When Dodge introduced the new Hornet last August, the production-ready GT and R/T models were joined by the GLH Concept – with GLH standing for Goes Like Hell, just as it did on the Omni GLH. That GLH Concept was based on the GT, which derives its power from a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that delivers 268 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, rather than the more powerful Hornet R/T plug-in hybrid.
On the surface, it seems like a smart decision to focus on the non-hybrid model for a performance package like the GLH, but with the R/T hybrid packing quite a bit more power, it seems like the better basis for a go-fast model – even though it is a fuel-friendly hybrid.
At the media first drive event for the Dodge Hornet GT and R/T, the automaker had a special surprise waiting at our lunch stop. Foreshadowing and the title of this piece should indicate that the surprise was a new Dodge Hornet GLH, with this one being based on the R/T hybrid.
Like the GLH Concept from last August, the R/T-based Dodge Hornet GLH features a selection of Direct Connection components that transform this already-sporty crossover into an even more formidable performance vehicle.
On the outside, the Dodge Hornet GLH based on the R/T model starts on the outside with set of twin stripes that are satin black on most of the vehicle, but on the package-specific satin black hood, that section of stripes is gloss black. The driver’s side of the stripe package is trimmed with a thin red stripe that runs the length of the vehicle, with the GLH logo incorporated into that red stripe on the hood. That red stripe that runs from the front fascia, across the hood and roof to the rear fascia, is matched by a similar red stripe running along the lower portion of the side of the body, with the GLH logo incorporated on each of the rear doors.
The exterior of the Hornet R/T-based GLH Concept also features black-trimmed red Hornet badges on the front fenders, black badging on the rear liftgate and package-specific 20-inch machined-face wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season tires. All of these features are shared with the GT-based GLH Concept.
Next, the Dodge Hornet R/T GLH Concept features a lowering kit, but it is a less dramatic drop than what is found on the GT-based GLH. The GT and R/T models are classified differently, so the GT is required to have a minimum ground clearance, so it sits higher in stock form than the R/T. As a result, to get the same dropped look, the GT is lowered more than the R/T, but both models have a very distinct stance when compared to production Hornets. As is the case with the production R/T models, the GLH Concept based on the plug-in hybrid comes with dual mode Koni shocks of the Track Pack, which work with the Brembo brakes to deliver incredible handling for a compact SUV.
Finally, in terms of performance, Dodge has not offered any hard numbers on the Hornet GLH Concept in GT or R/T form. The GLH Concept that debuted last August at the Speed Week event in Metro Detroit features a unique performance calibration of the engine computer that increased the horsepower and torque levels, but we don’t know exactly how much power was added via that engine tune. The R/T version of the GLH Concept features a unique calibration of the electric drive system that powers the rear wheels, leading to more aggressive application of power and – perhaps – even more power. In standard form, the R/T Hybrid offers a total system output of 288 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, with the ability to sprint from a stop to 60 in just 5.6 seconds with help from the PowerShot system. Whether Dodge adds more power or just adjusts how aggressively the electric motor sends power to the wheels, the changes to the electric drive system should reduce the 0-60 time while making the Hornet hybrid even more enjoyable to drive.
Finally, the GT-based Hornet GLH comes with a dual outlet exhaust system that pokes through the lower rear fascia. That dual outlet system is standard on the R/T, but for the R/T-based GLH, the team has added piping that flows a bit more freely and offers a throatier grumble at idle and under power – capped with black exhaust tips.
Like the GT-based GLH Concept, the R/T hybrid-based GLH is just a concept for now, but the upgrades are simple enough that it seems possible that these could be production models in the near future.
The Hornet is most likely named after the original “Fabulous” Hudson Hornet, which despite having a straight-six engine at the dawn of the V8 era (it came out in the same year as the first Chrysler Hemi), dominated NASCAR racing from 1951 to 1953. It might also be named after a later AMC Hornet compact SUV.