Dodge today revealed the Durango SRT, the first-ever performance-branded version of its full-size SUV, powered by a 6.4-litre V8 borrowed from the Charger and Challenger muscle cars. The reveal previews the truck’s official debut later this week at the Chicago auto show.
With 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, Dodge calls the latest addition to its SRT performance line the most powerful mass-production American three-row SUV on the market, driving the point home with a short video showing the truck doing a fantastic four-wheel burnout.
And while claimed acceleration times of 12.9 seconds in the quarter-mile and 4.4 seconds to 60 mph (96 km/h) suggest the Durango SRT hauls ass, Dodge says this high-performance truck is also good at hauling other things, with what it calls a best-in-class tow rating of 3,900 kg (8,600 lbs).
For drivers keen on exploiting the Durango’s impressive performance, Dodge says all SRT buyers will get a one-day instruction session at Arizona’s Bob Bondurant School of High-Performance Driving.
This isn’t Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ first high-po SUV: the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is already well-known as a capably quick utility capable of taking on quick crossovers from the likes of Porsche and Land Rover while undercutting them on price.
Contributing to the truck’s performance cred is a specially-tuned AWD system, a seven-mode active damping system, stiffer springs and shocks, and 20-inch wheels housing Brembo six-piston front and four-piston rear brakes clamping 15- and 13.8-inch rotors, respectively. A track drive mode commands the eight-speed transmission to make 160-millisecond shifts, while a milder sport mode cuts shift times by 50 percent compared to normal mode.
The engine gets a cold-air intake that Dodge says cuts intake air temperatures by up to 18 degrees (Fahrenheit) to maximize performance in all situations. At the other end, a special exhaust setup gives the fastest Durango an exhaust note modeled after that of the Charger SRT sedan.
Among the Durango SRT’s seven drive modes is a valet setting Dodge says mimics the company’s 3.6-litre V6 power ratings, locking out first gear and commanding early upshifts from the transmission—perfect for keeping hotel valet attendants, along with anyone else who might drive your truck, out of trouble.
SRT-specific styling cues are on the subtle side: the hood sports functional air inlets and heat extractors, and that cold-air intake shares a revised front fascia and valance with LED foglights. Other bits include body-coloured fender flares, more aggressive rocker panels and a body-colour lower rear fascia around a pair of four-inch chrome exhaust tips.
Interior upgrades include a flat-bottomed steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats and a centre stack and console trimmed in “light black chrome.”
Look for the Dodge Durango SRT to reach dealer showrooms in late 2017.