That’s right. Dodge Caliber, the hatchy Neon replacement now comes with a powertrain that can make 300 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, which is so much more than the regular version that it’s really, truly, unfair to count. The rest of the numbers echo what you’re thinking: 0-60 in less than 6 seconds, 86 horsepower more than the outgoing SRT 4, 260 lb. ft. of torque between 2,000 and 6,000 rpm. That’s a load of power in a car that weighs scarcely more than 3,000 lbs. and sits on a wheelbase of 103. inches, and a front and rear track of 59.8 inches. That’s especially a load of power at an EPA rating that’s decent: 22 miles per gallon city, 28 miles per gallon highway.
Based on Chrysler’s “world engine,” engineers re-machined the four-cylinder block, changed pistons and cylinders, added high temperature hardware, then mated the engine to a six-speed manual transmission. They also added better brakes – a good idea – moving up to brakes sourced from the Chrysler 300 and other mid-sized vehicles. SRT techs also improved the ride and handling, sitting the car on 19-inch wheels, sport-tuning the Caliber’s independent front and rear suspension, the rack and pinion steering and the Electronic Stability Program (ESP). Design changes to the Caliber mainly center on revising the front and rear fascias; front to deliver the necessary air flow and cooling, and rear in order to bring the Caliber into the SRT design family. Interior enhancements include sport seats, SRT monograms, carbon fiber and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Caliber SRT colors include black, orange, silver and red.
Photo by Ron Perry