Behind The Wheel

2020 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack Plus Review: Good power, Widebody package makes it a nonstarter

The Charger Widebody adds exterior width to a model that's already wide.

Photo courtesy. of FCA US LLC

The Dodge Charger brand name is nearing its 60th birthday. While the current generation isn't quite that old, the handling and ride quality of the car are helping it show its age. Still, there's plenty to like about the 2020 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack Plus.

The Charger hasn't massively changed in appearance since its 2011 generational debut. It's been tweaked here and there, as well as the interior, to help it keep up with modern equipment and appearances. As delivered, the car had the Widebody format, adding a variety of equipment and width to the model.

2020 Dodge Charger Widebody Scat Pack models get unique bee badging.Photo courtesy. of FCA US LLC

The tester came with a Go Mango orange paint job - a bold color matching the boldness of the car's engine.

The Charger Scat Pack, the model the tested Charger is built on, comes with a V8 engine under its hood. The 6.4-liter HEMI gets 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The power output is robust and throttle response is proper. The engine is the best part of the car.

Dodge has given the Charger Widebody six-piston Brembo brakes, body color fender flares, a performance shift indicator, leather flat-bottom steering wheel, and the Widebody Competition Suspension with active damping, and unique wheels and tires for an additional $6,000 on top of the base price.

However, the car's handling can't keep up with the power. Dodge has given the sedan a beefy steering wheel, which feels appropriate for the model, but keeping the car steering safely on the road is a chore and borderline dangerous for the average driver when they give the V8 the go ahead with a full push on the throttle.

2020 Dodge Charger Widebody The Charger hasn't changed too much inn the last decade.Photo courtesy. of FCA US LLC

It would be one thing if the car delivered a connected drive with responsive steering. It is quite another with a model that has numb steering, body roll, and a suspension that lets allows the car to do more gliding over the road than showing off its stick-to-itiveness.

The steering isn't any better when it comes to parking. After a week behind the wheel, the car was no easier to park on center than it was the first day of driving. There are no forward-facing cameras to aid in the process. Also, the car's wide 305/35ZR20 front and rear tires, sitting on 20-inch x 11-inch Devil's Rim aluminum wheels greatly limited the angle the car was able to turn when pulling into a backing out of a parking spot.

2020 Dodge Charger Widebody The car's seats are comfortable and provide good support.Photo courtesy. of FCA US LLC

Setting aside the drive, the ride is actually quite decent with comfortable seats, enough space for four adults, and a relatively high-riding seat position that feels chair-like when adjusted for someone who doesn't mind what grandmothers across the country would stress is proper posture.

The Uconnect infotainment system is easy to use and works as advertised. The available 8.4-inch screen feels right-sized for the spacious interior. Though the cabin's styling doesn't impress, nor feel like it's worthy of the over $50,000 price tag that was on the tester, it's straight from the Dodge DNA and that's respectable enough.

Though the car lacks the boatload of safety tech that comes on lesser priced models from Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, the lack of them gives the car a sort of sportiness that harkens back to what could be called "the good old days."

2020 Dodge Charger Widebody The Charger's cabin is spacious.Photo courtesy. of FCA US LLC

The 2020 Dodge Charger starts at $29,895. As tested, the model came in at $50,180. For that price, I'd rather own a mid-grade used Porsche Panamera with its connected drive and potent engine, and put the extra $10,000 in a rainy day fund for when tires, an oil change, and mechanical improvements are needed.

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Lucid is taking a page out of the no-dealership playbook.

Photo courtesy of Lucid Motors

Lucid Motors will be following the Tesla model of selling vehicles, setting up sales and service locations called Lucid Studios. There will be 20 boutiques open by the end of 2021 across North America, according to a statement put out by the company this week.

The studios will each feature a "California-inspired design aesthetic" and offers customers the flexibility of visiting the storefront in person or shopping online. They are small in size, but in high-traffic areas.

