When we first saw the vehicle that came to be the Porsche 911 Dakar testing, we thought it was going to wear the Safari moniker. According to a new report from Edmunds, the automaker really intended to use that name but came into conflict with Tata Motors.
In various markets around the world, Tata has the trademark to the term "Safari" for use on automobiles because of a crossover it sells. Porsche needed to strike a deal with that company to use the moniker for this special 911.
Gallery: 2023 Porsche 911 Dakar
"We talked to them," Thomas Krickelberg, director of the 911 Dakar programme, told Edmunds. "But they didn’t give us permission for that. That was Option A. And then we switched to Dakar."
That change wasn't so simple, though. The organisers of the Dakar Rally hold the trademark for the name's use on automobiles. Porsche paid an undisclosed amount for the right to use the term on this 911 model.
The 911 Dakar debuted in November 2022 as a high-riding version of the venerable sports car. The tweaks included a 50 millimetres suspension lift and a lift system capable of raising the vehicle another 30 mm. It also got model-specific Pirelli Scorpion. Power came from a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre flat-six engine with 473 bhp (353 kilowatts), and the only transmission available was an eight-speed PDK. Porsche added new Off-Road and Rallye driving modes.
Porsche is only making 2,500 examples of the 911 Dakar worldwide. Prices in the UK start at £173,000 including VAT, and deliveries begin in the spring. For fans of the brand's past successes in motorsport, there are retro liveries available, including the classic Martini paint scheme. The Rothmans-inspired exterior that's part of the Rallye Design Package for £23,834 requires around 34 hours to apply.
If the 911 Dakar turns out to be a success, Porsche isn't ruling making more models with this moniker.
For more discussion about the 911 Dakar, check out this episode of Rambling About Cars: