Chrysler to replace the Dodge Challenger with the Barracuda

Article by Christian A., on February 19, 2012

A lineup of rear-drive Alfa Romeos may be created due to Chrysler's quest to find the fitting replacement for the Dodge Challenger. It is rumored that a new-age Barracuda is being designed by Chrysler design chief Ralph Gilles to replace the Challenger. The Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, the two big rivals of the Challenger, are due to receive major updates in the 2015 model year.

Mustang will continue on Ford's last remaining rear-drive car platform and is largely anticipated to replace its present live rear axle with an independent rear suspension.

Camaro's new Alpha platform has been seen as a preview in the Cadillac ATS to be sold later this year as well as in the Chevy Code 130R concept. The Challenger uses the Dodge Charger/Chrysler 300's last-generation platform and is the largest car in this segment by far. It measures 197.7 inches long on a 116.0-inch wheelbase that is shorter than the Charger's wheelbase by 4.2 inches.

The Challenger has this length since it had to copy the 1970-'74 Dodge Challenger's proportions while making use of the Charger's tall front cowl. A replacement for the Barracuda would continue to be built on a RWD platform but would be a lot trimmer. It’s reported that Chrysler and Fiat are jointly developing a new platform that's smaller than the current Charger/300's LY.

Gilles' Barracuda would be a much less literal interpretation of its namesake, which came in three separate body style designs from 1964 to 1974. This means that there are plenty of styling cues for the new car, which will not be getting a retro look. A source said that Gilles had “always wanted to do a new Barracuda."

The Dodge Challenger has long been known to be one of the best rear-wheel-drive muscle coupe in the U.S. However, the 2012 version of the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 is expected to cement that status as it brings with it additional high-tech performance features. In addition to the excellent output, outstanding performance is guaranteed given the mix of the latest technologies, high-performance braking, top-of-the-line handling and ride, and remarkable straight-line acceleration.

Powering it is the HEMI 6.4-liter (392-cubic inch) V8 engine which can offer 470 hp (351 kW) with peak torque of 470 lb.-ft. (637 Nm). With this, the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 achieves a maximum speed of 182 mph when paired with the manual transmission. But with the automatic transmission, the speed can go as fast as 175 mph.

Under manual transmission, acceleration from standstill to a quarter mile is possible with the high 12-second range with the automatic transmission allowing for acceleration in the low 12-second range. Overall acceleration from 0 to 60 mph is possible under 5 seconds with a 0 to 100 mph and back to 0 within 15 seconds. Stopping from 60 mph is achieved after 117 feet. Even with all of the power, fuel efficiency is 23 mpg highway and 14 mpg for city.

Going back to the powertrain, since the torque band is generally flat, not only are strong standing starts possible but straight-line performance is enhanced especially within the rpm range. By having an active advanced intake manifold paired with the high-lift cam that has phasing, high-end power with low-end torque is possible at the same fuel efficiency already mentioned.

With the engine mounts tuned for performance, both ride control and idle stability are enhanced no matter what the current speed is. While there is a choice between automatic transmission and a manual one, those who choose the latter will also get the Standard Fuel Saver Technology or the four-cylinder mode.

Through this technology, the engine can run on the four cylinders or when necessary, use the power of the eight cylinders. When looking under the hood, one is likely to see that the valve covers have been painted in silver ribs and has the 392 HEMI logo adorning it. This ensures that the engine has that clean and distinct look while continuing to be aggressive.

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