“We wanted to capitalize on the momentum,” said Herb Helbig, senior manager vehicle synthesis and chassis design at DaimlerChrysler. “We knew, without a doubt, that people were going to see the Caliber and ask the question.”
Consider it question answered - emphatically. The Dodge Caliber SRT-4 will come with a turbocharged powertrain that makes 300 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. The rest of the numbers echo that jaw dropping little stat: Zero to 60 mph acceleration in less than six 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 103.7 inches, and a front and rear track of 59.8 inches. Based on Chrysler’s “world engine,” engineers re-machined the four-cylinder block, changed the pistons and cylinders, added high temperature hardware, then mated the engine to a six-speed manual transmission. They also added better brakes, moving up to brakes sourced from mid-sized vehicles. SRT techs also improved the ride and handling, sitting the car on 19-inch wheels, and 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.