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Auto blogTue, 21 May 2013
A monstrous supercharged V8 engine could be in store for Chrysler and SRT products, if recent rumors are to be believed. Allpar is reporting that the forced-induction V8 - Chrysler's first, if this goes down - could make its debut this summer.
The story goes that the Hellcat would be based on a 6.2-liter Hemi engine, rather than on the existing 5.7- or 6.4-liter versions of the company's vaunted mill. In any case, the general consensus is that the motor will have gobs of power. Modest estimates call for between 500 to 570 horsepower, with some outliers predicting a figure as high as 600 hp. That figure would put the output would place the Hellcat awfully close to that of the 640-hp V10 in the SRT Viper, too. Allpar contends that a slightly lower powered version would allow Chrysler to keep costs below that of the more powerful Ford Shelby GT500, which might be a sweet spot.
The Hellcat could debut in a number of SRT products. SRT versions of the Charger, Challenger and 300 are all up for grabs, as is the rumored SRT Barracuda.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed its annual list of Top Safety Picks, an award that highlights automobiles it says offer "superior crash protection." A new and still more significant award, the Top Safety Pick+ honor, is given to those vehicles that earn good ratings for occupant protection in four out of five areas of measure. And while some 117 vehicles were given the TSP seal of approval for 2013, just 13 passed muster for TSP+.
To be fair, IIHS only evaluated 29 vehicles with its new testing procedures for TSP+ (we'd expect that the number of qualified cars will rise substantially for 2014). Luxury and Near Luxury midsize cars were the first groups evaluated, followed by midsizers in the Moderately Priced Cars category - unsurprisingly, it's only midsize cars that you'll find among the class this year.
Only two luxury sedans made the list of 13 for 2013: the Acura TL and Volvo S60. The other 11 cars on the list included entries from domestic, Japanese and German car makers: Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord (sedan and coupe), Kia Optima (but not its close kin, the Hyundai Sonata, strangely), Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Outback, Suzuki Kizashi and the Volkswagen Passat all made the grade.
We think this officially counts as a tradition. Every year going back to 2010, Mopar has rolled out a limited edition version of a popular product from the Chrysler Group portfolio. First it was the Mopar '10 Challenger, then the Mopar '11 Charger, then last year's Mopar '12 300, and this year it will be the Mopar '13 Dart, which will make its official world debut next week at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show.
Limited in number to just 500 units, the Mopar '13 Dart is no mere appearance package, though the demeanor of the Dart will be murdered out with a gloss black finish, gloss black 18-inch wheels, a set of Mopar blue stripes and a mean-looking Mopar ground effects kit. Likewise, the interior is touched up with leather seats (a blue one for the driver and black hides for the passengers), gloss black and black chrome trim, blue accent stitching, a sport pedal kit and other Mopar interior accessories.
Turning our attention back to the mechanical bits, the Mopar '13 Dart comes with the car's most powerful engine, a turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir four (shared with Fiat 500 Abarth) that's paired with a manual transmission. Those big, black wheels get wrapped in low profile 225/40R18 performance tires, and keeping everything in check is an upgraded brake kit with slotted rotors. The steering has also been calibrated for performance, the suspension lowered seven millimeters, and the exhaust tuned for better engine breathing.