This week has been a little bittersweet for Mopar fans. Some great variants and options for the Charger, Challenger and Durango are returning, but mostly because those first two models only have a little more than a year of production left. Dodge is hoping to cheer people up with this, the Charger Daytona SRT Concept, which is a preview of the brand's electric muscle car future. We think fans will be pretty pleased.
The design is unapologetically based on the second-generation Dodge Charger introduced for 1968. Dodge says it's "subtle." Thought we're not sure Dodge knows what "subtle" means, which the folks there would probably take as a compliment. Regardless, the car looks good. It has the same squared-off shape, wide, rising rear fenders and notchback roofline of the classic model. It even has the wide, rectangular front grille and just two doors. Dodge is quite proud of the nose. The grille doesn't open to any sort of powertrain. Instead, it's an aerodynamic passthrough, allowing for low drag, but with classic design. It's this aerodynamic nod that led to naming the concept after the also aerodynamic Charger Daytona homologation special. And the bridge on front that provides the classic look is called the "R-Wing."
The exterior also features some very slick 21-inch center lock wheels with turbine-inspired details. They're wrapped in 305-mm tires up front and 325-mm tires in the back. And they're stopped by six-piston brake calipers. The Charger Daytona hides a hatchback, too, making it highly practical.
Moving to the inside, the design is actually quite grounded in reality. There are some slightly concept-y design flourishes such as the highly sculpted texture with ambient lighting that wraps around to the doors, as well as the ribbed and flowing center console, which is actually a bit reminiscent of the Chrysler Turbine Car's. But the big screens (16 inches for the instruments, 12.3 for infotainment and 8.3 for HUD), leather trimmings and general layout are all extremely plausible for a production car. Some other fun touches that are also plausible are the modern take on the pistol-grip shifter, and the starter button placed under a safety cover like a jet fighter.
Dodge is still being quiet about powertrain details, but it did share some interesting bits. The powertrain uses an 800-volt electrical system called "Banshee," which inspired the "screaming banshee" badges on the fenders. That should enable it to handle up to 350-kW fast charging. Dodge also said that the Charger Daytona is all-wheel-drive and faster than a current Hellcat. It gets a PowerShot overboost button like the newly revealed Hornet, which can be used any time, and the car has drive modes named Slam, Drift, Drag and Donut.
Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis noted that this concept "is not a science project" and is previewing future models that will launch in 2024. Dodge representatives also noted that there will be multiple-output versions of this powertrain, along with possibly entry-level 400-volt versions. Plans are in place for Direct Connection aftermarket upgrades, too.
Besides those key details, there are a couple other unusual mechanical features to the Charger Daytona SRT. One of them is the inclusion of a multi-speed transmission. No details on how many ratios or how the gearbox works were given. It wouldn't be the first multi-speed transmission in an EV, as the Porsche Taycan has a two-speed setup, but it will still be unusual. And Kuniskis said the only real reason for it is because the car's team liked the feeling of gear changes when driving hard.
Continuing with that theme is the Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust system. Kuniskis emphasized that this is not just an external speaker system. It's actually a pipe system with various chambers tuned to make noise, presumably with air being pumped through it. Basically like a brass instrument or as Kuniskis likened it, a pipe organ. It's tied to information such as speed, throttle input and other information. Dodge demonstrated it for us, and it did sound surprisingly good, with hints of turbine and V8 rumble, with a bit of rasp on the high end. It's loud, too, with a volume of up to 126 decibels, the same as a Hellcat's exhaust. And like the multi-speed transmission, it's just there to add to the experience.
Dodge wouldn't say if the Charger Daytona SRT would enter production as its own model looking like this. It did imply that this is a preview of a couple muscle car variants that will launch in 2024. We would imagine it will be a product split basically like the current Charger and Challenger, with one as a four-door, and the other as a two-door. And we would expect those products to be heavily inspired by this concept, which already doesn't seem far away from production feasibility. We're certainly excited to try them out in a few years.