Dodge Charger SRT8

Every inch the muscle car it is 

Pros: SRT looks, big roomy cabin and trunk, excellent seats, fully-loaded, brawny Hemi V8, very good 5-speed box, rides well, superb brakes, excellent value
Cons: With that size and weight, it's not a real sports car
Rivals: Cadillac CTS-V sedan, Ford Taurus SHO 


Engine: 6.4 L, V8, 470 hp, 637 Nm
Transmission: rear-wheel-drive, five-speed auto transmission with manual shifting and paddle shifters
Performance: 0-100 km: 4.5 sec, top speed 285 kph
Economy: 12 liters/100 km
Weight: 1977 kg 

"Time-honored recipe," said Nabil 

Over the decades, the authentic American muscle car has not changed much as far as ingredients are concerned: a massively big V8 up front driving the rear wheels, and between them is a big roomy cabin from where the driver conducts the art of tire smoking and sliding for a price within reach of most of the public.

Driving Impressions
Which bring us to the latest Dodge Charger SRT8, a modern interpretation of the classic pavement burners. Under that long, bulging hood is Chrysler's 6.4 liter pushrod-enduring Hemi V8 that powers every current SRT and hammers out 470 hp and 637 Nm of torque – higher than any old Hemi V8.

Even with almost two tons of Detroit steel - and feels every ounce of it - our pearl white Charger sprinted to 100 km in 4.5 seconds, crossed 400 meters in 12.6 seconds, and kept the momentum going to a drag-limited 285 km top speed. The car is all about its V8 and the big block never misses a beat. It is so powerful and nervous that it can always overwhelm the rear tires at the slightest push on the accelerator pedal, and maneuvering a take-off from rest without excessive wheel spin is tricky every time. It is also very vocal, getting the attention of bystanders and other drivers from a far distance. While still delivering big horsepower and torque in abundance, modern muscle car enthusiasts have come to expect a complete menu of dynamic attributes - and the SRT delivers. 

The ride is firm but compliant enough to make the ride agreeable for everyday use. The hydraulically assisted rack-and-pinion steering is a bit over-assisted, an enduring American attribute, but it manages to steer the big bruiser around corners with enough conviction and with tolerable body roll. 

Still using Chryslers' faithful ten year old five-speed box, it has benefited from some improvements and we can report that it now delivers much smoother and faster shifts than before. It also gets paddle shifters that were very handy. The brakes are big vented discs all around and they bring the SRT to a halt every time with safety and assurance. 

Getting around town in this five-meter plus sedan needs a bit of caution as it has many blind spots, no thanks to hefty pillars, but the parking sensors keep the driver well informed about his close surroundings. 

On the road, the car gives itself away soon enough. It is distinguished by a high-gloss black front grille surround, a bulging hood, signature SRT badge, 6.4 liter HEMI badges on each fender and unique side-sill cladding painted in body color. From the rear, the look is dominated by SRT's signature "racetrack" tail lamp design with 164 illuminating LEDs that sit just below the rear spoiler. Below it are round four inch dual exhaust tips, and to wrap it off, there's a 20 inch wheel.

The Charger has come a long way since its beginning as far the cabin is concerned. The compartment offers its five passengers with nice quality furnishings and a lot of bells and whistles like electrically-adjustable heated-and-cooled front seats, a U-Connect system with a color touch-screen that takes care of the car's long list of functions, a power tilting and telescoping wheel, power-adjustable pedals, a sunroof, an adaptive cruise control and much more. The cabin is American XL size and I liked the comfort and support of the thickly bolstered SRT seats. 

The SRT is a tad big and heavy to be a pure sports car. But Dodge did not build it in the first place with that intent, but rather as a muscle car: loud, raw, big, bulky and with enough horsepower to smoke the rear tires till forever and that's more than sufficient for many in the muscle car choir.

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  • Dodge Charger SRT8 (9)



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