Ralph Gilles and his SRT team are already planning improvements to the Dart and preparing its SRT4 performance version even as the Dart is highly praised. The base Dart shares many similarities with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta platform so it’s expected that the Dart SRT4 will use an upgraded version of the Giulietta Cloverleaf's dual-clutch, six-speed transmission.
It’s likely that it won’t have Cloverleaf's 1.7-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder since it only delivers 230 hp. The Dart SRT4 has to be built impressively because Ford's Focus ST will start to be seen on the roads by summer.
The Focus ST is powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder that has an output of least 247 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. What’s sure is that the SRT4 would offer at least the same output as the last-generation Caliber SRT4, which was powered by a turbo 2.4-liter that delivers 285 hp and 265 lb-ft. It’s expected that the all-aluminum, direct-injection, 300-hp four-cylinder engine that would be used in the much-anticipated Alfa Romeo 4C is an ideal but costly fit.
What’s considered as a better option is a turbocharged and intercooled larger displacement version of the Dart's Tigershark 2.0-liter. When it comes to the chassis and aerodynamics aspect, SRT engineers are expected to use the same race logic used throughout the Chrysler/Dodge line.
The Dart SRT4 is equipped with all types of functional scoops and vents, an aggressive rear deck spoiler, and vertigo-inducing handling due to its stiffer springs and dampers, bigger wheels, and upgraded rubber. If it comes with a turbo Tigershark, it’s expected to be priced comparably to the Focus ST. For 300hp, it’s expected to be priced higher but slightly below the AWD VW Golf R and Subaru WRX STI at more than $30,000.
Chrysler Group LLC Head of Dodge Design Joe Dehner reveals that it was their dream to design the Dodge Dart. Based on Alfa Romeo architecture, they had the leeway to add great proportions for the exterior design, conveying that the car is fun to drive. Meanwhile, the Charger-based racetrack taillights, piano black design highlights, and sleek grille enhance the performance-oriented design.
Dodge Dart also uses the Fiat Group’s Compact U.S. Wide architecture, giving it wide, long and low dimensions that push the wheels out of the body as well as give the Dart a coupe-like profile. The CUS-wide platform also accentuated the formations in the fender, while pushing the wheels out to the corners. This gives the Dart a stable look and paved the way for the dramatic sculpturing you see on the car.
Dehner further explains that when they were designing the Dart, they took inspiration from the beautifully styled and classic vehicles that came out over time. These cars were beautiful even without cladding, lines or jewelry that befuddle the eye.
As soon as the basic styling was finalized with the use of dynamic curves and lines seen at every angle, the designers also incorporated the Dodge characteristics into the overall design. Up front, you have the updated and sleeker split crosshair grille that is unmistakably Dodge. The grille gives the Dart a full-width covering, further marking it as a Dodge.
For the rear, you can opt for the "racetrack" full-width taillamp that features more than 150 indirect glow LED bulbs as well as the dual exhausts that are embedded in the rear fascia.