Home Technology Review: Hitting the dunes in Morocco (and getting stuck) in the Porsche 911 Dakar

Review: Hitting the dunes in Morocco (and getting stuck) in the Porsche 911 Dakar

by News Desk
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Drive through the Moroccan desert in a Porsche 911 Dakar. About two of his three buyers opted for the Rallye Design package, which mimics the paintwork of the 1984 car.Mark Richardson/Globe and Mail

Porsche didn’t need to beef up its legendary sports car. In Canada, he already has 20 variants of the 911 ranging from 379 hp to 640 hp, and prices he ranges from $125,800 to over $300,000. So what about the new Dakar?

It is intended as a high-performance rally car and pays homage to the 911 that won the grueling rally from Paris to Dakar in 1984. , but don’t expect to ask your boss for a raise when you get there. If you own one of these, you’re probably the boss.

The 911 Dakar is not cheap. Prices start at $251,800, and so far, about three of his buyers have opted for his $32,490 Rallye Design package, which mimics the 1984 car paint. increase. Their partner will probably buy the $24,000 titanium carbide watch that comes as an option with each vehicle, or perhaps his $8,795 roof his tent birthday gift. The point is, for the actual buyer of this car, it’s not about the money. So stop dwelling on exorbitant entry costs and just appreciate what this car is all about.

I flew here to Morocco to find out for myself.Porsche gave me a Dakar to drive into the desert looking for dunes near the Algerian border.There was only one rule. The Porsche instructor always drove the car in front of me and could not pass. This was partly to avoid getting a speeding ticket on the street, but also to avoid getting lost in the desert or wandering around in the Algerian dunes.

Starting at $251,800, the 911 Dakar doesn’t come cheap. The list of options and add-ons includes an $8,795 roof tent.Mark Richardson/Globe and Mail

That said, the 911 Dakar wasn’t so subtle and was immediately stopped from leaving the city at a police checkpoint. The young officer was clear about what he wanted. “Speed! Speed!” he said, putting his hands around each other with a grin. The 473 hp Dakar he rally hit 100 km/h in about 3.4 seconds, and on dusty roads it was probably close to that. The car has standard Launch He controls that allow it to accelerate at high speeds without losing control, and can slip the wheels up to 20% on loose surfaces in one of two exclusive off-road drive modes. can. I think the local patrolman was impressed with everything.

After a while, I followed my instructor off the paved highway and set off along rough, rocky trails, as the 911 Dakar is 50 mm taller than the Carrera 4 GTS on which it is based. , you can run over track ruts and ridges without hurting. Pressing the button raises the chassis another 30 mm (the pump that does this takes up too much room for the rear seats), but the top speed drops from 240 km/h to 170 km/h. I was driving at that third to avoid accidentally hitting a large rock hidden in the sand. Also, just in case, a cameraman and a Toyota Land Cruiser with a tow rope followed.

As you might imagine, the ride was stiff and jarring along rocky trails. The Dakar comes standard with narrow sports seats that can only be adjusted fore and aft, but if desired, more comfortable seats can be ordered at no extra cost. On rocky roads, we looked good with photographers, but my wiser side envied his leisurely ride in the spacious Land Cruiser.

The desert dunes near the border of Morocco and Algeria are an ideal place to drive the Porsche 911 Dakar.Handout

A little further on the track became more sandy and visibility was an issue with the dust raised by the instructor’s car. A small drift started across the trail and the radio started crackling with instructions from ahead. Always keep moving. “

By the fifth or sixth drift, the dust obscured everything and I relaxed as I climbed the sand. The car stopped at the top of a dune. In snow you can rock the vehicle back and forth to gain traction on the ice below, but not in sand. A $250,000 supercar is just a 1,605 kilogram rock in the desert. The options were to dig it out with a shovel (Porsche sells him for $315) or have it towed, but I chose the latter.

“Don’t worry,” said the instructor. “Everyone does.” I think he was just kind.

However, once we got to the dunes a little further back, it was good practice. Specially developed Pirelli tire pressures have been reduced to around 16 lbs/sq inch, allowing the lead car to follow you significantly faster. I kept the high revs and kept going, the 911 Dakar rocking back and forth, sliding sideways up and down on the sand, spinning red feathers from all four wheels like a mad sand worm I ran through the desert.

they took a picture sand dunes When Star Wars In Morocco, it really felt like another world.

Porsche had originally planned a more ambitious course, but the cars kept getting stuck. However, I got the impression that the driver was stuck, not the vehicle. Good luck even thinking about driving like that in a Land Cruiser.

The Dakar comes standard with narrow sports seats that can only be adjusted fore and aft, but more comfortable seats can be ordered at no extra cost.Mark Richardson/Globe and Mail

So what’s the point? Do you really need a rally-ready Porsche 911?

Of course not, but we don’t need to study great paintings, wear fancy clothes, or eat delicious food. and the limited edition Porsche 911 Dakar will inevitably enrich the lives of the 2,500 people who buy one. It’s too small to replace an SUV, and might be the third, fourth, or even tenth car for a rich person, but that’s not a bad thing.

It’s just as fun to drive a Polaris RZR side-by-side in the dunes or a Subaru STI for a gravel drive, but you’re not driving home in these fairly cheap cars. Porsche 911. And you’ll definitely have a cop grin on you, his boyhood fantasies and “Speed! Speed!”

Technical specifications

  • Base price: $247,200, plus $2,750 dealer fee, plus $1,750 destination fee, plus taxes
  • engine: 3-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder with 473 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque
  • Transmission/Drive: 8-speed automatic PDK/all-wheel drive

Mark Richardson/Globe and Mail

I was a guest at an automobile manufacturer. Content was not subject to approval.

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