DETROIT -- Chrysler Group has opened ordering and begun production of the 2013 Dodge Dart GT, a more powerful version of the compact sedan.
When Dodge announced the car in January, it said production would begin in the second quarter.
The Dart GT is the first production use of Chrysler's re-engineered 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder Tigershark engine. The naturally aspirated engine, with Fiat's MultiAir2 variable valve timing, delivers 184 hp and 171 pounds-feet of torque through a six-speed manual or optional automatic transmission.
Inside, the Dart GT features leather seats, the automaker's 8.4-inch touch screen infotainment system and a 7-inch customizable instrument cluster display. The GT package is priced at $21,990, including shipping.
New Dodge brand boss Tim Kuniskis predicted the Dart GT would be a "home run" for the brand and the Dart. Dodge sold 44,949 Darts through June.
"This gives us the opportunity to bring in some of the features that customers have been asking for since the launch of the car," Kuniskis said. The Dart launched last year with two available four-cylinder engines: a standard 2.0-liter version of the Tigershark, and a turbocharged 1.4-liter. Both produce 160 hp and 148 pounds-feet of torque.
Kuniskis said Dart buyers are running "about 70 percent male today, and they were looking for a little more performance. The GT gives us that opportunity."
-- Larry P. Vellequette