2015 SRT Barracuda: the rumored muscle car
Way back in April 2012, Allpar was told that Chrysler was working on, in addition to a replacement for the big cars, a new D-RWD platform. This was to serve two purposes: giving Dodge a muscle car to compete more directly with the popular Camaro and Mustang, and, possibly more important for Fiat-Chrysler as a whole, giving Alfa Romeo a rear wheel drive mid-sized car to re-establish the brand’s “street cred” as Alfa is relaunched as Fiat’s worldwide premium brand.
As RVC wrote, the new mid-sized rear-drive platform and architecture is a joint project, being developed in Auburn Hills with embedded Fiat/Alfa engineers. It took two years of tinkering between finance and marketing to get it approved. They were going to use a shortened Challenger platform, but as time went on, it became obvious that it would not work the way they wanted.
One source wrote that this is “CUSW compliant, same platform, but RWD architecture.” That means it would have the same hard points but use rear wheel drive, so it could, in theory, be built on the same line as Dart or the next 200, and in Italy, with the Giulia.
The original plan, later confirmed by Ralph Gilles, was to create a 2014 Barracuda SRT8 based on the new Challenger, gaining a little extra publicity from what would essentially be a new front fascia and grille. That plan was dropped, though one of its main features — a 6.2 liter supercharged Hemi, rated somewhere from 520-650 hp — remains (and has all but been confirmed).
There will still be a new Challenger, moving to a modified platform (coded LA), and reportedly to take advantage of the 6.2 Hemi. Production of the LA-body 2015 Challenger is now set at July 2014, a year after the LA 2014 Challenger was supposed to appear (the 2014 Challenger will be largely a carryover from 2013). It will almost certainly include a stronger chassis, provision for the eight-speed automatic transmission, various aerodynamic upgrades, and the new electronics architecture.
The 2015 SRT Barracuda now shows up on Chrysler’s long-term plans as a separate new model. Sergio Marchionne said that the only way they could afford to do the planned Alfa mid-sized, rear-wheel-drive car was to do a Dodge at the same time.
Now comes the big question: will this car be produced as a Dodge and an SRT, or just as an SRT?
A new D-segment, rear wheel drive 2015 Dodge Avenger (or 2015 Dodge Barracuda) would give Dodge cars a natural size range: Dart, Avenger/Barracuda, Challenger, Charger. It would also help amortize the work done on the new design across hundreds of thousands of additional cars.
We believe a Dodge Barracuda or Avenger version, with a standard Pentastar V6 and optional 5.7 Hemi V8, might show up later. While Barracuda is a Plymouth name, Chrysler has not been averse to tossing names from brand to brand (Laser, Sebring, Prowler, Diplomat, and Voyager come immediately to mind).
Barracuda styling is already in progress, with inside reports saying it is much more modern than the Challenger, with only a few “Barracuda cues.” In April 2013, we were told that some body parts were being made for testing.
The original Plymouth Barracuda was not a muscle car; powered by a slant six or a 273 V8 (later getting an optional 340 or 383), the Barracuda was a (then-hot) Valiant with a fastback rear. Barracuda was praised for its fine “European style” handling; some critics said the Formula S, with the 340 or smaller engine, could beat comparable German cars on twists and turns. It took six years for Barracuda to leave the small “A” body, largely so Plymouth could stuff the big 440 and 426 Hemi engines into it.
Ironically, the Plymouth Duster, created using the same formula as the original 1964 Barracuda, was a major sales success — despite only having room for the 340 under the hood.