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Dodge Super8 Hemi 'All American' Return of the Sedan

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    AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Jan. 9 The Dodge Super8 Hemi concept car is Daimler-
Chrysler's newest execution of Passenger Priority design.  Borrowing cues from 
Dodge trucks and sport-utilities, the Dodge Super8 Hemi is an all-American sedan -- 
yet one reincarnated with a tall stance that enhances visibility, comfort, 
space and ease of entry and exit for both driver and passengers.

    "The Dodge Super8 Hemi embodies the culture and essence of American
optimism," said Freeman Thomas, Vice President - Advanced Design Strategy,
DaimlerChrysler Corporation on the occasion of the 2001 North American
International Auto Show in Detroit.

    "The concept's bold, in-your-face design shows our ability to embrace our
love for the sedan and meld it with invigorating execution and technological
advancement," added Thomas, who oversaw the design for the Dodge Super8 Hemi.
"With its distinctive tall stance, Hemi powertrain and telematics applications
throughout, the Super8 symbolizes everything we loved about sedans then, plus
everything we need now."

    Confident, expressive character lines accent the Super8's side view.  Its
chiseled body and tall-stance proportions suggest exemplary handling and
stability substantiated by a long wheelbase (117.4 inches, 2982 mm) and wide
track (62.5 inches, 1588 mm front, 62.8 inches, 1595 mm rear).

    A prototype 353 cubic inch (5.7-liter) pushrod V-8 engine featuring
hemispherical combustion chambers and two spark plugs per cylinder powers the
Dodge Super8 Hemi concept.  Its estimated 353 horsepower (263 kW) and 395 lb.-
ft. (536 Nm) of torque are delivered to the rear wheels via a four-speed
AutoStick(R) manumatic transmission, allowing the vehicle to reach 60 mph (97
kph) in less than six seconds and clock a top speed of 154 mph (248 kph).

    The concept's independent suspension with modified MacPherson struts in
front delivers precise steering, while the five-link coil-over-shock rear set-
up further enhances the ride and handling.

    "This custom suspension, coupled with the Hemi engine and Passenger
Priority design, makes the Super8 the envy of the crowd and bad boy of the
tarmac.  This vehicle is all about Dodge DNA," added Thomas.

    Designed with family in mind, American sedans of the past have
 primarilybeen defined by their spaciousness and passenger comfort.

 While in recent years more attention has been given to vehicle performance, 
contemporary design and luxury, space and comfort are still key factors.

    The Passenger Priority design utilizes panoramic seating for driver and
passengers, allowing for higher seating to give them more of an in-control
feeling compared to other sedans.  In fact, the rear passengers sit higher
than the front passengers, creating an automotive form of theater seating.

    "In using the tall-stance concept, we created unique design proportions
while remaining true to the classic image of the American sedan," said Kevin
Verduyn, Senior Design Manager at DaimlerChrysler's Pacifica Design Center in
Carlsbad, Calif., sharing credit for the Dodge Super8 Hemi's exterior design
with Product Designer Robert McMahan, who sketched the original drawing.

    "Although very much a road car, the visual language of the exterior is
characterized by 'machined' truck-like surfaces that are simple and very
powerful," said Verduyn.  "Combined with more customer-friendly interior
features and greater performance, this concept reaches a level of refinement
that exceeds any other sedan, past or present."

    The Dodge Super8 Hemi's interior pays homage to the legendary vehicles of
the 1950s, featuring a combination of brushed and painted aluminum gauges and
trim.  The concept's ornate instrument panel recalls the era's characteristic
shapes while adding sophisticated and high-tech appeal.

    "The Dodge Super8 Hemi's interior conveys a certain nostalgic optimism
expressed in a modern, purposeful design," said Bill Chergosky, who is
responsible for the vehicles' interior design.  "I not only borrowed design
cues from cars of the '50s, but other evocative aspects from that era, such as
jukeboxes and diners."

    Adding emphasis to the concept's retro-look, the front and rear cabins
feature bench seats, which are anchored to the floor at the ends and slide
independently along a custom rail system.  The bench seats, along with the
absence of a B-pillar, enhance the concept's spaciousness and create an open,
social interior atmosphere.

    "At first glance, the seats appear to be floating in air," added
Chergosky.  "With support coming only from the rail system, the lack of a
middle support creates a spacious, bridge-like form.  Not only does this add
to the interior storage capacity, but it also allows for easy folding and
unfolding of the seats."

    The concept's high-tech interior features stand in accord with its
expressive exterior.  The Dodge Super8 Hemi is equipped with an Internet-
based, multi-passenger "Infotronic" system, which accommodates data and
information needs for driver and passengers.  The goal of the "Infotronic"
system is to provide Infotainment, Edutainment and Entertainment services that
meet the lifestyle of each individual driver or passenger.

