"Is it a motorcycle?" the media ask Chrysler Group President and CEO Dieter Zetsche of the Dodge Tomahawk concept that roared to the stage at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

"It’s a motor," replies Zetsche with a grin. But his grin is surpassed by the one on the face of Chief Operating Officer Wolfgang Bernhard, who rode the beast onto the stage, complete in his own black leather jacket and boots.

Dodge Tomahawk concept

The motor is the 8.3L V-10 normally found in the Dodge Viper, delivering 500 hp and 505 lb. ft. (685 Nm) of torque.

In this case, it basically is attached to four wheels (two each front and back) to support the 1,500 lbs. (680 kg) the Tomahawk weighs and to keep the back of the bike on the ground for a little traction with all that torque.

It boasts 4-wheel independent suspension and two speeds. Top speed is estimated at 300 mph (483km/h) to 400 mph (644 km/h), and the vehicle is capable of 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 2.5 seconds. The first gear gets you to about 90 mph (145 km/h), says Bernhard, the second takes you the rest of the way.

As if all that isn’t outrageous enough, Chrysler is considering limited production (in the hundreds) of the thing, which would cost about $250,000, says Bernhard.

The single prototype was engineered with an American motorsports company and that company would be tapped as a partner to hand-build the Tomahawk, if it gets the nod.

Before that happens, a mule must be built, the basics nailed down (such as a flexible connection between each pair of wheels) and the auto maker must make sure it could be certified. All of that should take three to six months, says Bernhard. "We will do all that."

It already is more than a whim. Chrysler took sketches from some of its designers almost a year ago and did enough engineering to determine initial feasibility, says Bernhard.

Why go to all this trouble? To show the auto maker has a "license to thrill," says Zetsche, and that the Dodge brand is "in-your-face."

"There are people out there who’d love this," says Bernhard. "They fell on their knees and started to cry when they saw it."

It’s for those who want to say their motorcycle has a displacement of 8.3L, and "it’s for people who are passionate about engines," he adds. "A motorcycle is the most beautiful way to showcase an engine."

Other Dodge concepts unveiled include the Kahuna (what a minivan could be) and Avenger small car (see related story: Dodge Takes Spotlight at Detroit Show).