Fiat Chrysler Automobiles offered up a glimpse of its newest offerings Tuesday, focusing on two key areas — horsepower and luxury.
A wide body Dodge Challenger Hellcat, a Dodge Durango SUV with 475 horsepower and a Ram Limited Tungsten Edition — the most luxurious Ram ever — were among numerous vehicles on display for journalists during the Auburn Hills automaker’s annual “What’s New” media event at its Chelsea Proving Grounds.
Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger cars for Fiat Chrysler, summed up the eye candy.
“There is not a new car here, but there (are) new looks that we’ve never done before,” Kuniskis said, referring to the updated 2018 models.
And, true to Dodge style, those “new looks” include plenty of power and attitude.
The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody adds 3 1/2 inches of width and lots of features to the muscle car, including 20-by-11-inch “Devil’s Rim” split-five spoke aluminum wheels and a standard electric power steering system to boost performance already powered by the 707-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8.
The result? A lower lap time verses the regular Hellcat equal to 13 car lengths after one track lap, and a top speed of 195 miles per hour, according to the company.
“It’s our fastest Hellcat. It’s a whole new look and it handles significantly better than a regular Hellcat,” Kuniskis said.
Kuniskis noted that not everyone who wants one will be able to get Dodge’s other main muscle attraction, the Demon, so the Hellcat offers an alternative.
The SRT Challenger Hellcat Widebody will have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $71,495 and be open for dealer orders in July and hit showrooms in the third quarter.
Although the Durango SRT was on display in Chelsea, the big news for Durango fans is the ability to get SRT trim features – the SRT was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show in February — on the next step down R/T models. For 2018, R/T models will have the front fascia, lower air damand LED fog lamps featured on the SRT, the company said.
That means “Durango buyers can get SRT attitude with every powertrain,” Kuniskis said.
Dealers can place orders now for the 2018 Dodge Durango, which will start arriving in showrooms in the third quarter. Pricing is not yet available.
For those in the market for a luxury pickup, Fiat Chrysler brought out its new Ram Limited Tungsten Edition. The tungsten refers not to any metal used in the truck but to the idea of something incredibly tough, and the tungsten look shows up in different locations rather than chrome.
“It’s not as bright as chrome, it’s a little more subtle … but very much a premium look,” said Jim Morrison, head of the Ram truck brand.
The Tungsten Edition is Ram’s highest trim level with niceties like a suede headliner – the first time it’s been tried in a truck, according to Morrison – and the most leather of any truck in the marketplace.
Morrison explained that while such a premium trim level is a test for the top end of the truck market, luxury trucks offer a combination that customers want — towing capacity, technology, reasonable fuel mileage and vehicles that ride like cars.
“People are driving these as everyday vehicles,” Morrison said.
The Tungsten Edition will be available in the third quarter of 2017 with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the Ram 1500 version of $55,120, according to the company.
The Tungsten trim level also is available on the larger Ram 2500 and Ram 3500.
Contact Eric D. Lawrence: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @_edricdlawrence.
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