James Mackintosh 8 years ago 0

Chicago: 2012 Dodge Charger SRT-8

Remind me later
Enthusiasts of smokey burnouts, rejoice: your chariot has returned. Yes indeed, the SRT-8 Charger is back, and it's badder than ever.  Dodge chose the Chicago auto show to reveal the latest SRT-fettled thunder chariot, and it looks like a whole pile of whoop-ass on paper. Gone is the old 6.1L pushrod V8.  One of the (rather odd, considering it's huge displacement) downsides of the previous engine was it's relative lack of torque and high torque peak.  The new engine, the 6.4L we first saw in the Challanger SRT-8 392, has been put to use in the recently-updated Charger.  Here, it puts out 465 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque - a gain of 40 horsepower and 35 lb-ft of torque over the old 6.1L engine.  With 465 lb-ft of torque at 2,900 rpm (hell yeah pushrod V8's!), the new motor has more torque lower down - the old engine had a relatively loft 4,800rpm torque peak.  Other tricks including a variable-length intake manifold, a more aggressive camshaft, and the big SRT Hemi now has the MDS system that was previously only on regular 5.7L Hemis, which allow the motor to  run on only one bank (4 cylinders) under low loads to reduce fuel consumption - which was always a weak spot of the old 6.1L engine. The new 6.4L V8 is still hooked up to the Chrysler W5A580 5-speed automatic, which now has paddle shifters on the wheel as well as the AutoStick shiftable gate that Chrysler pioneered back in the 90's.  The rumor mill has been saying the 392ci V8 will be mated to a new 8-speed automatic as early as next year, but no official word out of Chrysler on that front yet.  Performance is suitably improved: while the old SRT-8 would do a 4.9 second 0-60, the new one will do it in 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 175mph. Rolling stock and braking hardware is equally impressive.  The SRT-8 uses Brembo brakes at all four corners, 4-piston 14.2" rotors up front with 13.8" rotors in the rear to keep things in check.  All SRT-8's will continue to get 20" alloy wheels as standard equipment, which means that minute-long burnout you're about to do will probably cost you 800 dollars in a week or so.  New for the SRT-8 are active dampers, which automatically adjust to road conditions but can also be manually switched between Sport and Auto mode by the driver, which will hopefully calm down the somewhat harsh ride of the previous SRT-8. On the outside, the SRT-8 is a big steaming pile of badass, as you'd expect.  There's a domed hood with a 6.4L badge on it (come on, let's go ahead and call it a 392), new front and rear bumpers, and huge 4" rounded exhaust tips to put the fear of god into Honda drivers everywhere.  The characteristic Dodge crosshair grille is blacked out and there's an SRT badge (in case you forget?), and a rear spoiler to top it off. Inside, the SRT-8 gets a trendy flat-bottomed steering wheel with those aluminum shift paddles, faux carbon-fibre trim (really?), and SRT sports seats with huge bolsters.  They're heated and cooled up front, heated in the back - but the real speciality inside the new SRT-8 is undoubtedly the stereo.  Designed by Harmon Kardon for the new Charger, this 19-speaker surround sound system has a peak power of 900 watts (!) and is hooked up to an 8.4" touch screen with Chrysler's UConnect satnav/infotainment system.  The new interior might be the biggest improvement on the old Charger, which was always had a bit of a McDonalds Toy feel to it. The new SRT-8 is a comprehensive improvement over the old one - more motor, more power, better fuel economy, better suspension, better brakes, vastly better interior - and will likely continue to remain popular with muscle car enthusiasts in the US.  On the other hand, if you hate pushrod V8 RWD sedans, you're probably still not going to like it.  In that case, why are you reading CarThrottle? Pricing information hasn't been released yet, but expect finalized specifications and EPA numbers as well as an MSRP to be forthcoming.