2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 ReviewPosted in cars, Reviews on May 9th, 2013 by admin
With both my hands gripping the leather wrapped, flat bottom steering wheel of the 2013 Dodge Charger SRT8, we were tearing down the freeway toward Beeville, Texas. Somewhere along the way, as Kid Rock was screaming about Detroit through the 900-watt, 19-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, the speed needle climbed and the fuel needle dropped, my co-pilot and I began to discuss what we liked and did not like about the latest Charger from the performance nuts at SRT.
At the top of the list of likes was, of course, the reason for all this speed and fuel consumption: the 6.4-liter naturally aspirated V8 and each of the 470 horses it produced. Also receiving high marks from us were the seats (not the color), dash and user-friendly center stack. The unique, for SRT8, front seats were comfortable for our long drive while the added side bolsters and suede inserts held us in place when the roads began to twist. The instrument cluster is comprised of easy to read analog gauges and a screen that is located between the oversized tachometer and speedometer, which can display a variety of additional information, such as trip, DTE, average MPG and tire PSI. The simple in design and use center stack houses the basic hvac controls and can be topped with an optional 8.4-inch touch screen that provides a clear and fast interface for controlling the audio and navigation system. Also accessed through the touch screen are a variety of performance readouts, including acceleration timers, breaking distance and real-time horsepower and torque use.
Garnering a lot of annoyance from my co-pilot were the optional red seats and matching door panels. Admittedly, I was shocked by the red also but eventually got over it, whereas the guy in the right seat and a few others never seemed to let it go. As for me, it only took a few glances in the rearview mirror before I added the rear spoiler to the dislike list. Although it does match the Charger’s aggressive body lines, a spoiler that rises off the rear deck as high as this one just does not suit a four door sedan. Our largest gripe was with the 5-speed auto transmission – at 70 mph, the big Hemi churns at 2,250 rpm. Only having 5 gears left us anticipating a rpm reducing and fuel saving upshift that just never came. No matter how few of speeds, it is hard to hold a grudge against any component of the drivetrain that helps the over two ton Charger run 0-60 mph in under 5-seconds and the quarter-mile in less than 13. We suspect the 8-speed auto that is currently found in the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 will make its way into the Charger SRT8 within a year or two.
We were going to Beeville to cover the Texas Mile and watch our friend’s Ford GT attempt to set another record. We had made this trip many times, however this time we would be taking a different route, a route that was considerably longer, yet we hoped to find a way for it to take considerably less time. On the flat, straight open road, our TorRed Clear Coat Charger SRT8 felt solid, smooth and surefooted. However, carrying a lot of speed through the few twists and turns of our route, the red sled felt every pebble of its 311.79 stones (that’s 4,365 pounds, for those of you who may have been absent the day that conversion was taught). While its new three mode adaptive dampening suspension system, set to Auto, smoothed the under maintained roads we were on it had difficulty inspiring a lot of bravery in the twists, even when set stiffer settings (Sport and Track).
Thanks to the 470 pound-feet of torque being produced by the 392 cubic inch Hemi, the Charger really shines in the straights. From a roll, mashing on the right pedal will result in an impressive surge of acceleration and a grin provoking roar from the 4-inch exhaust tips. When stepping on the gas, from a stop, the nanny (traction control) will allow for almost no real fun, but thankfully, with a single press of the traction control button, the nanny will turn her back and real childish fun can be had, in the form of long billowing smoky burnouts. For those more interested in getting off the line quickly than seeing an uptick in Goodyear’s stock price, simply double pressing the traction control button will engage launch control. Once engaged, the computers will manage traction, torque and wheel spin to achieve the maximum acceleration possible for the given road surface.
Even with the big displacement engine and 5-speed automatic, EPA ratings for our $51,175, as tested ($44,995 base price), Charger SRT8 are 23/14 mpg highway/city. That lofty highway rating is thanks to cylinder deactivation, a fuel saving feature that cuts fuel supply to four of the eight cylinders when the computer deems them not necessary. Surprising to no one, our heavy right footed ways averaged numbers lower than the EPA ratings, however, had we really put forth the effort, we probably could have matched those numbers, but what’s the fun in that?
And yes, our friend’s Ford GT did set another Texas Mile record – this time going 267.6 mph in the standing mile, and, while we didn’t go quite that fast, we did find a way to make our longer route take significantly less time.