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A HARDER CHARGER

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Tue, Sep 12, 2006

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

© All photos by Harvey Schwartz

HARD CHARGIN' By Harvey Schwartz

In late 2005, Dodge introduced the return of the Dodge Charger as a four-door sedan available with a powerful 250 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that was perfect for growing families looking for an inexpensive, large, five-passenger sedan. At the same time, Dodge also offered the Charger R/T with a 345 horsepower, 5.7-liter HEMI V8 for enthusiasts who wanted more performance when the wife and kids were not around. Now Dodge kicks it up another notch with the Dodge Charger SRT8 super-high-performance model. It embodies all of the key attributes of the Dodge brand: bold, powerful, street-smart and fun to drive. As an all-around performer, the Charger SRT8 is capable of awe-inspiring numbers unheard of in a muscle sedan: 0-60 mph in five seconds flat., the quarter mile in the low 13 second range and braking distance from 60 mph in just 110 ft. The Charger SRT8 accomplishes the SRT's signature performance test of 0-100-0 mph in the mid-16 sec. range. The SRT 6.1 liter HEMI V8 engine generates 425 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. It is strengthened with a redesigned engine block, forged steel crankshaft, high-strength powdered-metal connecting rods, floating-pin pistons (cooled by oil squirters), and an oil pan modified to manage oil return to the pan sump at high engine speeds. The compression ratio is set at 10.3:1.

Engine breathing is increased with new higher-flow cylinder heads, a specially designed intake manifold, and exhaust headers with individual tubes encased in a stainless steel shell, all unique to the 6.1 liter HEMI engine. Larger diameter valves and reshaped ports in the heads allow for maximized air flow. The intake manifold was designed with larger-diameter and shorter runners for higher-speed tuning. Exhaust is routed through a larger, more efficient exhaust system and exits via two chrome tips. Power from the 6.1 liter HEMI is channeled through a five-speed automatic transmission with specially calibrated driver-selectable AutoStick, which offers fully automatic or manual shifting. A heavy duty four-flange prop shaft sends the torque from the transmission to an upgraded differential and axles. Chassis improvements include SRT-tuned dampers, specially tailored coil spring rates, suspension bushings, and larger anti-sway bars. For added stability and aerodynamic benefit, the ride height is a half-inch lower than the R/T Charger HEMI.

The car stays solidly planted when attacking the tightest curves, and remains rock-solid on the straight-aways at triple-digit speeds. You get a tremendous 'kick-in-the-back' during hard launches, and the thrilling feel of almost 1.0 g of lateral acceleration in sharp corners. The power-assisted rack & pinion steering system gets a SRT designed performance gear that really gives tremendous feel for the road and extra-sharp response to driver input. Handling is further enhanced for performance with an Electronic Stability Program specially tuned for the SRT8. Think of it as a four-door racecar. You have to test drive one to learn first hand how well this modern interpretation of the muscle car performs. The car rides on giant, unique SRT-developed, 20 inch, five-spoke, forged aluminum wheels. Each wheel features the SRT logo machine-cut into one of the thick spokes. These giant wheels are wrapped with high-performance Goodyear SuperCar F1 radial tires.

The Dodge SRT8 quickly and safely slows down with world-class brakes. Big 14.2 in. vented discs up front, and 13.8 in. vented discs in the rear. Each disc is clamped with red Brembo four-piston calipers. ABS and Brake Assist come standard for enhanced control during high-speed braking. The Charger SRT8 is styled like a muscle car should be. Functional performance is at the heart of the SRT credo. The bold, all-new front fascia includes Dodge's signature cross-haired grille with SRT silver badge, and quad-halogen headlamps with black inserts. The hood features a functional scoop that channels air into the engine for cooling. The lower section features integrated ducts that direct fresh air to cool the front brakes, plus an air dam below to reduce lift at high speeds. At the sides are powerful fog lamps. The silhouette features a steeply raked windshield, vertical B-pillar and sharp C-pillar mimicking a coupe, flared fenders and lower side extensions. The rear fascia features integrated lower strakes to direct air flow, and aggressive cutouts to accommodate dual 3.5 in. dual exhaust tips. A dramatic decklid spoiler set on dual stanchions increases downforce for enhanced high-speed stability and traction. This car is capable of achieving 180 mph, given enough straight road.

Race-inspired interior appointments in the new Dodge Charger SRT8 start with deep sculpted and highly bolstered sport seats in the front fitted with performance suede inserts that firmly hold you in place during high-speed maneuvering. Rear seats have matching performance suede inserts, and all seats along with the steering wheel have contrasting red stitching. Other sporting touches include carbon fiber technical leather trim on the beefy, tilting steering wheel for better grip, and special aluminum trim on the center stack. A 180 mph speedometer, 8,000 rpm tachometer and temperature gauges feature dark faces unique to the Charger SRT8. An LED display with the gauge cluster is driver configurable for oil temperature, oil pressure, tire pressure and trip computer readouts. Standard equipment includes such amenities as leather seats, keyless entry, AM-FM-CD player with six Boston Acoustics speakers, and a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Available options include a sun roof, Kicker audio system, and a DVD navigation system.

Only three colors are available for this version of the Charger: bright silver, brilliant black and inferno red crystal pearl coat. For the $35,320.00 base price, there is nothing else on the world automotive marketplace that comes close to the styling, performance and comfort of the all-new, super-high-performing Dodge Charger SRT8. © All photographs and text supra by Harvey Schwartz SUMMARY JUDGMENT If ultimate performance is what you crave in your Charger, the SRT8 is the one you need. For more information on Dodge products, go to www.dodge.com. More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at www.autofotos.com

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: Dodge Charger SRT8 Price: $35,320.00 base, $43,505.00 fully loaded Engine type: SRT designed and engineered 6.1 liter, HEMI V8 with 2.75 in. exhaust system Horsepower: 425 @ 5,600 rpm Torque: 420 pound-feet @ 4,300 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/rear-wheel drive Transmission type: Five-speed automatic with AutoStick semi-manual shifting Front suspension: SRT designed independent S/L arm with tuned dampers, unique coil spring rates and suspension bushings, anti-sway bar. Rear suspension: SRT designed independent five-link setup with tuned dampers, unique coil spring rates and suspension bushings, anti-sway bar Wheels/tires: SRT designed 20X9 in. forged aluminum wheels, Goodyear F1 Supercar 245/45ZR20 front, 255/45ZR20 rear Brakes: Front: 14.2 in. vented discs clamped with Brembo 4-piston calipers Rear: 13.8 in. vented discs clamped with Brembo 4-piston calipers ABS and Brake Assist, Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Control systems Total length: 200.1 in. Total width: 74.5 in. Total height: 58.2 in. Curb weight: 4,160 lbs. EPA mileage: 14 mpg/city, 20 mpg/highway 0-60 mph: 5.1 sec.

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