Dodge Takes the Wraps Off Charger SRT8

Is it safe to say that the Chrysler Group is regaining its mojo back? We think so. The company’s Detroit-focued spot featuring Eminem got everyone talking and new models like the 300 and Charger haven’t failed to impress.

For enthusiasts, the rear-wheel drive LX cars are where the action is at, and particularly at Dodge. The new Charger SRT8 has been unleashed at the Chicago Auto Show and, its more outrageous than ever. Fuel economy regulations….what are those? 465 horsepower…who cares about gas prices?

The engine is, of course, the SRT8’s focal point. The car’s HEMI V-8 gets a bump in displacement, up to 6.4-liters. It makes an even 465 horsepower and 465 pound feet of torque at a lowly 2,900 rpm.

While the industry is moving to six-, seven- and even eight-speed automatic transmissions, the SRT8 sticks with Chrysler’s five-speed auto.

Cylinder deactivation will enable the beast of an engine to run on four-cylinders at times. Curiously, Dodge hasn’t released finalized performance specs. They just quoted a dash to 60 mph in the “high 4 second range” with a top speed of around 175 mph.

The exterior gets an aggressive working over to visually communicate the added power. The front and rear fascias have been redesigned, with a new spoiler. Up front the crosshair grille gets a unique high-gloss black finish, along with an SRT badge.

In fact, the grille would have to be our favorite element – it looks expensive and really sets the SRT8 apart. There is new side-sill cladding painted to match the body color, and 4-inch dual-exhaust tips along with an SRT8 badge out back. If that wasn’t enough, 20-inch five-spoke forged aluminum wheels complete the look.

Behind the scenes, Dodge says there is an underbody belly pan that “features integrated brake ducting to improve cooling and brake fade performance at all four corners.” This is in addition to upsized brakes 14.2-inches in diameter up front and 13.8-inches in the rear.

In addition to pure power, the SRT8 also gets a dose of technology, with a new active damping suspension that offers Auto and Sport settings. The system takes in information on steering angle, break pressure, throttle position, lateral acceleration and speed.

The interior gets new sports seats, a Harmon Kardon 19-speaker audio system and a flat-bottom steering wheel. Also complementing is carbon-weave and fiber aluminum interior trim pieces. Perhaps the coolest feature for enthusiasts is a new Performance Pages feature in the car’s Uconnect infotainment system.

The display can be customized to driver preferences, offering instant data on things like steering input measurements, horsepower, torque, expanded engine information, along with 0-60 mph time, 60-0 braking, g-forces and one-eighth mile and quarter-mile times.

Good stuff! The color Electronic Vehicle Information Center in the gauge cluster also includes the Performance Pages timers and added engine information. The new Charger SRT-8 is set to go on sale this fall, as a 2012 model.

About The Author

Tony Pimpo is a young automotive journalist who lives in Northern California. He believes the future of the automotive industry will depend in a large part on the recommendation of enthusiasts and Generation Y. More than ever, automakers lately have realized the power of Gen Y. Not only in regards to buying power, but in driving opinion and spreading a brand’s message through the internet and various forms of social media. His appreciation for cars formed at an early age, thanks to his dad, who has always been involved with cars in different ways over the years. Tony has contributed to various websites in his pursuits, and is on staff at GMInsideNews, where he has been writing since the age of 12.

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