NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
The new 2006 Dodge Charger, brandishing a nameplate made famous in the late-1960s era of powerful muscle cars, is being revealed in Detroit today at the 2005 North American International Auto Show.
|2006 Dodge Charger
Unlike the original Chargers of the 1960s and '70s, or subsequent versions before now, the new Charger is a four-door sedan. The car's sloping roofline and triangular rear side windows disguise this fact somewhat, creating an appearance similar to a slope-backed 2-door coupe.
"It's a car that evokes power and performance under the hood, yet provides everyday functionality and convenience," said Craig Love, vice president of Chrysler Group's rear-wheel-drive product team. "We have the proven technologies and the legendary Hemi engine that allow us to produce a modern rear-wheel-drive muscle car."
The Chrysler Group, which includes the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands, is part of DaimlerChrysler (Research).
Like the original Chargers, this one will be available with the Chrysler Group's Hemi engine, in this case a 5.7 liter V-8 with cylinder deactivation, a feature that imperceptibly shuts down four of the cylinders when full power is not heeded.
The Hemi engine, which will be offered in the Dodge Charger R/T, produces a maximum of 340 horsepower. It is the same engine that powers the Chrysler 300C and Dodge Mangum RT.
Production of the cars is expected to begin in May of 2005 in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, where the Chrysler 300 sedan and Dodge Magnum wagon are currently built. All three cars share the same fundamental design.
The Charger will be available with two engine choices. Besides the Hemi, it will also be available with a 3.5-liter V-6 producing a maximum of 250 horsepower.
"With the HEMI V-8 engine and (cylinder deactivation), the new Dodge Charger has more power per cubic inch than its ancestors and provides all the glory of the muscle car era more efficiently than ever before," said Love. "With modern technology, this Dodge Charger rides securely on the road, stays planted through the corners and stops with assurance."
Mix of design cues
The rear fenders of the 2006 Charger have the same "Coke bottle" shape of the early Chargers but in a more truncated form.
The front end, meanwhile, carries the modern Dodge "face," a prominent grill carved into four sections.
"The Chargers of the '60s were distinctly styled, conveying fast, powerful and affordable performance," said said Trevor Creed, Chrysler Group's senior vice president for design. "That was a winning design formula then, and that's our design formula for 2006."
The new Charger sits 2-inches higher than previous Chrysler Group sedans, according to the company.
The fact that the new Charger isn't a true 2-door coupe is already causing controversy. The Chrysler Group has already received many letters of complaint about the Charger name being used on a sedan, according to media reports.
"If this vehicle has the characteristics, the driveability, the looks, the aggressiveness and the power of the former Charger, I quite frankly don't care if it's got two doors or six doors," Michael Robinet, an analyst at CSM Worldwide, an automotive consultant, Michigan, told Reuters.
"The fact that this thing has the power to back up what the former Charger used to be is extremely important," he added.