2012 Dodge Charger SRT8
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Published on Wed, Sep 26, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Editor's Note: The following combines excerpts from the manufacturer's news releases with regard to feature and component discriptions, together with the writer's overall impressions of the vehicle. By Harvey Schwartz The all-new 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 is the perfect vehicle for enthusiasts who need a larger sedan but who also want to drive a real supercar when alone on the back roads. This newly refined Charger SRT8 carries its dual purpose personality with more power and performance, mixed with new levels of luxury and infotainment. By all-new, we mean new on the outside, inside and under the skin. This includes a new 6.4 liter HEMI VVT V8 engine that delivers 470 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 470 pound-feet of torque at 4,300 rpm across a significantly wider rpm range. New fuel saver technology includes an active valve exhaust system that improves fuel efficiency by 21 percent on the highway, an exclusive SRT heated steering wheel that features aluminum paddle shifters for hands-on-the-wheel shifting, both on road and at the race track. A two-mode adaptive damping suspension allows for selectable suspension tuning and automatically adapts to road and driver inputs for optimal vehicle control. A 19-speaker Harman-Kardon audio system with GreenEdge technology and 900 watts of power is standard. This is a real supercar with performance numbers to back it up: Zero-to-60 mph in the middle 4 second range. The quarter mile in the high 12 second range. Zero-to-100 (mph)-and-back-to-zero in less than 16 seconds. A top speed over 175 mph. And stopping power from 60-to-zero mph in 120 feet. That’s not too shabby for a full-size sedan weighing 4,365 pounds.
Even with the elevated power numbers, the 21 percent fuel economy increase on the highway is achieved by use of a new-for-2012 active valve exhaust system that allows the standard Fuel Saver Technology (four-cylinder mode) to engage over a wider rpm range for improved efficiency or the use of all eight cylinders when the extra power is needed. The 2.75-inch stainless steel pipes are part of the new active valve exhaust system that also allows for straight through mid and rear mufflers for a throaty exhaust note under engine load. The all-new Charger SRT8 also features an active intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing to provide maximum low-end torque, including an additional 80 pound-feet of torque at 2,900 rpm for strong standing starts while optimizing high-end power. The proven five-speed automatic transmission is a joy to use and features new standard wheel-mounted paddle shifters that join the center console mounted leather-wrapped AutoStick shifter, allowing for a choice of spirited shifting on both the road and at the race track. Both methods give you the ability to manually select specific gears on the transmission and get the most from staying in high rpm’s to rocket out or decelerate to slow down quickly. In ‘Drive’ mode, the transmission controller will automatically shift the vehicle. The aggressiveness of the shifting is defined by the mode chose-either ‘Normal’ or ‘Sport’. Fully adaptive electronic control of all shifting makes the powertrain more responsive while minimizing harshness. In ‘Manual’, the shift method is defined by choosing to use either the paddle shifters or AutoStick. The ‘Sport’ mode adds a hold function to the calibration in all gears, allowing you to have full control of the shifting schedule. Race car handling precision is made possible by the new SRT-tuned, adaptive damping system (ADS), and a fully independent, firmness-adjustable suspension system. The ADS system uses a wide range of on-road and driver inputs, such as vehicle speed, steering angle, steering speed, brake torque, throttle position and lateral acceleration, to automatically tune the suspension for specific conditions.
When manually choosing between the ‘Auto’ and ‘Sport’ settings, the shock damping characteristics are quickly changed from an everyday performance ride to a much firmer race track capable damping for more challenging driving situations. Beside the ADS system, the front suspension includes a SLA setup with high upper A arms, coil over Bilstein gas-charged shocks for the ADS system, 30 mm solid stabilizer bar and lateral and diagonal links. The independent five-link rear features the same ADS coil over Bilstein gas-charged shocks for the ADS system, 18 mm link-type stabilizer bar, and an isolated suspension cradle to keep noise, vibration and harshness to a minimum. The standard Getrag limited slip differential puts the power down. You guide the all-new Charger SRT8 through its paces with a performance SRT-tuned full hydraulic steering system that is improved with a new, heavy-duty pump and revised gearing to give you a more direct feel, a great feel for the road surface and on-center feel. Just a small tug on the leather-wrapped/satin-chrome/heated/power tilt/telescoping steering wheel moves the front wheels. It is so responsive and precise. Maximum handling rating on the skidpad is .88g. Quickly and safely slowing the Charger SRT8 down from speed are world-class brakes. Up front are 14.2-inch vented and slotted rotors with 13.8-inch vented and slotted rotors in the rear. Four-piston Brembo calipers painted red in aluminum housings clamp all four rotors. Improved brake cooling and fade free performance at all four-corners comes courtesy of a new underbody belly pan with integrated brake ducting. The Ready Alert Braking system anticipates when you quickly release the accelerator pedal and may initiate an emergency brake stop. The electronic stability control pump then engages to set the brake pads against the rotors, speed up the time required for full brake application. The all-new 2012 Charger SRT8 rides on stunning 20X9-inch lightweight, forged and polished aluminum wheels with black painted pockets. They are wrapped with super-high-performance 245/45ZR20 Goodyear F1 Supercar tires for incredible grip and a smooth, quiet ride.
