A modern Safari? Porsche testing high-riding 911

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Perhaps the best sign that the crossover craze has taken a step too far, Porsche is out testing a high-riding version of its 911 sports car.

Porsche hasn’t confirmed plans to launch a high-riding 911, though the automaker’s sales and marketing chief, Detlev von Platen, said in a 2018 interview that such a car “could be a good idea.” He even said such a car could be launched as a limited-edition model.

The tester above is riding on much taller suspension than normal. The thick foam lining the wheel arches is typically used when testing suspension systems. It helps the engineers determine how close the wheels get to the vehicle body. It’s possible the foam has also been added to hide whatever suspension setup is being used.

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

Porsche has been down this road before. Recall, the automaker launched the 911 SC Safari rally car in 1978. Porsche also built a trio of 911-based 953 rally cars which it entered in the Dakar Rally and eventually took home the victory.

The popularity of those early rally cars has led to some companies offering Safari-style conversions for old 911s. Several famous Porsche tuning houses, such as Gemballa and Ruf, have also teased their own modern successors.

A Safari-style 911 from Porsche would likely be aimed at buyers in markets like China and Russia, where drivers are often faced with poor road conditions that make it difficult to daily a low-slung sports car, hence the popularity of performance SUVs in those markets. We’re sure a few would turn up in the United States, too, given the popularity of high-riding models here. Heck, it could even prove popular in Porsche’s home market of Germany, where parking with two wheels up on the curb is often necessary.

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