2013 Dodge Charger SRT8Posted on January 16th, 2013
SRT pumps up the muscle on Dodge’s fastback coupe
By Nina Russin
Some cars have sex appeal; others do not. The 2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 parked in my driveway has it in spades. I can literally feel the testosterone oozing out the pores of its Axis suede seat inserts.
Of course, the SRT badge means that the Charger is more than a pretty face. The division that heads up the brand’s motorsports efforts segues that technology into high-performance street cars such as the Charger.
A 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine propels the coupe from zero-to-sixty in just over four seconds. Twenty-inch alloy rims with R-rated tires are all business, as are the Brembo four-piston brakes.
Base price is $44,995 excluding the $995 delivery charge and $1,000 gas guzzler tax. Options include a safety package that adds blind spot monitoring and cross path detection, heated side mirrors with indicator lamps and rain sensing wipers ($745); adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning ($795); Harman Kardon 19 speaker audio upgrade ($1995); power sunroof ($995) and 245/45ZR20 BSW performance tires ($150), bringing the final MSRP to $51,670.
Test drive in Phoenix
I put about 100 miles on the Charger SRT8 in the Phoenix metro area over the past week. Although I tried to stick to high-speed roads, I also wanted to see how the Charger handled in the type of traffic most city dwellers encounter during the week.
What I didn’t have the chance to do was take the car to the track, which is a shame. Frankly, the Charger SRT8 has such an overabundance of power that driving it on the streets doesn’t really showcase what the car does best.
The difference between Dodge’s modern muscle car and classics from the sixties is handling. The original muscle cars had ample power, but steering, suspension and brakes were typical of the time. So while the cars were great at the drag strip, they didn’t corner particularly well, and braking tended to be uneven.
The 2013 Charger SRT8 is a completely different animal. It has world-class ride-and-handling, including a three-mode suspension that gives the driver a choice between compliance, a slightly firmer ride and maximum stiffness for the track. Bilstein shock absorbers and large stabilizer bars on both axles keep the chassis glued to the ground.
The rack-and-pinion steering system has exceptional on-center response without feeling dicey, while providing ample assist at lower speeds for maneuvering through crowded parking lots.
Front-to-rear weight distribution is 54/46, which is impressive for a car with a 6.4-liter engine. Although bringing a 4,365-pound car to a stop isn’t easy, the Brembo brakes stop it on a dime.
Visibility around the perimeter is limited. The Charger’s large hood scoop makes it harder to judge the front of the car, while thick rear pillars and a small back glass limit visibility in the back corners and beneath the decklid. The optional safety package makes a big difference, by illuminating LED signals in the side mirrors when cars in adjacent lanes pass through the driver’s blind spots.
The rearview camera projects a wide-angle view to the back of the car, revealing objects the driver might otherwise miss. This is especially important for parents with small children who might run in back of the vehicle. It also makes it easier to monitor cross traffic in parking lots.
Adaptive cruise control maintains a preset distance between the driver and the car in front, making it possible to use the cruise control and improve fuel economy in traffic. Forward collision warning alerts the driver if he fails to see a stopped car ahead.
As the gas guzzler tax suggests, fuel economy is not great: 17 mpg on average according to the EPA. While a six-speed automatic transmission in lieu of the five-speed box might have made some difference, my guess is that gas mileage isn’t a huge priority for the target market. Instead, engineers used the budget for performance components that enhance the driving experience.
Keyless entry and start enables the driver to enter the car and fire the ignition without fishing for the key fob. Highly bolstered seats with suede inserts keep the driver and front passenger in place at speed.
A large center stack screen displays navigation maps, audio programming, the electric vehicle information center and climate controls. I found it as easy to read in bright sunlight as at night.
The vehicle information center includes performance pages that enable the driver to time and save quarter mile, eighth mile, zero-to-sixty and sixty-to-zero times.
A heated steering wheel with formula style shift paddles enables the driver to manually select gears.
Although it’s branded as a coupe, the Charger has four doors, easing access and egress to the rear seats.
The center console location and tall floor tunnel eat up most of the legroom in the second-row center position, but average adults should have adequate head and legroom in the outboard seats. Vents behind the center console circulate air through the back of the cabin, while a 12-volt power outlet allows those seated in back to recharge their cell phones.
The rear seats fold flat to create a pass-through, making the Charger more practical than some competitive products.
The Dodge Charger SRT8 comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability control. Other standard safety features include active head restraints, hill start assist, the rearview camera and park assist.
Dodge’s five-year/100,000 powertrain warranty includes roadside assistance.
Dodge builds the Charger SRT8 at its Brampton, Ontario Canada assembly plant.
Like: The Dodge Charger SRT8 melds all the excitement of classic muscle cars with modern technology and a high level of standard safety features, making it practical enough to be the owner’s only vehicle.
Model: Charger SRT
Base price: $44,995
As tested: $51,670
Horsepower: 470 Hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 470 lbs.-ft. @ 4300 rpm
Zero-to-sixty: Under five seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy:* 14/23 mpg city/highway
Comment:*The manufacturer recommends the use of 91 octane premium unleaded gasoline.
One response to “2013 Dodge Charger SRT8”
Thank YOU for showing me those cars.
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