2023 Porsche 911 Dakar Is a Blast from the Past with One Foot into the Future

This year is a seminal one for the Porsche 911, as the beloved Neunelfer lineup is set to receive at least three extremely special versions that will change the current automotive landscape.
2023 Porsche 911 Dakar 9 photos
Photo: S.Baldauf/SB-Medien
2023 Porsche 911 Dakar2023 Porsche 911 Dakar2023 Porsche 911 Dakar2023 Porsche 911 Dakar2023 Porsche 911 Dakar2023 Porsche 911 Dakar2023 Porsche 911 Dakar2023 Porsche 911 Dakar
The first one is the mighty 911 GT3 RS (992), which will likely be the last naturally aspirated track weapon with a license plate to bear the Porsche crest, while the second one is a trip down memory lane, especially when it comes to design.

We are, of course, talking about the upcoming 911 SC (if that is, indeed, the name it will have), whose design will hark back to special models like the 911 2.7 RS and is expected to be unveiled later this year.

The third one is our story today though, and it’s a new 911 version that has no direct or indirect predecessors. Unless you’re also looking at racing cars, that is.

Porsche has been competing and winning in rallies with the 911 since the late 1960s, with models like the Porsche 911 SC running circles around their competition in the hellish 5,000 (3,100 miles) East African Safari Rally, or the mighty 953 and 959 Group B titans winning the illustrious Paris Dakar Rally in 1984 and 1986.

2023 Porsche 911 Dakar
Photo: S.Baldauf/SB-Medien
With those successes in mind, Porsche has never built a road-legal version of its 911 rally cars, instead focusing on track-ready homologation specials like the 911 GT3 and GT2.

This year is special though because the Stuttgart sports-carmaker is actively developing an official dune-buggy that you can take to the opera after making some sweet jumps in the desert or a mild off-road course.

Set to wear the 911 Dakar moniker, the upcoming off-road sports car was first previewed by a mysterious concept car called the 911 Safari a few years back.

Oddly enough, the 911 Safari was based on the 997 generation of the Neunelfer, and its existence only became public in 2020, right at the time when some mystery prototypes of the 992 on stilts began making the rounds on public roads and even the Nordschleife.

2023 Porsche 911 Dakar
Photo: S.Baldauf/SB-Medien
As expected with a name like that, the 2023 Porsche 911 Dakar will have a much higher ground clearance than a regular 911, and it will feature all-wheel-drive.

The car also has a wider track and there seems to be some extra fairing on the larger wheel wells. Don’t expect locking differentials or anything extreme like that, but you will definitely be able to tackle much rougher roads in the Dakar compared to your average 911.

The two main unknowns regarding the model are the powertrain, which may be borrowed either from the 911 Carrera S or, more likely, from the 911 Carrera GTS, and the type of suspension it will use.

2023 Porsche 911 Dakar
Photo: S.Baldauf/SB-Medien
You see, a normal 911 uses a coilover system, and despite some models having an optional ‘nose lift’ function, it wouldn’t be feasible to have something like that on both axles because the system doesn’t offer any rebound, so it’s only usable on lower speeds.

In other words, just like the latest 911 GT3 has taken a break from tradition with the introduction of a double front wishbone, we may be seeing an entirely new type of suspension on the 911 Dakar – something that can be used on anything, from rougher roads to the Nurburgring.

According to a Porsche insider, the Dakar is expected to be unveiled sometime this summer. Even though it will not be officially a limited-edition model, but simply yet another version of the ever-increasing 911 lineup, you won't be able to see many of them on the road (or off it) because Porsche will simply not make enough units. Pricing wise, it should sit somewhere between a 911 Carrera GTS and a 911 GT3.
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About the author: Alex Oagana
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Alex handled his first real steering wheel at the age of five (on a field) and started practicing "Scandinavian Flicks" at 14 (on non-public gravel roads). Following his time at the University of Journalism, he landed his first real job at the local franchise of Top Gear magazine a few years before Mircea (Panait). Not long after, Alex entered the New Media realm with the project.
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