Our minds are still reeling at the thought of pushing 300-hp through the front wheels of an “econobox” to comment too much on the new Dodge Caliber SRT-4. It’s quite frankly mind boggling, though not that surprising from the speed freaks at Dodge’s SRT division.
According to Dodge, four numbers are important when contemplating the significance of the Caliber SRT-4: 85, 125, 300 and 260. Eighty-five represents how much more horsepower the Caliber SRT-4 has than the Neon SRT-4 it replaces, which means it produces 125 hp per liter of displacement with a total output of 300 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Umm… wow. Just wow.
The prodigious amount of power provided by the turbocharged 2.4L VVT “World Engine” is chopped up and served by a six-speed manual and delivered via the front wheels, which has to be one scary fun sub-six-second ride to 60.
The company says in its release that the mission of SRT is to provide benchmark performance for the best price, so we’ll be eager to find out later today what that means in terms of dollars and cents. Either way, the first shocker of the 2006 Chicago Auto Show goes to Dodge.
More pics and Dodge’s full press release is available after the jump…
High-caliber Performance: With 300 Horsepower, All-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 to Dominate Sport-compact Market
• Tire-smoking 300 horsepower -- 85 more than the original Dodge SRT4 -- and 260 lb.-ft. of torque
• 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds
• All-around performance of a true “tuner car” right from the manufacturer
• Benchmark performance at the best price
Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) group will take the SRT4 reputation to new heights with the introduction of the all-new, 300-horsepower 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4.
“The all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 achieves the SRT mission of offering benchmark performance for the best price,” said George Murphy, Senior Vice President – Global Marketing, Chrysler Group. “With 300 horsepower under the hood, the Dodge Caliber SRT4 will dominate the sport-compact market.”
With true tuner performance right out of the box and a great price, enthusiasts immediately took to the original SRT4, which was introduced in 2003 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. In the 2003-2005 model years, more than 25,000 Dodge SRT4s were sold.
“We couldn’t wait to infuse Dodge Caliber with the SRT formula,” said Murphy. “The all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 delivers a strong dose of all-around performance while delivering at least 28 miles per gallon on the highway. Our new SRT pocket rocket will be a hoot to drive.”
Street and Racing Technology
Since its inception in 2002, SRT has introduced 12 extreme-performance vehicles, including the Viper-powered Dodge Ram SRT10 regular cab and Quad Cab™, Chrysler Crossfire SRT6 Coupe and Roadster, Chrysler 300C SRT8, Dodge Magnum SRT8, Dodge Charger SRT8, Dodge Viper SRT10 Convertible and Coupe and Jeep® Grand Cherokee SRT8.
Every SRT vehicle showcases five key aspects: exterior styling that resonates with the brand image; race-inspired interiors; world-class ride and handling characteristics across a dynamic range; benchmark braking; and standout powertrain.
The all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4’s formula begins with powertrain, essentially explained by four numbers: 85, 125, 300 and 260. The 85 is how much more horsepower than the original Dodge SRT4 is available, which results in 125 horsepower per liter for a total of 300 horsepower. The final number is 260, as in 260 lb.-ft. of tire-smoking, push-back-in-your-seat torque.
The all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 is capable of a 0-60 mph time in less than six seconds.
The all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber gets its motivation from an all-new “World Engine” produced at the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) facility in Dundee, Mich. The World Engine is a family of small fuel- and emissions-efficient aluminum four-cylinder gasoline engines co-developed by DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group, Hyundai Motor Company and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.
“The all-new 2.4-liter turbocharged World Engine delivers a level of power you’d expect from a V-8,” said Pete Gladysz, Senior Manager – Powertrain, SRT. “With the engine in the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4, we were able to take advantage of tried-and-true performance improvements, such as increased cylinder-head flow and higher compression ratio, as well as newer technologies such as Variable Valve Timing (VVT).”
To achieve its high-performance Dodge Caliber SRT4 configuration, the aluminum 2.4-liter World Engine block is specially machined for increased water and oil flow. Unique cast pistons travel within iron cylinder liners, and are cooled by oil squirters and affixed to forged connecting rods for high-revving reliability.
Tri-metal bearings are used for the connecting rods and crankshaft for high-performance durability. A unique oil pump/balance shaft module keeps the reciprocating assembly well-lubricated and running smoothly. An external cooler keeps oil temperatures within a safe range.
