THE WAIT IS OVER! After years of speculation and rumors, Dodge finally gave us a taste of where the American performance brand is taking its next-generation muscle cars, with the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee Concept.
I was among the invited special guests and journalists to get a chance to see the new concept up-close, and I can say that the media materials that we received from Dodge DO NOT do the car justice.
In the flesh, the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee looks like a concept car. Carbon-fiber bits everywhere, small side mirrors, single pane side glass, and enough red ambient lighting to make you think you are in the red-light district in Amsterdam. But the car does give us a look at some of the things we might be seeing in the production version.
Let’s start with the exterior. While the car does harken some key Charger elements of design from the past, it is not completely retro. The front grille absolutely stunning, giving you the impression of a 1968 to 1970 Dodge Charger B-Body. While the car does not feature hideaway headlamps like those models, it is equipped with LED Matrix units tucked inside the grille opening. The class Fratzog logo in a luminescent white and signature LED daytime running lights (DRLs) outline the grille opening, giving the Charger Daytona SRT Banshee a unique signature look, that is completely Dodge.
The patent-pending R-Wing design looks killer and gives the hood of the car a totally unique look. While it may be something we could see on the production battery-electric vehicle (BEV) don’t expect it to show up on the internal combustion engine (ICE) models, as that grille will need to feed cold-air to the twin-turbo engine. If Dodge can pull air from the lower fascia and keep the R-Wing for both the BEV and ICE cars, it would be a stunning feat.
One thing that nobody really talked about, was the fact that this car was labeled as a Charger and only featured 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 cars, I personally think Dodge is leading people on 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 the classic Dodge “Coke” bottle shape is there underneath the greenhouse. But what really caught our eye, was the lack of door scallops, a common Charger cue that is even on the current car. Being a concept car, there were no side marker lights, and the side mirrors although made of carbon fiber are virtually useless because they are so narrow.
The new Banshee badge adorns the front fenders. The new logo has a more edgy look to it and has some lightning bolt patterns hidden into its design. The Banshee name fitted perfectly with the Dodge powertrain names, as most of the modern engines take their names from aircraft of war. The Banshee isn’t just because of its “Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust”, but continues the tradition within Chrysler Group.
For those who aren’t familiar with the McDonnell F2H Banshee, it was an American single-seat carrier-based jet fighter aircraft deployed by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps from 1948 to 1961.
The rear side glass also looks out of place from the rest of the car. While traditional two-door Chargers had triangular rear glass, the Charger Daytona SRT Banshee has a more squared look almost hinting that it was meant to be a sedan.
The rear of the car gives off a whole 2011 to 2014 Dodge Charger vibe. The squared-off rear with the next-generation signature race track LED taillights, look very similar to those four years of Charger sedan. Even the rear window has about the same amount of side protrusion as the current car, mimicking that famous Charger “buttress” rear-window design.
Surprisingly, everyone I talked to, tended to like the rear hatchback design of the Charger Daytona SRT Banshee. After seeing it up close, the hatchback design opens up the rear for easier access to the cargo area. I can see that it would be a lot more beneficial than the current car’s difficult trunk opening to fit larger items inside the vehicle. The best thing about it is that the design staff did not make the car look like a hatchback. With the rear down, it still looks like a traditional car.
Located in the lower rear fascia is the patented Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust. While it may be a gimmick, the concept does have it lit up with LED lighting to show it off. We doubt that a production car would do the same, as you are basically looking at a metal plaque underneath the car.
The sound coming from it sounds more like a computerized Formula 1 car than a traditional HEMI. I think Dodge missed out on this opportunity, as it could have made the car sound more like a cammed big-block engine. 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 the wheel design, the turbine-inspired wheels are absolutely beautiful. I hope a similar wheel pattern will make it to market. The only gripe I have with them is that they are 21-inch units. Give us more sidewall on the production model, I rather have a better ride than a flashy set of wheels of 21-inch wheels.
Overall, being an owner of the current car and a passionate Charger fan, I do think the design studio is on the right path with the next-generation muscle cars. While it is a concept car, I am generally excited to see what makes it into production.
While I do keep pressing that this is a concept car, I will say the interior has some very promising details that look production ready.
Starting with the instrument panel (I/P), the overall design looks to be production ready. The I/P gives the car a very wide look inside, due to a lot of horizontal shapes that include a massive 16-inch curved instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch center screen. There is a swept line that runs atop the I/P that features red ambient lighting with metal accents. On the passenger side, that line features a metal text in the trim saying “Daytona” and is backlit 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, like the center console that runs from between the front seats to the rear seats. I doubt that will make it to production, but I would love to see it as an option.
Ambient lighting was abundant throughout the interior. Dodge calls their newest adaption of it Ambient Attitude Adjustment Lighting™, which illuminates texture from below, playing with depth and dimension. It looks cool and definitely adds character to the car and I can see it being available as an interior lighting package of some sort when the production car makes its way to market.
Although no one was allowed to sit in the car, it was clearly obvious that the newly designed steering wheel is production ready. The steering wheel airbag cover featured a more edgy and modern take on the SRT logo. Of course, like the Hellcat Redeye cars 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 is a turn signal stalk where you would find it in a standard ICE car, the console shifter isn’t a rotary dial or push button, and the center stack features redundant physical buttons. There is none of that only a center-mounted touchscreen to control everything, you don’t have to swipe the screen to go into drive, and there is an actual gear shifter that features pistol-grip shifter-like looks to it.
Certain details like the carbon fiber seats, carbon fiber door sills with illuminated Daytona logo, touchpad window settings, and other carbon fiber elements, probably won’t make production. However, there is some promise that the huge panoramic glass roof will.
I personally think that Chris Benjamin and the interior design team did an amazing job on the interior of the vehicle.
Like everyone else, I am really excited to see what makes it into production. For those who weren’t 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 by any means.
Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee Concept Image Gallery: