The Dodge Charger SRT8 was a hot seller last year for the resurgent automaker, so it is no surprise that it returns to the performance car market in 2012, but with several improvements for even better performance and more power for the popular four-door fastback coupe.
New for 2012 is a 470 hp 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 with 45 more horses and 50 more pounds-feet torque across a wider rpm range. There’s also new exhaust system technology for improved fuel efficiency, new paddle shifters on the steering wheel and adaptive damping suspension for better handling and driver control.
The new 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 clocks 0-60 mph in the high four-second range; notches a quarter mile in just under 13 seconds; 0- 100 mph in less than 16 seconds, and tops out at 175 mph. And, oh yeah, it will brake to a stop from 60 mph in a remarkable 120 feet.
Even with the extra power, Dodge engineers have been able to coax an extra 21 percent in fuel economy (up to 23 mpg) on the highway with the addition of a new 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 new active valve exhaust system also allows for straight through mid and rear mufflers for a really cool throaty exhaust note.
The 2012 Charger SRT8 has an active intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing to provide maximum low-end torque, including an additional 80 pounds-feet of torque at 2,900 rpm for jack rabbit standing starts, while optimizing high-end power.
The five-speed automatic transmission may be operated manually by new steering wheelmounted paddle shifters that join the center console mounted Auto Stick. Both provide the ability to manually select specific gears.
A standard adaptive damping suspension (ADS) system is new for 2012 and tuned specifically for the Charger SRT8. 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 drivers manually choose between the “Auto” and “Sport” settings, the shock damping characteristics are quickly changed from an everyday performance ride to a much firmer racetrack capable damping for more challenging driving situations.
As for looks, there is no mistaking the high performance Charger SRT8 with its highgloss black front grille, grille surround, Dodge crosshair, signature SRT badge and the HEMI badges on each fender. A new performance- sculpted hood has a black air exhauster for added engine cooling.
Base price on the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 is $46,660.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.