duPont REGISTRY No. 456 – May 2023
We live in a time where automakers are surprising us around every corner, doing things we never thought we’d see in our lifetime. Two things seem to be spurring much of this creativity: the division of the automotive market into even more and smaller niches, and the disruption of electrification. This month’s cover car, the Porsche 911 Dakar, and our featured review of the Mercedes-Benz EQS represent the best examples we could find of our favorite automakers surprising us.
The idea of a Safari-spec Porsche isn’t new. Third-party tuners and proficient garage mechanics have been building them for a while now. But the idea that Porsche would turn that cottage industry into a factory-backed model with a warranty did not remotely seem possible... until it was.
The Porsche 911 Dakar debuted in late 2022 to much excitement, because it’s evident on first impression alone that the company understood the assignment. While you can order your 911 Dakar in a solid color, the reveal car wore an optional Rally Design Package inspired by real rally Porsches of yore. It’s also immediately evident this 911 was not designed for hugging roads thanks to an adjustable suspension that gives it from 2 to 3.2 extra inches of ground clearance. Pirelli Scorpion all-terrain tires that usually can be found on trucks and SUVs are the last tip that this Porsche is something special.
Porsche certainly isn’t a noob when it comes to off-roading, what with its rally past and current crop of modern and capable SUVs. We just never expected the 911 to be its next guinea pig. That said, as you’ll read in this month’s article, we couldn’t be more impressed by the resulting product. We’re typically always impressed by Mercedes-Benz products, but not every automaker has been able to ride the wave of electrification that’s cresting the industry. Some have missed the wave entirely. Not Mercedes. While the EQS is not the automaker’s first all-electric product, it is the first that feels like a real Mercedes. And not just any Mercedes; it feels like a real electric S-Class.
Credit the three-pointed star for not literally taking an S-Class and electrifying it; that would have resulted in a nice S-Class but a sub-par electric car. Rather, the EQS is at once an EV all its own and, because of its size, is clearly representative of what an emissions-free S Class should be. Follow us on page 30 where we fully test the EQS and find out if it lives up to the brand’s, and our own, incredibly high standards.
The last thing to highlight in this month’s issue is our interview of world-renowned surfer and action sports star Laird Hamilton. An athlete, adventurer, inventor, actor, and philanthropist, Hamilton represents the modern man most of us strive to be. With his equally famous wife, professional volleyball player and beauty icon Gabrielle Reece, he and their daughters trot the globe pursuing new adventures and living life like there’s no tomorrow. Learn more about Hamilton’s life and outlook on page 66.
The rest of this issue is chock full of your favorite things, including a breakdown of the pros and cons of convertible life and a recap of the latest Watches and Wonder exhibition. As always, you’ll find our pages filled with the world’s finest supercars, collector cars, and luxury vehicles for sale, too. Have a great read.
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