Porsche will use this month’s 2022 Los Angeles auto show to debut a new member of its 911 family, the 911 Dakar.
The car is the off-road-ready 911 variant spotted testing over the past year and previously thought to be called a 911 Safari.
The new name is a nod to the gruelling Dakar Rally, in which Porsche took a victory in its first attempt back in 1984 using a 911-based 953 rally car. It was the first time a 911 had been fitted with all-wheel drive.
Porsche is saving details on the 911 Dakar until the reveal but the positioning of the vents at the rear of the prototypes suggests the model is running the twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-6 shared with the various Carrera models. In the 911 Carrera GTS, the engine delivers a stout 473 hp.
The prototypes also feature widened wheel arches, increased ground clearance, and all-terrain tires. A rugged suspension will almost certainly be fitted to ensure the car can handle rough surfaces at speed.
The famous Château de Lastours test track in southern France was used to test the car’s performance in rally conditions, with successful racing driver and Porsche tester Romain Dumas taking time behind the wheel. The site is where most teams that compete in the Dakar Rally also test their vehicles.
“I knew what a 911 could do on the road but I was absolutely stunned by how well the car performed here on the loose,” Dumas said in a statement.
Porsche said it conducted more than 6,000 miles of testing in such rough conditions, including up 160-foot dunes in the deserts of Dubai and Morocco, where temperatures reached 113 degrees F, as well as on frozen lakes in northern Sweden during the winter. On the slippery surfaces, rally legend Walter Röhrl hopped behind the wheel.
“The car is incredibly fun to drive,” Röhrl said. “Everything works so precisely and calmly.
The 911 Dakar will make its debut on Nov. 16. Expect sales to start in the first half of 2023.
Fellow Volkswagen Group brand Lamborghini is also set to unveil an off-road-ready Huracán shortly. The high-riding supercar is confirmed to debut in early December during 2022 Art Basel Miami.
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