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Dodge is showing off a new Blacktop edition Charger at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The menacingly dark Charger features black wheels, tinted windows and a black exterior, giving it a truly evil appearance.
The new styling package for the Charger is debuting at CES, which may seem like an odd place for a vehicle to make its debut, but Dodge is also showing off their Beats by Dr. Dre Audio System that is now an option on select Dodge Charger models. The 10-speaker audio system was designed by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine that features a 12-channel amplifier and an 8.4-inch Uconnect screen that controls the sound.
Dodge unfortunately didn’t release any more details regarding the Blacktop package, only mentioning that the Beats by Dr. Dre Audio System is included with it. The audio system will be standard equipment on 2012 Dodge Charger R/T Max models and will also be included on the Rallye Appearance Group package on Charger SXT models. Dodge Charger R/T models can get the system with the Sound Group and Wheels and Tunes Group packages.
GALLERY: 2012 Dodge Charger Blacktop
And it’s largely down to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. The ZF unit, the 845RE, is the first of its kind installed in a domestically produced automobile and will come teamed with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 found in both the entry-level 2012 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans.
This addresses a major criticism of the cars, namely that, until now, they sported a five-speed automatic when much of the competition had already shifted to six-speed units.
According to Chrysler’s own test results the new V6/eight-speed automatic combo, combined with a 2.65:1 final drive ratio; enables these large sedans to achieve 31 miles per gallon highway in terms of fuel economy, versus 27 mpg on the outgoing models. In the city, both the 2012 300 and Charger reportedly get 19 miles per gallon (a five percent increase over the outgoing models).
All-wheel drive versions for 2012 boast a shorter final drive (3.07:1) though for these, Chrysler has yet to release any official fuel mileage ratings (though expect them to be slightly less when it does).
The 845RE reportedly requires no modifications to be installed in the LX chassis and despite the extra gears and complexity, is only some 6.6 lbs (3 kg) heavier than the five-speed unit it replaces, plus it’s a fill for life unit, not requiring fluid changes under normal driving conditions.
With Ford now having pulled out of the large, traditional RWD sedan market and GM not having really bothered with it since 1996, it’s nice to see that at least one Detroit automaker continues to invest in large rear-drive sedans. Long live the true American Road Car!
GALLERY: 2012 Chrysler 300
Having just introduced an all new Dodge Charger, Challenger and Chrysler 300 for 2011, all three models are set to get an important update for 2012 under the hood. The engine will remain unchanged, but models equipped with Chrysler Corp’s new 3.6L Pentastar V6 will get a significant jump in fuel economy and notably improved drive quality thanks to the addition of an 8-speed automatic.
As for the R/T and 300C models, they will retain the current 5-speed auto-box, as will a budget-priced Challenger SE model.
Chrysler is expected to add a higher-gear transmission to its V8-powered models in the future as well, replacing the current 5-speed unit. There’s also a solid chance the new 8-speed could be used in vehicles like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango.
We’ve already seen a few spy photos of the updated Dodge Charger, but a selection of new images now reveals some impressive updates to the big sedan’s interior. Likely a high-end trim level, the photos show an impressive two-tone interior with leather door inserts, stitched into patterns. The instrumentation looks nicer overall and the new gauges have a retro feel with plenty of aluminum color trim. There’s also a sporty three-spoke steering wheel and a push button ignition.
These updates, along with a revised exterior with a more sloping rear roofline, should arrive for the 2011 or 2012 model year. The updated car is also expected to get a new standard 3.6-liter V6 with more power (280-hp most likely) and much improved fuel economy, while the HEMI 6.1-liter V8 will be replaced by a 6.4-liter V8 with cylinder deactivation and Fiat’s MultiAir variable valve timing.
We’re interested to get a closer look when these much-needed updates make it to market. In the mean time, See more Charger spy photos here