Why Off-Road Enthusiasts Will Fall In Love With The Porsche 911 Dakar

The Porsche 911 is a track car, possibly one of the most beloved cars to ever exist, but a car for the pavement nonetheless in most iterations. That is until Porsche introduced the 911 Dakar, an all-wheel drive lifted Porsche that looks like its entire purpose to exist is to drive into a dune as fast as possible. While vehicles like the Ford Raptors and any of the numerous Toyota TRD Pros and Chevy Trail Bosses take existing trucks and SUVs and fit them for situations where pavement is decidedly optional, Porsche goes a different direction with the 911 Dakar by outfitting a car that seemingly wouldn't be caught dead far away from a track. 

The name "Dakar" is derived from the legendary Dakar Rally that takes place every year. Historically, the race stretched from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal but the race route has changed location several times over the years. Porsche has raced specialized cars in the Dakar Rally many times and came to a historic victory in 1984 with a 911 Carrera 3.2. The contemporary 911 Dakar hopes to pay homage to that win and Porsche's other efforts off-road.

All manner of gear and gadgets for off-roading

Mechanically, the 911 Dakar is a lot like other 911s. It's all-wheel drive and is powered by a 473 horsepower flat-6 engine. It can accomplish a zero to 60 miles per hour time of 3.2 seconds. But that's where the similarities stop. The Dakar is limited to a top speed of 149 miles per hour. Although that's not too fast as far as 911s are concerned (the 911 Turbo S can hit 205mph), it's plenty fast enough for a dirt track. The "base" 911 Dakar features 3.14 inches more ground clearance than other 911s as well as unique body cladding to help deflect away dirt, dust, rocks, and other rallying detritus you may come across. Stainless steel inlays and panels all-around help combat any possible corrosion.

Right from the factory, the 911 Dakar can be optioned out with a large number of off-road accessories. The most aesthetically interesting is the roof basket with a second set of headlights that can shine through all the jungles, forests, or deserts you may come across. Porsche also offers a branded jerry can for fuel and a plastic can for drinking water. Optionally, you can also outfit the 911 Dakar with a folding shovel, recovery boards, and even a rooftop tent. Those can come in handy in a pinch, but they also make the Porsche look tough, which has merit by itself in the world of off-roading.