Dodge Charger


Debut: 2005
Maker: Chrysler
Predecessor: Dodge Intrepid (1997)



 Published on 21 Jun 2005
All rights reserved. 
Dodge Charger was one of the most famous and best-looking muscle cars in the "good old days" of America. So when Chrysler started a new wave of muscle sedans with Chrysler 300 / Dodge Magnum, naturally it thought of resurrecting the Charger nameplate.

Unfortunately, fans of the original Charger found the new Charger is nothing other than a facelifted Chrysler 300. Instead of a fastback coupe, the new car retains the 4-door sedan format of the Chrysler 300. Basically, only the sheet metal is different, and this concentrates mostly at the nose, headlamps, rear fenders, C-pillars, rear window, rear end design and the addition of tail spoiler. Underneath the bodyshell are the same mechanicals. Engine includes the 250hp 3.5 V6 and 340hp HEMI V8. The entry-level 2.7 V6 is dropped because it is considered too weak to match the performance image of Charger.

Nevertheless, a sportier version called Daytona R/T is available to the Charger. It has the HEMI V8 boosted to 350hp by lower back-pressure exhaust, plus firmer suspensions, grippier tires, better brake pads and revised steering to improve its handling.
Verdict:
 Published on 8 Jul 2004
All rights reserved. 
Dodge Magnum
Dodge Magnum is the wagon version of Chrysler 300. With a truck-like grille and less expensive trims, it brings the price to even lower level. At the same time, you get more luggage space from the Magnum. Admittedly, it is not as practical as most European wagons (most notably Volvo V70). Luggage volume is just 780 litres, much smaller than class average, blame to the swoopy roofline and high luggage floor. Luckily, the rear bench can be folded to increase that to 2023 litres.

Mechanical-wise, it is identical to Chrysler 300. You can still choose between the two V6 and the Hemi V8. With the latter, it is one of the fastest wagons on the market.
Verdict:
 Published on 7 Jan 2011
All rights reserved. 
Dodge Charger facelift (2011)


It looks like a mermaid with a bulldog head.

In terms of product development, Chrysler was pretty much in idle for the past 2 to 3 years. Since it went into the hands of Cerberus, an investment firm that was reluctant to invest, it had been starving for funding. New product programs were postponed as its owner was looking for ways to offload it. Then came the big economic crash, Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, reorganization and eventual sale to FIAT group. When the Italian landed on Auburn Hills, they found an aging (and crappy) model lineup, and a V6 development program (read "Pentastar") hidden under dust. The company was still burning cash in alarming rate. How to stop it bleeding as quickly as possible ? Due to limited time and money, developing all-new products was out of the question. Instead, FIAT decided to revamp all the existing cars. Dodge Charger is the first act.

Considering this car took just over one year to develop, the modifications and improvements found here are quite respectable. While the underpinnings are unquestionably carried over from the old car, the 2011 Charger is by no means a conventional facelift. Its clothes have been completely overhauled. Chrysler even altered its hard points to make it appear sleeker – the windscreen and rear window are set at faster angle, and the new C-pillars promote a fastback styling. The larger windscreen and thinner pillars increase glass area by a good 15 percent. Stylish new LED taillights run the full width of the tail. Nevertheless, I have reservation on the new front grille. It resembles those on Dodge trucks, too outrageous for the otherwise sleek design. In the end, the car looks like a mermaid with a bulldog head.

Well, at least it proves that the new Charger is a true American design rather than one coming out of Turin - although I would have preferred otherwise. It's no Alfa Romeo beauty, and its fans (if any left) will be glad to see the continuation of its outrageous style.



It is vastly improved, undoubtedly, but that counts from a very low base.

The interior sees a vast improvement of quality and style. Plastics are grained and mostly soft-touch. The dash bezel employs some real aluminum. The leather-trimmed steering wheel becomes smaller and nicer to hold. The center console houses proper LCD screen. In addition to the improved outward visibility, this cabin should get few complaints.

Well, our only complaint is the lack of paddle shift. Chrysler said it will offer ZF 8-speed transmission in the "future", but for now we have to settle with its old 5-speed auto tranny. It does have manual mode, but you have to shift the gear lever sideway. Moreover, manual mode does not give any faster response, so you had better to forget it.

Fortunately, Chrysler finally completed the development of its 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. Equipped with high-pressure die-cast aluminum block (which saves weight) and DOHC intake and exhaust variable cam phasing, it is a vast improvement from the old 3.5-liter SOHC V6. However, compare with the latest industrial standard, its lack of direct fuel injection and variable intake manifolds is not very amusing. That said, its maximum output of 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque is not bad. Problem is, the Charger is a 5-meter-plus monster weighing 1.8 ton in its lightest form. It inevitably results in slower performance and poorer fuel economy than rivals.



