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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McLaren has chosen an easy-to-pronounce name for its new hybrid supercar - Artura.

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

McLaren is about to mark the beginning of a new era in hybrid powertrain engineering. In the first half of 2021, its high-performance hybrid series production supercar will go on sale and we now know what it will be named.

The McLaren Artura builds on the legacy of the McLaren P1TM hybrid hypercar, which was unveiled in 2012, and the Speedtail Hyper-GT, which entered production this year and the fastest McLaren ever with a top speed of 250 mph.

"Every element of the Artura is all-new – from the platform architecture and every part of the High-Performance Hybrid powertrain, to the exterior body, interior and cutting-edge driver interface – but it draws on decades of McLaren experience in pioneering super-lightweight race and road car technologies to bring all of our expertise in electrification to the supercar class," said Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.

Mclaren Artura The Artura badging sits on what is likely the rear of the car.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

It will be the first car to be built on the company's new platform architecture, which has been optimized for electrification. Design and engineering of the McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture took place in the U.K. at the McLaren Composites Technology Centre.

Two photos released by the company show what is likely the back of the Artura, with a honeycomb design beneath the car's badging between two exhaust outlets.

The Artura will get a twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine that combines with an electric motor. This will be the engine's debut. McLaren says that the engine retains the performance benefits of the company's larger V8s but has improved torque response at low engine speeds. The Artura can also run on all-electric power.

The weight of the hybrid engine system has been offset by the application of weight-saving technologies throughout the chassis, body, and powertrain. Ahead of a full product reveal, McLaren is touting the car's class-leading weight advantage.

The McLaren Artura is expected to be revealed soon. Pricing will likely be announced at that time.

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The Aston Martin Vantage Legacy Collection celebrates the winning racing legacy of the iconic models.

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

The new Aston Martin Vantage Legacy Collection celebrates one of the most successful periods of car racing in the company's history. Between 2009 and 2018, Aston Martin took the checkered flag in two 24 Hours of Le Mans class victories (in 2014 and 2017) and seven FIA World Endurance Championship titles, as well as numerous international sports car championship titles in British GT, GT World Challenge (Europe) and the European Le Mans Series.

The new trio of Legacy Vantages are based on the V8 Vantage road car, which was launched in 2005. They have been crafted in Aston Martin Racing's workshops and come complete with a brand new chassis, race-ready equipment, and a Sterling Green paint job with Aston Martin Yellow trim lines.

The trio includes a V8 Vantage GTE, a V12 Vantage GT3, and Vantage GT4.

Aston Martin Vantage GT3 The Astin Martin V12 Vantage GT3 has a strong racing lineage.Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

"For a collector, this trio of Aston Martin Racing Vantages represents the ultimate tribute to a halcyon period for the brand in international sportscar racing," said David King, President of Aston Martin Racing. "While Aston Martin has since gone on to record world championship titles with the current generation turbo-charged V8 Vantage, the foundations laid by the huge success of the original car won it admirers the around the globe and led to it becoming a firm favorite with racing fans. The Legacy collection is a beautiful sign-off for this wonderful car."

Aston Martin brought the Vantage GT4 to the track as the first car created around the company's VH-era architecture. It debuted in 2009 as the first of 107 cars created by Aston Martin Racing. Many of these vehicles are still competing today. The car that is a part of the Vantage Legacy Collection is the 108th and final car to be made.

Aston Martin Vantage GT4 Legacy Collection

Aston Martin Vantage GT4

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

The Vantage GT4 Legacy Collection model is powered by a 4.7-liter V8 engine that is paired with a six-speed Sportshift transmission. It features a FIA-approved full roll cage, polycarbonate side and rear windows, side sills with exposed carbon fiber rib, a quick-release hoot and tailgate, and a lightweight battery. Stiffened front- and rear anti-roll bars, a spherical bearing suspension, two-way adjustable Koni dampers, and a double wishbone suspension are standard equipment as well.

An adjustable carbon fiber wing, four-piston mono block calipers, a Bosch race-developed antilock braking system and traction control, carbon fiber dive plates, two-piece front brake disc, and Pagid RS 29 race pads also come on the model.

The interior of this unique model features a Recaro competition seat, Sabelt six-point safety harness, FIA-copliant Lifeline plumbed-in extinguisher system, weight-reduced fascia, and a quick-release steering wheel. A Recaro HANS compatible seat is available.

The whole rig rides on magnesium five-stud wheels.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 Legacy Collection

Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

Three years after the Vantage GT4 took to the track, the V12 Vantage GT3 debuted and soon became the dominant car in the British GT championship, winning outright titles in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Over seven years, 46 cars were built.

The Legacy Collection version of the car is built on an aluminum chassis and has a steel rollcage that meets FIA standards. It also comes equipped with a 6.0-liter V12 engine that is paired with an Xtrac six-speed semi-automatic paddle shift transmission. A racing clutch, limited slip differential, carbon fiber prop shaft, six-pot front calipers, ventilated front and rear brake discs, four-pot rear calipers, and a manually adjustable front and rear brake bias are standard.

It also has a 8862 safety seat, six-point safety harness, racing seat nets, carbon fiber dash, fire extinguisher 8862 safety system, driver display, and shift lights are inside the cabin while a front splitter, full width carbon fiber rear wing, removable carbon fiber body panels, and an aluminum roof are on the exterior.

A double wishbone suspension, four-way adjustable Bilstein dampers, and staggered wheels compete the model.

A high-speed pneumatic jack system is included with purchase.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTW Legacy Collection

Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTW

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

Aston Martin Racing brought the V8 Vantage GTW to Sebring in 2012 for its debut. It spearheaded Aston Martin's works return to production-based racing following three years of competing in the LMP1 class. The V8 Vantage GTE took its first win at the final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Shanghai in October of that year. Only six of the models were originally built, with the last race of the models occurring at Le Mans in 2018. The GTE in this collection is the seventh and final car to be made, chassis number 007.

This Legacy Collection model comes complete with the aluminum chassis and steel rollcage that you'd expect. It has a lightweight V8 engine, six-speed semi-automatic paddle shift gearbox, ZF Sachs Racing clutch, limited slip combination VC and ramp/plate differential, and carbon fiber propshaft.

The car has the full aerodynamic update that brings it into alignment with 2016 LMGTE regulations, carbon fiber bodywork, an aluminum roof with driver safety access hatch, and an adjustable carbon fiber rear wing. Braking comes courtesy of six-pot Brembo calipers up front and four-pot in the back, vented discs, Pagid RS pads, a bespoke pedal box, and Goodridge hydraulic brake lines.

It rides on staggered wheels wrapped in Dunlop tires.

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