The aluminum cylinder head is equipped with unique high-temperature exhaust valves. VVT uses computer mapping to open and close intake and exhaust valves at optimal points for efficient combustion and flow. The camshaft and micro-alloy steel crankshaft, shared with the non-turbocharged 2.4-liter World Engine, are fully capable of high-horsepower loads.
Free-flow induction begins with an all-new air cleaner assembly that draws through an opening in a front crossmember for proximity to cool air. The air is then compressed in a TD04 turbocharger specially configured for the engine’s inlet and outlet packaging requirements, and sent through an intercooler to a 57mm throttle body.
Fuel is provided by a high-flow pump feeding injectors developed specifically for the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4. An all-new engine management system designed by Siemens -- the Global Powertrain Engine Controller -- keeps the powerplant running at maximum efficiency and power.
On the exhaust side, spent gas exits through a free-flow system that features two catalytic converters – one immediately downstream from the turbo, and another further along the 3-inch single-pipe exhaust system. Using two catalytic converters in this way provides significantly better “light-off” for decreased emissions. As with the previous-generation Dodge SRT4, the exhaust is tuned for maximum performance while meeting federal noise regulations.
Power is transferred through a dual-mass flywheel to the six-speed manual transmission. The dual-mass flywheel consists of two flywheels sandwiching internal springs that are specially tuned to reduce noise and vibration. The GF DMT-6 six-speed transmission, equipped with a limited-slip differential for uniform side-to-side power transfer, is capable of handling up to 300 lb.-ft. of torque.
Torque is sent to the Dodge Caliber SRT4’s wheels through equal-length halfshafts sourced from Chrysler Group mid-size cars for their larger size and power-handling capability.
Functional, Performance-oriented Exterior Design
Because there is only one chance to make a first impression, the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 makes the most of it with muscular exterior styling.
“From the very first sketches of the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4, we wanted an aggressive, SRT-signature look,” said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President – Design. “For example, because the intercooler is positioned so high behind the front grille, we moved the fascia slightly forward and extended the walls of the grille. The result is a much more aggressive look than the standard Dodge Caliber.”
An all-new front fascia below the signature Dodge crosshair grille incorporates functional performance features including ducts that direct air to cool the brakes and a wide center inlet that provides air flow to the radiator. Fog lamps are also set into the fascia, alongside brake ducts. The 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4’s hood incorporates a functional scoop that brings cooling air into the engine compartment and a pair of extractors that exhaust hot air.
“Exterior design that works as well as it looks is a requirement for all SRT vehicles,” said Creed. “The hood design includes the functionality of bringing cool air in and getting hot air out.”
The lowest portion of the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4’s fascia, which acts as an air dam to direct air around the front of the vehicle, wraps around to visually integrate with the radiused wheel wells and lower side-sill moldings.
The rear fascia continues the muscular, functional character of SRT vehicles, with lower vertical strakes that direct underbody air flow out the back of the vehicle, contributing to more stability at speed. A single, 3.5-inch exhaust tip exits from the right side of the fascia.
Aerodynamic efficiency is also aided by an integrated spoiler above the rear glass, which incorporates the Center High-mounted Stop Light (CHMSL). This spoiler, which is nearly 60 percent larger than that on the standard Dodge Caliber, is tuned for smoother air flow and downforce while maximizing the rear view.
Four exterior colors will be available on the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4: Brilliant Black, Sunburst Orange, Bright Silver and Inferno Red.
Race-inspired Interior Appointments
In the “business office” of the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4, a new interpretation of traditional SRT themes is carried out.
“The 2007 Dodge Caliber interior is unique with sophisticated and contemporary appointments,” said Creed. “When we enhanced it with SRT cues, we followed design themes that had been successful with the previous Dodge SRT4, including the graphic design of the instruments, separate boost gauge, and silver finish on the center stack and interior trim.
“Overall, our strategy was to infuse the interior with performance-oriented enhancements to complement the Dodge Caliber SRT4’s aggressive exterior,” Creed added.
Unique SRT touches include sport seating with aggressive bolstering and performance fabric inserts to hold occupants during spirited driving, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with a “carbon fiber” pattern on the upper portion. The seats, steering wheel and leather shift boot feature contrasting stitching. Also unique to the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 is an “alloy silver” finish on the instrument panel and shift bezel, and bright aluminum pedal pads that feature rubber studs for enhanced grip.
The center-stack-mounted shifter includes a lift ring to engage reverse, unique to the Dodge Caliber SRT4, as well as a leather-finished shift knob.
