We refuse nothing to Walter Röhrl, the double world rally champion turned ambassador and Porsche test and development driver.
It was enough for the German pilot to express his enthusiasm to the decision-makers of the brand, after driving this strange raised 911, for the situation to be unblocked.
For ten years, Thomas Krickelberg, head of development of the 911, and his team had been desperate to be vetoed by a risk-averse sales and marketing management.
She did not have to regret it since the limited series of 2,500 numbered copies is almost already sold out, in just a few weeks of marketing.
Another version is already being studied, proof that the concept of this sports car with a rear overhang engine is inexhaustible.
Started with the previous generation 991, the genesis of this very special 911 was far from being a calm river.
Unable to have a coupé, the engineers thus began their work with a convertible taken from the chain.
And since it was written that nothing would be easy for them, even the choice of name gave a hard time.
The initial idea of christening it “Safari”, in reference to the exploits of the 911 in the African event during the 1970s, came up against the refusal of the Indian manufacturer Tata, owner of the name.
After negotiation with ASO, the company organizing the event bearing the name of the capital of Senegal, the name "Dakar" prevailed.
A wise decision which refers to the two successes of Porsche in the African classic in 1984 and 1986.
The 911 Dakar equipped with the optional roof rack.
The Dakar really plays on the springs of nostalgia.
At first glance, this version passes for the granddaughter of the 911s entered in the African events.
This is even more true with the decoration similar to those of the cars entered at the East African in the early 1970s (+ €4,200) or at the Martini of 1978 (+ €6,000) or those of the Dakar victories with René Metge (+ €26,280 with the carbon roof and various equipment).
The recipe, simple, is the one that Audi, for example, uses for its Allroad models.
From a widened body of the 911 Carrera 4 GTS, the Dakar adopts the panoply of the perfect adventurer based on wheel arches underlined with a black plastic bead, side sill protections in steel, front shoes and back and a partially streamlined base.
It adds an off-road approach and exit angle greater than that of the Cayenne thanks to its short wheelbase.
A performance obtained when the long-travel suspensions are in the high position.
In this case, already raised by 50 mm as standard compared to a Carrera equipped with the sports chassis, the ground clearance gains another 30 mm to reach 191 mm.
A position that it can hold up to 170 km/h.
Beyond, that is to say up to 240 km/h, the speed authorized by the Pirelli Scorpion tires with large studs and reinforced sidewalls developed specifically for the car, the ground clearance returns to its initial position.
Porsche has left nothing undone: in case the beast gets stuck, hooks at the front and rear will allow the Dakar to be towed.
If the situation becomes really critical, it will even be possible to count on sand removal plates (+ 246 €) and a folding shovel (+ 181 €), provided you have checked the option roof rack with projectors invoiced 5,400 euros.
In direct contact with the road
Despite these modifications, weight gain is limited to ten kilos thanks to the use of a front bonnet and a fixed rear wing in carbon fiber reinforced plastic, but also reduced soundproofing, a thinned glazing and the removal of the rear seats.
This translates from the first kilometers into the feeling of being in direct contact with the road and its imperfections.
The Dakar turns its back on the sanitized world of the 992. Vibratory lifts and the sound of the flat-six sport exhaust invade the cabin and give the impression of driving a racing car.
This is even truer with the rally sport pack (+ €3,558) combining a roll bar, safety harnesses and a fire extinguisher.
Don't assume that the Dakar particle made the 911 uncomfortable.
Due to softened suspension springs for going off the beaten path, body movements are greater.
The Sport mode of the piloted suspension stems them, at the cost of a certain firmness.
By turning the rotary knob on the steering wheel to the right, two new driving modes can be activated: “rally” for soft ground and “offroad” for sandy and rocky ground.
The first accompanies us for a few dance steps on an icy track, near Zell Am See, the Austrian stronghold of the Porsche family.
We discover a 911 equipped with a more permissive rear axle but which is very easily tamed thanks to the efficiency of its electronic systems including four-wheel drive and steering and controlled anti-roll bars.
A ride with the great Röhrl finally convinced us:
the Dakar embarks on wide drifts perfectly controlled by coordinated action at the steering wheel and the accelerator.
At the wheel of this 911 that he has already ordered, the German champion seems to find a new youth.
The 911 Dakar with the East African Safari 1974 livery. Porsche
What if that was the 911 today?
A versatile grand touring car, capable of taking you anywhere and giving you thrills the first time you get off the beaten track.
It's priceless these days.
Engine: twin-turbocharged flat-6
Displacement: 981 cc
Power: 480 hp at 6,500 rpm
Torque: 570 Nm from 2,300 to 5,000 rpm
Transmission: Integral, Auto box.
Dimensions (L/W/H): 4530 x 1864 x 1338mm
Trunk: 132 liters
Weight: 1,605 kg
Performance (0-100 km/h): 3.4 seconds
Speed: 240 km/h
Consumption: 11.3 l/100 km
CO2 emissions (Mixed EU): 256 g/km