2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Road Test Review

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Disciples who routinely worship at the altar of high performance are well aware of the activities of the SRT group within Chrysler group. Responsible for such automotive deities as Prowler and Viper, the SRT group has routinely anointed the streets with some of the hottest cars in Chrysler's history.

For the 2012 model year, Chrysler has decreed SRT become a brand unto itself, complete with a chief executive officer in the person of Canadian Ralph Gilles (pronounced Jeels).
To ensure the success of the brand, Gilles is casting his net with a raft of all-new white-hot models powered by a new 6.4-litre HEMI V8 engine designed to enable its host to absolutely positively scald the streets.

All-new for the 2011 model year, the second-generation Dodge Charger sedan was already a significant improvement over the model it replaced. This now carries into the SRT iteration of the car as well. If you're a fighter pilot in need of a family car, the folks at SRT (with the capable assistance of the Dodge boys), have crafted just the four-door to suit your needs.

Now, given the close relationship between the Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Charger, one might be led to wonder why to go for the Charger SRT8 over the 300 SRT8. After all, just as with the 300, in our performance testing of the Charger SRT8 we saw 100km/h in about five seconds, quarters in just over 12, and seemingly unending acceleration-underscoring Chrysler's claim of a 282 km/h (175 mph) top-speed for both cars.

Well, simply put, while the 300 is a luxury car with performance built in, the Charger is a performance car with an outstanding set of comfort and convenience features built in. If you want to loudly and proudly leave no doubts about the capabilities of your ride, go for the Dodge. If you need to keep the nature of your anarchy on the down low, the 300 is the way to go.

A first-class high performance sedan on the family plan, the Dodge Charger SRT8 will comfortably and safely transport your kids to and from school all week, look good when you go out on the town with your spouse on Friday night, and then spend the weekend at the race track- wholly competitive in whatever activity you choose. Romp on its throttle, huge heaping clouds of tire smoke will reward your indulgence. When you choose to let the rear tires hook up, the Charger slams you back against the sculpted sport seat and takes off. When the first turn presents itself, the four-piston Brembos clamp the vented rotors with absolute determination, instantly arresting the HEMI's ferocity.

Upon turn-in, the 20-inch Pirellis exert their considerable influence onto the road's surface, enabling the Charger to orient itself in your desired direction of travel with both poise and ease. Displaying outstanding balance for a car of its size-thanks to Chrysler's new adaptive damping suspension system-the Charger gracefully sweeps the apex. Exiting the corner, a boot of the throttle simultaneously brings the rear end around crisply, squats the big sedan on its rear suspension, and catapults you toward the next opportunity to do it all over again.

Coming at your prey, the Charger SRT8 looks absolutely sinister. It's high-gloss black front grille, grille surround, and integrated Dodge crosshair framing the signature SRT badge, project the impression your car will suck them in and blow them out of its tailpipes. Meanwhile, the performance-sculpted hood's black air exhauster aids engine cooling.

Inside the Charger, both front seats have aggressive bolstering under their leather and suede upholstery to help keep you in place during the decidedly spirited driving situations the Charger SRT8 permits. By the way, those front seats are also heated and ventilated and have the SRT logo embroidered in the seatbacks. Reactive headrests are standard and the rear perches are heated as well.

Behind the flat-bottomed steering wheel are paddles for controlling the five-speed automatic transmission and a full-colour graphic Electronic Vehicle Information Center featuring Performance Pages. In them, you'll find timers for 0-100 km/h or 0-60 mph (depending where you're driving), one-eighth mile and quarter-mile times, 60-0 braking distance, and lateral and longitudinal g-forces.
 
In the centre stack, the 8.4-inch colour touchscreen display reports all the same Performance Pages data as the EVIC, plus steering angle, horsepower and torque outputs; as well as vital engine operating parameters via electronic representations of engine gauges. The display is also customizable to a driver selectable background.

With a 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8, you'll harness the ability to perform absolutely amazing feats of acceleration, road holding and braking-far superior to that of any other full-size American car (well, except one-the 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8). And, you'll still be able to fulfill your familial obligations with comfort and dignity.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sport Sedan, Dodge, 2012, Charger SRT8, $40,000 - $49,999,

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