2012-14 Dodge Charger SRT8: the hot sedan in its second generation
The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 (starting at $46,660, with a lower-cost Super Bee version starting at $41,495 plus destination) uses the new 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8, boasting 470 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. A new active valve exhaust system allows the cylinder cutoff system to engage over a wider range, increasing gas mileage (by 25% on the highway), while an active intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing provides maximum low-end torque for impressive standing starts while optimizing high-end power.
The hood is functional (as predicted by Allpar) — instead of a scoop (which is more about looking good than performance according to Gilles) it relieves negative pressure under the hood which helps cornering at speed.
The new engine is all about torque, which is moved “way, way down” in the torque curve. At the lower rpm range, there’s an 80-90 lb-ft torque improvement.
Ralph Gilles said that the Charger has a highly respectable 0.29 cD (aerodynamic coefficient — this compares favorably with most cars). City mileage went up over 15% and highway over 25%, without giving up anything in overall performance.
For the first time in any Chrysler SRT car, a standard paddle-shifter joins the AutoStick system, using the W5A580 five-speed automatic transmission. (The same transmission, without paddle shifters, is used in the standard Dodge Charger.) The transmission can be used on full automatic, in normal or sport modes; or manual shifted via paddle shifters or console (AutoStick). In Sport mode, the system is on full manual, while on Auto mode, it appears to function as an electronic range selector.
The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee debuted in Stinger Yellow or black, reprising the legendary Super Bees. It has a dash plaque, black rear spoiler, glossy-black split crosshair grille, and Z-stripe cloth seats (now using the same cloth as Viper Core) with striping and embroidered Super Bee logos. On the yellow car, black hood graphics and decklid stripes are used with a solid wide center line flanked by tracer lines; the black car has charcoal gray graphics on the hood and decklid. Front fenders have “392 HEMI” badges; rear fenders have the Super Bee graphic. New 20 x 9-inch, five-spoke cast-aluminum wheels with black pockets come with a choice of Goodyear F1 Supercar three-season, ultra high performance tires and (standard) Goodyear Eagle RS-A 2 all-season tires.
For 2013, the Super Bee gained a new, gloss black split crosshair grille with a 3-D helmeted bee mascot badge; the rear Super Been graphics include the words “by SRT,” and new colors, Hemi Orange Pearl and Plum Crazy Pearl, were added.
“Redhed” wrote about what buyers give up when they buy a Super Bee: active exhaust, adaptive dampers (the Super Bee uses regular Bilstein dampers), forged aluminum wheels (the Super Bee’s are cast), leather, navigation (not even optional in the ’Bee), heated and cooled cup holders, twelve-way memory driver’s seat (a six-way non-memory seat is subbed in), heated seats and steering wheel, and front-seat ventilation. Some items are moved from being standard to being optional: HID headlights, automatic dual-zone climate control, remote start, satellite radio, and, oddly enough, paddle shifters. Several regular SRT8 options can’t be ordered at all, including a sunroof, the Driver Confidence Group (rain-sensing wipers, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, auto high-beams), and the Adaptive Cruise Group (adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning).
2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 suspension and braking
To control that power, the Dodge Charger SRT8 features an adaptive damping suspension that uses a wide range of on-road and driver inputs, such as vehicle speed, steering angle, steering speed, brake torque, throttle position and lateral acceleration, to automatically tune the suspension for specific conditions. Drivers also can manually choose between “Auto” and “Sport” settings that quickly change the shock damping and harshness characteristics from the ease of everyday commuting to harsher, more challenging driving situations. (Sport mode keeps the damping firmer).
|2010 SRT8||2012 SRT8|
|EPA MPG||13/19||15/24 (est.)|
|Trans||5-speed auto||5-speed auto|
The performance SRT-tuned, fully hydraulic steering system also is improved with a new, heavy-duty pump and revised gearing to give drivers more direct feel and on-center response.
New, split five-spoke, 20-inch lightweight forged and polished aluminum wheels with black painted pockets provide great looks, and the available three- or four-season tires make the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 easy to handle and fun to drive.
World-class stopping power for the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 comes through four-piston Brembo calipers and vented/slotted rotors measuring 14.2 inches up front and 13.8 inches in the rear. Knock back mitigation prepares the brakes for faster use, based on lateral g-forces and possibly other inputs.
The Charger SRT8’s Ready Alert Braking system anticipates situations when the driver may initiate an emergency brake stop and engages the electronic stability control pump to set brake pads against rotors in order to decrease the time required for full brake application.
Car styling and exterior
A closer look at a sample 2012 Charger SRT8 shows some interesting features, including a 226mm rear axle with a 3.06 ratio, acoustic solar control glass all around, HID headlamps (with high-beam DRLs), a "functional hood scoop," capless fuel filler, knock back mitigation, and tip start. New front and rear fascias, along with a new rear spoiler, distinguish the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 with a high performance look. The front grille, grille surround, and Dodge crosshair use high-gloss black finishes, while a new hood uses a 6.4 L (liter) badge and black air exhauster for added engine cooling. The functional hood scoop solved no performance problems; while the hood exhauster does solve a pressure issue.
