2023 Dodge Hornet Revives GLH ‘Goes Like Hell’ Trim
The three letters originally turned the old Dodge Omni into something worth driving, and now they’re being applied to the Hornet.
The 1980s weren't the brightest days for the American auto, but back then, three little letters gave car enthusiasts hope: GLH. This abbreviation of "Goes Like Hell" signified a special trim of the humble Dodge Omni hatchback. Now, after a 36-year absence, the name has returned to the 2023 Dodge Hornet.
Omni GLHs, delivered from economy car purgatory by none other than Carroll Shelby, were performance-oriented versions of the regular car featuring stiffened suspension and turbocharged engines. These changes brought the hatchback's performance to levels well above what consumers were used to in an American economy car, and in short order, a value legend was born. The gloom around the Omni—and economy cars in general—was lifted just enough for horsepower lovers' frowns to curl into grins.
This time around, the regular car is a lot peppier. The Hornet GLH Concept—which Dodge says will result in a future production model—is an upgraded version of the base model GT trim, which already rocks a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine producing 268 horsepower. It promises to increase this output, as well as make several other changes to turn the Hornet from a regular, performance-adjacent crossover into something more special.
The 800-pound gorilla in the room is how much more power is offered. Dodge has yet to show its hand there. The automaker claims the Hornet GLH Concept will have a greater power-to-weight ratio than the original Omni GLH, but that's not saying much. Applying the 146-hp Omni's power-to-weight ratio to the Hornet nets a total output of 271 hp. Dodge says it will be above this, obviously, but 272-hp wouldn't convince many nonbelievers.
What gives us a little insight is the fact that the Hornet GLH sports multiple parts from Dodge's Direct Connection catalog. This includes a stage performance kit, which could mean it has more than 300 ponies.
Power adders won't be the only kits available through Direct Connection. The automaker has given details of a suspension upgrade, which will lower the car by more than an inch. Likewise, there are unique 20-inch wheels and an unrestricted dual-tip exhaust.
The goal of all of these parts is to take the Hornet, which is based heavily on the Alfa Romeo Tonale, into performance car territory—or, perhaps more appropriately, hot hatchback territory. Sprints to 60 mph could sink down into the five-second range, and with stiffer, lower suspension, it's likely the GLH handles better than its looks might suggest.
Correction: Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 9:00 a.m. ET: We had an unfortunate typo and left the second "l" off Carroll Shelby's first name. Apologies to Mr. Shelby and the readers.
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