The high-performance model in Dodge's full-size Charger sedan lineup, the Charger SRT8, is a blast from the past that also happens to include a dose of modern refinement. Muscle-car styling, a mighty 6.4-liter V8 and rear-wheel-drive all hearken back to the Motown metal glory days of the 1960s, while a high-tech adjustable suspension and upscale interior and make the Charger SRT8 feel like a modern luxury sedan.
Lurking in the engine bay is a 392 cubic-inch V8 that produces 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. That's enough power to scoot the big sedan from zero-to-60 mph in the mid four-second range. The quarter-mile flashes by in under 13 seconds, and top speed is a claimed 175 mph.
A five-speed automatic with paddle shifters sends power to the rear wheels, while a cylinder deactivation system can shut down half of the V8's cylinders in cruising situations to save fuel. The EPA rates gas mileage at 14 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
Four-piston Brembo calipers and vented and slotted rotors measuring 14.2-inches up front and 13.8-inches in the rear help bring the action to a halt.
To help the SRT8 fly through the turns, Dodge fits the sedan with an adaptive damping suspension that measures a number of inputs such as vehicle speed, steering angle, steering speed, brake torque, throttle position and lateral acceleration to automatically tune and adjust the suspension for optimal handling on the fly. For added control, drivers can also pre-select from either "Auto," "Sport" or "track" modes (the last of which is new for the latest model year), which quickly adjust the vehicle to pre-set conditions based on driver demands.
Also new is a launch-control system that spins the engine to optimal launch rpms, then manages wheelspin once underway for the quickest acceleration possible.
A full-length front grille with a black trim, a unique, vented hood side sills and dual four-inch exhaust pipes distinguish the exterior of the SRT8 from normal Charger models.
The SRT8's sporty style continues in the cabin with race-inspired touches such as a leather-wrapped, SRT-exclusive steering wheel with a flat bottom design and SRT logo. Standard paddle shifters flank both sides of the new steering wheel behind the new contoured palm rests.
The high-performance look and feel is furthered by carbon-weave, fiber aluminum interior trim pieces that are integrated into the instrument panel and shifter bezel. The front seats have aggressive bolstering and perforated suede insert fabric to help keep the driver and passengers planted firmly in their (standard) heated and ventilated seats during spirited driving.
Standard is a state-of-the-art Uconnect Touch system with the largest touchscreen display in the segment at 8.4-inches. The instrument panel display can be customized to view driver preferences and expanded to include instant feedback on steering input measurements, horsepower, torque, expanded engine information, along with zero-to-60 times, 60-to-zero braking, g-forces and one-eighth mile and quarter-mile times.
Standard and Optional Features
The SRT8 comes well equipped with a navigation system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, a nine-speaker, 506-watt AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM audio system, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, a proximity key, Bluetooth connectivity, remote start, leather and suede upholstery, adaptive cruise control and 20-inch aluminum wheels.
Options include the a blind-spot warning system, a rear cross path system that alerts the driver of approaching traffic when backing out of a parking spot, a 19-speaker, 900-watt Harmon Kardon premium audio system and an adaptive cruise control system.
All Charger SRT8 models are fitted as standard with dual front, front side and full-length side-curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.
Rivals to the Charger SRT8 include the Ford Taurus SHO and the Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec as well as more expensive luxury machines like the BMW 550i and Mercedes-Benz E550.