2024 Porsche 911 Dakar Pros
– This might be the best iteration of the legendary 911 ever.
– Blisteringly fast, dead sexy, and plain old fun.
2024 Porsche 911 Dakar Cons
– Only 2,500 examples will be made.
I’ve had the utmost pleasure and privilege over the last 20+ years where I’ve driven one or more examples of each of the 911’s generations, from a 1973 2.7 RS to a 991.2 GT2 RS, as well as a few extraordinary 356 pre-911 Porsche. But above all, the 992.2 911 Dakar stands out as the most insane of them all.
This exclusive model, limited to just 2,500 units, is a true testament to the limitless potential of the 911 concept. The Dakar pays homage to Porsche’s first overall victory with a 953 in the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally and it’s simply and bloody brilliant. It’s more than that; it’s crazy good fun. The 911, as we all know, is a serious high-performance sports car, like a Volvo among premium sedans, whereas a Lamborghini Huracan is akin to a Subaru WRX within the sport compact car segment. The Dakar however is a cross between a Cayenne S Transsyberia (WRX) and a 911 GTS (Volvo S90), ground clearance and mega speed included.
Rising to the challenge
The Dakar’s ground clearance is one of the car’s standout features, being 50 mm higher than a 911 Carrera with sports suspension. The innovative lift system further raises the car by 30 mm when needed, offering a ground clearance, of up to 191 mm, and ramp angle on par with a number of conventional SUVs. This setting, crucial for off-road adventures, remains active up to 170 km/h before the car reverts to its standard height. I did not experience the self-lowering speed-induced drop. Truth be told, I spent most of the week trotting about in the highest ride height and only two things change.
One is of no fault to the 911 Dakar. This was my first experience driving a 911 shod with winter tires. A skirmish rear-end is not something I’ve come to expect from a Porsche especially under mild acceleration. The other is that, although the sightlines from the driver’s seat remain the same, the forward view is more like that of a Macan. Dynamically however, it’s still a 911.
In other words, despite the Pirelli P-Zero winter tires and increased ride height, the Dakar tracks, grips, responds, and remains as or more stable than most other sports cars. Sporty off-road capabilities would be further accentuated by included Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus tires, which are cut-resistant and ideal for challenging terrains. But even without, I ventured off-road and went mild mudding with the Dakar. Two things happened: I felt absolutely terrible about covering a $280,000 Porsche in mud and I giggled uncontrollably the whole time. I sadly did not video the mud passes but did take a few pictures after the first run – but not after the second or the third…
In my video review, I state that the Dakar starts out as a GTS, which is only true based on the provided output numbers. Under the hood, the flat 3.0L biturbo 6-cylinder engine produces 473 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, enabling the Dakar to sprint to 100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds. Interestingly, its top speed is capped at 240 km/h due to the all-terrain tires. This is SERIOUSLY quick, in fact on par with the GTS for the simple reason that the mighty Dak is only about 25 lbs heavier.
The Dakar’s impressive performance is supported by a suite of features including the 8-speed PDK, Porsche all-wheel drive, rear-axle steering, and engine mounts from the 911 GT3. The car is as dynamic on sand and loose surfaces as it is on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, thanks to these features and two new driving modes: Rallye and Offroad, which complement Sport, Normal, and Wet.
Despite my brief venture off the beaten path, I could not, nor would have dared, push the 911 Dakar anywhere near beyond 25% of its actual capabilities but I would have loved too. Out of the box, the car is fitted with underbody and suspension protection, and if all doesn’t go according to plan, the handsomest red aluminum towing hooks I’ve ever seen.
Livery is best
Aesthetically, the 911 Dakar cannot be mistaken for any other 911. It features a CFRP lightweight rear spoiler, CFRP front luggage compartment lid, widened wheel wells, and its side air intakes are protected against flying rocks by stainless steel grilles. Factor in Dakar wheels and a 911 has never looked more like a toy.
That is, unless the optional Rallye Design Package, an absolute visual treat, is specified. It offers a two-tone paint finish in White/Gentian Blue Metallic and the option for customers to choose a race number. The “Roughroads” lettering and rally stripes in red and gold on the doors are reminiscent of the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally winner which sported “Rothmans” as a sponsor. Truth be told, the tester’s Shade green paint selection is the only, albeit mild, visual letdown. I’ll leave at that.
The 911 Dakar’s interior features full bucket seats and lightweight elements, Race-Tex surfaces with decorative stitching in Shade Green. In nearly all other aspects, the Dakar’s cabin is all 911.
My favorite 911 ever?
I look back on the images, watch my mediocre-at-best video, think back to all of the 911s I’ve driven and sincerely think that it’s my all-time favorite. I have not yet had the opportunity of sampling a 911 S/T but even so, the let-your-down-and-nail-it approach to the Dakar is extremely addictive and refreshing. I won’t even say anything about my usual preference for a manual gearbox over the PDK – irrelevant here.