The instrument panel features three gauge “tunnels” outfitted with performance-oriented instrumentation, including a tachometer, 200-mph speedometer and water temperature and fuel gauges. A turbocharger boost gauge is located on the left side of the instrument panel.
For the enjoyment of audiophiles, the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 is equipped with a standard AM-FM radio with a multi-disc CD changer control. An available SRT/Kicker high-performance audio system includes 13 speakers in seven locations, powered by a 322-watt amplifier and 100-watt subwoofer.
Two communication options are available on the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4: UConnect™ Hands Free Communications System and SIRIUS Satellite Radio.
The UConnect system uses Bluetooth® technology to provide hands-free wireless communication between the customer’s compatible cellular telephone and the vehicle’s outboard receiver. Bluetooth is a short-range wireless networking technology that is used to connect two or more devices together.
SIRIUS provides 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 customers with more than 120 streams of the best music, entertainment and information, coast to coast. SIRIUS channels include 100 percent commercial-free music, the most play-by-play sports, world-class news, as well as talk, comedy, women’s, family and kids’ programming, traffic and weather.
The interior of the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 is offered in Dark/Light Slate Gray.
World-class Ride and Handling
Another hallmark of SRT’s balanced approach to performance is ride and handling characteristics that make a smooth transition from street to track.
The all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 rides on SRT-unique19-inch cast aluminum wheels with 225/45R19 W-rated Goodyear tires. Wheel hubs and bearings on all four corners are adapted from Chrysler Group mid-size cars for strength.
Upgrades to the standard 2007 Dodge Caliber’s MacPherson strut front suspension include new suspension knuckles and tuned dampers with revised spring rates. Unique front and rear sway bars keep body roll to a minimum during hard cornering.
The Electronic Stability Program (ESP) is uniquely calibrated for the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 to provide excellent directional stability in all driving modes. In addition, stability is enhanced with a ride height one-half inch lower than the standard 2007 Dodge Caliber.
Rack-and-pinion power steering is tuned to produce easier low-speed maneuvering, without compromising performance at speed. The overall steering ratio is 18.0:1.
Benchmark braking is another ingredient in SRT’s performance recipe.
Although it’s a compact car, the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 benefits from braking-system components designed for much larger, heavier cars. For example, front brake calipers were sourced from a premium brake system developed for the Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum and Dodge Charger, while rear calipers were sourced from Chrysler Group mid-size cars. However, all are painted in signature Dodge SRT red. Vented brake rotors for the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 are 340 x 28mm in front and 302 x 10mm in the rear.
The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) was uniquely calibrated for the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4’s performance to maintain directional stability without wheel lockup.
2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 Safety and Security Features:
Following are safety and security features in the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4:
• Advanced Multi-stage Air Bags: Offers enhanced protection for a range of occupants and is designed to identify the size of an occupant in the front passenger seat based primarily on weight
• Anti-lock Braking System: Equipped with electronic sensors that help prevent wheel lockup, the ABS system offers improved steering control under extreme braking and/or slippery conditions
• Auto-reverse Sun Roof: An advanced sensing system that automatically engages and reverses the sun roof (to the open position)
• BeltAlert: This feature sounds a periodic chime to alert the driver and all occupants to fasten their seat belts
• Brake Assist: The vehicle senses a panic brake condition and applies maximum braking power, providing the shortest possible stopping distance
• Brake/Park Interlock: Prevents an automatic transmission or transaxle from being shifted out of Park unless the brake pedal is applied
• Constant Force Retractors (CFR): A mechanical device in each front seat belt is designed to mitigate the force of a seat belt according to the load or force exerted on it. CFRs are engineered to force-limit the belt system and gradually release seat-belt webbing in a controlled manner during a severe impact
• Crumple Zones: An area of the vehicle that is designed to compress during an accident in order to absorb energy from an impact, preventing transfer of that energy to occupants
• Electronic Stability Program (ESP): Feature aids the driver in maintaining vehicle directional stability, providing oversteer and understeer control to maintain vehicle behavior
• Energy-absorbing Steering Column: Steering column contains two hydroformed coaxial tubes that move relative to each other, which allows the column to move forward and provide more energy absorption during an impact
• Enhanced Accident Response System (EARS): In the event of an impact, this system makes it easier for emergency personnel to see and access occupants by automatically turning on interior lighting and unlocking doors after air bag deployment. The system also shuts off the flow of fuel to the engine
