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2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Review & Test Drive

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2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Beauty Right Wide Done Small

‘ONE MORE INVITATION TO RUMBLE’

Word has it that 2013 will be the last year for the Dodge Challenger SRT8 as Dodge and SRT are getting ready to introduce a new model for 2014, the all-new SRT Barracuda that will be sleeker and pack an even more powerful punch.

First introduced in 2008, the all-new Challenger SRT turned heads with its retro-styling featuring a flat black grille with satin-chrome surround and SRT badge, round headlamps including HID lights, lower air-intake with round foglamps at the sides, and a giant black splitter with integrated front fender spats down below.  The power-dome hood features two working air-scoops.  From the side are steeply raked A-pillars, oval/heated sideview mirrors, pull-out door handles, polished aluminum fuel filler door, arrow head rear window, and fenders stuffed with 20X9 inch aluminum alloy wheels.  The rear shows it’s retro-styling with a straight-line of lamp clusters, a deck lid spoiler with the SRT8 badge proudly displayed, and 2.75 inch exhaust pipes ending with four-inch wide rectangular dual exhaust tips at the sides down below.  The SRT tuned exhaust rumbles when you push the start button and growls loudly when pressing hard on the throttle.  It’s beautiful music to my ears.  At first look you think that you are looking at an original 1970 thru 1974 Dodge Challenger.  Unique 392 HEMI badges are fitted on both front fenders flaunting its new historically significant V8 engine that remains true to its high-performance roots and powers the highest rated Challenger ever.

The 392 cu.in. 6.4 liter HEMI V8 makes 470 hp at 6,000 rpm and 470 lb.ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm.  The torque band is extremely flat allowing for strong launch and improved straight-line performance throughout the rpm range.  The advanced active intake manifold along with its high-lift cam with phasing provides maximum low-end torque and high-end power while still delivering 23mpg on the highway with the six-speed manual.  The performance-tuned engine mounts improve idle stability and ride control at all speeds.

2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Engine Side View Done Small

New this year is the expanded adaptive damping suspension that allows for three-mode selectable suspension tuning, a standard launch control that provides enhanced straight-line acceleration and an optional, (my Challenger SRT came with it) monster Harman Kardon audio system with 18-GreenEdge speakers and 900 watts of power that shook the inside when just at half power.  A look under the hood reveals unique valve covers with painted silver ribs and the ‘392 HEMI’ logo, which gives the engine a unique, clean and aggressive look.

My test Challenger SRT8 came equipped with the Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual transmission and a ZF-Sachs 24mm dual-disc high-performance clutch-a proven performer that was first offered on the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10.  The triple-cone 1st./2nd and double cone 3rd.-6th synchronized gear design makes short precise gear changes up and down for fun and thrills as you zoom to 60mph from a standstill in just 4.6 seconds, run the ¼ mile in the mid 12 second range, go from 0-100-9 in the low 15 seconds, and reach a top speed of 182mph.  That’s fast, very fast!  Putting all of the ground-shaking torque to the pavement is a standard Getrag limited-slip differential.

2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Beauty Side LA Done Small

New for 2013 is an improved adaptive damping suspension (ADS) system that is    tuned specifically for the Challenger SRT8 to provide an everyday performance ride or a much firmer race track capable damping for more challenging driving situations.  In ‘Auto’ mode, a wide range of on-road and driver-inputs-such as vehicle speed, steering angle, steering speed, brake torque, throttle position and longitudinal/lateral/vertical accelerations-automatically tune the suspension for specific conditions.  In ‘Sport’ mode, the damping system rebound and compression is locked to a higher rate.  You can easily choose between setting with a press of a button on the center stack to quickly change the shock damping characteristics from ‘Auto’ for everyday commuting to ‘Sport’ for more spirited driving situations.  You can really feel the difference in damping forces when you switch from Auto to Sport modes.  The automatic transmission with paddle shifters comes with a ‘Track’ mode that further increases the damping for track use only.   In either mode you are riding on rails!

The SRT’s unique suspension is fully independent with an SRT tuned sport ride that is compliant and never harsh.  The front SLA (short/long arm) setup also includes high upper ‘A’ arms, coil springs over gas-charged monotube Bilstein shocks, a 30mm solid stabilizer bar and lateral and diagonal lower links.  The rear features a 5-link setup with coil springs, link-type 16mm stabilizer bar, gas-charged monotube Bilstein shocks and an isolated suspension cradle for extra rigidity and less noise, vibration and harshness.  The front suspension also benefits from a strut tower brace located just behind the engine to further increase the front ends rigidity and giving you ‘racecar’ super-quick handling characteristics.  The SRT tuned rack & pinion hydraulic assisted steering uses a heavy-duty pump and unique gearing to give you a more direct feel and on center response that further adds to the pinpoint accuracy and speed of the reaction to your inputs.  Straightline stability is superb and when you are tackling steep curving roads it is no problem with the standard traction control/electronic stability control.  If you want to let the rear slid out for even more aggressive speeds through the curves you can shut off the system.  The optimum 44.6/45.4 front/rear weight distribution is ideal and gives the car a more neutral feel during spirited driving time. The handling result is .90g capability on the skid pad-the most of any production Challenger and on par with some of the world’s best-handling performance coupes.

Sitting  ½ inch lower than non-SRT models, the Challenger SRT8 392 rides on standard five-spoke 20X9 inch lightweight forged aluminum wheels with satin black painted pockets and SRT engraved on each wheel.  These unique wheels are wrapped with Goodyear 245/45ZR20 inch front and 255/45ZR20 inch rear F1 Supercar tires for excellent grip and a very quiet and smooth ride.

