When you think of the Dodge Charger. what comes to mind? A big, modern muscle car perfect for families? Visions of smokey burnouts once the kids are dropped off at school? How about a perfect all-weather car? No? Well, Dodge wants that perception to change. While the general perception of the Charger is all about aggressive styling and available HEMI V-8 power, the Charger has been available with all-wheel drive, but this feature seems to have flown under the radar. What better way to highlight the Charger’s all-weather capabilities than to come out with a special model all about all-wheel drive?
Orders are being taken now, but expect January 2013 availability for the Dodge Charger AWD Sport. Consider the AWD Sport as a limited edition option package, as Dodge only intends to build Charger AWD Sports for about three months. The AWD Sport is based on the V-6 Charger SXT and HEMI V-8 Charger R/T trims. As for cost, Dodge is charging $1,395USD for the AWD Sport package, and $1,195 on R/T models.
So, what do you get for the money? The Charger AWD Sport distinguishes itself with a gloss black grille, gloss black painted 19″ alloys, and a rear spoiler. Inside, buyers are also treated to sport seats and Chrysler’s premium Beats Audio. The V-6 Charger AWD Sport gets a slight boost in power. The well-received 3.6L V-6 now boasts 300hp, thanks to a sport tuned dual exhaust and cold air induction system. The 370hp 5.7L V-8 is unchanged. The Garage sampled a 2012 Dodge Charger R/T which we thoroughly enjoyed. For 2013, both V-6 and V-8 Chargers feature an 8-speed automatic, as opposed to the 5-speed in our test car. Unique to the AWD Sport are paddle shifters and a Sport mode that will bang out quicker shifts and will hold revs higher in each gear. Kudos to Dodge for the shift paddles made from diecast metal instead of plastic. No word from Dodge, but I expect this to be available in other Chargers once the AWD Sport run is over.
But again, the emphasis here is on the Charger’s all-wheel drive capability, and to break the perception this is strictly a rear wheel drive brute. Dodge is quick to point out their active transfer case and front axle disconnect technology, where the front wheels have no power unless needed to improve fuel economy. Will it work? Hard to say, but I can’t blame Dodge for wanting to raise awareness that the Charger is available with all-wheel drive. Whether we see more Chargers rolling up to ski resorts in Stowe, Vermont, or Aspen, Colorado remains to be seen.