The launch of the new 2013 Dodge Dart
leaves the SRT performance division with a credible option to finally build a successor to the Dodge Neon SRT4 cult classic from the early 2000s.
The boss of SRT Ralph Gilles has already hinted at such a car
, and no, this one isn’t expected to be like SRT’s previous lame attempt at building a Neon SRT4 successor, the Dodge Caliber SRT4.
That’s because the Dart brings with it Alfa Romeo DNA. Specifically, the Italian automaker’s C-Evo platform, which was stretched slightly to form the Compact U.S. Wide (CUS-wide) design underpinning the Dart.
This platform is not only light and agile, thanks to its Italian engineering, but it’s also compatible with the sporty six-speed dual-clutch transmission found in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta
‘Cloverleaf’ model. Motor Trend
points out that the Dart SRT4 is likely to get this transmission as an option (a six-speed manual should remain standard), along with a turbocharged engine matching--or even outperforming--the output of the 247-horsepower Ford Focus ST
You may recall that the Caliber SRT4 developed upwards of 285 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque from its turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, so the Dart SRT4 should deliver about the same. The most likely option would be a turbocharged version of the Dart's ‘Tigershark’ 2.0-liter engine.
To go along with the potent powerplant, SRT will almost certainly add a host of chassis upgrades including stiffened suspension, custom sway bars front and rear, possibly some modifications to the steering to make it faster and more accurate, and uprated wheels, tires, and brakes. The latter could even be Brembo units.
For full details on the 2013 Dodge Dart, click here