The Desert-Crushing Porsche 911 Dakar Will Debut At This Year’s LA Auto Show

Engineers off-road torture tested this car over 6,000 miles

Porsche 911 Dakar
(Images: Porsche)

Umm…excuse me? A Porsche 911 Dakar?

Yep, the rumors are true — and the off-road-ready Porsche 911 is official. In fact, the automaker is bringing the Porsche 911 Dakar to the LA Auto Show next week, so we’ll get an excellent opportunity to see this desert-tackling sports car in the sheet metal. Now, normally you’d think of the Cayenne SUV when talking about even remote off-roading capability in a Porsche…but this looks pretty sweet, don’t you think?

If the thought of an off-road Porsche 911 is complete anathema to you, I get where you’re coming from. That said, it’s definitely not unprecedented to see a rally version of the brand’s iconic rear engine sports car, and it even competed in Paris-Dakar back in the 1980s. Although we take its presence for granted as an option in the current generation, an all-wheel drive system first made its way into that modified car in 1984.

In getting this Porsche 911 Dakar ready, the company’s engineering team tested it over 6,000 miles (10,000 kilometers off the pavement). The gauntlet included testing at Château de Lastours in France, where rally teams test their cars before competing in events like the Dakar. This 911 also went to the frozen white north of Arjeplog, Sweden and withstood brutal desert testing in Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. Both Romain Dumas (of Pikes Peak Hill Climb fame) and world rally champion Walter Röhrl put the Porsche 911 Dakar through its paces.

Of the experience, Röhrl says, “The car is incredibly fun to drive. Everything works so precisely and calmly. No Porsche customer will believe all the things you can do with this car before they’ve driven it themselves.”

Porsche 911 Dakar

Naturally, the Dakar gets a suspension lift, meatier tires and some underbody protection to handle the harsh conditions.

Porsche did not disclose too much technical information just yet, though, so we’ll have to wait until the LA Auto Show to know more. The full reveal is coming on November 16 at 10 PM EST (4 AM Central European Time).

It’s worth noting that Porsche also brought a pair of modified 911s to scale a Chilean volcano — that is separate to what we’re talking about here.

Stay tuned for more updates!