For Dodge's first time at the Consumer Electronics Show, the company has brought along a special version of the 2012 Dodge Charger R/T. This car has been fitted with a ground-rattling, 10-speaker, 552-watt "Beats by Dr. Dre" sound system, designed in collaboration with the rapper, plus music producer Jimmy Iovine (seen on TV putting American Idol hopefuls through their paces) and Dodge/Chrysler's own engineers.

The Dre setup is part of Chrysler's proprietary Uconnect infotainment matrix that provides navigation (sourced from Garmin; the combination of this brand of nav system with Chrysler group vehicles was voted number one in a recent J.D. Power & Associates customer satisfaction survey) with real-time traffic and weather updates, satellite radio, plus iPod and smartphone connectivity, all controlled through voice commands.

Other tech partners in this venture are Panasonic (providing the radio) and Magneti Marelli for the voice command equipment. Fans of Ferrari will recognize this latter name as suppliers of transmissions, gauges, sophisticated stability control systems and all sorts of other components to the Prancing Horse.

Magneti Marelli is owned by FIAT, Chrysler's new masters. "We're taking a global approach to our Uconnect system," said Chrysler's Joni Christensen, which means that the Fiat 500 may soon be getting a version. The upcoming 2013 Dodge Dart is already set to be a recipient.

The Beats by Dr. Dre setup comes as standard on the 2012 Dodge Charger R/T Max and part of the Blacktop or Rallye Appearance option bundles that can be installed on Charger SXT models. It's only a rumor that every time someone tries to play Taylor Swift on this system Kanye West keeps popping up instead.

author photo

Colin Ryan has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

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