Back in April, we reported that Ralph Gilles had essentially confirmed the SRT Barracuda’s arrival on a different platform than the Challenger, as part of shared development with an Alfa Romeo that is key to the Italian brand’s revival. Sergio Marchionne commented that a rear wheel drive, mid-sized Alfa Romeo was made possible by being able to share costs with Dodge.
Word from within the Tower of Power in Auburn Hills is that the car will not be called Barracuda, but will continue the Dodge Avenger label to take advantage of brand familiarity. While the car will be very different, it’s likely to share a V6 engine with the current Avenger. At this point, we’re not sure whether the Dodge version will have a four-cylinder or not, but an SRT version with a 6.2 liter, supercharged Hemi is quite likely. It is not certain — the company may choose to do a Ghibli, topping out at 400 horsepower through a twin-turbo six. Ghibli moves quite fast without a V8. Whether American customers would accept that is an open question, but the Challenger will remain available for those who must have their eight cylinders.
The Barracuda name was favored for quite some time, but reportedly failed the sniff test, given modern styling, the loss of Plymouth, and such; the only people who would be attracted by re-use of the name would be turned off by its application. The car is likely to have four doors, as well, adding fuel to the fire.
The Alfa Romeo version is likely to be V6 only, given European preferences, and will almost certainly be made in Italy. The Dodge version would likely be made in the United States. The Alfa, given its higher price point, could make more use of aluminum body panels and other weight-saving devices, while the Dodge would stick to more price-friendly materials and methods. Both would use ZF automatics.
The two cars will, to lower development costs, be jointly engineered, with the primary differences being sheet metal, interior styling, engines, and suspension tuning.