Forget the Cayenne Coupe Turbo GT, there’s a new contender for craziest SUV in the Porsche range.
An ‘experimental’ version of the 911 Carrera 4S has scaled the highest volcano in the world, Ojos del Salado in Chile.
At 19,708ft (6007m) tall, it forced the development team to tackle temperatures as low as -30 degrees, boulder-filled glaciers, and impenetrable walls of snow.
The biggest change to the 911 are a pair of portal axles, which raise ground clearance on what was once a pavement-hugging sports car to a Land Rover Defender-beating 350mm. There are manually-activated differential locks on both axles, and Porsche has fitted what it calls the Warp-Connector.
According to the company, it’s a motorsport-derived system that ensures there’s a mechanical link between all four wheels to make sure traction is maintained even when the body is flexing over extreme terrain.
Porsche has fitted lower gear ratios for better performance at a crawl, and to compensate for the swollen off-road tyres that replace the low-profile rubber standard on the road car.
The cooling hardware for the engine has been moved higher on the car, allowing more space beneath it for better ground clearance, and there are lightweight aramid bash plates under the body to protect all the critical oily bits. Porsche says the underbody protection allows for “sliding over rocks”.
“This was a truly memorable and special moment in a place that’s both beautiful and brutal at the same time – I guess the only machines anywhere in the world higher than us today were aircraft!” said Romain Dumas, driver and team leader.
“For the team and the car it was about learning – and right out of the box, the car was tough and nimble. We were hard on ourselves and really put it in the deep end for its first test, yet it felt at home.”
Although it’s unlikely we’ll ever see an off-road 911 with the same level of hardware as the car that took on the volcano in showrooms, Porsche has been seen testing what may be known as a 911 Dakar at the Nurburgring with a raised ride height.
While the new Dakar could become the first of its kind since the 1978 911 SC Safari, Porsche has toyed with reviving the idea before.
In late 2020 the automaker released a clutch of photos detailing 15 concepts it had developed but never publicly revealed before, one of which was a 911 Safari.
MORE: Everything Porsche 911