After seeing the Dodge Avenger rally car prototype hit the gravel hard, we were left wishing it would one day see competition. Unfortunately, that model was just an exercise. The 2012 Avenger R/T, however, is very real, and will be on display in New York this week.

Offering an upgraded, stiffer suspension, 283 horsepower at the crank of its Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6, and a host of unique appearance upgrades, it's the sportiest Avenger you can buy. The key upgrades to the suspension involve a total roll stiffness increase of 18 percent, with 17 percent stiffer front springs and 12 percent stiffer rears, plus a larger anti-roll bar in the rear and upgraded dampers to handle the extra rate.

The Pentastar V-6 needs no upgrades to generate its 283 horsepower, but it still manages 29 miles per gallon in Avenger R/T trim.

On the outside, the Avenger R/T gets a body-color grille, black headlamp surrounds, a "war paint" R/T decal on the front quarter panel, a spoiler, and 18-inch aluminum wheels. Inside, R/T badges abound, with a center-mounted tach relaying the rpms, SRT-inspired brake and gas pedals, and a six-speed automatic--though no mention of paddle-shift ability. All Avenger R/Ts will come standard with a Boston Acoustic stereo and 30-gigabyte hard drive to complement the touchscreen entertainment center.

The Avenger R/T will hit dealers in the third quarter this year. Stay tuned for live photos and impressions of the R/T in just a few days as we ramp up our New York Auto Show coverage.