A new for 2013 standard launch control system helps maximize straight-line acceleration.  Using the manual six-speed transmission, when the vehicle is at a complete stop, you engage the system by pressing the ESC button twice and then depress the clutch and quickly apply full throttle.  Launch control holds the engine at the desired rpm and waits for you to release the clutch.  Through the SRT-exclusive Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) screen, you can adjust the launch rpm from 2,500-4,500 in 250 rpm increments, allowing for optimal launches in various conditions.  Launch control then uses engine torque management to achieve controlled wheelslip for maximum acceleration up to 62mph.  The feeling is like being shot out of a cannon.

2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Beauty Rear Done Small

Quickly and safely slowing the 4,170 pound Challenger SRT8 down from speed are ‘world-class’ power-assisted brakes that bring the car from 60 to 0mph in just 117 feet.  Up front are 14.2 inch vented/slotted rotors and 13.8 inch vented/slotted rotors in the rear.  Each disc is clamped with Brembo four-piston fixed calipers painted red in aluminum housing.  The three-mode electronic stability control system with knockback mitigation also includes ABS, BA, EBD and Hill-Start Assist so you won’t roll back when stopped on a hill.  The Ready Alert Braking system anticipates when you quickly release the accelerator pedal and may initiate an emergency brake stop, after which the electronic stability control pump engages to set brake pads against rotors in order to decrease the time required for full brake application.  Improved brake cooling and fade performance comes from the brake cooling ducts cut out on the big front splitter that directs air to the front brakes.

The new 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 is awesome in every respect under the skin of the retro-modern body but even more excellence and attention to detail lies inside the comfortable and sporty interior.  It begins with SRT designed front bucket seats are perforated and deeply cut to keep you in place during very spirited driving.  My test car came with power bottom, power lumbar support and manual seatback.  The SRT-exclusive leather-wrapped/heated steering wheel features a unique satin chrome rim section with a flattened bottom surface that showcases the SRT logo.  All audio controls, cruise control Bluetooth and EVIC controls are accessible from the horizontal spokes of the steering wheel.  The horizontal instrument cluster features four chromed accent rings and unique SRT graphics for the large 180mph speedometer and 8,000rpm tachometer plus smaller fuel and engine coolant temperature gauges that are all easy to see.  Inside the cluster the EVIC with performance pages provides you with trip information, multimedia information from the Media Center radio, along with instant feedback on 0-60mph time, 60-0 mph braking, G-forces, 1/8 mile and quarter-mile times.  All of the touch points are made from high-quality soft materials.  The door trim features suede leather and double-stitched leather.  The SRT bucket seat backs are embroidered with the SRT logo.  Sporty cues include aluminum foot pedals with rubber inserts; a perfectly placed real ‘pistol grip’ stick shifter wrapped in leather with an aluminum center surrounded with chrome ringed bezel.  For safe nighttime driving is standard ambient lighting for the chrome door handles and dual cupholders that is also ringed with aluminum trim.  The center stack features easy-to-use chrome dials for the climate control system.  My test Challenger SRT8 came with the monster Harman Kardon premium audio surround-sound system with 900-watts, 18-GreenEdge speakers and amplifier technology to offer superior sound quality and high Sound Level outputs with minimum energy consumption.  The system’s 18-GreenEdge ultra-lightweight, high-efficiency speakers include seven 3.5 inch Unity coaxial mid-range speakers with seven integrated tweeters located in the front dash, rear doors and rear deck, two 6X9 inch subwoofers located in the front doors, and two 10-inch subwoofers in a trunk mounted enclosure.

2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Cockpit Done Small

Standard equipment not mentioned above includes heated front seats, rear 60/40 folding seat with a pull down armrest and dual cupholders, a grab handle above the passenger door, express down front windows, storage slots in each door, ParkSense rear park assist system, keyless go push button start/stop, keyless entry, auto dimming rearview mirrors, variable speed wipers/washers, remote trunk release, universal garage door opener, aluminum plate door guard with Challenger engraved, a sunglass holder and dual map lights above, dual lighted vanity mirrors, a 6.5 inch touch screen display, a Uconnect 340 audio system with AM-FM-Sirius satellite radio/CD/DVD/MP3/HDD with six Boston Acoustics speakers, a 12-volt plug up front, thick cut-pile carpeting with custom floor mats.  My test Challenger SRT8 came with a GPS navigation system, Redline 3-coat pearl exterior paint and dual silver center stripes that really stopped traffic with drivers asking “how much horsepower’, etc.

Standard safety features not mentioned above includes advanced multistage front airbags, supplemental side curtain front and rear airbags, front row active head restraints, driver’s knee airbag, front seat-mounted side thorax airbags, 3-point safety belts for five people with front pretensioners/load limiters, security alarm, engine immobilizer, LATCH system.

The new 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 is the real deal.  It has what every muscle car enthusiast wants in a modern, super-high-performance vehicle but with a unique retro look that brings back memories from the great years of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  Go-man-Go and drive it always for only $49,205.00 including delivery.  Thanks Dodge for a fun and thrilling test drive!

COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Challenger SRT8 As-Tested $49,205
  • Engine: 6.4 liter HEMI V8 470 hp @ 6,000 rpm / 470 lb.ft. of torque @ 4,200 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 116 inches
  • Total length: 197.7 inches
  • Total width: 75.7 inches
  • Total height: 57.1 inches
  • Track: f/r-63/63.1 inches
  • Ground clearance: 4.8 inches
  • Curb weight: 4,170 pounds
  • Fuel tank: 19 gallons
  • Headroom: f/r-39.3/37.4 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-42/32.6 inches
  • Cargo volume: 16.2 cu.ft.
  • EPA mileage: 14mpg/city, 23mpg/highway
  • 0-60 mph: 4.6 seconds

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