    To prototype the Dodge Super8 Hemi Infotronic system, DaimlerChrysler's
Research and Technology Center (RTC) in Palo Alto, Calif., teamed up with the
DaimlerChrysler Liberty & Technical Affairs division in Rochester Hills,
Michigan, the DaimlerChrysler Design Office in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and Sun
Microsystems, Inc. in Southfield, Michigan.

    The team that designed and implemented the prototype for the Dodge Super8
Hemi Infotronic system was lead by Dr. Wieland Holfelder, Manager of the Smart
Vehicles Group at the RTC.  Holfelder said: "At DaimlerChrysler, we believe
our vehicles provide more than just transportation: they provide personal
mobility to reflect our customers' lifestyles.  Therefore, when a change in
lifestyle occurs -- such as the ubiquity of the Internet -- we try to reflect
that change in our products.  With the Infotronic system on the Dodge Super8
Hemi, we prototyped how we at DC RTNA envision such lifestyle changes could
affect our future products."

    The electronic design effort was lead by Steve Buckley, Manager Electronic
Product Innovation at DaimlerChrysler Liberty & Technical Affairs, who said he
envisioned an environment that balanced luxurious heritage with modern

    "The concept's use of technology adds acclaim to our commitment to
innovation excellence," said Buckley.  "Emulating our pioneering design team,
we constantly strive to initiate bold technological concepts that deliver
meaningful appeal.  With the Super8, form truly does follow function."

    The vehicle-internal computing architecture consists of four Single Board
Computers that each run a certified standard Java Virtual Machine (JVM) on top
of a Linux operation system.  The software architecture for the in-vehicle
computers is based on a 100 percent Java device platform called "deviceTop"
from the Espial Group.

    The Infotronic system is directed by a voice recognition system or through
its liquid crystal display integrated into the instrument panel.  The use of
JavaCard technology allows for personalized access to the system.  Voice
commands allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road while controlling the
vehicle's audio system, climate control, phone and security systems as well as
allow access to the driver's smart home appliances or home security system.

    Said Buckley: "When you're driving and remember something that you should
have done at home or work, you can verbally remind yourself and tell your
computer to e-mail that message to your home or office all without touching a

    For rear occupants, two LCD touch screens on articulating arms are mounted
to the backrests of the front seats, enabling a fully Internet-accessible in-
car environment.  Among the many features, rear passengers have access to an
"Are we there yet?" application that gives real-time trip status information,
such as a map display, estimated time of arrival or distance to the
destination.  Rear passengers can also play a custom location-based on-line
trivia game with other vehicle occupants or even with players in other
vehicles.  In addition, rear occupants can retrieve pictures from the family's
Internet-enabled home security camera, for instance, to check up on a pet left
home alone.

    Further emphasizing its grasp of modern technology, the Dodge Super8 Hemi
comes equipped with a Sirius Satellite Radio.  This offers digital quality
radio, ensuring clear reception coast to coast from more than 100 unique news,
sports and entertainment channels, of which 50 music channels are commercial-
free.  Additionally, a media beaming application enables wireless transfer of
digital audio (MP3) and video (MPEG) files between a home entertainment system
and the car while the car is parked in the driveway or garage.

    With the Dodge Super8 Hemi Infotronic system, drivers and passengers can
seamlessly access time-critical information, do convenience shopping, listen
to MP3 music or digital quality radio and interact with the home environment,
while children play games in the rear seats -- all personalized, all in real
time, all on demand, and regardless of location.

    Dodge Super8 Hemi Preliminary Specifications


    Engine:                 Prototype 353 cu. in. (5.7-liter) Hemi V-8
    Estimated Power:        353 bhp (263 kW)
    Estimated Torque:       395 lb.-ft. (536 Nm)
    Transmission:           4-speed AutoStick manumatic transmission
    Drive:                  Rear-wheel drive


    Structure:              Unitized body with B-pillarless body side aperture
    Front:                  Independent with modified MacPherson struts
    Rear:                   Custom independent five-link with coil-over-shock


    Wheels:                 22" x 10"
         Front:             P255-740R560
         Rear:              P255-770R560


    Length:                 186 in.   (4724 mm)
    Width:                  73.9 in.  (1877 mm)
    Height:                 56.2 in.  (1427 mm)
    Wheelbase:              117.4 in. (2982 mm)
         Front:             62.5 in.  (1588 mm)
         Rear:              62.8 in.  (1595 mm)
    Weight:                 3600 lbs. (1633 kg)


    0-60 mph (0-97 kph):    5.7 sec
    Top Speed:              154 mph   (248 kph)
    Quarter Mile,
    Standing Start          14.1 sec @ 101.5 mph (162 kph)