Question of the Week Does the Dodge Dart SRT4 need to be all wheel drive?
Lots of Mopar enthusiasts insist that the upcoming Dodge Dart SRT4 has to be all wheel drive to compete but the Neon SRT4 showed how well a high performance front wheel drive sedan can do in the US market.
I say yes for the simply because look at the Ford Focus ST, from what I've read the fact that it is limited to front wheel drive causes it to have so much torque steer it suffers in the traction and handling department. And its even worse in the Shelby Focus ST.
To me it wouldnt be a case of keeping up with or copying the WRK and EVO, I'd say that it would be Ma Mopar learning from the mistake(s) that Ford made with the ST.
It is a $14,995 upgrade on top of the regular Focus ST, Ford's strongest contender in the hot-hatch market in 10 years -- since the Focus SVT was a hidden gem, spoken of in revered tones as something brave enough to break Volkswagen's tyranny. Again, Ford wants to break Volkswagen -- as well as Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Ducati, and late-model Corvette Z06es, or anything else that costs $38,000.
Shelby claims that with revised spring rates, new suspension geometry, and stiffer motor mounts, its engineers were able to quash torque steer by 50 percent. On the regular Focus, said Luft, you floor the throttle and the car goes into the trees. "You really should drive a regular Focus ST," he said. "You owe it to yourself."
Well, my good man, you can quell the torque steer by 50 percent, but if you bump up horsepower to near-300 levels, it'll still be there. And how it is there! Ease up on the throttle and the steering momentarily loses its feel and falls subdued into our hands, aimlessly tugging like a Labrador who just wants you to throw the ball already. Accelerating out of a turn the front wheels tug and squirm, losing all semblance of steering feel as the wheel jitters like a nervous lover...oh, and you had better hope that corner is a smooth one. Not quite Viggenesque in its uncontrolability, it still manifests itself to make our later canyon sessions with the ST less fun than it could be
$38,000 for a mobile torque steer monster no thanks. Now a Dart SRT with AWD with ~ 300hp for $30-$35 K; that sounds just about right.
I bought a new SRT4 back in '05, and while I loved the car, its weakest link was traction off the line. Once you got it to 30 or so, she would bury you in the seat, but any aggressive moves below that speed led to tire melting. I cast my vote for all wheel drive, what the Caliber SRT should have had...