Dodge has come up with lots of high performance models for this year’s Chicago show, but this new Dodge Charger SRT8 we think is the finest of them all. It looks insanely vulgar with its red paint job and black grilles and 20-inch wheels, but it’s built for fun, big fun, so it’s OK!
The 2012 Charger SRT8 gets a new 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 developing 465 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque, including an estimated additional 80 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,900 rpm. Final figures are yet to be confirmed so it actually might be more powerful! It also gets Fuel Saver technology (four-cylinder mode) with new adaptive valve exhaust system to enhance the function.
For the first time in Chrysler’s history apparently, this car is offered with standard paddle-shift technology! They operate the W5A580 five-speed automatic transmission.
New for 2012, the Dodge Charger SRT8 features an adaptive damping suspension that 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. Drivers also can manually choose between “Auto” and “Sport” settings that quickly change the shock damping and harshness characteristics from the ease of everyday commuting to harsher, more challenging driving situations.
The performance SRT-tuned, fully hydraulic steering system also is improved with a new, heavy-duty pump and revised gearing to give drivers more direct feel and on-center response.
Inside its split five-spoke, 20-inch lightweight forged and polished aluminum wheels, the 2012 Charger has got four-piston Brembo calipers and vented/slotted rotors measuring 14.2 inches up front and 13.8 inches in the rear. The Dodge Charger SRT8’s Ready Alert Braking system anticipates situations when the driver may initiate an emergency brake stop and engages the electronic stability control pump to set brake pads against rotors in order to decrease the time required for full brake application.
As mentioned, this new model has distinctive styling features inside and out. The front grille, grille surround and Dodge crosshair feature high-gloss black finishes and the SRT badge. A newly sculpted hood features a 6.4 L (liter) badge and black air exhauster for added engine cooling.
In the rear, the Charger’s new signature “racetrack” taillamp design with 164 illuminating LEDs receives new 4-inch round dual exhaust tips and an SRT8 decklid badge to boldly show the Street and Racing Technology DNA. We’re not sure if this new rear-end design is actually better than that of the old one, but there it is.
For the interior you get all-new, leather-wrapped, SRT-exclusive steering wheel features a unique rim section with a flattened bottom surface that showcases the SRT logo. The standard paddle shifters flank both sides of the new steering wheel behind the new contoured palm rests. For the high-performance look, carbon-weave, fiber aluminum interior trim pieces are integrated into the new instrument panel and shifter bezel.
The front seats have unique, aggressive bolstering and perforated suede insert fabric to help “grip” the driver and passengers, keeping them in place during spirited driving. Heated and ventilated front seats are standard. Reactive headrests also are standard. The SRT logo is embroidered in the seat backs. Rear seats also are heated for passenger comfort.
There is no shortage of features and equipments either. You get loads of stuff, chief among which a 900-watt, 19-speaker premium SRT performance audio surround-sound system from Harmon Kardon. The intuitive user interface for the system is controlled through the state-of-the-art Uconnect Touch on the largest standard touchscreen display (8.4-inch) in the segment. 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 0-60 mph time, 60-0 braking, g-forces and one-eighth mile and quarter-mile times.
The car’s safety features include Keyless Enter-N-Go, adaptive-cruise control with Forward Collision Warning and Blind-spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path Detection, to keep drivers and passengers secure – Standard front-row reactive head restraints, standard full-length side-curtain air bags, driver’s knee bag and standard front seat-mounted side-thorax air bags offer enhanced occupant protection to passengers in the event of a collision – Standard three-mode electronic stability control with segment-exclusive Ready Alert Braking and Rain Brake Support safety features, offer improved overall vehicle handling and performance both on the road and the track.