Rally-ready Porsche 911 Safari convertibles aren’t very common, but if you want one, you can usually find one or build one. The car you see here, however, is not a convertible. This is the 2023 Porsche 911 Dakar, riding high with big suspension lift and all-terrain tires straight from the factory. And that would be rare, as only 2,500 are slated for production worldwide.
By now, you must have seen a lot of spy photos, or more recently, teaser images of Porsches. This 911’s mission is to tackle the road less traveled by and to do it successfully, you need ground clearance. The 911 Dakar uses a recalibrated suspension that lifts the car 2 inches, but a special lift system adds another 1.2 inches when needed. That’s an additional 3.2 inches over the standard 911 Carrera, giving the Dakar similar ground clearance to many conventional SUVs. The lift system can be used at speeds up to 105 mph, where the 911 Dakar is lowered to its default setting. Top speed is 150 mph.
That’s an electronically limited top speed, set to maintain the special Pirelli Scorpion all-terrain tires built specifically for the 911 Dakar. They are 245/45 series 19 inches at the front with 295/40 series 20 inch tires at the rear. They are designed for all terrain, but are still rated Z for rigidity and capable of handling paved surfaces. For drivers looking for something more specialized, summer performance tires or snow tires are optional.
The 911 Dakar is certainly capable of reaching its top speed. Using a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six produces 473 horsepower (353 kilowatts) – the same output found in the 911 GTS. It goes to all four wheels via Porsche’s eight-speed PDK gearbox, and with the help of launch control, can reach 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. By the way, Porsche gave the 911 Dakar two new driving modes – Off-Road and Rallye. As you can imagine, Off-Road is designed for rougher terrain and automatically adopts a higher riding altitude. Rallye is for loose surfaces, sending more power to the rear wheel for faster fun.
Whether on-road or off, standard edition Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control and rear axle steering help keep the 911 Dakar embedded. That’s further enhanced by an engine mount borrowed from the 911 GT3, and a dedicated Rallye Launch Control allows slight wheel spin for optimal acceleration on loose ground. The spoiler remains at the rear, while the CFRP hood from GT3 is used in front.
For those seeking a different kind of off-road adventure, the 911 Dakar is available with a roof awning and a cargo basket that can hold 92 pounds. It complements body enhancements such as wide fenders, stainless steel design features, and red aluminum tow hooks to give the Dakar a proper off-road/rally look.
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The optional Rallye Design Package further adds to the rally feel with a two-tone finish and a starting number on the side between 1 and 999. 911 Dakar buyers also have exclusive access to purchase a Porsche Design Dakar themed watch.
Factory off-road fun in a Porsche doesn’t come cheap. Prices for the 2023 Porsche 911 Dakar start at $223,450 including destination fees. It will arrive at US dealers in the spring of 2023.