Perhaps the best sign that the SUV craze has taken a step too far, Porsche will reportedly showcase an off-roading version of its iconic 911 sports car at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show in April. The vehicle, presumably only a concept at this stage, is said to be based on the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4S and feature raised suspension, tougher tires and underbody cladding.

The information was first reported in German publication Motor Revue (via Car and Driver).

To be called the 911 Safari, a throwback to the 911 SC Safari rally car from 1978, the new concept may even be a production possibility, should it be received well at its debut in Beijing. A 2016 launch date is mentioned in the report.

Such a vehicle would be aimed at buyers in China as well as in the Middle East, Russia and South America, who often have to deal with poor road conditions that make it difficult to drive low-slung sports cars, hence the popularity of performance SUVs and crossovers in those markets. We’re sure a few would turn up in the U.S., too, given the popularity of tall-riding models over here.

The need for such vehicles has led to automakers experimenting with concepts like Audi’s nanuk, Lamborghini’s Urus and Spyker’s D8, and now Porsche looks to be investigating an alternative to its existing Cayenne and Macan models. Of course, Porsche’s 911 certainly has some off-road heritage, so the idea is not exactly new. In addition to the aforementioned 911 SC Safari, Porsche also built a trio of 911-based 953 rally cars which it entered into the 1984 Dakar Rally and took overall victory with.

The first all-wheel drive Porsche 911 and winner of the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally

The first all-wheel drive Porsche 911 and winner of the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally


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