By Patrick Rall
The 2011 Dodge Charger made its official grand debut at the 2010 LA Auto Show, but at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, the redesigned Mopar muscle sedan made its first appearance in the Motor City.
The Dodge Charger has made a reputation for itself as being a big, bruising sedan with aggressive styling and the performance to back the look. But for 2011, Dodge takes the Charger to a whole new level. The styling originally debuted on the Charger sedan when it hit the market in 2006 is still clearly there, but the engineers at Dodge have added gobs of vintage cues to really make this an awesome American muscle car.
Along the front end, the look is similar to the previous generation but the headlights have been angled to give the car an angry look, and the protruding grille shows off the crosshair styling that will serve as the emblem for the entire brand. The hood features scalloping similar to what was seen on the 1970 Charger. That scalloping is echoed along the sides of the 2011 Charger as well. The long, sweeping roofline has been lowered and reshaped in such a manner that this 4-door sedan carries the shape of a large coupe.
As you get to the rear end of the new Charger, you meet the real shining change to the new Dodge b-segment sedan. The clunky, awkward taillights of the original Charger sedan always looked very out of place on the sleek muscle car, but the 2011 Dodge Charger fixes that with the incredible full-width rear light bar. Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles refers to it as the “race track”, and with 164 super-bright LEDs running around the perimeter of this great looking tail light, this new lighting display is impossible to miss. This taillight setup truly completes the Charger, and this car, 4-door sedan or not, is deserving of the Charger name.
Inside, Dodge has taken a luxury approach with an interior layout designed to rival the best interiors in the industry. The seats have been improved both in design and quality to offer more comfort and the interior gaps – from the door panels to the gorgeous one-piece dash cap – make for a super-clean interior layout worthy of the luxury label.
The Dodge Charger would be nothing without its historic lineup of high performance engines, and for 2011, the 5.7L Hemi V8 is back; joined by a new base model V6. The 3.6L Pentastar V6 offers 292 horsepower (42 more than the outgoing 3.5L V6) along with better fuel economy than the previous V6 options.