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Dodge Releases 2011 Charger, Uses Up Every Adjective Available In The Process

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On: Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 2:46PM | By: John Welch

Dodge Releases 2011 Charger, Uses Up Every Adjective Available In The Process

Some samples from a Chrysler-supplied press kit regarding the 2011 Dodge Charger:

sinister “ready to attack the road” face

iconic character

puts the world’s best E-segment sedan competitors between its new “split crosshair” signature grille

radically raked back headlights

iconic horizontal “coke bottle” or “double-diamond” body-side styling

signature taillamp design that incorporates 164 illuminating LEDs to form its signature “racetrack” graphic and gives the new Charger its unmistakable character from blocks away.

and finally . . .

the all-new 2011 Charger is the Dodge brand’s flagship that proudly delivers premium, world-class E-segment sedan precision at an incredible value.

Chrysler seems to have made a mistake. They keep saying "E-segment" but I'm pretty sure they mean "formerly E-Class". See, this Charger is still based on the underpinnings of the '96 to 2000 Mercedes E-Class, so it has a little catching up to do. It certainly looks the part, the sheet metal is less gaudy and more aggressive than that which it replaces, but it is still slightly behind the times. Also, I must applaud Dodge for sticking with a rear-drive chassis, as another Dodge Intrepid might just cause Mopar fanatics to violently raze any number of executive domiciles located throughout Metro Detroit. So, no matter how the car is or isn't, one thing is for sure: it is rear drive. Someone pass that memo on to Acura, please . . .

So, as Dodge breathlessly rolls out the usual clichés to describe the new Charger, I desperately look for ways to prove their string of adjectives incorrect. I'm having a hard time with that because, surprisingly enough, the 2011 Charger is a good looking car. Gone are the dour overhangs and enormous doors, replaced by sculpted panels and slightly larger window glass. Okay, the doors are still huge, but the effect of canting the rear glass down at a sharper angle has done wonders for the Charger's perceived bloat.

The headlights are more menacing, certainly, and the rear end actually shows signs of real life design. Curved and elegant (two adjectives Dodge forgot but shouldn't have), the rear fenders slope upwards towards the Chargers decklid, conveying a sense of speed. This is not an easy accomplishment considering the Chargers exterior bulk. The new Charger greets us with a pleasantly svelte, American (even if it is a German Canuck) exterior.

The shortcomings of the original Mercedes-based Charger were much more glaring inside the car. Once seated in the double-sized, Limbaugh-approved captains chair Dodge called a "driver’s seat", one was unable to ignore the hard, grey plastic, lack of form and general passion displayed by the dash and surrounding interior. Seriously, it was total crap—great for Drug Dealers and Mopar diehards, but essentially worthless to anyone who had ever driven the E-Class this car is based on. You could fry an egg with the heat generated by the windshield's ample glare; you could also change a baby on the massive dash. When finished with these chores, one could give himself up to Big Brother fully, as there was no way to turn the traction control off. Traction control that cut revs as low as 3,000 RPM in neutral. What fun is that?! Why do you have a Hemi, if you can't even roast the tires a little?

None of these issues can be addressed in this article, because Dodge has yet to show off the Charger's new interior (spy photos suggest significant improvement) nor have they outlined just how little they trust you behind the wheel of a 350+ bhp sedan. They have, however, made it very clear that the 2011 Charger comes replete with no less than 65 active safety features, one of which is very intriguing: Active AWD.

AWD sort of ruins the fun of the car starting out RWD, doesn't it? Dodge doesn't think it should, so they have engineered and delivered an AWD system that intelligently disconnects the front differential without the driver's intervention. This increases fuel economy (decreased rolling resistance when not needed) and increases drift angles. Assuming you are allowed to turn the traction nanny off.

I'll let Chrysler cover the engine info, as they do not offer any power or torque ratings:

"Engineered to perform against the best E-segment sport sedans, the all-new 2011 Dodge Charger SE and Charger Rallye feature the new 3.6-liter Pentastar engine for world-class levels of power, refinement, technology and fuel efficiency. For maximum thrills, efficiency and best-in-class power, the new Dodge Charger R/T lineup features the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI™ V-8 engine with four-cylinder mode FuelSaver Technology. "

I'll buy that for now, but rest assured, when there is more Charger news to be had, the AutoShopper blog will be all over it like coke-bottle form on a Charger . . . or something to that effect . . .

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