Powered by the same 2.4-liter TigerShark MultiAir2 four-cylinder engine that was originally due for the R/T, making 184 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque—with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed Powertech automatic transmission with AutoStick manual control—the Dart GT should be more responsive than the other versions already on sale.
How much quicker will it be? Dodge notes that the new model will have enhanced performance, and that it will provide “just the right balance of power and fuel economy,” but it hasn't yet revealed how quickly the new model will be able to dash to 60 mph, or what its EPA fuel economy ratings might be.
Sharper handling, different engine altogether
It's also worth pointing out that the GT model's 2.4-liter engine makes less torque than the 1.4-liter turbocharged MultiAir engine that's currently the more 'premium' offering in the Dart lineup; that smaller engine makes a peak 184 lb-ft of torque, although as we've noted in our driving impressions, it does need to be revved more than some other smaller turbos.
But factor in the other upgrades, like a sport suspension with special frequency-sensing dampers, upgraded 18-inch alloy wheels, and a slew of appearance and interior upgrades—for a sticker price of $20,995 (plus destination)—and the GT looks like quite a deal.
The GT really highlights the high-performance look that's been there in the Dart's design from the start. On the outside the GT gets 18-inch alloy wheels, plus a unique front fascia including black accents and a Hyper Black grille, as well as black projector headlamp bezels, body-color door handles, LED racetrack taillamps, a dual exhaust with bright tips.
Inside the Dart GT gets special Nappa perforated black-leather seats with either red stitching or a Black/Ruby Red two-tone scheme.
Grand value for the money
Otherwise we can't imagine that anyone might be disappointed with the feature set—especially at this price. The 2013 Dart GT ranks at the top of the Dart models currently on sale—above SE, SXT, Rallye, Aero, and Limited models—so it builds on the Limited model's standard-equipment set, offering a class-exclusive heated steering wheel, plus heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, remote start (with automatic transmission), an 8.4-inch touch-screen and seven-inch TFT, and a universal garage-door opener. Other features include a rearview camera system, a leather steering wheel, instrument-panel accent stitching, ambient LED lighting, active grille shutters, keyless entry, six-speaker sound, and a 60/40-split back seat with armrest and trunk pass-through.
Options include a power sunroof, HID headlamps, a Garmin navigation system, satellite radio, and 506-watt Alpine premium sound with ten speakers and a subwoofer. There's also a Technology Group that wraps together push-button start, keyless Enter 'N Go, rain-sensing wipers, smart headlamps, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross path detection.
The 2013 Dodge Dart GT will join the model line in the second quarter of 2013, and will be built at Belvidere, Illinois, alongside the other models.
Stay tuned for more about performance credentials for the 2013 Dodge Dart GT, as well as more pictures from the upcoming Detroit Auto Show—and hopefully a drive sometime soon.