2023 Porsche 911 Dakar Is a Rally Car for the Road
Only 2,500 of these unique high-riding German sports cars will be built.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
The off-road-friendly Porsche 911 is no longer limited to historic race cars or aftermarket modifications. The 2023 Porsche 911 Dakar is a high-riding Neunelfer straight from the factory, although you'll probably have to call your dealership while you're reading this if you want to scoop one up.
Porsche on Thursday unveiled the 2023 911 Dakar. Limited to just 2,500 units, the 911 Dakar pays homage to Porsche's first-place finish at the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally. As Porsche notes in the press release, that race was also the first time a 911 came with an all-wheel-drive system, a move that made its way to road cars not long thereafter.
At its most basic, the 911 Dakar is a taller, chunkier 911. It rides approximately 2 inches higher than a standard 911, with a ground clearance of about 6.3 inches. But the Dakar can raise up another 1.1 inches as needed, thanks to a hydraulic lift system similar to the front-nose lift of other 911s. Depending on the suspension's current setting, the approach angle is either 14.2 or 16.1 degrees, with a breakover angle of approximately 19 degrees in its highest mode.
While Pirelli P Zero summer tires are available, they're not exactly ideal off-roading rubber. For those kinds of antics, the 911 Dakar comes standard with Pirelli Scorpion all-terrain tires. Snow tires are available, as well, which again makes a bit more sense than P Zeros.
The 911 Dakar gets its motive force from a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged flat-6 engine producing 473 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque -- the same six-pot that's found in the Carrera GTS. That's enough forward motion to reach 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds, although top speed is limited to 150 mph, since the tires aren't rated for more than that. An eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard, as is rear-wheel steering.
Porsche also beefed up the car in other ways to prepare it for the rigors of proper off-roading. A revised intake housing includes a new air filter. The intercoolers have been changed, as well; the center intercooler has been removed, while the outboard ones were replaced with improved units from the 911 Turbo and Turbo S. The spring rates have been adjusted, and the dampers are taller and more robust.
Stylistically, some elements are unique to this model. There's a fixed rear spoiler, forged aluminum tow hooks, fatter fenders and a new front fascia. To prevent rocks from ruining your day, the side air intakes have stainless steel grilles. A roof basket is optional, and it can hold up to 92 pounds of stuff. That basket offers additional forward lighting, and it connects via a 12-volt socket in the car's roof. The rear seats have been deleted, too.
Since the 2023 Porsche 911 Dakar is limited to just 2,500 units, you'd better hustle if you want to snag one. You'll need your large suitcase of cash packed and ready, too, as the Dakar will set you back a cool $222,000, including $1,450 in destination charges. They'll start reaching dealers in the spring.