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First Look: 2013 Dodge Dart GTS 210 Tribute

The 2013 Dodge Dart isn't even in showrooms yet, but that's not stopping the folks at Chrysler's Mopar division from cooking up some interesting add-ons for the new compact sedan. Along with 150-some-odd accessory parts, the Mopar folks also have a new performance-tuned model dubbed the Dart GTS 210 Tribute.

Yes, that's certainly a mouthful. But unlike the name -- which is inspired by a performance-tuned Dart trim of the 1960s -- the idea is rather simple: take the Dart, which rolls into showrooms later this year, and inject it with a little more flair and fortitude.

Street Racer Looks
In typical Mopar fashion, the GTS 210 treatment is dealer installed, and consists of different kits -- or as Mopar dubs them, "stages." The Stage One package is primarily cosmetic, and focuses on pumping even more attitude into the Dart's already aggressive form. The most noticeable change lies up front, where the stock hood is replaced by a new carbon fiber unit. If the enticing weave of the composite material -- visible thanks to layers of clear coat -- isn't enough to turn heads, the large air intake, vaguely reminiscent of the scoop used on the original Neon SRT-4, certainly will.

Other exterior modifications resemble those applied to the Charger Redline, the Dart's Mopar-ized big brother. A lower chin spoiler, rocker panel extensions, decklid spoiler, and rear diffuser panel are all given a matte black finish. 18-inch, 10-spoke wheels are also part of the package, and boast a titanium finish.

Ruby Red Gone Wild
In stock guise, the Dart's cabin design and materials -- especially in top-shelf R/T guise -- are already impressive. Subsequently, Mopar's efforts within the car largely add some flash. GTS 210 Tribute models adopt a red-on-black two-tone scheme. Door panels are largely black but boast red inserts, map pockets, and so forth. Leather seat skins from Katzkin continue the red-on-black scheme; unlike the subtle two-tone seats offered on factory-stock R/T models, red is brazenly splashed over these seats in a manner usually reserved for motorcycle race suits.

The so-called floating island bezel that surrounds the gauge cluster remains, but Mopar replaces the ruby red part found on other Dart trims with one painted Piano Black. Vent bezels, cup holder trim, and the gearshift surround are all painted in a matching hue. The brow above the gauge cluster itself is trimmed in black suede, and boasts red accent stitching.

Tweaked Tigershark
As the GTS is based off the Dart R/T, Chrysler's revised 2.4-liter DOHC I-4 -- dubbed Tigershark -- is nestled underhood. Although similar to the 2.4-liter World Engine used in the Caliber, the Tigershark 2.4 gains a number of enhancements, including larger valves, longer intake runners, and Fiat's MultiAir electro-hydraulic valve actuation system.

In stock form, those enhancements yield a solid 184 hp at 6250 rpm, and 171 lb-ft of torque -- a considerable improvement over the previous iteration of the 2.4, which produced only 172 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque. Even so, Mopar goes one step further with the GTS Stage Two package, adding a new cold air intake, a less restrictive exhaust system, and a recalibrated engine control module. Those revisions reportedly bring horsepower up to the 210-hp mark, although an increase in torque -- if any -- is still an unknown. That power will continue to be sent to the front wheels by way of either a standard six-speed manual transmission, or an optional, Hyundai-sourced six-speed automatic.

Go GTS, or Save for the SRT?
For now, that bump in power makes the GTS 210 the most powerful Dart variant available -- but that may not be the case for long. It's no secret that the enthusiasts-turned-engineers at Chrysler's SRT division are interested in producing a performance Dart, potentially packing in excess of 300 hp.

If true, is there room for both the SRT and GTS in the same showroom? Perhaps so: for customers on a budget, for those who desire some personalization, or for those who simply don't want to wait for SRT to make its move, the Dart GTS 210 Tribute gives them a sportier Dart sooner than later. Expect to see the package available through Mopar service centers nationwide this fall.