Performance-car fans should get ready for a series of sport-bred vehicles based on the newly introduced Chrysler Group LX rear-wheel-drive platform. The performance derivatives are set to debut in first-quarter 2005.
Sources within the auto maker tell Ward's Chrysler will introduce a 300C SRT-8 early in 2005, with a Dodge Charger SRT-8 following in September.
Both vehicles will be powered by the all-new 6.1L version of Chrysler's highly acclaimed Hemi V-8 engine.
Sources claim the new powerplant will produce 420 hp and 390 lb.-ft. (528 Nm) of torque, a significant 24% horsepower boost from the 340 hp rating of the current 5.7L Hemi.
Sources also indicate the 6.1L Hemi will not feature Chrysler's much-touted multi-displacement cylinder-deactivation system. The higher-output 6.1L Hemi will be reserved only for performance applications, where fuel economy routinely is not a top priority.
The Charger SRT-8 will feature a 6-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, boosting the vehicle's performance potential.
Pilot production of standard Chargers already has begun in preparation for the return of the Charger moniker to Dodge showrooms shortly before the SRT package launches.
The source also indicates the auto maker is considering a 2-door version of the Charger, as well as a 4-seat convertible, based loosely off the Chrysler Hemi C concept vehicle that debuted at the 2000 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.