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2013 SRT Viper debuts at New York Auto Show

Updated: April 4, 2012 05:03 PM EDT

The 2013 SRT Viper (photos © Dan Meade)

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2013 SRT Viper debuts at New York Auto Show

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By Dan Meade

(WORLDNOW)�– Before the new 2013 SRT Viper could be seen, it could be heard. As lights dimmed and the excitement grew, a loud, deep growl could be heard coming from stage left. Seconds after the growl turned into the sound of a 640 horsepower engine revving, the Viper roared out onto on the stage looking as deadly and sexy as any femme fatale in a curve-hugging red dress ever did.

The Viper, no longer a part of the Dodge family but now the flagship of the newly independent SRT line of Chrysler vehicles, was presented as having two symbolic meanings on the first day of the 2012 New York International Auto Show. Ralph Gilles, President and CEO of SRT, said that the SRT Viper “shows that we still have a soul at Chrysler” and is meant to serve a message to other high-end muscle cars that “we want you to step it up.”

If the Viper represents the remaining “soul” of Chrysler it is because the car name was almost sold a few years ago in the aftermath of Detroit’s decimation during the recession of the late 2000s. That sale never went through, and the serpentine muscle car remained in the Chrysler family. Gilles, who likened the design process for this new model as “like being pregnant for 24 months” made the point that the SRT Viper was designed in America, and built in Detroit – both facts that play heavily in Chrysler’s recent ad campaigns and both of which drew applause from the crowd before him.

In fact, the Viper is being built in the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant which had been idle for two years. You could almost�use the story of this new model as an allegory for Chrysler as a whole: once nearly shut down and sold off, it has now roared back to life and is regaining market traction. All in the span of a few years.

But back to today. Coming in lighter and with a higher torque ratio than the last generation Viper, the SRT Viper has been built to be “one of the fastest cars in the world.” To prove those weren’t empty words, Gilles stepped off stage so that the SRT Viper GTS-R Le Mans racing edition could enter. Gilles would go on to announce that the SRT Viper Racing team will return to the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) later this year.

The 2013 SRT Viper was built having taken into consideration the thoughts of the line’s fan base, known as “Viper Nation.” Increased seating space, the return of a clam-shell hood, customizable interiors and even a “launch” button to lessen the amount of smoke created upon ignition are all included in the 2013 model. For those who can’t afford to own one, the SRT Viper will also be featured in the Forza Motorsport 4 video game for X-Box 360, allowing “Viper Nation” members of all ages a chance to experience the sensation of driving one of the fastest cars in the world.

Dan Meade is the�Auto editor for WorldNow and has been covering the New York International Auto Show since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter here.�

via 2013 SRT Viper debuts at New York Auto Show – KPTV – FOX 12.

via 2013 SRT Viper debuts at New York Auto Show – KPTV – FOX 12.

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2013 Dodge Dart: the hot compact car

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Past Dodge Dart cars at Allpar: Dart (1960-62) • Dart (1963-66)Dart (1967-76)

2013 Dodge Dart grille

Using the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, a new sedan is due to be made in the United States, with full production starting in April 2012 (delayed from January). It will finally fill in a gap left by the Neon.

The car was in early pilot production in late October 2011. As early as 2009, this car was planned on extended Fiat C-EVO dimensions and the Fiat electronics network, along with a retuned Chrysler World Gas Engine and the 1.4 liter turbocharged Fiat engine. One version of the new Dodge will get 40 mpg.

interior - dodge PF

The reliable source oh2o wrote that it will be surprisingly well equipped, with SE (base) getting 16 inch wheels, and SXT and Limited going to 17” wheels; there will be a Rallye option for the SXT. All trim lines will get lots of airbags including knee bags (possibly for passengers as well), LED tail lamps, and optional Blind Spot/Cross Path detection and trailer sway damping; HIDs will be optional as well. Well appointed interiors will have tilt/telescope steering column even on SE; Limited will get a heated steering wheel. Seats will be covered in cloth fabric with accents, denim seats, or leather.