It is the last breed of affordable V8 large cars

Performance pursuers had better to try the R/T model, which is powered by a 370hp 5.7-liter HEMI V8 (carried over from last year's car). It gets from rest to 60 in 5.5 seconds. However, don't confuse the R/T with a sports sedan. It's not a poor man's M5 because it does not have the sporty chassis tuning required to fulfill that task. It's just a powerful sedan in American fashion. Yes, it has V8 power and tire-smoking torque; it has traditional rear-wheel-drive chassis; and it costs no more than a base BMW 3-series. It is the last breed of affordable V8 large cars together with Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore. That is still a good reason for its existence.

On the road, old customers will be glad to find its new electrohydraulic steering gets quicker ratio, although it is still too light and lacks feel. Body control and braking are both improved, but the huge size and substantial weight can never be put behind. On the other hand, improved noise insulation (e.g. laminated glass and triple-seal doors) is a welcomed improvement.

Overall, however, the new Charger is hard to recommend. It is vastly improved, undoubtedly, but that counts from a very low base.
Verdict:
 Published on 23 Nov 2011
All rights reserved. 
Dodge Charger SRT8 6.4


If Chrysler 300 SRT8 is for good guys, then Dodge Charger SRT8 must be for bad guys. You know, that sort of things that chased Steve McQueen on the undulating streets of San Francisco. Bad guys need cars that look bad, of course, and the Dodge will never disappoint them. It looks crude and outrageous when emerges in your rearview mirror, especially with a blackened fascia and pronounced bonnet. Turn your vision to the side, however, it looks far sleeker and faster than the front would have you believe. The stylish 5-spoke alloy wheels, through which you can see red Brembo calipers, also lift the game a lot. Its underpinnings might be more or less the same as Chrysler 300 SRT8, but its appearance is so different that easily attract different kinds of customers.

In fact, the hottest Charger is supposed to be a cheaper and wilder alternative to its Chrysler sibling. Money is saved primarily by a completely different interior, which is less sophisticated than the Chrysler's but satisfyingly better built than the outgoing car. Fortunately, it does not sacrifice mechanicals. The same 470 hp / 470 lbft 6.4-liter V8 sits under the hood. The same Mercedes-derived suspensions and Bilstein adaptive dampers support the four corners. Therefore its performance and handling are remarkably close to the Chrysler. If anything makes a different, that must be ride comfort, or the lack of it. On the Dodge, rear springs are 27 percent stiffer than those on 300 SRT8. This results in a crude ride on rough surfaces without bringing any meaningful edge in handling. Switch the damping to Sport mode will only make things worse.



Like the Chrysler, the Charger SRT8 will be praised for strong performance and an interactive handling that belies its size. Its weakest link is the 5-speed automatic transmission, whose gearshift is violent at anything other than feather-light throttle. I prefer the Chrysler's more expensive packaging and cabin features, but you will be respected if I see you driving a Charger SRT8. It is a thoroughly decent performance saloon, especially one asking for so little money.
Verdict:
 Published on 31 Oct 2014
All rights reserved. 
Charger 2014 facelift and SRT Hellcat

SRT 392

It is nice to see how Chrysler gradually improved its Dodge Charger over the past few years, transforming it from an old-fashioned American muscle car to a quite modern machine. In the process, its engines were modernized and made more powerful, its steering, suspension and brakes were improved, and its interior was vastly upgraded. However, one weakest link had yet to be touched – exterior design. I always hate its truck-like front grille, whose blocky appearance has no aesthetic to speak of. It also gives an outdated, wind-blocking impression. Fortunately, Chrysler has finally responded with a major facelift, which reshaped the whole front end to be a lot rounder and slimmer. The bonnet is more nicely sculpted. The LED-surrounded headlights are far more stylish. The tail is also heavily reshaped to look more dynamic. With the exception of doors and roof, all body panels are new. The Achilles’ heel is finally sorted.
 
Apart from facelift, model year 2015 Charger is also improved in a few areas. The ZF-licensed 8-speed automatic transmission dubbed TorqueFlite has its availability expanded from V6 to all engines, including HEMI V8 and SRT models. This should save a couple of tenths in 0-60 mph sprint while improving fuel economy. While the V6 and 5.7 Hemi are left unchanged, the 6.4-liter engine on SRT 392 now produces 485 hp or an increase of 15 ponies. Its stopping power is also significantly improved by larger Brembo front brakes, now measure 391 mm instead of 360 mm, while calipers have also been upgraded from 4-piston to 6-piston units. The suspension setup of all models have been retuned slightly for sharper handling. The electro-hydraulic steering has been replaced with a new electrical helm to enable different driving modes to alter steering characteristics. Lastly, the interior has been improved further with some better trims, a new steering wheel and an LCD located between the dials. All in all, the big Dodge has fewer vices than ever to put up with.


