The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 is the king of the performance hill when it comes to the domestic brand's full-size car lineup. This edition of the Dodge Charger features an enormous V-8 engine, a stiff suspension system and a host of other go-fast goodies that make it the most potent four-door automobile ever offered by the company. Moving past the Charger SRT8's alluring exhaust roar and gaudy acceleration times reveals a sedan that is just as practical and comfortable as many other family options, making the top-tier Charger an intriguing choice as a dual purpose daily driver and weekend track-day toy.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8.
01. The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Is All-New
The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 is the first high performance edition of the Charger to ride on the full-size sedan's brand new platform. The refreshed chassis appeared underneath last year's 2011 Dodge Charger and Dodge Charger R/T, and although it shares its basics with the previous generation model the vehicle is much tighter and quieter in terms of road noise and handling rough pavement than ever before. Additional acoustic sealing in the form of foam, triple-sealed doors and a dual-pane windshield add to the overall improvement in quality experienced by both driver and passengers of the Charger SRT8.
02. The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Sports a Fresh Hemi Engine
Also new for 2012 is the eight-cylinder Hemi engine found under the hood of the Dodge Charger SRT8. The 6.4-liter unit offers greater displacement than was found in the original SRT8 edition of the Charger and that increase in size brings with it a horsepower boost. Total output for the engine is rated at 470 horses and 470 lb-ft of torque, with the latter coming on at a low 4,300 RPM. The 6.4-liter Hemi features advanced technological improvements such as the inclusion of the Fuel Saving feature that combines with an active valve exhaust system to shut down half of the V-8's cylinders while cruising at a steady speed in order to reduce gasoline consumption.
03. The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Features Upgraded Handling
The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 is certainly a large sedan, but it handles like a much smaller vehicle when pushed hard through the corners. The four-door muscle car features an Active Damping Suspension system which can be firmed up for better responsiveness and road holding, and it also offers Bilstein shocks all around as well as 20-inch wheels shod with Goodyear Eagle RS-A 2 tires that do an excellent job of maintaining a firm grip on the tarmac. The Charger SRT8 turns in 0.88 g on the skid pad, which is a surprising figure given its 4,371 lb curb weight, and it can run through a slalom at just a tick over 66 miles per hour.
04. The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Is A Legitimate High Performance Sedan
Handling? Check. Gobs of horsepower? Check. The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 also steps up to the plate with a five-speed automatic transmission that features both a "Sport" and a manual mode, and when properly launched the sedan can reach 60 miles per hour in a very quick 4.6 seconds. The quarter mile breezes by in 12.7 seconds with a trap speed of 112 miles per hour and enormous four-piston, vented Brembo brakes are on hand to drag the heavy sedan down from triple digit speeds without the slightest hint of drama. Expectations are high for the version of the Charger that sports 100 ponies more than the next-quickest model, and the SRT8 never disappoints when the pedal meets the floor.
05. The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Comes With Dramatic Styling
A vehicle with as much mechanical panache as the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 is obligated to display a visual identity that offers a matching level of brio. The Charger SRT8's sheet metal is replete with dramatic creases and functional aerodynamic add-ons such as vents, a rear wing and a front air dam. The sedan features broad and muscular front fenders to frame the disconcertingly malevolent front fascia that is blacked-out save for a SRT badging, while the LED taillight bar that spreads across the entire back end of the Charger SRT8 is reminiscent of the 1968 Dodge Charger's brake light arrangement.
06. The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Offers Its Best Interior Yet
The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8's large platform translates into considerable interior room for both front and rear passengers. Leather upholstery is standard, but despite the presence of the slippery seat covers the thrones in the Charger are bolstered to the degree that they prevent occupants from sliding side-to-side during abrupt maneuvers. The materials used throughout the Dodge sedan's cabin have also been upgraded over those found in the older Charger SRT8, with far less hard plastic and more attention to detail eliminating the low-rent feel that was associated with the big car's accommodations in the past.
07. The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Is Very Well Equipped
Complementing the well-put together interior in the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 is a range of equipment and features that add to the luxury feel and performance character of the automobile. The vehicle's front seats offer both heating and ventilation, keeping them comfortable regardless of the outside temperature, and the Charger's Harman Kardon stereo system - which consists of 19 speakers and blasts out 900 watts of power - is a breeze to use thanks to the inclusion of an 8.4-inch LCD touchscreen. This LCD unit serves as the vehicle's main interface, and it offers access to features such as the Charger SRT8's recorded quarter mile performances, 0-60-mph sprints and braking distances, all logged for perusal at a later date. The screen can also display a full digital gauge package that monitors every aspect of the Charger's engine performance and status.
08. The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Is As Safe as They Come
Dodge engineers have done an excellent job in ensuring that the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 comes with a range of active safety gear that is designed to head off an accident before any sheet metal gets crunched. The Charger SRT8 features electronic stability control and traction control, each of which aim to keep the big sedan pointed straight ahead in a storm, be it snow, rain or some unpleasant mixture of the two.
The automobile also comes with active head restraints that work to prevent whiplash, as well as front and side airbags (for driver and passenger) and side curtain airbags that wrap all vehicle occupants in a cocoon of protection. The Charger even offers a knee airbag for the driver, which provides an extra degree of safety in the event of a serious collision.
09. The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Features Full-Size Practicality
Once the tire smoke has wafted clear the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 continues to impress with its surprisingly practical nature. The sedan's trunk offers 16.5 cubic feet of luggage-swallowing capacity, and if that's not enough then the rear 60/40 split folding seat provides the option of fitting oversized items into the Charger with relative ease. Storage bins abound throughout the cabin, and the sedan's quiet and calm nature on the highway makes it a clear choice for racking up the miles on a long road trip. It also helps that the SRT8's fuel mileage is up when contrasted against the older version of the vehicle, checking in at 14-mpg city and 23-mpg highway.
10. The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Checks In With Affordable Pricing
The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8's world-class performance comes with a much lower MSRP than might be expected. The SRT8 starts out at a very affordable $46,795, a figure which makes it tens of thousands of dollars cheaper than super sedans such as the BMW M5 and the Cadillac CTS-V - automobiles that share a similar design philosophy. While the Charger SRT8 might not be able to match these heavyweights note for note on the race track, the vehicle is certainly able to embarrass comparably-priced sporty European four-doors as well as hang with some of the wildest muscle cars streaming out of Detroit's factories.