Dartz Nagel Dakkar: A wild, 650 hp SUV from Latvia

Dartz Naggel Dakar sketch front three-quarter viewLatvia isn’t on most people’s radar when it comes to desirable automobiles but, if the country can churn out extreme vehicles like this Nagel Dakkar, maybe it should be. The Dakkar’s creator, Dartz, says it is not just a radical take on SUVs, but a whole new category of vehicle.

The Nagel Dakkar has a lot to live up to. It’s named after Andrew Nagel, a Russian pilot who won the 1912 Monte Carlo Rally and supposedly drove across the Sahara. Speaking of Sahara, the Nagel’s second name refers to the legendary trans-African Dakkar Rally.

Based on the sketches released by Dartz, the Nagel Dakkar looks ready to tackle any rally. The aggressive bodywork, with some exposed carbon-Kevlar and huge side air intakes, makes a Porsche Cayenne look like a school bus.

The Nagel Dakkar will be 193 inches long, 78 inches wide, and 66 inches tall, so it will be nearly the same size as Porsche’s SUV.

Underneath the carbon-Kevlar body is an equally racy chassis. The Nagel Dakkar rides on a tubular frame, designed by Saxon Automobile Manufactur, similar in design to the ones used by off-road race trucks.

The Nagel Dakkar will be powered by a twin-turbocharged V8 from Mercedes-Benz AMG; probably the 5.5-liter engine used in all of AMG’s new models. In the Dakkar, that engine will produce an astounding 650 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque. An SL63 AMG’s engine produces 557 hp and 664 lb-ft.

The power will be harnessed by a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, likely sourced from AMG as well. Dartz did not record a 0 to 60 mph time but, given the Nagel Dakkar’s lightweight body and weapons-grade engine, expect it to be fast. Like the AMG models it borrows that engine from, the Dakkar will be electronically limited to 155 mph.

The Nagel Dakkar seems more like a supercar than an SUV, and its price reflects that. Dartz says it will cost $390,000 to $468,000, and the company doesn’t expect to sell many. It’s ambitious goals are to sell 10 cars in 2013, 20 in 2014, and 40 per year from there out. Ultimately, Dartz thinks the Nagel Dakkar will grab 1.3 percent of the world luxury SUV market.

“Wealthy people need personalized cars. There are tens of bespoke sportscar makers but there are zero bespoke SUV makers,” Dartz said in a statement. They have a point: lovers of roadgoing performance have Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Pagani, but what do off-road enthusiasts have? The Nagel Dakkar looks like a more serious SUV than the Cayenne, or even Lambo’s upcoming Urus, both of which are more focused on pavement anyway.

However, there may be a reason for that. Road-going supercars are already hopelessly impractical; demand for a high-performance luxury off-roader will be even slimmer, limited to people with the funds to spend more than $400,000 on a toy and who are willing to get their designer clothes dirty. Still, supercars (and SUVs) shouldn’t make sense, they should be fun, and the Nagel Dakkar looks like it will deliver.

Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?

FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD: How the wheels that turn change the way you drive

Let's face it, you've likely heard front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive mentioned before in some context or another. But what do these terms mean, especially in terms of performance? We’ve got the answers.
Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

Tesla Model 3 vulnerability exposed at Pwn2Own; hackers take home the car

A Tesla Model 3 vulnerability was exposed at the Pwn2Own hacking competition. The hackers, who were able to display a message on the electric vehicle's internet browser, won $35,000 and took home the car.