The new Dodge Neon SRT (Supercharged R/T) is the next generation of Neon racers. It's still in the "beta" phase but a upcoming release is looking good. The 2L SOHC, 4VPS (Valves per Cyinder) compact has 137 lb.-ft of torque at 4500rpm but the horse power has not been disclosed (I'm guessing 200+hp because of the 45 cubic inch supercharger). It will be available as a 5 speed manual transmission and it will have a est. weight of 2603lbs. Over all it looks like a sweet racer, and Lord knows, I'll have one in the first 6 weeks of production, and at $20,000 to $22,000, I can afford it!


Update: The Neon Will have 180 Hp w/o intercooler and 245 w/intercooler.

Wow, how things have changed! Given the nearly four and a half years since this node was created, Dodge has made a name for itself in the sport compact world. As GMC (Chevy and Saturn in particular) have been pushing supercharged variants of the Ecotec four (a European design originally in the Opel Speedster), Dodge is pushing what is now known as the SRT-4. You won't find a Neon badge on this car anywhere.

The SRT-4 pushed 230HP and 250Ft-Lbs of torque through a Quaife LSD this model year (2004). When it was introduced, it lacked an LSD. It also did something wonderous: When measured on dynamometers by magazines, the horsepower output was greater than Dodge had claimed. Granted, it was only two horsepower, usually companies overrate their engines (see also: Mazda RX8).

Power comes from a 16-valve DOHC 2.4 liter four that is turbocharged and intercooled. The same engine setup can be found under the hoods of Chrysler PT Cruisers now as well. The whole setup is very unique. For one, the exhaust has no mufflers. That's right. No mufflers. It has catalytic converts but not a single muffler is to be found. Oddly enough, it exits through two tips, a perfectly useless thing on a four banger. The main issue the aftermarket has been taking with the SRT-4 is the turbocharger. While it is all nice and dandy that it can put out 230HP, if you really want over 300HP or so, a different turbocharger would be needed. However, Dodge took a different route than most.

Instead of mounting the turbocharger to the exhaust manifold, as one would do normally, they cast them together. This is a space-saving technique that also helps spoolup (negating the effect of the tubing to the front-mount intercooler). However, it also makes it next-to-impossible to do any kind of aftermarket turbocharger. I have seen no aftermarket manifolds for the SRT-4, except for those from Mopar Perfomance. Of course, Mopar being Dodge-ran, you can't get a non-intergated manifold from them either. I am sure the aftermarket will come through on this one, though, as the car is selling like no other and getting rave reviews from all fronts.

Oh yeah, the engine is very much a "sledgehammer approach" piece. They modified the original engine, a van engine if my memory serves me, to mount a turbocharger (manifolding), put in beefy forged pistons and thick con-rods. I don't remember what was done to the valvetrain. They really just threw the turbocharger on it and then overengineered the internals properly.

As far as looks go, this is one of the riceiest pieces I've seen come out of 'Detroit' in a long time. It looks mean as hell though. From the front, you see a huge airdam, filled with an intercooler that is fully operational, a hood scoop (though not on the level of a Subaru, it is decent sized). From the back, you see two exhaust tips and a bigass spolier. In my opinion, get rid of the spoiler, it's nasty looking, and put a decklid spoiler on (a la Infiniti G35 Coupe). Other than that, it's very very obviously quick.

Want to go faster? Modifications are coming on quick. While it will likely never be on the level of a Honda Civic for quantity, it will be as much on quality. Mopar has three stages of performance kits, along with a retrofit kit LSD (mmm...grip). Stage one includes larger injectors and an ECU upgrade (reconfigured maps for the larger injectors and for higher boost in most areas), and optionally includes a BOV relocator. Stage two includes even bigger injectors with a proper ECU upgrade, a wastegate, an intercooler sprayer, 3.0 bar TIP sensor, and gadgety-bits that you can use to mess with boost from inside the cabin. Stage three technically doesn't exist, but it is reported to include a completely different turbocharger (though whether or not it is mounted on a manifold from which it can be separated is not said), a complete fuel system upgrade and likely the fun little bits from the previous stage. Each stage adds about 20HP, so with a Stage three (when they come out), it should be capable of 300HP while still on warranty. Coilover suspension bits can also be had in three stages, varying based upon how much adjustability you require. Exhaust systems, from the turbo back, are becoming available without all the obfuscated mass-production design's bendy course.

SRT-4s are quickly becoming hot cars and they don't lack in fun. With a mere $21,000 MSRP, they're also one of the cheaper fast cars out there. 'Detroit' is getting back into the game and Dodge hasn't missed the ball on this one. Not to mention they have a really nice exaust note for having a turbocharged engine, especially when they're given a rapid punch of the accelerator.

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