Back in the days when Porsche didn’t have the Cayenne in its lineup, the brand’s off-road ambitions had to be satisfied with modified 911 models featuring raised ground clearance and all-wheel drive.
The first 911 to get the off-road treatment was the 911 SC Safari, which competed in the 1978 East African Safari Rally with 250hp from a 3.0-liter flat-six engine. In 1983, Porsche entered the Paris-Dakar Rally with three 911 Carrera 4x4 coupes with 225 horsepower and in 1986 it finally managed to win the event with the 911-based Porsche 959 Paris Dakar.
We’ve only told you all this because, according to Car&Driver, Porsche is reportedly preparing a 911 “crossover” concept for the Beijing Auto Show in April. Said to be called the 911 Safari, the study will be based on the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 and feature larger tires, higher ground clearance, skid plates and a suspension tuned for off-road driving.
If everything goes well, the study could spawn a production model by mid-2016, about the same time when the 991-series is scheduled to get its first facelift. Porsche is also scheduled to introduce a new generation of downsized and turbocharged boxer engines at that time.
A production 911 Safari would be aimed at markets like China, Russia, Middle East and South America, where road surfaces are not as smooth as in Europe.
By Dan Mihalascu