Chrysler's Mopar brand was once relegated to providing service parts for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram vehicles - but as the brand celebrates its 75th anniversary, it's increasingly playing a part in actually creating new cars and accessory package. In fact, the brand is unveiling four new customized model packages at a press conference this morning.
"Customization is king," Pietro Gorlier, Mopar brand president and CEO, says in a prepared release. These vehicles show how we can go to the next level of personalization, and give our customers every opportunity to further enhance the appearance and performance of their vehicles."
So, what does Mopar have in store for 2012, in addition to the Dodge Charger Redline, and Chrysler 200 Super S? Here's a quick shakedown of what Mopar's bringing to the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.
Mopar '12 Chrysler 300
As the name may indicate, this car continues the tradition of a Mopar-branded special-edition as set by the Mopar '10 Challenger and the Mopar '11 Charger. It also follows in their cosmetic footsteps: a monochromatic black appearance highlighted with Mopar Blue.
Outside, the black exterior paint is paired with black headlamp bezels, a black chrome grille insert and surround, and gloss black 20-inch wheels with Mopar center caps. Blue accent striping runs down the center of the hood, the shoulders of the car, and the circumference of the wheels. Inside, Katzkin black leather seating sports blue perforated accents and stitching. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob sport the same bright blue accent stitching. Matte carbon accents are applied to the instrument panel and center console, and are paired with piano black accents to create a layered look. Mopar sill plates and a serialized emblem - which, if desired, can be matched to the serial number of your Mopar '10 Challenger or Mopar '11 Charger - are also included.
Mechanically, the Mopar '12 300 is powered by the 300C's stock 363-hp, 5.7-liter V-8, which is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. Mopar does, however, toss in a 3.91:1 rear differential to add a little pep, and potentially enable 0-60 mph blasts in the low 5-second range. Goodyear Eagle F1 performance tires are used in lieu of all-season rubber, while front and rear brakes gain high-performance linings.
Production is limited to 500 units, and should begin this summer. Pricing is set at $49,700 (including $825 in destination fees), which is roughly $8785 more than a comparable 2012 300S.
2013 Dodge Dart GTS 210 Tribute
It's an ungainly name (originally, we hear this was supposed to be called the Demon), but a simple premise: inject Dodge's all-new small car with some additional performance flair.
As is usually the case with Mopar's hop-up packages, the base Stage One kit focuses primarily on giving the Dart R/T sedan a meaner look. That's largely accomplished through the carbon-fiber hood with a large air scoop, and rounded off with a matte black chin spoiler, rocker sills, rear spoiler, diffser panel, and roof applique. 18-inch, 10-spoke forged aluminum wheels, which sport a titanium finish, are also part of the package.
Inside, the Stage One kit lends the R/T cabin a two-tone color scheme, with Ruby Red serving as the dominant color. Leather seating, door panels, center armrest, and map pocket inserts are all bright red, while accent stitching, dash trim, and gauge cluster brow (now trimmed in Alcantara) are black.
Want performance upgrades? You'll have to step up to the Stage Two package, which adds a new intake, low-restriction exhaust, and a new ECM calibration. As a result, this should boost output of the Dart R/T's 2.4-liter Tigershark I-4 from 184 to 210 hp.
Pricing for the Dart packages has yet to be announced, but both kits should be available through dealers this fall.
2012 Fiat 500 Stinger
Want a sportier Fiat 500, but aren't ready to jump to the new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth? Mopar's new 500 Stinger package may be up your alley - provided you can stomach copious amounts of bright yellow paint.
What's a Stinger? Take a bright yellow (or giallo) 500 Sport, and add sportier rocker panels, side moldings, and black accent stripes that transition into a checkerboard pattern towards the tail end of the car. 17-inch wheels - borrowed from the Abarth - are given a black finish, while headlamp projectors, nose trim, door handles, and mirror caps are finished in black chrome. Inside, Stage One kits add Katzkin leather seats with Alcantara inserts and giallo accent stitching, a carbon fiber dash accent, and a new shift knob.
Performance modifications are again restricted to the Stage Two kit. A new cold-air intake and exhaust system promise to boost power from the 1.4-liter I-4, although Mopar is presently shying away from any power estimates. Also lumped into the Stage 2 kit are upgraded brakes, which sport cross-drilled rotors.
2012 Jeep Compass True North
In celebration of the fact that the little Compass finally earned its Trail Rated status (and badging) for 2011, Mopar's decked the new True North package out with some equipment suited for venturing off-road.
Yes, the matte black roof finish, wheel flares, lower fascia, grille accent, and door cladding are primarily added for looks, but Mopar's package also adds rear fog lamps, front and rear brush guards, rock rails, a 2-inch suspension lift, and 16-inch wheels with BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires. Interior revisions include neoprene seat covers, bright pedals, door sill guards, a cargo area tray, a Kicker audio system, and a new gauge cluster that incorporates pitch and roll inclinometers.
As is the case with the 500 Stinger and the Dart GTS 210, the True North package will be dealer-installed, and should be available by the fall of 2012.
Stay tuned, as we'll have more information and photography from Mopar's official press conference later this morning.