GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Dodge Intrepid

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SPEX
 
Year: 1999
Class: Full-Size
Type: Sedan

Country of Origin: USA
Host: GT2
 

Price: $24,660

Construction: unit steel
Length: 203" // Width: 75" // Height: 56"
Wheelbase: 113"
Overhang: 7 feet 6 inches
TracK: @ 62" front & rear
Ground Clearance: 6.3"
Weight: 3,518 lbs.
Layout: Front Engine / Front Drive
Tires: 225/60R-16
Suspension: struts / coils / anti-roll bar
Brakes: vented disc / drum

Engine: 197 cubic-inch DOHC V6
Horsepower: 227 @ 6,000 RPM
Torque:
```````225 @ 3,800 RPM
 
Lbs. per HP: 15.49
Hp per Liter: 70.32
Credits per HP: $108.63
 
Aspiration: normal
Valve per Cyl: 4
Redline: 6,500 // Rev Limit: 7,000

Transmission: 4-speed automatic


0-60 mph: 7.10 seconds
0-100mph: 18.73 seconds
 
400 M: 15.384 @ 91 mph
1 KM:
27.985 @ 120 mph
 
Test Track: 1:50.330

Top Speed at Redline
1st: 43 mph
2nd: 81 mph
3rd: 124 mph
4th: 153.12 mph (5,700 rpm)
 

 

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-------------------------EXTERIOR-------------------------
 
Fans of NASCAR now have something to play with!!! ....Well, sort of.

The real-life NASCAR version of the Dodge Intrepid doesn't have front-wheel drive, nor does it have the same engine, drivetrain, or body parts. In fact, NASCAR regulations forbid anything but RWD cars. All NASCAR engines nowadays have to be exactly 358 cubic inches, with a 12:1 compression ratio, although bore and stroke can still be configured this way and that. Most of the parts in these super-cars are not even made by the original manufacturer anymore, so when you see a Dodge Intrepid in a NASCAR race, what you're looking at is a car the resembles the original but is mostly built by other companies that specialize in building for NASCAR.

Hence, there is very little variation between the cars you see racing in Winston Cup series. This is partially done for safety, and partially it's done to keep things uniform. For someone to win a NASCAR race, he or she (mostly he) will have to be a good driver; they can't just rely on a difference in horsepower or some other trickery like they used to in the old days.

Wow. Way to start a review on-topic, eh? *sarcasm* Even though the Intrepid of GT2 isn't truly a NASCAR machine, it's nice to drive the car that inspired Dodge to return to the ovals after 25+ years.

The Intrepid's length is 203", and its width: 75". That's 105 square feet! The Intrepid ES just may be the largest dealer-bought car of GT2. Certainly, it is the largest front-drive I can think of. At 3,518 pounds, it's also heavy. I'd recommend taking off as much weight as possible (which happens to be 388 pounds total).

The Dodge Intrepid is quite the American: it features a large, gaudy grille, an aggressively ugly stance, and a pair of oversized light assemblies on its rear. It helps to remember that this is technically a passenger car (not really a racy one), that just happens to have some potential at the tracks. For those of you who like excess, the 3,004 pound racing body with its goofy wing and hood scoop is over the top!


----------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN-------------

Once upon a time, full-sized sedans from Detroit had what seems to be mandatory V8 engines; sometimes as an option, but sometimes as standard equipment. One could sometimes get a straight-6, but most folks who bought autos during the "Golden Age" of American car-making (this would be from post-war times till about 1972 or 3) got the V8.

8-cylinder engines could be fast, as we've seen plenty of evidence in our games, but their main advantage (the original reason many customers preferred V8s) during this age was they were smoother on the highways, since high revs aren't always needed to create power with such an engine. Power could be had in an instant (assuming everything was working right), yet this isn't the high, head-banging sort of adrenaline found from many cars of modern times with 4 or sometimes 6-cylinder engines.

Nowadays, it's the V8 engine that's secondary; in fact, the Intrepid doesn't even come with a V8, even as an option! Thankfully, this 197 cubic inch DOHC V6 can still produce plenty of go. The long and short of it all is that the Intrepid's 6 cylinder has more standard power than a typical 6 from the "golden age" would have possesed. And is also more efficient at approximately 70 horses per liter--though it's not NEARLY as efficient as some Japanese and European naturally-aspirated small engines that top over 100 hp / liter.

