The Charger Daytona SRT Concept – First Look / Next-Gen of American Muscle. It seems like the days of proud American muscle cars with forceful V-8 engines and growling exhausts will soon slip gracefully into the past. Dodge’s Charger and Challenger models will take their final bow after 2023, and electric models are encroaching on classic nameplates such as the Chevy Camaro and the Ford Mustang, too.
Still, Dodge doesn’t want you to mourn the muscle car just yet. The new Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept is an electric performance coupe set to carry Dodge’s brash legacy forward and become “the future of electrified muscle.”
The heart of the Daytona SRT is its 800-volt electrical architecture christened Banshee. This is double the voltage of the 400-volt architecture used by many other EVs and allows for faster charging, better cooling for the electric motors, and lighter wiring. The Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron GT, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Kia EV6 also use 800-volt architectures.
Though Dodge hasn’t yet shared any performance or powertrain details for the concept, it claims that the Daytona SRT will be faster than its Hellcat V-8–powered cousins “in all key performance measures.” We assume this means both acceleration and top speed. For reference, the 2023 Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye with the Jailbreak package has a monstrous 807 horsepower, and the Redeye we tested raced to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. A push-to-pass button called PowerShot will provide a temporary power boost.
Unlike its ICE-powered, rear-wheel-drive predecessor, the Daytona SRT is all-wheel drive, demonstrated in true Dodge fashion with a four-wheel burnout from a teaser video posted in July of last year. It will also get six-piston brakes, and regenerative braking will surely be incorporated as well.
To give drivers the feeling of “distinctive shift points”, Dodge has bestowed the Daytona SRT with a multi-speed transmission. Not many details are available beyond that, but a look at a concept image for the interior tells us it’s likely an automatic. The Daytona SRT is also not the first electric car to depart from traditional direct-drive systems; the Taycan and e-tron GT both utilize a two-speed automatic gearbox. Though we can’t say for sure, it seems likely that the Daytona SRT will use a two-speed transmission for improved acceleration and efficiency.
However, the most unique aspect of the Daytona SRT—and the most brazenly gratuitous—is its exhaust. No, Dodge hasn’t found a way for an electric car to pump equal parts engine noise and CO2 into the air, but it did design its Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust to amplify the electric motors’ near silent hum into a 126-decibel cacophony worthy of the SRT badge.
The name “Fratzonic” is a variation on Fratzog, the moniker given to the logo featured on Dodge muscle cars in the ’60s and ’70s. That logo makes its return on the Daytona SRT, one of the many ways Dodge has tried to instill the concept with the brand’s history.
Inspired by the tall wing of the original 1969 Charger Daytona, the first NASCAR vehicle to hit 200 mph, the Daytona SRT has a front opening called the R-Wing. The R-Wing is meant to provide better aerodynamics and enhance downforce, assisted by four intakes on the car’s front and rear. The rest of the exterior, evocative of the original Charger’s shapely silhouette, builds on smooth lines and an athletic stance, though the Daytona SRT’s front and rear lights and overall profile are clearly still an evolution of the current Charger and Challenger.
Despite an unmistakable emphasis on performance and muscle, the Daytona SRT aims to be somewhat practical, too. The interior mockups look sleek and modern, and a hatchback design with fold-flat rear seats should provide ample cargo space. Paddle shifters on either side of the squared-off steering wheel control the PowerShot feature and select one of the Daytona SRT’s multiple drive modes.
The Daytona SRT is an ambitious concept, but whether it can live up to all the missions it claims to fulfill remains to be seen. A production version of the car could come as early as 2024, and only then will we know whether an electric car can also be a muscle car.
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