The Kalmar RS-6 Is An Adventure-Ready 996 Porsche 911

A Danish specialist has turned its attention to the first water-cooled 911
Kalmar RS-6 - rear three-quarter view
Kalmar RS-6 - rear three-quarter view

Want to go off-roading in a Porsche 911, but don’t have the budget to stretch to a brand-new Dakar or a classic air-cooled safari build? Fret no more, because Kalmar Automotive has a solution for those on a (slightly) more limited budget.

This is the Kalmar RS-6, and no, we’re not sure how happy Audi is going to be about that name. If you’re not familiar with Kalmar, it’s a Danish specialist with two distinct lines of modified Porsches. One is the 7-97 series, one of approximately nine million takes on a ‘backdated’, restomodded 964- or 993-generation air-cooled 911 in the vein of companies like Singer.

The other is their rather self-explanatory Adventure range, which modifies various Porsches with the sort of kit you need for some light-to-medium off-roading. The latest car they’ve turned their attention to is the 996, the first of the water-cooled 911s, and the RS-6 is the result. And doesn’t it look brilliant?

Kalmar RS-6 - front
Kalmar RS-6 - front

Kalmar says the RS-6 is a response to rising prices of 964 and 993 donor cars, offering a more affordable entry point into the world of off-road 911s. As with most custom jobs like this, there’s a huge amount of personalisation available for the buyer, but a few things come as standard. These include a bespoke limited-slip rear differential and a specially-developed suspension setup which includes trick ‘inverted’ front shocks. This endows the RS-6 with a ground clearance of 210mm, the same as that of a second-gen Cayenne. All cars come with either all-terrain or spiked winter tyres, and beefy underside protection.

Buyers can take things a lot further if they want, though. Kalmar are offering an adaptive shock absorber setup which continually monitors the shocks’ valving and adjusts it on the fly to suit whatever surface the car’s traversing. There’s also the option of a hydraulic lift system that will drop the ride height by 50mm for on-road driving.

For serious expeditions - or, let’s be honest, for looking extra cool - there’s a survival kit that sits on a rack atop the 911’s sloping rear, featuring jerry cans and space for a spare wheel. The RS-6 also comes with auxiliary LED roof lights - obligatory for maximum off-road cred. Kalmar will work with each customer to create a bespoke paint job or livery, although we’re rather fond of the retro-tastic scheme on this launch car.

Kalmar RS-6 - interior
Kalmar RS-6 - interior

Inside, sound deadening and trim are thrown out and replaced with what Kalmar calls ‘purposeful upgrades’. Those planning to race their RS-6 can spec a full roll cage, fly-off handbrake and competition timing system.

Kalmar can base RS-6s on Carrera 2, Carrera 4 and Turbo versions of the 996, and say they can hike power up beyond 500bhp, should you want to go really fast across a frozen lake or desert floor.

The RS-6 joins Adventure versions of the 964 and 993 911s, 987 Cayman and first- and second-gen Cayennes already offered by Kalmar. The price for this ‘budget’ take on an off-road 911? Well, it’s all relative, isn’t it? The basic package starts at €45,000 - around £38,500 at the time of writing - not including a base car or taxes.

With the leggiest 996s now hovering around £12,000, that means you could feasibly get your hands on an overland-spec, water-cooled 911 for somewhere between £50-60k (assuming you can tolerate a Tiptronic gearbox and a threat of IMS bearing failure). Not exactly cheap and cheerful then, but it seems reasonable when you’ll struggle to find a new 911 Dakar for less than £250k.


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