World-class power and performance is augmented with world-class exterior styling on the new Charger SRT8. There is no mistaking the high-performance look of the SRT8 through the exclusive high-gloss wide-mouth black front grille surround, Dodge crosshair next to the signature SRT badge and the 6.4 liter HEMI badges on each fender. Cat’s eye HID headlamp clusters light up the night and fog lamps at each end of the splitter add aggressive good looks. A new-for-2012 performance-sculpted hood features a black air exhauster for added engine cooling. On the fuselage are beautiful, wide scallops that start at the end of the rear doors and finish at the front doors for even more aggressive good looks. The greenhouse gets a full-perimeter blacked-out strip to give it a bad-boy look. Deep side extensions help to reduce the center of gravity for added stability and handling. In the rear, the Charger SRT8’s new signature race track tail lamp design with 164 illuminating LEDs sit just below a new rear spoiler. New four-inch round dual exhaust tips are positioned inside of the new rear fascia that includes a diffuser to help better manage air exiting the rear. The SRT8 decklid badge boldly shows the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) DNA. The all-new interior is roomy and luxurious, with race car-inspired technology and design cues, world-class accommodations plus the latest in infotainment and high-tech goodies. This interior is on line with any real full-size super sedan in terms of passenger room and convenience. An all-new leather-wrapped SRT-exclusive steering wheel features a unique satin chrome rim section with a flattened bottom surface that showcases the SRT logo. The standard paddle shifters flank both side of the new steering wheel behind the new contoured palm rests. For the high-performance look, Dark Engine Turn fiber aluminum interior trim pieces are integrated into the new instrument panel, center console and shifter bezel. Real aluminum trim can be found on the dashboard, center console and door trim. The instrument cluster is black with beautiful orange pointed needles around a 7,000 rpm tachometer and 180 mph speedometer. Smaller gauges below register the fuel onboard and engine coolant temperature. Aluminum foot pedals with rubber inserts provide another race car cue. Both front bucket seats are 10-way powered with power lumbar support and have unique, aggressive bolstering under the Nappa leather and Axis perforated suede insert fabric to help grip you and your passengers in place during spirited driving. Front seats are also heated and ventilated and have the SRT logo embroidered in the seatbacks. Modified door trim panels feature unique bolster material that matches the seats. Rear seats are also heated and have a pull-down armrest with dual cupholders and storage.
The new full-color graphic Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) with exclusive Performance Pages includes timers for zero-to-60 mph, one-eighth and quarter-mile times, 60-to-zero braking distance, along with lateral and longitudinal g-forces within the touchscreen display. A great extra to check out you and the car’s racing abilities. The new instrument panel’s 8.4-inch color touch screen display (the segment’s largest standard display) also has all the same Performance Pages data as the EVIC, and is further expanded to include steering wheel angle, horsepower and torque outputs along with engine gauges. The display is customizable to a driver selectable background. The new 900-watt, 19-speaker premium SRT performance audio surround-sound system from Harman Kardon features a 32-volt TPS (Tracking Power Supply) and 12-channel Class D amplifier that delivers outstanding acoustics and brings multi-dimensional, quality sound for all-interior occupants. The new system uses GreenEdge speaker and amplifier technology to offer superior sound quality and high Sound Pressure Level outputs with minimum energy consumption. Dodge claims that the GreenEdge amplifiers outperform traditional amplifier efficiency by up to 55 percent, and representing a net efficiency of more than 90 percent in some instances. The intuitive user interface for the system is controlled through the state-of-the-art Uconnect Touch on the largest standard touchscreen display in the segment. Benchmarked against the best E-segment sedans from Europe, Asia and North America, the easy-to-use system also features Uconnect Voice to deliver world-class functionality to keep all passengers easily connected, comfortable and secure. The Uconnect Touch system has been upgraded for 2012 adding hands-free texting with compatible Bluetooth devices, voice commands for Garmin navigation, Sirius Traffic and more iPod control features to expand on the system’s connectivity and convenience technologies. The new Dodge Charger SRT8 is one of the world’s great high-performing full-size sedans. With a base price of $45,795.00 ($50,260.00 fully loaded), it’s also one of the all-time performance bargains.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT It’s my pick for the best all-around high-performance full-size sedan around. For more information about Dodge products, go to www.dodge.com © Pictures by Harvey Schwartz SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicles: 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Price: $45,795.00 $50,260.00, as tested (loaded) EPA fuel economy ratings: 14mpg/city, 23mpg/highway
Engine: 6.4 liter V8 HEMI engine with Fuel Save Technology Horsepower: 470 horsepower at 6,000 rpm Torque: 470 pound-feet of torque at 4,300 rpm Transmission: 5-speed automatic with paddle shifters Suspension: Front-independent, SLA with high upper ‘A’ arms, coil over ADS Bilstein shocks, 30mm stabilizer bar, lateral & diagonal lower links Rear: independent, 5-links, coil springs, ADS Bilstein shocks, isolated cradle, 18mm link type stabilizer bar Wheels and tires: 20X9-inch fully forged aluminum with painted pockets/245/45ZR20 Goodyear F1 Supercar tires Brakes: Front: 14.2-inch vented and slotted discs with Brembo four-piston calipers Rear: 13.8-inch vented and slotted discs with Brembo four-piston calipers, ABS Dimensions Total length: 200.3 inch Total width: 74.2 inch Total height: 58.2 inch Curb weight: 4,365 pounds