Slated to bow this fall, the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 is the most potent variant of the division’s iconic 4-door muscle car to date. In unveiling the new model at the Chicago Auto Show, Dodge president and CEO Ralph Gilles promised a car that “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 heart of the SRT8 package is a new 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, which is a bump up in displacement from the previous model’s 6.1 liters. The engine is rated at 465 bhp and 465 lb.-ft. of torque, the latter figure representing an 80 lb.-ft. gain over the 6.1-liter powerplant.
Even though the new Hemi V-8 has greater output, attention was paid to delivering the best fuel economy possible by incorporating a fuel-saving 4-cylinder mode, which was not previously available on SRT products.
Also for the first time, the 5-speed automatic transmission adds a standard paddle-shift feature to complement the sequential mode of the console-mounted shifter. Other upgrades include a new adaptive damping suspension that monitors driver inputs, vehicle speed, steering angle, steering speed, brake torque, throttle position and lateral acceleration to tune the suspension to match road conditions and driving styles. Drivers can also select between an auto or sport mode on the adaptive suspension.
Steering feel is also improved with the new heavy-duty pump for the hydraulic assist, and revised gearing gives better on-center response.
The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 is fitted with new five-element split-spoke alloy wheels shod with a range of all-season or more aggressive three-season tires.
SRT8 Boasts a Unique Appearance
As with the previous model, there’s no mistaking an SRT8 from its standard Charger siblings. The package includes specific front and rear fascias with a new rear spoiler. The grille (and grille surround) is finished in high-gloss black, and the SRT badge is prominently displayed in the signature cross-hair grille. The hood is unique and features a 6.4L badge a black-out air vent for added engine cooling. On the sides, body-colored rocker extensions give the car a lower, more muscular appearance. At the rear, new round 4-in. dual exhaust tips and an SRT8 decklid badge also differentiate the vehicle from stock models.
The interior has also been reworked to reflect the performance-oriented mission of the SRT8. The new leather-wrapped steering wheel has a racing inspired flat-bottom surface fitted with the SRT logo. Besides the new paddle shifters flanking the steering wheel, the cabin has aluminum accents with a high-tech carbon-weave look. The front seats have perforated suede inserts and more aggressive bolstering, plus standard heating and cooling. The SRT8 also features heated rear seats as part of the package.
Also new for 2012 is a 900-watt 19-speaker surround-sound system from Harman Kardon. The entertainment, climate controls and navigation can be set using a new 8.4-inch touch-screen mounted in the center of the dash.
The new product onslaught continues for the Dodge brand with the announcement at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show that the Dodge Charger SRT8 will return for the 2012 model year.
"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 will be built at the Brampton Assembly plant in Brampton, Ontario, Canada and will be in dealer showrooms in late 2011.
Under the hood, the new 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 delivers more horsepower and torque than the 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 it replaces. It also will offer improved fuel economy.
Estimated power ratings for the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 are 465 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque, including an estimated additional 80 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,900 rpm. Specific horsepower, torque and fuel economy numbers will be announced closer to the vehicle introduction.
Building upon the standard Fuel Saver technology (four-cylinder mode) found in the new 6.4 HEMI V-8, a new for 2012 adaptive valve exhaust system allows the technology to engage over a wider rpm range, which delivers improved fuel efficiency or the use of all eight cylinders when the power is needed.