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2013 Dodge Dart SRT4: what we expect

March 31, 2013 UPDATE:
Ralph Gilles said the SRT Dart was on hold, while they worked on creating a package worthy of the SRT name. He did not rule out or confirm that a turbocharged car could be done as a Dart R/T, though.

After the success of the original Dodge Neon SRT4 in establishing street credibility for both the Neon and the SRT brand, the creation of an SRT Dart — a Dodge Dart SRT4, if you will — seems almost a given, especially since Chrysler has already gotten 285 horsepower out of the 2.4 liter engine, even without MultiAir or the new “Tiger Shark” head and intake design.

srt4 dart rendering

Observers believe the production version will likely produce around 300 horsepower, though SRT might tune for a lower peak horsepower number in order to get stronger torque through a wider engine-speed range — or to save money on the all wheel drive system, assuming one is going to be used.

A reliable Allpar reader claims to have spotted a new Dart SRT4 near the Chrysler Tech Center. He did not want to reveal any specific technologies used in the car, but said he'd looked it over and under, and believed it was close to production. He wrote, "It is incredible! As much as I drooled over the Neon SRT4, the new one is...I cannot come up with words to describe it. The Abarth 500 is a tinker toy built by 3 year olds in comparison. If the fit and finish on the car I saw remains on production vehicles...there are going to be embarrassed people that will be backpedalling on their comments. The car was purposeful, and it let you know its purpose just sitting there without being something from Fast and Furious. It is a real driving machine.”

Ralph Gilles has been dropping more hints about the SRT4 recently, and Allpar members have been arguing over whether it would have front wheel drive (as both SRT4s had) or all wheel drive, which is believed to be on its way for the Dart. Some believe it will be released on the tenth anniversary of the Dodge Neon SRT4 launch.

The market for AWD “mini-supercars” like the Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru WRX STi has been falling sharply, and the idea of a $30,000 Dodge Dart might arouse the ire of pundits, so the jury is still out on whether the SRT4 will be based on the all wheel drive Dart or on the front wheel drive model. We’re still betting on all wheel drive, with the price point and interior comfort being key differentiators from Evo and STi. The Dart SRT4 can underperform compared with the most potent “rice rockets” as long as it’s substantially cheaper; size is apparently only worth an afterthought in comparisons, if Challenger vs Mustang vs Camaro articles are any guide.

The SRT4 is not expected until the 2014 model year; it is most likely that the order will be...

1) Remainder of calendar-year 2012: Dodge Dart R/T and automatics for each model

2) Dual-clutch transmission for the 1.4 liter Fiat engines

3) Dodge Dart AWD

4) Dodge Dart SRT4 — possibly alongside AWD in the unveiling but later in the production process.

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