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We have tried everything! The 480 hp Porsche 911 Dakar 3.0 biturbo

The iconic Porsche 911 dons its touring gear
3.0 biturbo – 480 ch – 226 689 € /276 700 € *


The very iconic Porsche 911 is not at its first attempt when it comes to off-roading. In 1984, a time that people under 30 cannot know, Porsche had prepared and entered a 911 Carrera 3.2 type 953 on the legendary Paris-Dakar rally (see box opposite). It was the brand’s first victory in this event. Subsequently, the manufacturer continued to develop its model, before tasting victory once again in 1986. That year, the French driver René Metge won the rally at the wheel of a 959(1) , ahead of the second Porsche crew, made up of a certain Jacky Ickx and the famous Claude Brasseur. Today, Porsche is paying homage to this edition and, at the same time, to the birth of all-wheel drive in the 911 range. Limited to just 2,500 units, the 911 Dakar challenges and makes onlookers unscrew their heads. Impossible for her to go incognito! This is even more true when it is equipped, as here, with the superb Rallye Design pack at… €26,280, which evokes the winning model from 1984. has been raised by 5 cm compared to a “classic” 911. It can be raised an additional 3 cm thanks to a hydraulic system. That’s 8 cm in total! In addition to the various protective elements, it receives specific Pirelli rubbers, with high sides, specially designed for this model. On the engine side, we happily find the great flexibility of the 480 hp biturbo flat six-cylinder, from the 911 GTS. It is of course associated with a very successful all-wheel drive.

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Marketing product or true off-road 911?

The passenger compartment of the Dakar remains consistent with the other 911s in the range. That said, our test model benefited from the same carbon bucket seats as the sulphurous GT3. Once installed behind the wheel, you really have the feeling of driving a 911 less vulnerable than the others, thanks to its raised ride height and the various protections. As a result, you quickly feel confident. The engine/gearbox torque is a marvel of smoothness and responsiveness. It gives the Dakar excellent versatility. And what ease of driving! On the main axes, the rolling noise, due to the studded tires, is a little more present in the passenger compartment, but they nevertheless remain well controlled. On the other hand, we are surprised by the firmness of the suspensions. Something that does not necessarily stick with the pretensions of this 911’s adventurer. We therefore wanted to check its abilities off the beaten track. After selecting the Offroad mode (one of the five driving modes available), we were immediately amazed by the traction. The XXL tires, associated with the 4×4 transmission and the 480 hp, ensure a remarkable job in the paths, the undergrowth or the sand. Evo-luer with such a machine on the roads is a rather surreal experience! On the other hand, as soon as the ground proves to be more brittle, it is impossible for the suspensions to absorb the large asperities. They are much too firm. With the highest mode, it’s worse: it hits hard, especially when you force the pace! This stiffness of the suspensions does not allow the 911 Dakar to be comfortable on all terrains. On the other hand, on small roads, it shows disconcerting agility despite its raised chassis. Only the grip of the tires at high speed can be problematic, especially on wet roads. We were able to verify this on our measurement database, where the Dakar proved to be very “playful” with the rear axle. Funny, but be aware that, in these conditions, the tires degrade at high speed “V”. In the end, the 911 Dakar turns out to be less versatile than it might suggest. On difficult terrain and on the track, it quickly reaches its limits. Price of the future collector? €276,700*, i.e.… €68,000 *more than a 911 GTS…




A mythical car that has won many times

The 1986 Paris-Dakar edition was a real success for Porsche, since of the three 959s entered, two finished on the top steps of the podium with the crews René Metge/Dominique Lemoine and Jacky Ickx/Claude Brasseur. The third crew came in sixth. At that time, the 959 stood out completely from the other models on the board. Very successful, the Porsche 959 had a six-cylinder twin-turbo engine of 400 hp cooled by water, and an all-wheel drive equipped with a very elaborate differential for the time.

The latter was able to distribute the torque from 0 to 100% between the front and rear axles. For a question of weight, this Porsche embarked many elements in composite and aluminum.



* True purchase price integrating the potential discount and the green bonus/penalty.

1. Derived from the 911 and produced in 292 units, of which an all-terrain version was developed for the Paris-Dakar.

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