I drove Porsche’s Dakar 911 – silly paint jobs aside, it was one of the most fun days I’ve had behind the wheel
THEY say money can’t buy taste.
This is never truer than when it comes to cars.
Just because you’ve spent £250,000 on a Lamborghini doesn’t mean you won’t see tooling in it if you wrap it in a Louis Vuitton print.
No one wants to be that fifties guy smoking around in a blue and gold 555 Subaru Impreza.
Even when buying a Porsche, probably the coolest brand in the world, it’s easy to make a mistake.
This is the Porsche 911 Dakar.
Some of you may remember Porsche winning the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally in the well-known Rothmans livery.
To pay tribute without promoting cigarettes, Porsche came up with a so-called “roughroads” livery – and it spoils what is otherwise a brilliant car.
Incidentally, the livery costs a further £18,434, on top of the £173,000 base price for this limited-edition model.
Yes, more than a brand new Vauxhall Corsa.
One of my funnest days behind the wheel
But it hasn’t stopped 70 percent of buyers from ordering a 911 Dakar in the hero color below. Most likely kept as an investment in a climate controlled garage without turning a wheel.
Nonetheless, I think it looks cool.
So I asked to drive this white in the quieter 1971 Safari Rally trim. The car simply looks even better.
Stupid paint jobs aside, this was one of the funniest days I’ve had behind the wheel in a long time.
Just point the car at the biggest sand dune you can find, give it full beans and go surfing.
Climb this dune and then walk again. And again. And again. In a 480 hp sports car. In the Sahara. What a day.
We all know that a 911 GT3 RS is the ultimate trackday toy – well, that’s for people who want to push the limits of the track. People who prefer dirt, sand, gravel, ice – and lots of castles opposite.
What exactly is a 911 Dakar?
Basically, it is a very special 911 GTS. Same 3-litre flat-six engine, eight-speed PDK and all-wheel drive, but with upgraded suspension, cooling and tyres, as well as retuned steering and wheel-slip control.
The usual hydraulic front lift system has been added to all four corners, allowing the 911 Dakar to ride 8cm higher than a standard GTS in “off-road” mode up to 105mph.
This is also good for rocky trails because you have the same ground clearance and ramp angle as a Cayenne SUV. Which is impressive.
Other things to consider. The lightweight CFRP hood, glass and battery come from a GT3 vehicle. The radiator and fan of a Turbo S. The skid plates and wheel arch protection are obviously custom-made.
You can also order a Porsche roof rack with LED lights, a roof tent, jerry cans and a shovel to dig up in case something goes wrong.
Also, the wheels are smaller than a GTS – 19 inches at the front, 20 inches at the rear – to accommodate the chunky sidewall of Pirelli Scorpion tires.
The cabin is typical of a premium 911. Beautifully appointed. The bucket seats are surprisingly comfortable. But I have a grumble.
There are no HANDLES.
If you go off-road with a passenger, they’ll be flung around like a rag doll.
Porsche built a no-limits sports car, which is incredible, but they forgot the basics.
Erase the £18,000 paint job, add some £5 grab bars and you have my perfect Porsche.
KEY FACTS: PORSCHE 911 DAKAR
- Price: £173,000
- engine: 3 liter 6 cylinder turbocharged petrol engine
- power: 480 hp, 570 Nm
- 0-62mph: 3.4 sec
- top speed: 149mph
- business: 25mpg
- CO2: 256g/km
- the end: April
https://www.thesun.ie/motors/10156359/test-drove-porsche-911-dakar-perfect/ I drove Porsche’s Dakar 911 – silly paint jobs aside, it was one of the most fun days I’ve had behind the wheel