Given its muddied history, we'll forgive you for brushing off Dodge's latest batch of R/T models. Although the R/T badge once signified a vehicle designed to tease, excite, and appease the enthusiast, in recent years, the nameplate was haphazardly applied to almost every Dodge, many of which drove no better than their conventional cousins.
The R/T range has been renewed and expanded for 2011, but its original purpose is on the way to being restored. Dodge
brand CEO Ralph Gilles has promised all future R/T models will offer a "higher level of dynamic capability" -- and that appears to hold true for the 2012 DODGE Avenger
R/T, which debuts this week at the 2011 New York auto show.
As is the case with other current models in the R/T portfolio (now including the Charger, Grand Caravan, Durango, and Journey), the new sport-tuned DODGE Avenger
doesn't receive any wild bump underhood. In fact, it continues to make use of the same 3.6-liter, 283-horsepower Pentastar V-6 found in lesser Avengers, matched up to a six-speed automatic transmission.
In other words, it's not exactly a configuration that's going to raise eyebrows, quicken pulses, and set Internet discussion boards afire. But wait: In the immortal words of Ron Popeil, there's more.
The secret, or so we're told, lies entirely with chassis tuning. Lo, engineers have had their way with the Avenger's suspension bits in an attempt to liven up a front-drive platform long regarded as more milquetoast than magnificent. The Dodge
crew says stiffness is increased by 18 percent, while front and rear spring rates are upped by 17 and 12 percent, respectively.