Lucid Motors boutiques Some showrooms may have the new Lucid Air staged inside.Photo courtesy of Lucid Motors

The company has immediate plans to open ten studios:

  • Silicon Valley Studio: Located at Lucid's Global Headquarters in Newark, CA
  • Los Angeles Studios: Located at 9022 Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills, CA, and at Westfield Century City in Century City, CA
  • Los Angeles Service Center: Located at 9022 Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills, CA
  • San Jose Studio: Located at Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose, CA
  • Miami Studio: Located at Brickell City Centre in Miami, FL
  • West Palm Beach Studio: Located at Rosemary Square in West Palm Beach, FL
  • New York City Studio: Located in the Meatpacking District, NY
  • DC Metro Studio: Located at Tysons Corner Center in Tysons, VA
Lucid will soon unveil a new consumer-facing website and launch their new electric vehicle, the Lucid Air. The company promises that the new website will feature "the world's most advanced configurator" that allows customers to customize their vehicle.
Within the site, the world's most advanced configurator will enable prospective owners to customize their own car and view it from any angle in a variety of environments. The Lucid app will let customers communicate with the company on any topic, including servicing. And over-the-air updates will keep every Lucid Air's in-car technology up to date.

Lucid Motors boutiques As shown, the Lucid Motors boutique will feature a vehicle simulator.Photo courtesy of Lucid Motors

The company is promising a nationwide network of service centers, mobile service providers, and certified collision repair centers that will be part of Lucid's "centralized customer care group". These service providers will be able to address customer needs that cannnot be remotely diagnosed and repaired.

"The national network of Lucid Studios and Service Center locations we are rolling out over the coming months will ensure an industry-leading experience to anyone who reserves a Lucid Air," said Zak Edson, Director of Retail Operations for Lucid. "From purchase to delivery to ownership, the experience we offer is designed to be amongst the best in the world."

The production version of the Lucid Air will debut in an online reveal on September 9, 2020.

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Audi is adding sport versions of its all-electric SUV to their portfolio.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi models badged with an "S" or "RS" are the sportiest the German automaker offers. Nearly every model in the lineup has such a variant, some more than one. With four-wheels delivering instant power to the pavement, it should serve as no surprise that the company is rolling out sport-tuned versions of their E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback.

The 2021 Audi E-Tron S and E-Tron S Sportback are the first all-electric Audi models to earn that distinction. The models will have there electric motors (one up front and two in the rear) and a battery that combine to produce 496 horsepower and up to 717 pound-feet of torque, which is available for an eight-second boost period.

The battery has a 95-kilowatt hour capacity with 91 percent usability. On a full charge, the Audi e‑tron S and the Audi e‑tron S Sportback can achieve ranges of up to 223 miles and 226 miles (WLTP).

When the car is operating in normal drive mode, just the rear motors are working. The the driver requires more performance, the front one kicks in. There is no mechanical differential in the all-wheel drive SUVs so torque vectoring takes place in just milliseconds at a very high threshold. Other drive modes including "Sport" and "Dynamic".

Each model has been given "S" specific tuning as well as the ability to adjust the height of the SUV. Owners can store up to seven driver profiles.

The profile of the vehicles has changed as part of "S" modifications with wider wheel arches. The E-Tron S Sportback is more aerodynamic than the E-Tron S. Both models have special front and rear bumper with pronounced contours and prominent inlets. A rear diffuser spans nearly the entire width of both bodies. The models have silver and aluminum exterior detailing and mirror housings, respectively.

Digital Matrix LED headlights are an option. The smart lights can project guides onto the road to show a car's position in a lane on a narrow street.

The SUVs' cabins are equipped with dark upholstery and finishes. Electrically adjustable sport seats finished in Nappa leather are available.

The center stack features two touch screens to control traditional infotainment and climate control functionalities. A head-up display is available. Navigation and the latest modular infotainment platform (MIB 3) are standard.

On-sale dates for the U.S. and pricing have yet to be announced.

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