Meet The Modern Muscle Sedan "Did you know that it was never supposed to be called a Charger?" The man posing the question is Ralph Gilles, President and CEO of Chrysler's SRT group. According to Gilles, the modern Charger was styled to have been branded differently, but the suits wanted a sporty full-size four-door. The design team delivered what was asked and the marketers went ahead and applied the name. Much to the chagrin of many a Mopar fanboy on the planet. Thankfully, our time with the the affable Mr. Gilles wasn't spent pondering the last generation LX's branding issues. Or refinement issues. Or interior gaffes. Instead, Chrysler rounded up its newest factory-fettled performance superstars in Southern California so we could get some quality time with the latest generation of SRT machines, including the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8. This updated model provides a welcome change compared to its predecessor. Some may still feel that the last-gen Charger may not have deserved to wear the badge, but Chrysler's latest is clearly closer to its B-Body brethren. To find out just how close, we strapped in and ran down some of California's finest roads on our way out to Willow Springs for some track time. If the previous model's looks didn't hang enough of its hat on the Charger's stylistic trademarks, this updated version is out to rectify that. Deep side scallops run down the sides of the sedan and their connection to the past is instantly recognizable. We could argue back and forth about the number of doors present, but that discrepancy doesn't hamper the rest of the design. Up front, the blacked-out cross hair grille is all Dodge, and with the SRT plaque fitted to the Charger, it's evident that is is more than an average sedan. That grille stood out nicely against our test car's Tungsten paintwork, but if that's not your favorite hue, Dodge will spray the SRT8 in Black, Bright Silver, Bright White or Redline Red. From nose to tail, the SRT8 runs 200.3 inches, and if you pace off that distance, you'll arrive around back to find more classic Charger DNA. The lengthy taillamp array spreads across the rump like a wildfire burning with a total of 164 LEDs. Just above the flames sits a rear spoiler that's functional, just like every other vent or angle on the Charger's exterior. Aero engineers have worked hard to make sure the sedan stays stable at speed, all the way up to a 175 mph top end, but they still managed make a sinister-looking sedan. Inside, however, is a bit of a different story. There's nothing evil about 12-way power-adjustable front seats that are both heated and ventilated. The front passenger space is downright pleasing to the back and bottom, and these aren't sloppy slip-and-slide thrones of yesteryear. Both front buckets are pleasantly bolstered and boast suede inserts that keep us in place during more than few backroad adventures. With our rear gripping the seats, our hands are free …
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|MPG||18 City / 27 Hwy|
|Power||292 @ 6350 rpm|
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