Future classic: Porsche 911 Dakar

| 2 Feb 2024
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Porsche 911 Dakar

Two of the biggest trends in the premium automotive world – the proliferation of SUVs and high-value limited editions – collide here to create one of the most unusual Porsche 911s yet seen.

Inspired by the Rothmans-liveried 953 that won the Paris-Dakar in 1984, it’s the first 911 offered with off-road driving in mind.

A coupé designed to leave the asphalt would seem an oxymoron without the link to rallying, and Porsche does it here without ambiguity by offering this 911 with an optional Dakar-inspired livery.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Porsche 911 Dakar

The Porsche 911 Dakar’s rear wing is unique to this model

However, the skid plates and chunky five-spoke wheels of the Porsche 911 Dakar make it a consistent head-turner.

Those wheels aren’t just for show: they wear knobbly all-terrain tyres that combine with the modified suspension to give an extra 50mm of ground clearance – or 80mm via the press of a button (rising from 161mm to 191mm).

Beyond that, and a few tweaks, it is basically a Carrera 4 GTS, which means a 473bhp turbocharged flat-six and all-wheel drive.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Porsche 911 Dakar

An off-road Porsche 911 raises eyebrows, but its dual-purpose approach makes sense

Some extra drive modes are unique to the Dakar.

Off-road mode splits power 50:50, but Rallye is the fun setting, with a strong rear bias that encourages easy slip on loose surfaces.

It’s a little jarring driving a 911 on a dirt track, but the raised suspension quickly puts you at ease and it’s as much of a laugh as you’d expect.

Dirt tracks aren’t that easily accessed in the UK, however, so Porsche’s Dakar needs to be good on the road, too.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Porsche 911 Dakar

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Porsche 911 Dakar
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Porsche 911 Dakar

Clockwise from top: this Porsche 911 Dakar’s fixed-back bucket seats aren’t for everyone; production is limited to 2500; the raised suspension soaks up broken B-roads

Fortunately, the terrible state of our broken and potholed B-roads suits the Dakar particularly well.

You can simply ignore such concerns and concentrate on driving.

It still feels agile despite that compliance, so does this make it the perfect Porsche 911?

There are drawbacks. The tyres roar on the motorway, while some can’t get comfortable in the fixed-back bucket seats.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Porsche 911 Dakar

The Porsche 911 Dakar’s off-road rubber provides grip when the going gets tough

Much of the practicality and touring potential is robbed by the rear-seat delete, even more so the half rollcage.

The collector market will love these features, but they’ll frustrate those who want to use the car.

It is a lot more expensive than the C4 GTS, too.

The Porsche 911 Dakar starts at £173,000 and options swiftly make that a lot more.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Porsche 911 Dakar

The all-wheel-drive Porsche 911 Dakar is great fun on the road, too

Some are pretty cool, mind: the roof basket with auxiliary lights is funky, and you can add recovery boards, a folding shovel and a weatherproof bag.

The Dakar is a brilliantly fun Porsche 911 variant and still makes sense even if you don’t have regular access to a gravel track.

Those who live in rural, mountainous or snowy areas will appreciate the car’s broad abilities, much in the way they did the original Audi quattro before fast Audis became the firmly sprung road-racers they are today.

The Porsche 911 Dakar is expensive and a bit eccentric, but it’s a sure-fire future classic.

Images: John Bradshaw


  • Engine 2981cc turbo flat-six; 473bhp @ 6500rpm; 420lb ft @ 2300rpm
  • Transmission eight-speed auto, 4WD
  • 0-62mph 3.4 secs
  • Top speed 149mph
  • Mpg 25
  • Price £173,000

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