THE WAITING IS OVER! After years of speculation and rumours, Dodge has finally given us an idea of where the American performance brand is headed with its new generation of muscle cars, with the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee Concept.
I was one of the invited special guests and journalists to have the chance to see the new concept up close, and I can say that the media material we received from Dodge does NOT do the car justice.
In real life, the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee looks like a concept car. Carbon fiber bits everywhere, small side mirrors, single glass on the side and enough red mood lighting to make you think you are in the red light district of Amsterdam. But the car gives us a look at some of the things we might see in the production version.
Let’s start with the outside. While the car takes some key Charger design cues from the past, it’s not quite retro. The front grille is absolutely stunning, giving you the impression of a Dodge Charger B-Body from 1968 to 1970. While the car doesn’t have hidden headlights like those models, it features LED Matrix units embedded in the grille. opening have been eliminated. The Class Fratzog logo in luminescent white and signature LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) line the grille opening, giving the Charger Daytona SRT Banshee a unique, signature look that’s totally Dodge.
The patent pending R-Wing design looks great and gives the hood of the car a totally unique look. While it may be something we might see on the production battery electric vehicle (BV), we don’t expect it to show up on the internal combustion engine (ICE) models because that grille sends cold air to the twin-turbocharged engine. If Dodge can get air out of the lower dash and keep the R-Wing for both the BEV and ICE cars, that would be an astonishing feat.
One thing nobody really talked about was the fact that this car was labeled a Charger and only had two exterior doors. Our sources have indicated that there will be a two-door Challenger (LB) and a four-door Charger (LF) in the next generation of cars, personally I think Dodge leads people to think that the Charger will return as just a two-door. But remember, this is just a CONCEPT.
Looking at the side profile of the car, we can see that the classic Dodge “Coke” bottle mold is located under the greenhouse. But what really struck us was the lack of door shells, a common Charger cue that’s even present on today’s car. Being a concept car there were no side marker lights and the side mirrors, although made of carbon fiber, are pretty much useless because they are so narrow.
The new Banshee badge adorns the front fenders. The new logo has a more edgy look and feel and has some lightning bolt patterns hidden in the design. The Banshee name was a perfect fit with the Dodge powertrain names, as most modern engines take their name from warplanes. The Banshee is not only because of its “Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust”, but continues the tradition within the Chrysler Group.
For those unfamiliar with the McDonnell F2H Banshee, it was an American single-seat jet fighter aircraft that was used by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps from 1948 to 1961.
The rear window also looks out of place from the rest of the car. While traditional two-door Chargers had a triangular rear window, the Charger Daytona SRT Banshee has a squarer look that almost suggests it was supposed to be a sedan.
The rear of the car exudes a whole Dodge Charger vibe from 2011 to 2014. The squared-off rear with the next-generation racetrack’s signature LED taillights is very similar to those four years of the Charger sedan. Even the rear window has about the same amount of side overhangs as the current car, mimicking that famous Charger “mainstay” rear window design.
Surprisingly, everyone I spoke to tended to like the Charger Daytona SRT Banshee’s tailgate design. After seeing it up close, the hatchback design opens up the rear for easier access to the luggage compartment. I can see it would be much more economical than the current car’s difficult trunk opening to fit larger items into the vehicle. Best of all, the design staff didn’t make the car look like a hatchback. With the rear down, it still looks like a traditional car.
At the bottom of the rear is the patented Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust. While it may be a gimmick, the concept has lit it up with LED lighting to show it off. We doubt a production car would do the same, since you’re actually looking at a metal plate under the car.
The sound that comes out sounds more like a computer-controlled Formula 1 car than a traditional HEMI. I think Dodge missed this opportunity because it could have made the car sound more like a big-block engine with cams. Hopefully the production cars will have the ability to reconfigure your choice of sounds, similar to what Tesla vehicles can do.
When it comes to wheel design, the turbine-inspired wheels are absolutely gorgeous. I hope a similar wheel pattern will hit the market. The only complaint I have with them is that they are 21 inch units. Give us more sidewall on the production model, I’d rather have a better ride than a flashy set of 21″ wheels.
Overall, as the owner of the current car and a passionate Charger fan, I think the design studio is on the right track with the next generation of muscle cars. While it’s a concept car, I’m generally excited to see what gets it into production.
While I continue to insist that this is a concept car, I will say that the interior has some promising details that look production-ready.
Starting with the instrument panel (I/P), the overall design appears to be production-ready. The I/P gives the car a very wide look inside, thanks to many horizontal shapes, including a massive 16-inch curved instrument panel and a 12.3-inch center screen. There is a swept line that runs on top of the I/P with red mood lighting with metal accents. On the passenger side, that line has metal text in the trim that reads “Daytona” and is illuminated by that red ambient lighting. Wrapped in leather and outlined with blue and silver accent stitching, the I/P looks very “patriotic”.
The Dodge Design Studio in Auburn Hills also took other elements from Chargers of the past, such as the center console that runs from between the front seats to the rear seats. I doubt that will make it to production, but I’d like to see it as an option.
Mood lighting was abundant in the interior. Dodge calls their latest version Ambient Attitude Adjustment Lighting™, which illuminates the texture from below and plays with depth and dimension. It looks cool and definitely adds character to the car and I can see it being available as a sort of interior lighting package when the production car hits the market.
Although no one was allowed to sit in the car, it was clear that the newly designed steering wheel is production ready. The handlebar airbag cover had a more edgy and modern take on the SRT logo. Of course, like the Hellcat Redeye cars of today, that logo was backlit with red light.
Unlike most EVs on the market, the Charger Daytona SRT Concept looked very conventional. By that I mean, there’s a turn signal lever where you’d find it in a standard ICE car, the console switch isn’t a dial or pushbutton, and the center console has redundant physical buttons. There’s none of that, just a center-mounted touchscreen to control everything, no need to swipe the screen to start driving, and there’s a real gear lever that looks like a pistol grip.
Certain details, such as the carbon fiber seats, carbon fiber door sills with illuminated Daytona logo, touchpad window settings and other carbon fiber elements are unlikely to go into production. However, there is some promise that the huge panoramic glass roof will.
Personally, I think Chris Benjamin and the interior design team did a great job on the interior of the vehicle.
Like everyone else, I’m very excited to see what makes it into production. For those who haven’t been able to see the car in person, hopefully Dodge will take it on tour to several car shows so you can get a glimpse of it in person. The pictures don’t do it justice in any way.
Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee Concept Image Gallery: