The Mopar team set out to create a muscle car that could be used all year around, according to Mopar design boss Joe Dehner, and the Dodge Challenger GT AWD Concept is the result.
“No-one is doing this right now,” said Dehner in reference to an all-wheel-drive muscle car. “So we went out and created something unique and special.”
The SEMA concept is based on the GT version of the Challenger rather than one of the more potent SRT models.
The Mopar styling team raided the existing parts bin for the Challenger to create the car's look. It gets a wide body kit, front splitter, rear spoiler, 20in alloys, quad exhaust tips and a special paint colour, calledDestroyer Grey, with contrasting decals. The colour scheme is repeated for the interior.
But the real story for the concept is under the skin. All-wheel drive is available on the longer wheelbase version of the platform the Challenger uses (on the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger) but not on the shorter version that underpins the muscle car.
Consequently, the Mopar team adapted a beefed-up all-wheel drive system used on police car versions of the Charger to work with the Challenger. Those models have a five-speed transmission only, so Mopar performance portfolio chief Todd Beddick said they took the eight-speed transmission from the Chrysler 300 and fitted it to the model.
The result, said Beddick, is a car “that is three vehicles in one: a Challenger with a police car and Chrysler 300 underneath”.
Other chassis modifications include the lowering of the springs and an increase of the spring rate in the suspension, the fitting of strut braces front and rear and the use of the upgraded brakes fitted to police cars.
Edward Hessell, performance parts manager at Mopar, said the chassis modifications and all-wheel drive system allow for improved steering and a sharper turn-in for the concept over the standard Challenger GT.
Under the bonnet is a 5.7-litre Hemi V8 with around 440bhp and 450lb ft (exact outputs have yet to be confirmed), boosts of around 75bhp and 44lb ft over the engine’s standard outputs in the Challenger GT.
That extra power and torque for the Challenger GT AWD Concept come from the fitting of a ‘Scat Pack 3’ performance kit. The Scat Pack is available in three stages. The first includes improved cooling and a larger air intake, the second adds a new camshaft and the third includes a new high-flow exhaust system and cylinder heads.
Hessell said Mopar had yet to put the Challenger GT AWD Concept against the stopwatch, but he expects improvements to be most significant on the 0-60mph sprint and above 3500rpm, at which point the extra power will really be felt.
The car remains strictly a one-off concept for now, Beddick told Autocar, and it would be up to Dodge rather than Mopar to decide whether it ever goes into production. The firm will monitor feedback at SEMA, however, and reviews always take place after shows to see what got favourable reactions.
The Challenger GT AWD Concept is one of several models Mopar has brought to SEMA, with most FCA brands represented at the show.
Also from Dodge is the Charger Deep Stage 3, a version of the Charger super-saloon equipped with a Scat Pack 3 and an additional 75bhp from its Hemi V8. An all-black Dodge Dart GLH Concept completes Mopar’s Dodge models at SEMA.
The Chrysler 300 Super S is another SEMA model from Mopar. It is powered by the same Hemi V8 as the Challenger and fitted with the same Scat Pack 3 (renamed Stage 3 as the Scat Pack name is tied in with Dodge). Its appearance is most significant, however, as Mopar designers did away with chrome completely on the car, something with which the 300 is synonymous.
The Chrysler 200 S is also given a sporty-looking makeover with a grey-on-black colour scheme, while two Fiat 500X models are given themed looks. The Fiat 500X Mobe pays tribute to kite surfing, and the 500X Chicane is a low-slung performance version of the crossover “designed to hug city streets with a concept lowering kit”.
FCA’s Ram truck division has three models, two of which are vans recognisable as Fiat commercial vehicles in Europe. The ProMaster City DiveMaster is a compact van designed for a scuba diving instructor, while the ProMaster DragMaster is designed as a support vehicle for a drag racer. Finally, the Ram Rebel X is a full-blown performance pick-up truck powered by a Hemi V8.