A small team of engineers far from Auburn Hills is reportedly working on finding out if it’s possible to shoe-horn Chrysler’s new V6 into the Dodge Dart, according to Allpar sources.
Currently, the largest engine available in the barely-compact car is the 2.4 liter four-cylinder TigerShark, pushing out 184 horsepower and 171 kb-ft of torque; for 2013, the most powerful engines were both rated at 160 hp, with 147 and 184 horsepower, but the “torquer” was a tiny Fiat turbo-four which had some lag. The 2.4 is much more responsive, and in most 2014 models meets or beats 2.0 mileage numbers, but generally not considered to be a thriller.
Chrysler is making three V6 engines at the moment, displacing 2997 cc (3.0 liters), 3.2 liters, and 3.6 liters; the first one was intended for Europe and China only, and avoids extra “displacement taxes” on engines 3 liters or larger. The 3.2 was originally meant to be the volume engine, and is the only one available for Cherokee; it was designed specifically for better gas mileage, through lower internal friction and weight. The 3.6 is the original Pentastar, and will reportedly be optional in the 2015 Chrysler 200.
Even the 3.0 liter engine is reportedly capable of 230 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque, though due to air and exhaust path issues in a tight engine bay, these numbers could fall. The 3.2, which is likely similar in external dimensions, is rated at 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque in the Jeep Cherokee. Either would be far more powerful than the 2.4.
Many believe a better solution would be using the nine-speed ZF automatic in the Dart, but with some nine-speed facilities still in construction and the rest reportedly still ramping up, and high demand expected for the nine-speed-equipped Cherokee and 200, it seems unlikely that the Dart will be given that state-of-the-art transmission any time soon. Even the V6 option is likely a year or two out: even if the engineers figure out how to fit it into the car, and then how to do it at the rate of one per minute (or faster), they still have to run a battery of tests to make sure it will not overheat or be impossible to repair.