SRT Hellcat

However, the headline should be the new range-topping model, SRT Hellcat. As its name suggested, its power comes from the same 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi as the recent Challenger Hellcat (read that article for its technical details). Its maximum output is an astonishing 707 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 650 pound-foot of torque at 4800 rpm. On the road, it could easily eat the naturally aspirated SRT 392 for breakfast, finishing 0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds and hitting 100 mph under 8 seconds. That’s faster than BMW M3 and M5, Audi RS6, Jaguar XFR-S and, if not the factor of 4-wheel-drive traction, Mercedes E63 AMG S 4matic – note that all these rivals bar the M3 are significantly more expensive. While the Challenger Hellcat is good for 199 mph flat out, the Charger’s better aerodynamics allows it to claim an astonishing 204 mph top speed. If that claim is true, it will beat Aston Martin Rapide S to be the world’s fastest 4-door production sedan! Can you imagine a Dodge does that?

There are not many things distinguishing the Hellcat from regular SRT 392. Visually, the extra vents on bonnet are the most obvious change, as they are needed to cool the supercharged motor. Underneath, the suspension setup are not much different. The brakes are identical, and the wider 275/40ZR20 rubbers are already available as option on the lesser car. The only big difference is the steering, because the Hellcat is the only Charger using old-fashioned hydraulic servo as it wants to deliver better road feel.


SRT Hellcat

Compared with the 2-door Challenger Hellcat, the 4-door sedan carries about 60 kg of extra weight. However, most of that is over the rear axle, so it has a slightly better front-to-rear weight distribution (at 56:44 versus 57:43). It should offer better traction. The Charger also employs softer springs and thinner anti-roll bars than the Challenger to reflect its different role. In the real world, you can always light up the rear wheels easily if you have the traction control switched off and pin down the throttle. Nevertheless, drive it in normal way and the Hellcat is never as scary as its name suggested. It affords enough grip and traction to deal with spirited road driving. For sure, it is not destined to track use. Its suspension is too soft to contain roll even with the Bilstein adaptive dampers set to Track mode. It never quite shrinks around you like an M5 or E63 AMG, let alone the compact M3. However, both its steering and handling are quite faithful. The turn-in is quick enough, understeer is well suppressed and oversteer is predictable. Even though body roll is more than desired, it rarely hurts driving confidence. The Brembo brakes do an admirable job to slow down the 2075 kg monster.

The highlight is the engine, of course. Drive it leisurely and the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 produces a refined burble, while the 8-speed automatic shifts seamlessly. Floor down the throttle suddenly and all 707 horsepower is unleashed, accompanied with the maddest V8 thunder, crazy tire smoke and fast-disappearing scenery. Now it feels every bit the baddest muscle car or, well, a hellcat! American muscle car lovers should be happy to see Detroit still managed to deliver outrageous performance at very affordable prices – we are talking about the cost of a basic M3 in return of 700 horsepower and 200 mph-plus capability. All the while it hasn’t lost much everyday practicality. This put the Charger Hellcat in a unique market position.
Verdict:
V6 & R/T:
SRT 392:
SRT Hellcat:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission

Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)

0-100 mph (sec)

Dodge Charger V6
2011
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
5083 / 1892 / 1478 mm
3048 mm
V6, 60-degree
3605 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT
-
-
292 hp
260 lbft
5-speed automatic
(from 2012: 8-speed auto)
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
-
225/60WR18
1811 kg
114 mph (limited)
5A: 7.2* / 7.3**
8A: 6.7*
5A: 18.2*
8A: 16.9*
Dodge Charger R/T
2011
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
5083 / 1892 / 1478 mm
3048 mm
V8, 90-degree
5654 cc
OHV 16 valves, VVT
-
Twin-spark, cylinder cut-off
370 hp
395 lbft
5-speed automatic
(from 2014: 8-speed auto)
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
-
245/45ZR20
1959 kg
143 mph (limited)
5A: 5.2* / 5.3**
8A: 5.1*
5A: 12.7*
8A: 12.3*
Dodge Charger SRT8
2011
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
5088 / 1886 / 1480 mm
3052 mm
V8, 90-degree
6410 cc
OHV 16 valves, VVT
VIM
Twin-spark, cylinder cut-off
470 hp / 6000 rpm
470 lbft / 4300 rpm
5-speed automatic

F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
245/45ZR20
1980 kg
175 mph (c)
4.6* / 4.2*

11.0* / 9.9*





Performance tested by: *C&D, **MT





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Dodge Charger SRT 392
2014
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
5100 / 1905 / 1480 mm
3058 mm
V8, 90-degree
6410 cc
OHV 16 valves, VVT
VIM
Twin-spark, cylinder cut-off
485 hp / 6000 rpm
475 lbft / 4200 rpm
8-speed automatic
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
275/40ZR20
1995 kg
175 mph (c)
4.1*
9.3*
Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
2014
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
5100 / 1905 / 1480 mm
3058 mm
V8, 90-degree
6184 cc
OHV 16 valves
Supercharger
Twin-spark
707 hp / 6000 rpm
650 lbft / 4800 rpm
8-speed automatic
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
275/40ZR20
2075 kg
204 mph (c)
3.4* / 3.7**
7.2* / 7.9**



























Performance tested by: *C&D, **MT





AutoZine Rating

Charger

Charger SRT 392

Charger SRT Hellcat


    Copyright© 1997-2014 by Mark Wan @ AutoZine