Mopar Avenger Rally Car – Click above for high-res image gallery
When we think of rally cars, the Subaru Impreza and Ford Focus immediately come to mind. At no point does the Dodge Avenger enter our thoughts, but that didn't stop Team Pentastar from building its own dirt-ready rally sedan.
Chrysler wanted to celebrate a new business partnership with Fiat subsidiary Magneti Marelli by building a collaborative vehicle that combines the talents of the Italian components maker and Chrysler's iconic Mopar team. The result is an Avenger that can handle more than America's urban jungle.
Magneti Marelli and Mopar spent a few weeks modifying a stock Avenger Heat with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 underhood. The Avenger chassis remains intact, but a Magneti Marelli suspension was added for improved handling, lowering the Avenger by 1.5 inches. Brakes were upgraded to include 14.25-inch front rotors and 13.5-inch rear rotors, and a rear brake rally package with a hand-operated brake was included.
And you can't have a rally car with stock power, so the teams added a Mopar cold-air intake, Cat-Black exhaust with Magneti Marelli tips and a high-performance Engine Control Unit. The result of these changes is a V6 with at least 300 horsepower. That's not a monumental increase over the standard 283 horsepower, and the six-sped autostick transmission is stock, though unique paddle-gear shifts were added, along with a Mopar/Magneti Marelli shift knob. Finally, a tower-to-tower cross-car brace was added for stability.
On the outside the exterior was modified with mud flaps, Mopar/Magneti Marelli graphics, a massive carbon fiber spoiler and hood pins. The wheels were replaced with 18-inch alloy racing wheels mated to 225/650 R18 Pirelli P-Zero rubber.
Inside, the sedan was fitted with a special eight-point roll cage. The seats were swapped for Mopar-branded racing perches with five-point harnesses. To shed weight, all unnecessary components were removed and the door panels and center stack are now made with carbon fiber. In fact, Chrysler tells us that this Avenger lost a total of 200 pounds in spite of the added performance parts and roll cage.
On the tech front, this Avenger was fitted with a 1GB data logger with GPS and integrated inertial platform that provides real-time calculations of pitch and roll. A slim racing display with shift lights and multi-color LEDs alerts the driver regarding shift changes.
We're not expecting a production Rally Avenger to hit showrooms any time soon, but Chrysler at least expects to use this unique one-off to test aftermarket parts for future use.
After building the Avenger Rally Car, engineers and executives took the vehicle to its Chelsea, MI Proving Grounds for extensive testing... and a little fun. Click on the video below to check out the Avenger Rally Car in motion.