I have just seen the Dakar live and its absolutely breathtaking! I think I just have to share that with you (in my very first blog post here).
Actually, I have seen it first on the Autobahn. I was so damn lucky I met it on my way to Porsche Museum. Two impressions: it sounds great (I would say even a little beefier than a standard GTS) and it has a big, big road presence! There is definitely something about a 911 shape riding so high and on beefy wheels. Other drivers definitely noticed as well, its menacing even in the rearview mirror. Being limited to 240 Km/h seems even generous, because the tires have extremely deep thread, almost agricultural. There is an option to switch for a regular summer tires, which could be tempting, but some of that magic would be definitely lost. Either way, it can get to 240 Km/h very quickly, it disappeared into the horizon immediately, looking very planted all along the way. Its fun, its “sexy”, but some can find it “too much”, of course. You can not have everything so for an elegant 911 please refer to standard Carrera.
In person, in Porsche Brand Store: Wow. Just wow. I felt like a small child. Put a big smile on my face, like nothing in a long time (OK, my new Touring). I have to admire how much attention has been put into a car good for only 2500 units. The livery looks great and its a combination of a split-colored chassis and stickers. Actual paint looks great, no weak points in the execution (which is quite complicated). Once again, the car has a big presence. Wheels are very different from anything in regular production, there are many strengthened points to be found in wheel wells, insulation and shock absorbers. Design elements of front and rear are completely reworked.
The same counts for cabin, so many changes! First of all, it has the biggest alcantara treatment I have ever seen in any 911. Literally everything could be covered in the so called Race-Tex and especially door sills look great. My favorite detail is the 911 Dakar badge in front of co-pilot, looks great. More 911s should have the designation here! Then there is the roll cage, which also fits the car very well. Obviously, very unique is a “ceramic” trim all around the interior. It feels very different to, say a LR Defender, just like an actual ceramic, including the temperature sensation. Centre of the interior is almost similar to a 992 GTS. Interesting, PDK control switchgear of a GT3 will, arguably, do better (but given a PDK shift knob is something which is installed in the car with the actual gearbox and GT gearboxes are different…I understand). What is interesting – inside the door trim, there is actually a thin Race-Tex line, so these are actually “two-compound”.
Talking with a chassis and kinematics engineer: I was told it has been in the works for 2 years. He confirmed the amount of testing and driving was enormous and they worked not only on a lifting system, but on a completely new character. They set it up very differently, spending a lot of time on the AWD system, which, as I was told, has a major impact on behavior not only en-power situations, but also on lift off oversteer etc. Mechanically it is the AWD of a Turbo, but reportedly it could not be more different! They tried to change the “original 911” character to achieve a car which could be handled in a long, sweeping drifts, just as you do on a rally stage. All of the development was coordinated with these special Pirelli tyres and they are adamant even with this pure off-road thread, it could tackle the Nordschleife without overheating and in a pace similar to a GTS. No small feat I guess! Little electronic features like “Rally Launch Control” are, as I have been told, only an icing on a very thoroughly reworked cake.
Personally, I absolutely love it. It could not be everyones cup of tea, but you have to admit Porsche just makes us smile. It is somehow ridiculous, but that’s the point. But given how much they, reportedly, put into the car, I truly believe it will be enjoyable and will offer something for situations and scenarios previously forbidden for 911s and sports cars in general. As I work in construction and engineering I can really imagine what a “workhorse” it could be! )
And your thoughts?