• Height-adjustable Seat Belts: Allows passengers to lift and lower the shoulder belt to a comfortable level. Encourages seat belt usage by offering a more comfortable fit
• HomeLink® Universal Home Security System Transceiver: HomeLink can store three separate radio-frequency codes to operate garage door openers, security gates, security lighting and other radio-controlled devices
• Inflatable Knee Blocker: The inflatable knee blocker is an air bag that deploys whenever the driver’s primary air bag deploys, helping position the driver relative to the primary air bag
• Interior Head-impact Protection: Interior pillars above the belt line, instrument panel, windshield and rear window headers, roof and side rail structures, and shoulder-belt turning loops are specifically designed to limit head-impact forces
• Knee Bolsters: The steering column, lower instrument panel and the glove-box door are reinforced to protect unbelted occupants during frontal impacts. They both restrain and position the occupant properly and enable air bags to work effectively
• Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH): This system helps ease the installation of compatible aftermarket child seats
• Occupant Classification System (OCS): The OCS measures the conditions for activation or deactivation of the front passenger-side air bag based upon the weight of the occupant
• Octagonal Frame-rail Tips: Octagonal tips are designed to collapse rearward in a controlled manner during a frontal or offset front impact
• ParkSense Rear Back-up System: Assists with detecting stationary objects when driving at low speeds in Reverse. This system consists of visible (lights when the driver looks at the inside rearview mirror) and audible warnings
• Power-adjustable Pedals: Allows brake, accelerator and clutch pedals to move toward or away from the driver. This helps the driver achieve a safe and comfortable seating position for improved vehicle control
• Remote Keyless Entry: The remote keyless entry locks and unlocks doors, and turns on interior lamps. If the vehicle is equipped with a vehicle-theft security alarm, the remote also arms and disarms that system
• Seat-belt Pretensioners: During a collision, impact sensors initiate front seat belt pretensioners to immediately remove slack from seat belts, which reduces the forward movement of an occupant’s head and torso
• Sentry Key® Engine Immobilizer: This utilizes an engine key that has an embedded transponder with a pre-programmed security key code. When the key is inserted into the ignition, the controller sends a random number to the transponder and the engine is allowed to start. If the correct key is not used, the engine will shut off after only a few seconds
• SmartBeam® Headlamps: Intelligent headlamp system that adjusts to ambient light and oncoming traffic to deliver maximum lighting
• Supplemental Side-curtain Air Bags: Available side-curtain air bags extend protection to front- and rear-seat outboard occupants. Each side air bag has its own impact sensor in order to autonomously trigger the air bag on the side where the side impact occurs
• Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPM): This advanced system monitors tire pressure and alerts the driver to improper tire pressure conditions. Low pressure on any tire illuminates the amber warning indicator in the instrument cluster
Street- and Track-tested Quality
The all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 was designed and engineered under the Chrysler Development System (CDS), the comprehensive, coordinated and disciplined product-creation process that improves quality and speed-to-market while reducing costs and encouraging practical innovation in new vehicles.
CDS emphasizes systems engineering, design and up-front planning to avoid time-consuming and costly trial and error, or changes during the later phases of the product development cycle. With CDS, all product and process planning is completed and fully integrated before production tooling begins.
2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 development also encompasses actual conditions, both on the street and on the race track.
To simulate real-world conditions, the 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 will have logged nearly 2 million customer-equivalent road miles by the time vehicles begin appearing in dealerships.
To ensure its track-ready character, extensive durability testing of the Dodge Caliber SRT4 will take place at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix; Texas Motorsports Ranch in Ft. Worth, Texas; and Nelson Ledges in Garrettsville, Ohio.
Process, Productivity Key to Manufacturing Excellence
The all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT4 is built at the Chrysler Group's Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant on the same assembly line with the Dodge Caliber SE, SXT and R/T models.
Previously the home of the Dodge Neon, the plant recently underwent a multimillion-dollar upgrade to prepare for Caliber production.
A new body shop and other upgrades are part of a total program investment of $419 million that was announced in January 2005. The robotic body shop can build the Dodge Caliber SRT4, Caliber and potentially three other vehicles with no negative impact on production. Robots can make necessary tool changes automatically within cycle time, in about 45 seconds.
The 3.7 million-square-foot Belvidere Assembly Plant has approximately 1,700 employees represented by United Auto Worker's Union Locals 1268 and 1761. The plant began production of the Plymouth Fury and Dodge Monaco in 1965.