Combining performance with sweet features inspired by the street racing scene, the 2003 Dodge SRT4 is based on the concept vehicle introduced two years before at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. The result is a vehicle that accelerates from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds straight out of the factory, becoming the quickest car in the Dodge lineup, second only to the Dodge Viper SRT 10.
Priced under $20.000, SRT$ revolutionizes the compact car market, offering an alternative to used vehicles. Giving a lower price point to start from the Dodge SRT4 owners interested in personalizing their cars will have more cash left for unique aftermarket enhancements.
But Dodge SRT4 drivers won’t have to drop a dime if they don’t want to. Direct from the factory, this car offers a smart alternative for racing enthusiasts who want to distance themselves from other vehicles and roll up to the starting line with something fresh and unique. With its 2.4-liter, turbo-charged 205 horsepower engine, genuine Viper-style racing seats and performance gauges, Dodge SRT4 comes packaged with many components already tuned and styled for performance. So, it’s ready for sweet nights on the street right off the dealer lot.
The Dodge SRT4 offers the most "as delivered" performance for the dollar of any other production sport compact car available in the United States, foreign or domestic. With more than 200 horses under the hood, it will be one of the most powerful four-cylinder cars on the market. To go with all that horsepower, SRT4 also features an improved cooling system and high-flow fuel system. Like the Dodge Viper SRT10, the number four in SRT4 denotes the number of cylinders in the engine, while SRT is an acronym for Street and Racing Technology.
"You have to give customers the chance to really go for the extreme," explained Larry Lyons, Vice President - Small Vehicle Product Team Engineering. "Dodge SRT4 grants them that opportunity. It gives them the ability to earn respect and be accepted on the streets with a car that stands on its own merit."
Turbo boost makes it sweet off the line
The standard Dodge SRT4 engine delivers the performance of aftermarket kits costing anywhere from $2,500 to $3,500, but as a production powerplant, it is covered by a full factory warranty. The SRT4 features a 2.4-liter DOHC turbo-boosted 205 horsepower in-line four-cylinder engine that delivers 220 lb.-ft. of torque available from 2000 to 4800 rpm. And the added boost from the turbo is just the beginning.
"One of the great things about the SRT4 turbo is that enthusiasts will be able to get extra power out of it later through packages available from our Mopar Performance Parts group," said John Fernandez, Director - Performance Vehicle Operations. However, with performance estimates showing the vehicle is capable of 0-60 mph acceleration times of approximately 5.9 seconds, with a top speed of 148 mph, Dodge SRT4 is fast just as it is.
"Dodge SRT4’s performance characteristics put it in a league with vehicles priced at more than $30,000," said Marques McCammon, Program Manager - SRT4. "SRT4 offers continuous torque peak from 2000 rpm to 4800 rpm."
Paired with SRT4’s turbo-charged powerplant is a high-performance transaxle that features a heavy duty, five-speed manual NVG T850 transaxle and a muffler-less, dual outlet exhaust system with wider, 2.5-inch polished stainless tips. Adding to the performance capability are a larger diameter throttle body and a high flow intake manifold. New equal-length halfshafts, high capacity clutch and drive plate assemblies and unique engine and transaxle mounts round out the Dodge SRT4 transmission system.
Almost unheard of in the compact car enthusiast arena, superior driveability from a production car is a Dodge Neon trademark that continues with SRT 4. Like autocross devotees, SRT4 owners also will enjoy the car’s agile handling capability made possible by 17-inch aluminum performance wheels, sticky 50 series tires, specially tuned strut and spring assemblies (front and rear), sway bars (front and rear), updated knuckles and a unique K-member.
"We wanted a car that had a nice, balanced feel through the corners without an overabundance of body roll," said Fernandez. "With SRT4, we created a car with a high dose of power that is also highly controllable."
"We’ve gone a little firmer on the spring rates, especially in the rear, so that we can lessen the rear end dive," said McCammon. "That allows the car to remain level and even drop down a little in the front to get you off the line faster."
Blending power and control was made possible by the interaction between the Dodge SRT4 development team and performance operation engineers who cut their teeth in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) racing. Some of these weekend racers worked closely with the small vehicle team to make sure that their SCCA engineering experience found its way into Dodge SRT4 . "From the onset, employees from these two groups worked together to create a car that reflects our motorsports heritage, both from grassroots Neon ACR racing and the professional success of our Viper program," said Fernandez.
Dodge SRT4 also features ABS and four-wheel disc brakes with larger diameter calipers and rotors, which lie ready and waiting to stop all the power under the hood. The vehicle’s standard 11-inch disc brakes with upgraded pads assure that SRT4 can drop from 60-0 mph in less than 120 feet. Other safety features of Dodge SRT4 include standard driver and front passenger air bags, as well as optional side air bags.
Even the Dodge SRT4’s sound system was designed with vehicle performance in mind. A best-in-class AM/FM stereo CD with six speakers is standard equipment on the SRT4.
"We considered including a sub-woofer and an amplified sound system, but that would have meant adding almost 30 pounds to the vehicle weight which, besides adding to the overall cost, would have slowed the car’s performance," said McCammon
Many other popular convenience features also are standard including air conditioning, power locks and windows, remote keyless entry and a lighting group package.
Production of Dodge SRT4 is scheduled to start in the spring of 2003 at the Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant, with sales to begin shortly after. The facility, which began building Neon vehicles in January of 1994, is also the manufacturing site for the 2002 Dodge Neon models (Base, SE, ES, RT and ACR).