As recently announced at the Chicago Auto Show, the Dodge Charger SRT8 is scheduled to return to production for the next model year, featuring a new, high-performance powertrain as well as significant interior and exterior upgrades. It's another important step in the brand's revitalization, and builds on the thorough redesign of the 2011 Charger.
A key difference, however, is under the hood, where the SRT8 will fit in a new 6.4-liter HEMI V8 that offers more displacement, more power and better fuel efficiency than the previous 6.1-liter mill. Dodge expects the engine to make 465 hp and 465 lb.-ft. of torque, with improved EPA ratings, although final numbers are not yet available. Among the technologies enabling this kind of performance are an active intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing, which optimize both low-end torque and high-end power, along with Dodge's standard Fuel Saver system.
This cylinder-deactivation technology allows the Charger SRT8 to operate in four-cylinder mode in certain driving scenarios, boosting fuel efficiency, then can seamlessly activate the remaining cylinders to deliver maximum power when the driver demands it. Also debuting for 2012 is a new active-valve exhaust system that enables the Fuel Saver technology to operate across a wider range of rpm.
The standard transmission on the car is Dodge's capable five-speed automatic, although it too has been enhanced in the Charger SRT8. Now, the AutoStick floor shifter and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters are both standard, giving drivers two ways to enjoy the control of a manual gearbox with the efficiency and ease of use of an automatic.
Helping to ensure optimum use of the Charger's powertrain is a new adaptive damping suspension that also offers two uniquely tailored driving solutions. Drivers can select between two different pre-configured suspension settings ("Auto" and "Sport") to tailor the ride and handling of the new sport sedan, or they can let the system do the work itself. In that case, sensors accumulate data based on factors such as vehicle speed, steering angle, brake torque, throttle position and lateral acceleration, then automatically adjust the suspension for optimal performance.
Other new handling enhancers include a performance-tuned fully hydraulic steering system with a new, heavy-duty pump and revised gearing, for better feel and on-center response, as well as lightweight 20-inch wheels wrapped in either three- or four-season rubber and an enhanced braking system. For 2012, the Charger SRT8 now sports four-piston Brembo calipers with 14.2-inch vented/slotted rotors up front and 13.8-inch units at the back. In addition, the car features the Ready Alert Braking system, which can automatically sense a potential emergency braking situation and then prepare to respond to the driver's input by setting the brake pads against the rotors even before the brake pedal is pressed.
Among the Charger SRT8's many exterior and interior changes are:
- Model-specific front and rear fascias and a new rear spoiler
- A resculpted hood and dramatically accented front grille
- A redesigned underbody belly pan with integrated brake ducting to improve cooling and reduce brake fade
- Carbon-weave and fiber-aluminum interior trims
- Well-supported front sport seats with standard heat and ventilation
- A flat-bottomed, motorsports-inspired steering wheel
- A premium 900-watt, 19-speaker surround-sound audio system
- The segment's largest (8.4 inches) standard touchscreen
- The Chrysler Group's cutting-edge UConnect Touch system, featuring the latest voice-recognition technology
'We're continuing the fast-paced rebuilding of Dodge as our performance brand, and the expansion of our SRT product lineup in 2012 is an important part of our rejuvenation,'? said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, Dodge Brand '” Chrysler Group LLCs. 'The new 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 builds on the iconic four-door fastback coupe design of the all-new Charger and adds a much larger power band across the rpm range, along with intelligent performance attributes and safety and creature comforts for customers who are passionate about performance driving.'?
The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 is slated to go on sale later this year.