My Dodge Dart awareness is not what it should be. I’m not fully up to speed on the Dodge Darts of yore. Despite my parents’ ownership of a Dart, the 1960-1976 period was not an era inÂ which I wasÂ a sentient being.
As for the newerÂ Alfa Romeo Giulietta-based Darts, I’m not fully on board with America’s rejection of the car.Â By the end of its second full year, nearly 200,000 Dodge Darts had been sold. Sales increased yet again in 2015. But without factory support, real demand was rather limited. Only 43,402 Darts were sold in the United States in 2016, the year Dart production came to a premature end.
Man, I loved that car. Oh, I don’t mean the way it drove, and certainly not the way it shifted. I’m not talking about interior packaging or its engine lineup or its interior quality. Whatever. Pfft. Who cares. I just genuinely likedÂ the way it looked: the proudly Dodge front end, those completely wheel-filled arches, and especially that distinctive rear end.
I’m therefore pleased to see Audi resurrecting that look for the fourth-generation 2018 Audi A8, the brand’s flagship sedan.
Tired, tired is what I am of the internet tendency to link every new vehicle design to another. Yes,Â a new midsize sedan looks a bit like an existing midsize sedan. Whoopee-ding. There’s bound to be some similarities in new three-box sedans with virtually identical dimensions â€” what’s the big deal? Even completely unrelated humans with massively diverse gene pools sometimes produce doppelgÃ¤ngers. (This is not the same person.)
But even I’m not immune to seeing comical similarities. And while you’d expect to see such similaritiesÂ between, say, the silhouette of a new Nissan Titan and a Ford F-150, more surprising is the degree to which the next-generation Audi A8 cribs its rear end design from the discontinued Dodge Dart.Over the course of the third-generation A8’s tenure, Audi revealed an increasing desire to connect the A8’s taillamps, but the company couldn’t quite pull the trigger following the 2013 refresh that brought the lights closer together. With the all-new fourth-generation A8, however, Audi has run full steam ahead with the Dart/Charger/Durango theme. Sure, it’s more Dart than Charger (which decreases the strictÂ horizon) or Durango (which exaggerates the outer lamps). And yes, it is really just the lights, not the trunklid shape or bumper detail or license plate positioning.
Oh, but what lights, what signature, what telltale Dodge Audi style.
Regardless,Â if stylistic connections between flagship Audis and discontinued compact Dodges areÂ a problem for you buyers of $80,000+ Audi A8s, well, you just didn’t love the Dodge Dart enough then, did you. You’ll have to take solace in the fact that, rear aside, the Audi A8 and Dodge Dart bear no resemblance to one another whatsoever.
[Images: Audi, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor ofÂ GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.