring out at 245/45ZR19 in front and a beefier 295/40ZR20 in back. These come fitted as standard, but Porsche noted that Pirelli P Zero summer performance and snow tires were also available as options.
Other goodies include rear-axle steering, engine mounts borrowed from the 911 GT3, and the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) system, helping to reduce body roll. Further aiding in off-road versatility are two new drive modes. The first is the aptly titled “Off-Road Mode.” It maximizes traction in sand and rough terrain, the aforementioned “High Level” suspension settings on by default. Then there’s “Rallye Mode,” which biases power to the rear axles– perfect for cutting loose on uneven surfaces.
Keeping appearances up are the fixed rear spoiler, CFRP-made hood (also taken from the GT3), and the large air extractors. Red tow hooks are front and rear, while flared fender arches and rocker panels accentuate the car’s stance. But perhaps one of the most interesting features is the roof-equipped 12-volt socket. This powers the headlights of the optional roof basket, capable of holding 92 lbs of spare equipment, from fuel and water to shovels and recovery boards. And for those overnight adventures, an available roof tent.
The cabin is outfitted with full bucket seats upfront and absolutely no seats in the rear. Lightweight glass is also standard, crafting a curb weight of 3,552 lbs. The Race-Tex upholstery is held together by Shade Green stitching, a hue exclusively available for the Dakar as a exterior color option.
But let’s say this isn’t enough heritage. You want something that takes you back to 1984– not the dystopian nightmare of Orwellian fame, but the introduction of the first Macintosh computer, the release of Van Halen’s Jump, and, of course, Porsche’s first overall victory in the Paris-Dakar Rally. Well, you’ll likely gravitate towards the Rallye Design Package. It starts off with a blue and white two-tone paint job, decorated by a commemorative livery. The numbers on the side can be customer-customized to read anywhere from 1-to-999.
The 2023 Porsche 911 Dakar is currently slated for dealership arrival spring 2023. It’s limited to just 2,500 units globally, starting at $223,450 after delivery. We recently reported on Porsche’s volcano-climbing exploits in a pair of tricked out 911’s, which, in hindsight, was a perfect precursor to the launch of the Dakar.