Dodge re-ignites performance brand

By Time of article published Feb 10, 2011

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Charger, Challenger, Journey, Durango and even the Grand Caravan - Dodge has announced a whole new line-up of R/T performance models at the Chicago auto show, on now. R/T is Dodgespeak for Road & Track and it's been the company's performance brand since the muscle-car era of the 1960s.

Dodge president Ralph Gilles said: “We have customers who love cars, who love the thrill of driving, but can only afford one car. Our R/T models give buyers the chance to stoke their love of driving while still taking care of their families and responsibilities.

“We're going back to our roots, when R/T meant a higher level of dynamic capability. In addition to styling cues and sporty interiors, each R/T model will have unique handling characteristics, high-tech, high-performing engines, special exhaust tuning, a sport-tuned suspension and performance tyres. They've definitely earned their stripes.”

The Charger R/T is the Dodge brand's flagship, combining 272 class-leading kilowatts with contemporary fastback four-door coupé proportions and state-of-the-art connectivity features. It's styling is inspired by the classic second-generation Charger of the late 1960s, with “split crosshair” front treatment, body-side scallops forming an A-line across the doors and new tail lights, each with 164 LEDs making up a signature “racetrack” graphic.

The cabin is trimmed in soft-touch materials, in a choice of four colour combinations, with a leather-wrapped, thick-rimmed, three-spoke steering wheel and Uconnect Touch, integrating infotainment and convenience technologies to keep passengers connected.

The Charger R/T has Chrysler's 5.7-litre Hemi V-8 with four-cylinder “fuel saver” mode, tuned in this application to deliver 276kW, a throaty exhaust note and 0-100 in less than six seconds.

The suspension has been retuned with revised geometry for a nimble (by American standards, anyway) chassis and the body has dual-pane acoustic windshield and front-door side glass, body-cavity silencing foam, under-flush roll-framed doors with triple seals and acoustic wheel-well liners to absorb road noise.

It's also available in all-wheel drive with special 19” rims and an active transfer case that disconnects the front axle entirely when all-wheel drive isn't needed to reduce fuel consumption.

Safety features include adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring and a reversing camera with grid lines.

The Charger R/T is built at Brampton in Ontario, Canada and sells in the US for $30 990 (R225 000).

Chrysler SA has no plans at present to import the Charger to South Africa. Pity.

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