All wheel drive is coming, perhaps with late availability. Some sources claim a nine-speed automatic is in the cards, but if so, it’s going to be a late arrival.

2013 Dodge Dart

The big new 8.4” stereos will be used with and without navigation, and backup cameras and 506-watt 9-speaker amps will be optional.

Retuning of the World Gas Engine was described by CJDR Tech: the 2.0 will have its VVT system retuned for a broader power band, sacrificing some peak horsepower but increasing gas mileage and performance; the manifolds will be swapped so the intake is in back; and the valvetrain will be updated to roller cam followers, doing away with the buckets on the valve springs.

Similar changes appear to be taking place on the 2.4 liter engine, which was originally quoted as running around 240 horsepower (we assumed the production version would be around 200), but now the 2.4 seems to be rated at 185 hp. Both the new 2.0 and new 2.4 are to be badged as Tiger Shark, (or Tigershark as the press release puts it), but it’s possible there will be a hotter 2.4 for mid-sized cars.

The Fiat turbo 1.4 will also power the PF. Transmissions will most likely include the Fiat dual-clutch automated-manual transmission, with a manual transmission version of that transmission. It will use electrically boosted power steering, according to CJDR Tech.

2013 dart tail

oh2o wrote that a high priority was placed on aerodynamics, with a smooth underbody and new-for-Chrysler active grille shutters; transmissions will be the six-speed manual and a six-speed dual-clutch with AutoStick.

New source “PhantomSpazz” said the models would be the base SE, volume SXT, Rallye (possibly as an SXT package), R/T, and a Limited. It will reportedly be the longest, widest, and tallest car in its class, and the interior will be quieter than the very-quiet Chevrolet Cruze.

The 1.4 belts out around 160 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque in the Fiat 500 Abarth; it might be “downtuned” to around 150 hp for this application. The 2.4, according to PhantomSpazz, is currently estimated at 185 hp, a moderate boost over the current 172 hp 2.4; however, past rumors suggested that it would be more drivable, with horsepower not as restricted to the higher engine speeds. Torque for this engine is estimated at 170 lb-ft.

PF closeup

The 2.4 will be used in the R/T model, and is expected to get a bit over 32 mpg (highway). The Eco model, with 40 mpg, is slated for late arrival.

“PhantomSpazz” wrote that the interior would be easily best-in-class, including a full animated center cluster — when the car is turned on, the speedometer and gas gauge animate with the Dodge logo; leave your door open and a realistic 3D-rendered PF will show up in the EVIC with its door open. Turn by turn navigation includes a realistic car image; EVIC is seven inches diagonally, and as you drive, you see a flower growing if you are driving efficiently. The colors are “young and hip.” … The LUX interior has a light leather, as seen in Journey, but with bright stitching, or black leather seats with red stitching. It has an aluminum-type dashboard which wraps around the radio, steering wheel and cluster, glowing around the edges. The RT and Lux model also come with mood lighting in the interior. There are lights near the passenger and driver feet, lights behind the interior door handles, lights in the center storage and lights in the bottom of both doors where you would keep maps and books.

“PhantomSpazz” also confirmed that the rear resembles the Charger, with the round racetrack lighting, and suggested that base pricing would not be far above the Fiat 500.

The new electric steering system eliminates the belt-driven “pump,” instead having a sensor and electric motor mounted to the rack itself (of the rack and pinion system). The suspension will use MacPherson struts in front, shocks with upper and lower arms in back, in an aluminum cradle.

The Dart will be built in Belvidere, Illinois, which is being expanded with a 550,000 square foot body shop; the cost for upgrading the plant, including adding new machinery and tooling, is $600 million.

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Past Dodge Dart cars at Allpar: Dart (1960-62) • Dart (1963-66)Dart (1967-76) • Mexican Dart