For me, it doesn’t get any better than a large, rear wheel drive sedan that drives and rides great, doesn’t have a turbo or supercharger, is lightning fast, and sounds like a muscle car. The 2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 is all that and more. It is a retro throwback with the refinement of a modern luxury car.
Let’s start under the hood, where you will find a 6.4 liter V8 Hemi that is putting out 470 naturally-aspirated horses. This beast of an engine is hooked to a 5-speed automatic that can be manually shifted from paddles on the steering wheel. Top speed on this large sedan is cut off at 175 miles per hour. The 6.4 also has the cylinder deactivation system that shuts down 4 of the cylinders when cruising at highway speeds.
When you have a car that will go this fast, you’d better have some good brakes and the Charger certainly does. You get four-piston Brembo calipers and vented and slotted rotors measuring 14.2-inches up front and 13.8-inches in the rear helping the car come to a quick stop.
The Charger SRT8 drives like a dream, aided by an adaptive damping suspension that measures and reacts to such things as vehicle speed, steering angle, steering speed, brake torque, throttle position and lateral acceleration to automatically tune and adjust the suspension for optimal handling. To further enhance your driving experience, you can also pre-select from either "Auto," "Sport" or "track" modes, which quickly adjust the vehicle to pre-set conditions based on driver desire and mood.
If you want to have some fun, there is a new launch-control system that revs the engine to optimal launch rpms, then manages wheel spin for the quickest acceleration possible. It is a pure adrenalin rush as the Charger pins you to the seat.
Inside, the sporty style continues with nice touches such as a leather-wrapped, SRT-exclusive steering wheel with a flat bottom design and SRT logo. The look and feel is accented by carbon-weave, fiber aluminum interior trim pieces that are integrated into the instrument panel and center console area. The front seats have comfortable bolsters and perforated suede surrounded by leather to help keep the driver and passengers secure while enjoying heated and cooled seats in front, and a heated rear seat for back seat bottoms.
My testers color is Redline, a 3-coat Pearl red that is stunning, and it is accented by a primarily red interior with black accents. I know red interior sounds awful to some, but on this car, it works. The exterior appearance is enhanced by a set of beautiful 20” aluminum SRT8 wheels, chrome exhaust tips, a functional hood scoop, and an aggressive rear spoiler. The car is a head-turner for sure.
The SRT8 comes completely loaded with standard equipment, and this one has some nice options on it including the Driver Convenience Group, which gives you blind spot monitoring, automatic high beam headlights, and rain sensitive wipers. Another option is adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning, and for $1995 you can get a super 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system that will blow you out of the car.
For no charge, you get a great navigation system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM audio system, a heated steering wheel, a proximity key, Bluetooth connectivity, remote start, backup camera, and SRT performance pages to help you keep up with 0-to-60 times, quarter mile times, stopping distances, and more. This car is ready for a Sunday trip to church, or a Saturday trip to the track. Overall, this is one of the most enjoyable cars I have ever driven and for the price, it is a real bargain for what you get.
What I liked most: Engine performance, handling, and looks.
What I would change: Absolutely nothing.
MSRP: $44,995 base price, as equipped $51,175
Fuel Economy: If you really care, it is rated at 17 City and 23 Highway.
Warranty: 5 year/100,000 on the powertrain, 3 year/36,000 bumper-to-bumper.
2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 in a few words: A beast through and through.