Any concerns over a late release for the refreshed Dodge Charger have been laid to rest. The full-size sedan is indeed coming as a 2011 model and boasts a handful of key alterations short of its planned full redesign.
Beneath the Charger's expansive hood, the main news is the arrival of the corporate 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 for the base SE and mid-level Rallye trims -- ditching the underpowered and unloved 2.7- and 3.5-liter six-cylinders in the process. Final power specifications haven't been disclosed, but the new V-6 is rated at 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque in other Chrysler applications. The 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 returns to the R/T model with FuelSaver Technology, the trade name for the Hemi's cylinder-deactivation feature.
So far there has been no mention by Dodge of transmission options for the updated Charger, but we're assuming the ancient four-speed automatic will be ditched, leaving the five-speed auto as the only option until Chrysler can get its future plans in place. The automaker's rumored eight-speed auto and dual-clutch transmissions cannot get here fast enough.
Another missing piece of the puzzle is the SRT model, which was also left off the press release. But given Dodge's performance-based focus, we're betting something is right around the corner.
The R/T model, depicted here, is adorned with five-spoke 19-inch wheels and a new stance. The Charger R/T can be had with an active all-wheel drive system that is capable of depriving the front drive shafts of engine torque as necessary, depending on road conditions. The result is a setup that can also bump overall fuel economy by up to five percent, conditions permitting.
Dodge says it has massaged the Charger's chassis in an effort to further reduce noise and vibration emanating from the powertrain. Elsewhere on the integrated frame and body, engineers gave the 2011 Charger more sound-deadening foam, a smoothed underbody, triple seals on the doors, and acoustic wheel well liners in the pursuit of improving cabin sound quality. Dual-pane windshields and front-door glass are also new and the suspension geometry has been tuned to better balance the driving dynamics.
Outside, the Charger's snout is endowed with the split crosshair grille and raked headlights reminiscent of the 2011 Durango. The aluminum hood and doors are appointed with "scallops," which essentially cleave large sections of metal from the body's mass. The rear is fitted with a Challenger-esque LED light setup spanning not only the taillights but the length of the trunk lid. Dodge calls it the "racetrack" graphic and uses 164 individual LED lights to leave an unmistakable impression as the Charger leaves the streetlights.
Inside, you get the usual array of safety features and Uconnect Touch for complete multimedia integration. A thick three-spoke steering wheel was specially tailored for the Dodge enthusiast to inspire confidence and relay the necessary feedback to the driver. The 2011 Charger is set to join the Dodge lineup later this year.
Now that the seemingly perpetual teaser stream for this Charger has been put to bed, it's time to repeat the process with the Chrysler 300C...