2018 Dodge Charger SRT
The high-performance model in Dodge's full-size Charger sedan lineup, the Charger SRT, is a blast from the past that also happens to include a dose of modern refinement. Muscle car styling, a mighty 6.4-liter Hemi V8 and rear-wheel-drive all hark back to the Motown glory days of the 1960s, while a high-tech adjustable suspension and upscale interior plant the Charger SRT firmly in the 21st century.
Lurking in the engine bay of this digitally remastered muscle sedan is a 392 cubic-inch V8 that produces 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. That's enough power to scoot the big four-door 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.
An eight-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.
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.
Buyers after more power can opt for the Charger Hellcat, a new range-topping version of the sedan powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces a massive 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft. of torque, making it nearly as powerful as a Lamborghini Aventador S. The Hellcat engine is the most powerful regular-production V8 the Chrysler group has ever built, and it features upgrades like a forged-steel crankshaft, forged-alloy pistons and powder-forged connecting rods in order to handle the massive amount of power.
Like the naturally-aspirated V8, the supercharged Hellcat engine spins the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic unit. The sedan, which weighs about 100 pounds more than the Challenger Hellcat, can cover the quarter mile in 11 seconds flat - on street tires. For those keeping track, that's 0.2 seconds faster than the Challenger. Give it enough open road and the Charger Hellcat will hit 204 mph, outpacing the aero-challenged Challenger by 5 mph.
Gas mileage checks in at 13 mpg in the city and a respectable 22 mpg on the highway. Charger Hellcat buyers also need to pay the government's $1,700 gas guzzler tax.
Interestingly, the Hellcat comes standard with a black key fob and a red key fob. The black fob limits the engine's performance, while the red fob allows the driver to unlock the V8's full potential. A valet mode allows the driver to reduce horsepower and torque, limit the engine to 4,000 rpms, turn off the launch control function, disable the shift paddles and lock out access to first gear in cars equipped with an automatic transmission.
To help the SRT fly through the turns, Dodge offers it 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, which quickly adjust the vehicle to pre-set conditions based on driver demands.
Looking the Part
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 SRT from normal Charger models.
Like its Challenger counterpart, the Hellcat features several design tweaks compared to the standard Charger model, including a new hood with added air vents, a more aggressive front splitter, side skirts and a rear spoiler. Although more for performance than looks, the Charger also wears large wheels shod in high-performance Pirelli rubber.
The SRT'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. 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 the available heated and ventilated seats during spirited driving.
On the infotainment front, the SRT can be spec'd with Chrysler's Uconnect Access system. It integrates most of the sedan's audio, navigation and climate control functions into one unit. An 8.4-inch touchscreen mounted on the dashboard is the central component of the system, but redundant buttons and knobs for climate and audio volume and tuning are also included.
Uconnect Access features a voice command system that allows the driver to place phone calls, use the sound system, input navigation destinations and more without taking his or her hands off the wheel. Other notable aspects of the system include the ability to function as a Wi-Fi hotspot over a 3G network - for an additional monthly fee - and downloadable applications such as Bing search.
The SRT's 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 highest-performance member of the Charger family is offered in two forms: SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat.
The 392 model comes with red brake calipers, an upgraded cooling system, a remote start system, cruise control, a high-performance suspension, a power-operated trunk lid, automatic HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, an aluminum hood, a blind spot monitoring system, 20-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, illuminated front cup holders, a memory system for the front seats, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a universal garage door opener, a six-speaker sound system, an 8.4-inch screen for the infotainment system, and navigation.
Highlights from the Hellcat's list of standard features include keyless entry, a rear-view camera, rear parking sensors, a heated steering wheel, automatic headlights, sport seats upholstered in a combination of Laguna Leather and Alcantara, 20-inch alloy wheels, red brake calipers, a HomeLink universal transceiver, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a 276-watt six-speaker sound system.
Notable standalone options include a 19-speaker, 900-watt Harmon Kardon premium audio system, a sunroof, and adaptive cruise control.
All Charger SRT 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 SRT include the Ford Taurus SHO and more expensive luxury machines like the BMW M550i and the Mercedes-AMG E43. The Hellcat model is in a league of its own, however. It's one of the fastest and more powerful four-door sedans on the American market.