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Yes, it's over a million bucks and probably already sold out, but the 911 Dakar is the 'sport utility vehicle' you actually want.

01 Feb 2023

The new Porsche 911 Dakar is a fantastic all-weather, all-terrain sports car. And it's arguably the most interesting and desirable 911 in the market today (helped significantly by the fact that it is a limited edition model).

And, there's an argument to be made (and a real, rational one too) that this 911 Dakar might be better than almost any SUV available in the market today. Here are five reasons why.

1. Genuine all-terrain capability

Thanks to an extensively reworked chassis, the 911 Dakar is easily capable of tackling big sand dunes and rough gravel terrain
The car is not just a combination of various existing 911 parts (even if it is based on GTS). Many of the chassis' components have been developed and built specifically for this car, in a fairly quick 13-month development time.

And the all-terrain capability is genuinely there, evidenced by my time driving it in Morocco. The raised ride height, modified dimensions and increased ramp angle means that it can go up steep ramps (slowly). It's no Land Cruiser, but this side of a river crossing it is at least as capable as any modern family SUV.

2. Light, compact, predictable

Light and compact, the 911 Dakar feels agile, sporty and responsive on loose surfaces
This car is only 10kg heavier than a GTS. To make up for additional weight due to the various off-road modifications, Porsche has thrown out the rear seats, used lightweight glass, and features many CFRP components like the bonnet, rear spoiler and bucket seats to keep the overall weight down.

And as a result, the car feels light, which contributes to its predictability off tarmac. The compact footprint and short wheelbase also enhances the car's agility. 

3. Actually looks cool

The 911 Dakar's bold stance and slick liveries are a visual joy to behold
I mean, just look at it. With its familiar 911 silhouette, cool stance thanks to the raised ride height and thick tyres, this is exactly the sort of car that makes you smile every time you walk up to it. Can't say the same for your standard family SUV.

Better still, you can option some really slick liveries on this model, inspired by race cars from Porsche's motorsport heritage. Go for the Rothmans. Always go for the Rothmans.

4. Sort of practical

Yup, it is entirely possible to go sideways with your bags strapped to the roof rack
No 911 is truly practical, but the 911 Dakar offers a believable amount of it. Do without the roll cage, and you can more conveniently access the rear storage area (where rear seats typically are), which is decently sized for quite a few of backpacks. Yes, the car only seats two, but how many families are going dune bashing? 

And if you need, there's always the roof rack option. There are extra head lights, a jerry can, even a carbon fibre shovel. Off-road, see!

5. 2,500

Each of the 2,500 customer cars will have a plaque to signify this car's exclusivity
That's the magic number that tells you you can't actually have this car. Because it is a limited edition model, regardless of how expensive it is (if you need to ask, you can't afford it), it'll be sold out in an instant. Which sucks. We need more such cars on our roads (and not roads) - cars that dare to be different.

Of course, what this means is that any owner will have the privilege of having just 1 of 2,500 911 Dakars that will be produced (one of the smallest production runs of any production 911). How's that for exclusivity. 

SUVs are all the rage, even if most of them are not particularly sporty, and perhaps don't quite deliver the utility that the most extreme 4x4s have. The 911 Dakar is outrageously sporty and has solid all-terrain utility, so it at least has the capabilities to live up to the 'Sport Utility Vehicle' name. So does that mean this is the SUV you actually want? The correct answer is yes. The 911 Dakar is the best SUV money can't buy. Now try getting onto the waiting list.

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