With off-roading appearing to be more popular than ever, Porsche is preparing to cater to the needs of those who don’t wish to step out of their sportscar while taking on the trails. Enter the Porsche 911 Dakar (or Safari, as the name is still tentative), a rough terrain special that is expected to debut in the coming months.
Test vehicles of the new Porsche 911 Dakar have been around for quite a while. And the latest prototype sighting took place on the streets of Stuttgart, the carmaker’s home city. As such, we can get pretty close to the test car, whose moderate black cladding and black tape-style camouflage seem to conceal the production version.
YouTuber DrGumoLunatic filmed the Porsche while riding shotgun in a Tesla and we get multiple angles of the test car, close-ups included.
When will the Porsche 911 Dakar debut?
The official introduction of the 911 Dakar is expected to take place by the end of the year, thus resulting in a 2023 model. This would probably make the vehicle the final 992.1 model. As such, the release would keep Porschephilles busy before the expected 2023 introduction of the electrified 992.2 911 mid-cycle facelift (for the 2024 model year).
For one, a recent official announcement from Porsche talked about the November’s Icons of Porsche regional event in Dubai, which will see the release of an unnamed new model that “is well-positioned to become another icon amongst the adventure-driven Porsche communities of the Middle East and beyond”. And it doesn’t take too much dot-connecting work to expect the vehicle in question to be the Dakar.
The tech side of the 911 Dakar (Safari)
The 911 Dakar will mix a few extra inches of ground clearance with AWD, and plastic protection elements, while active suspension should handle rough terrain and twisty asphalt sections alike. In addition, its still-covered rear wing might revive some 1980s styling cues (more on this below).
However, given the higher center of gravity, we’re not expecting the all-wheel drive special to feature the Turbo’s 3.8L twin-turbo boxer. Instead, the also-twin-turbocharged 3.0L flat-six serving the Carrera models and the GTS (up to 473 hp or 480 PS) should be the motor of choice.
The rallying pedigree of the 911
The upcoming Porsche 911 Dakar is no mall-crawling trend following. Instead, Porsche has a rich heritage when it comes to rally cars, with an important part of this involving the 911. Of course, other models, such as the 1981 924 GTS were involved and you can see German racer Walter Rohrl presenting the best of the lot in the second YouTube video below.
And while the German automaker’s 1960s and 1970s rallying 911s came in RWD form, the first AWD Neunelfer of the sort was the 1984 911 Paris-Dakar, which is also referred to as the 953 or the 911 4×4.
Porsche further developed the AWD concept, with the 959 being the perfect machine for it. And the motorsport version of the supercar took the Paris Dakar title home in 1986. As a result of the motorsport laurels, in 1988, the carmaker introduced all-wheel drive to production 911s.
Speaking of which, the idea of a production 911 with off-roading appetite has been around for decades, with Porsche even building the 911 Safari concept early last decade—plus the myriad of aftermarket-lifted 911s like this recent 911 Safari Sportsman. Nevertheless, the show car, which was based on a 991.1 model, wasn’t revealed until 2020 when the company included it in a series of previously secret show cars known as Porsche Unseen.
Meanwhile, we’ll remind you that Lamborghini is also releasing a rough terrain special based on its V10 supercar. Dubbed Huracan Sterrato (like the concept that previewed it), this has been spied on multiple occasions and could also debut by the end of the year.
Update [September 19, 2022]: Here’s a production version of the Sterrato that was recently spotted exiting the Sant’Agata Bolognese factory, with the camo hiding little from us.