Posted on: Aug 04, 2011
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First Look: Dodge Charger SRT8


The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 is a big improvement on the Charger, and for the new SRT brand as well.
To some, the car which is currently called "Charger" never deserved to wear the nameplate. Much of this has to do with the number of doors, and while this is obviously unchanged for the 2012 Charger SRT8, the car is in every other way even more deserving of its storied name. To start with, there is the engine, this one has more of it. Like the other new SRT8 models, the Charger makes the upgrade from a 6.1-liter HEMI to a 6.4-liter HEMI.
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This new V8 has 470 horsepower, or 50 more than the outgoing power plant. This extra power makes for a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds and a quarter mile time in the high 12's. Bringing you back to a standstill are a set of 14.2-inch front and 13.8-inch rotors, along with four-piston calipers. The changes made to the exterior make it very clear that you are not looking at a standard Charger. For those who find these touches to be a bit much, there is an option to do without certain of these features, such as the blacked-out grille. I realize that this is a matter of taste, but I would certainly suggest going with the full-on SRT8 look.

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It looks great, and thanks to the loud V8 growl coming from the newly redesigned exhaust, you wouldn't be able to fool anyone anyway. On the subject of the exhaust, it has been designed to be given the task of helping to smooth out the typically jarring sound usually caused by cylinder deactivation, another of the new features offered on the SRT8. At highway speeds, and under light load, the SRT8 is propelled by only four of its cylinders, a feature which Chrysler says should improve fuel economy by as much as 25% on the highway. The interior is much improved, but as with the other recent redesigns from Chrysler, it wasn't difficult to improve on.
This doesn't mean that the this new interior isn't any good, it is quite good and there are even a couple of items which deserve special mention. The first of these is the stereo, a 900 watt Harman Kardon, which boasts 19 speakers and a 12-channel amplifier. It sounds so good that you'll almost feel bad about turning it off to listen to that 392 HEMI, almost. The other feature deserving of mention is the touchscreen infotainment display. This is a very good piece of equipment in its own right, but there has a feature which I believe should be included on every single car in the world.
You can set it to give you your times for 0-60, eighth-mile, quarter-mile and 60-0 braking runs, and it lays them out on the screen just like a time slip from a drag strip. Gimmicky? Of course, but I still want it. While this kind of straight-line speed is certainly impressive, it would be wrong to think the SRT8 is a purely old-school muscle car, lacking any refinement in the corners. This Charger will pull 0.88g on a skidpad, and it offers up some truly impressive handling, all the more impressive when you consider it weighs more than 4,300 pounds.
The Charger SRT8 was always a good value in terms of horsepower for your dollar, but now it can offer even more, and is an even better value.

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