Ralph Gilles is nothing if not competitive. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the head of Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology division told Motor Trend he wants his brand to make a car that can duel–and win–against the new 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.
Before you remind us, we’ll freely admit that SRT already makes a car that can beat the 7.0-liter Chevrolet Camaro, and it’s called the Viper. But the Z/28 occupies an interesting spot in the model line-up, a spot the Viper can’t match; the Z/28 is marketed as a 2+2 stripped-out sports car with (relatively) low weight and great handling characteristics. The Viper might have the weight and handling parts down, but it can’t sprout back seats. It doesn’t help that the Viper costs about $100,000; while we don’t know how much more the Z/28 will cost than the SS, we’ve heard that it may ring in around the same price as the ZL1, putting it at about $60,000 — 40 percent less than the Viper.
Which brings us to Chrysler’s four-seat sports car, the Challenger SRT8. The Challenger can’t match the Mustang or Camaro’s sales, and it’s notoriously pudgy for a muscle car. Gilles’ Z/28-killing hopes would hinge on some sort of Challenger TA (to borrow the lightweight Viper’s nomenclature), with hundreds fewer pounds of curb weight (the current Challenger SRT8 weighs at least 4100 pounds) and a few more horsepower (the SRT8 makes 470 horsepower, at least 30 shy of the Camaro). That horsepower could come from a tuned version of the current car’s 6.4-liter Hemi V-8; it could also come from a detuned version of the Viper’s 8.4-liter V-10, although we’re unsure how that would jive with the Challenger TA’s “lightweight” mantra.
In any case, such a car would have to ride the LX platform (and be based on the Challenger SRT8), seeing as the long-awaited Barracuda coupe won’t be ready until 2016. In the meantime, Mopar fanboys, cross your fingers and see what Gilles and company will do.
Source: Motor Trend