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The Porsche 911 has a proud history as a legit off-road competitor, from winning Dakar back in 1984 to climbing the world's tallest volcano just last week. But that competitive history has been just that: competition 911s built to task for professional drivers on official off-road courses, tracks and factory-backed missions, mostly in decades long past. Now, in an unprecedented move, Porsche has introduced the 911 Dakar, a limited-edition road-legal 911 sports off-roader meant to rally or overland the day away in the hands of a regular owner before rolling up fashionably late to a five-star dinner ... after a quick run through the car wash, of course.

Porsche itself played with the idea of a 21st century 911 Safari car revival in 2012, albeit in secrecy. It transformed a 991-gen 911 into a working Vision Safari prototype directly inspired by the 1978 East African Safari cars. Unfortunately, that concept car never made a formal debut, and Porsche didn't even make its existence public until it detailed a number of never-before-publicized design studies as part of the Unseen project in 2020.

The Dakar rumbles under power from Porshe's 3.0-liter twin-turbo boxer six teamed with a standard eight-speed PDK transmission and all-wheel drive for 473 hp (350 kW) and 420 lb-ft (570 Nm) of torque. The car can sprint from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.4 seconds, though assuredly not across mushy, tire-sucking gloop. Top speed is limited to 150 mph (240 km/h) so as not to push those AT tires way out of their comfort zone.

Porsche adds two new push-button driving modes to the mix to quickly optimize the 911's essential systems and components for off-road environments. "Off-Road" mode does as it implies, kicking the Dakar into its highest clearance and readying systems for enhanced traction on rough, slippery unimproved terrain. "Rallye" mode helps steady things out on stretches of loose, uneven ground, instituting a rear bias in all-wheel-drive distribution.

Both modes also feature a new Rallye Launch Control to improve acceleration on the loose, shifty conditions under the tires. Standard rear-axle steering and body roll-inhibiting Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control further aid in off-road stability and maneuvering.

Other off-road-specific modifications include pebble-blocking stainless steel grilles over the front intakes, steel front, rear and side sill protection, flared fenders, and front and rear aluminum tow hooks. A 12-V outlet on the roof is ready and waiting to plug and play the optional 92-lb-capacity (42-kg) roof rack with integrated headlights. Porsche also extends its newly launched rooftop tent option to the 911 Dakar, allowing buyers to quickly turn it into a high-performance overland micro-camper quite unlike anything else likely to be parked within hundreds of miles of camp.

The 911 Dakar is officially a driver/co-driver affair, as the rear seats are cut out entirely to help keep weight down to 3,552 lb (1,611 kg). The two bucket seats are upholstered in Race-Tex with green stitching.

Source: Porsche