In the rear, the Charger’s new signature “racetrack” taillamp design with 164 illuminating LEDs has new 4-inch round dual exhaust tips and an SRT8 decklid badge. Side-sill cladding is painted to match the body color, and an underbody belly pan has integrated brake ducting to improve cooling and brake fade performance at all four corners.
2012 SRT8 interior
Luxury is there with dual zone humidity-sensing automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, heated fron and rear seats, air filter, LED interior lighting, ventilated front seats; heated/cooled front cupholders, and other, more pedestrian features, not to mention a stunning 900 watt stereo with 19 speakers, with an antenna built into the rear window.
Some other features include a black/red interior, adaptive cruise control (described in our 2011 Charger review), forward collision mitigation (using the sensor installed for the adaptive cruise), remote USB port, satellite traffic, and remote gas-cap release. Some of the features listed here may be options, but the SRT models generally come well equipped regardless.
A new, leather-wrapped, SRT-exclusive steering wheel has a rim section with a flattened bottom surface that showcases the SRT logo. The standard paddle shifters flank both sides of the new steering wheel behind the new contoured palm rests. For the high-performance look, carbon-weave, fiber aluminum interior trim pieces are integrated into the new instrument panel and shifter bezel.
The front seats have unique, aggressive bolstering and perforated suede insert fabric to help “grip” the driver and passengers, keeping them in place during spirited driving. Heated and ventilated front seats are standard. Reactive headrests also are standard. The SRT logo is embroidered in the seat backs. Front and rear seats are heated for passenger comfort; modified door trim panels feature unique bolster material and accent stitching on arm rests to match the seats.
New for 2012, the Dodge Charger SRT8 uses a 900-watt, 19-speaker premium SRT performance audio surround-sound system from Harmon Kardon. The user interface is controlled with the largest standard touchscreen display (8.4-inch) in the segment. Benchmarked against the best E-segment sedans from Europe, Asia and North America, the easy-to-use system also features Uconnect Voice to deliver world-class functionality to keep all passengers easily connected, comfortable and secure.
The stereo has a 32-volt TPS (Tracking Power Supply) 12-channel Class D amplifier for outstanding acoustics, and GreenEdge® speaker and amplifier technology which increases amplifier efficiency by up to 55%. Included are seven 3.5 inch Unity Coaxial mid-range speakers with integrated tweeters in the dash, rear doors, and rear deck; two 6x9 woofers in the front doors and two in the rear deck; and one ten-inch subwoofer in the rear deck. (Chrysler refers to the 6x9s as subwoofers.)
Performance Pages were revised for 2012 and moved to the UConnect screen. The instrument panel display can be customized to view driver preferences and expanded to include instant feedback on steering input measurements, horsepower, torque, expanded engine information, along with 0-60 mph time, 60-0 braking, g-forces and one-eighth mile and quarter-mile times. The color graphic Electronic Vehicle Information Center also includes the Performance Pages timers and added engine information.
For everyday commuting, the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 incorporates features like Keyless Enter-N-Go, adaptive-cruise control with Forward Collision Warning and Blind-spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path Detection, to keep drivers and passengers secure.
The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 also features tip start, which is esentially automated starting -- the driver turns the key to the start position and releases it, and the computer takes over from there, cranking until the engine catches and releasing it. This is presumably an outgrowth of pushbutton starters.
Standard front-row reactive head restraints, standard full-length side-curtain air bags, driver’s knee bag and standard front seat-mounted side-thorax air bags offer enhanced occupant protection to passengers in the event of a collision.
Standard three-mode electronic stability control with segment-exclusive Ready Alert Braking and Rain Brake Support safety features, offer improved overall vehicle handling and performance both on the road and the track.
Dodge Charger specifications: 2010, 2011, 2012-13
|2010 Dodge Charger||2011 Dodge Charger||2012-13 Dodge Charger|
|Interior volume||104 cubic feet (120.2 EPA)||140.8 c.f. (120.2 EPA)||106.3 cu. ft. (122.6 EPA)|
|Cargo volume||16.2 cubic feet (460L)||15.4 c.f. (EPA)||16.3 cu. ft. (EPA)|
|Front head room||38.7 (983)||38.6||38.6|
|Front leg room||41.8||41.8||41.8|
|Front shoulder room||59.3||59.5||59.5|
|Front hip room||56.2||56.2||56.2|
|Seat travel||10.6 driver, 8.7 passenger||n/a||10.6 driver, 8.66 passenger|
|Rear head room||36.2||36.7||37.9|
|Rear leg room||40.2||40.1||40.1|
|Rear knee clearance||4.5||n/a||3.9|
|Rear shoulder room||57.6||57.9||57.7|
|Rear hip room||55.5||56.1||56.1|