To tout its Mopar parts division, Chrysler and Fiat's parts arm Magneti Marelli built a Euro-spec rally car out of a Dodge Avenger, with 300 hp and powerslide-ready hand brakes. Will it ever actually race? Probably not.
Putting the go-fast goodies on an Avenger — whose DNA still contains much of the Mitsubishi midsize sedan platform/virus that nearly killed all of Chrysler — seems strange, but Mopar and Magneti Marelli say the idea was to stretch their capabilities a little bit while testing some aftermarket parts for production. It's more than just a show pony; the interior's been blessed with all of Magneti's rally experience by being stripped and replaced with rally-quality roll cages and controls (including carbon-fiber door panels), while the newish Pentastar V6 gets boosted to 300 hp with exhaust mods and a cold-air intake.
Also, more wing.
It sounds like the real deal, except that outside of churning the dirt near Chrysler's Chelsea, Mich., test track, it's not going to turn a wheel in competition. Which is a shame; the world could stand with a few more rally racers, and while Chrysler has Nascar and NHRA covered in motorsports, rallying has an audience that Chrysler needs a re-introduction to in Europe and South America.
Mopar will also build 1,000 copies of the 2011 Dodge Charger with a few tweaks, including different engine controllers and a rear-end gearing that gives it a 0-60 mph time "in the low five seconds." Price for the privilege: $39,750. Hope you like black with a bright blue stripes.