The Dodge Charger SRT8 is an adorable throwback that anyone schlepping through life with a wheezy four-cylinder or an indolent V-6 should experience before the petroleum runs out. The 425-hp Hemi V-8, side-stepping rear axle, and war-whoop exhaust yowl are well worth the $43,730 price of admission. Never mind the $1700 guzzler tax or the $50 pump stops, this is the most cost effective form of mental therapy money can buy.
The seatback bolsters feel ready for the NASCAR high banks. The carbon-fiber trimmed steering wheel is perfect for hanging on for dear life. And there's a NASA-grade instrument package to document your every maneuver. My best 0-60 clocking was 5.20 seconds.
I'm hoping that the current Charger hands the baton to a replacement within the coming twelve months. Here's my wish list for changes to the SRT8 and its kin:
- A seriously lower cowl and belt line. The gangsta look came and went. For inspiration, study the sinewy-sleek Chargers of forty years ago.
- Seriously lighter doors. Make that seriously lighter everything.
- A manual mode for the automatic transmission that actually holds gears until an upshift is requested.
- Steering that takes you straight down the road without persistent minding.
But please don't mess with the Charger's status as one of the last American-made muscle sedans still kicking.
Don Sherman, Technical Editor