Rumors about an SRT -prepped Dodge Dart have been floating around ever since the compact sedan was unveiled at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show . But hopes of a successor for the Neon SRT-4 – phased out in 2005 – were somewhat crushed when SRT CEO Ralph Gilles said at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show that the brand has yet to find the right powertrain for the car.
Months have passed since we’ve heard anything about the Dart SRT, but it appears Dodge finally came to its senses and started working on a high performance compact. The good news came straight from the Fiat Chrysler alliance, who has just unveiled its massive five-year production plan.
With the SRT brand now back under Dodge , a host of new models will be built by 2018, with a high performance version of the Dart among them. Although the company has yet to confirm whether the compact will roll out with a SRT4 badge, it did say the vehicle will arrive in late 2016, right after the current-generation Dart gets its mid-cycle refresh.
The big news is that the brawny version of the sedan will be motivated by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, just like the Caliber SRT4 and the Neon SRT4, and sold with an all-wheel-drive configuration. Specific details aren’t available at the time of this writing, but expect for the Dart SRT to get a beefed-up 2.4-liter Tigershark engine tuned to deliver at least 260 horsepower.
Naturally, the sportier version of the Dart will also arrive with a host of visual upgrades (check out our rendering here ), including a pair aggressive bumpers, a larger apron intake, a rear diffuser, and probably a hood scoop. Under-the-skin improvements are likely to include a stiffer, performance-tuned suspension and additional driving modes.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Dodge Dart SRT.
Having just been unveiled for the 2015 model year, the current Subaru WRX is likely to remain largely unchanged until the Dodge Dart SRT hits dealerships. Powered by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter inline-four unit, the sedan has 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque at its disposal. Sent to all four wheels via either a six-speed manual or a Sport Lineartronic CVT, the oomph enables the new WRX to hit 60 mph from a standing start in about 5.2 seconds and a top speed limited at 155 mph.
Performance aside, the new WRX benefits from a more aggressive stance provided by fully revised front and rear fascias, as well as a lowered suspension. The sedan is now more techier on the inside, while the dashboard and the door panels have received more soft-touch materials. Rear legroom was also improved by nearly two inches thanks to the car’s longer wheelbase. Available in three trim levels – standard, Premium, and Limited – the 2015 WRX starts from $27,090 including destination and delivery fees.
Launched in Europe about two years ago, the new Focus ST reached U.S. showrooms only last year. An update for the hatchback is sure to arrive by 2016, before the Dart SRT breaks cover, but for the time being we’ll have a look at the current model, which sports a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood. The unit sends 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels, with a six-speed manual in charge of the transfer. The power is enough to propel the vehicle from naught to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, making it more than half a second slower than the Subaru WRX. Top speed sits at 154 mph.
All that performance is delivered with an attractive body kit that includes redesigned bumpers, a huge air-gulping grille and bigger wheels. Interior design updates are noteworthy, but the most important improvement comes in the technology compartment, with the hatch being loaded with goodies such as MyFord Touch, Sync, and a 10-speaker audio system. Recaro seats with supportive bolsters are standard on all ST models. The 2014 model retails from $24,155 – significantly cheaper than the Subaru WRX.