The Intrepid's 227 tested horsepower is produced at 6,000 rpm, leaving plenty of room to shift near or beyond the redline of 6,500. 225 ft-lbs. of torque are produced at 3,800 rpm, though this figure jumps past 5,000 after any of MOPAR's three available turbos are loaded. This is because the factory engine isn't turbo-charged. Like most Americans in Gran Turismo 2, the engine is this car's strongest part. It will gobble up the road hastily and greedily. 0-60 mph was achieved in 7.1 seconds, 0-100 mph in just over 18. A top speed of 153 mph with room on the tachometer for more indicates that the stock 4-speed gearbox is a bit tall, but useful. All of this is not bad for front-drive, let's be honest.

Also, the Intrepid's front-wheel drive limits starting-line wheelspin, since alot of weight is located over those front tires (creating early traction). If this car appeared in GT3 or GT4, this would not be the case. But in GT2, front-drives can put alot more power to pavement without any consequences. In any event, this eventually changes. Be prepared for some smoky wheels after putting in the first stage of turbo in an Intrepid engine bay! This unit + the other usual upgrades will bring power up to 328 hp, which is pretty healthy, well worth the money spent. It seems over 90% of front-drive cars in GT2 won't top 300 hp with even full tuning.


But hold everything!  At Stage 3, the engine is producing 513 horses, which is almost ridiculous in a FWD. Those who have been moaning about front-drive cars being underpowered obviously haven't tried the Intrepid of GT2.

In real life, all Intrepid ES models are automatics, but the transmission does come with Dodge's patented 'auto-stick' feature, which basically is like driving a clutch-less standard shift. One can use either close or super-close gearing around most tracks, although super-close gearing will redline at around 140 mph.

Remember that this is an FWD car, so throttle-induced spinouts will not occur unless you sit there doing donuts or something, but it IS very easy to wipe out if you happen to get sideways. This happens especially easy thru chicanes and S-turns, and is due to the car's length and almost EIGHT FEET OF OVERHANG (most of it located in the trunk). Too bad one can't enter this in the I-B slalom lisence test, that would a riot.


-----------CHASSIS / HANDLING------------

If I was strapped and had to choose (which I was) I'd get better tires for this car, as well as the semi-racing suspension and brake controller. The engine will be fine unless there's a hurry to enter high-powered events. Sports tires are useful 'til the engine is modified above Stage One. After this upgrade, we'll find that this heavy car really loves walls a lot!

With a Stage 2 upgrade, there will be no other choice but to go with racing slicks, trust me. Heavy damper and spring settings will help keep your Intrepid from bouncing around too much; and if you've got the racing supension, it's a good idea to mess with stabilizers, too.
 
Overall, this car will never be nimble, but it can be made to drive a lot more gracefully.

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-------------------PROS---------------------

1). Stage 1 turbo boosts power immensely for relatively low cost. With full stage 1 tuning, the Intrepid will only be outpaced by a handful of FWD cars (the Civic Type R is an example).

2). Front-wheel drive does NOT limit available horsepower modifications in this case. 3 turbo stages available by MOPAR. A racing career in an Intrepid can last alot longer than many would care to race it.

3). Good acceleration and top speed for a front-drive.

4). Good low-down traction, too...at least while the power is near-stock.

5). Gaudy drag racing body kit.


---------------------CONS---------------------

1). Large, heavy car. One of the heaviest front-drives of GT2. Typical American in this respect.

2). Poor slalom (S-turn) ability due to the long body, which sways the rear-end this way and that as directional changes need to happen quickly.

3). Slick tires needed early to control understeer and lateral forces.

4). Mediocre handling despite this car being FWD. All that early traction I was speaking of in PRO #4 decides to go on an extended vacation once a Stage 1 turbo (or greater) is bolted in. Can't skimp on chassis, tire, and brake upgrades here.

5). Kinda ugly. No style. Well, the drag racing body certainly has style, but it is still ugly! (in a good way)

6). Some may complain about the standard 4-speed transmission.
 
 
 
Published: May or June 2004

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