CD Test Drive - 2006 Dodge Charger SRT-8

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    September 6, 2006
    Review and photos by Jil McIntosh

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    When Dodge reintroduced the Charger, enthusiasts were, to put it mildly, not happy. What was the company thinking? Didn't it know that a real Charger has only two doors?

    The reality was that, historical accuracy aside, the Charger was aimed squarely at its audience: those who fondly remembered the '66 and later versions, but were a little too long in the tooth - or too wide in the side - to be leaping through open windows a la 'The Dukes of Hazzard' boys. (If anyone had fond memories of the Peugeot-powered 1983 Omni Charger, they wisely kept silent.) Nostalgia not withstanding, four doors are simply more convenient when you're buckling the baby into your muscle car's child seat.

    For 2006, Dodge ups the fun factor with the Charger SRT8, putting its Street and Racing Technology treatment across the board on its rear-wheel drive cars. If you're an absolute purist, you can hold out for the upcoming Challenger coupe, but you're missing out on some serious fun in the meantime.

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    The SRT8 package adds a 425-hp 6.1-litre Hemi engine, 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, sport-bolstered leather seats with suede inserts, 300 km/h speedometer, performance tuned-steering, lowered suspension, Brembo calipers, unique fascia, hood scoop and spoiler. That knocks the price up to $45,120, a hefty $10,045 over the base 5.7-litre R/T. 'Go-fast' costs, although it sure is fun.

    It also costs more at the pumps: the 5.7-litre Hemi features Multi-Displacement System (MDS), which deactivates half the cylinders under light load for improved fuel economy. Unfortunately, the 6.1-litre has a high-lift valve-train that isn't compatible with MDS. That means an average fuel economy of 11.3 L/100 km for the 5.7-litre, and a bump up to 13.7 L/100 km for the 6.1. I averaged 14.4 L/100 km, and might even have done better if I'd kept my foot out of the oil pan most of the time - but then, what's the point of having muscle if you don't flex it?

    The sole transmission choice is a five-speed automatic. With any luck the Challenger will get a pistol-grip standard gearbox, but even so, the automatic is tuned to shift at the right places, and if you want to play, there's an Auto/Stick manual mode feature. The exhaust is pitched just right, too; it's quiet at idle, but erupts with a lovely, throaty roar when you mash the throttle.

    The electronic stability control is calibrated for the SRT8, and lets you have a little more fun before it puts you back on the straight and narrow. Hit the button, and it will lower the threshold even more; but if you delve into the owner's manual, you'll discover that holding the button a few seconds longer until it beeps will turn off the system entirely. You never quite appreciate what ESP does, until you turn it off and take a turn hard, whereupon the Charger's tail tries to trade places with its nose. Unless you're tuned in and fully concentrating on your driving, or very well-insured, you're best to leave it on.

    Like all of the Chrysler LX cars, the Charger features a four-wheel independent suspension; the SRT package adds beefier anti-sway bars, specially tuned dampers and spring rates, 20-inch wheels, and a ride height that's half an inch (12 mm) lower.

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    The ride is firm, but the steering is quick to respond to commands, and cornering is relatively flat for the car's size. It's no sports car, but then, it isn't meant to be; this is huge, raw muscle in the finest Detroit tradition (although it's built in Ontario), a big car with a big engine, and if you keep that in mind, you'll like the way it performs. Fans of Japanese and German engineering won't be overly impressed, but that's comparing apples to oranges; this is the "no replacement for displacement" school of design.

    The huge brakes, vented front and rear, have Brembo four-piston calipers, and they're simply awesome; there's no fade even after repeated hard applications, and Chrysler's published numbers are 96 km/h to zero in 33.52 metres (60 to zero mph in 110 feet). The down side is that they'll have to be factored heavily into the operating budget; in my week with the car, I had to clean the wheels twice to remove the brake dust. If you're going to drive this car hard, make sure your dealer has plenty of pads in stock.

    The SRT8 includes interior upgrades: heavily bolstered and comfortable seats, a 300-km/h speedometer (it flashes the logo when you start the car), and badging throughout. Larger drivers won't mind, but I found the wheel too thick for my small hands; I'd also like the spokes to be lower, for a more comfortable 9-and-3 position.

    The Charger has the narrow greenhouse common to the three LX cars, and the sloping C-pillar makes for a large blind spot over the shoulder; there's a lot of room in this big car, but it still manages to feel a bit claustrophobic. The rear seats fold, increasing the trunk's available cargo length from 110 cm to a sloping 182 cm, and there's a small storage bin under the trunk floor. There's lots of small-item storage space as well, including big door pockets, two open cubbies, and a huge console box.

    The Charger's interior is based on that of the Magnum, with lots of textured plastic lightened with metallic inserts. Unlike the more sensible exterior grab-handles on the 300 and Magnum, the Charger has lift handles; they feel flimsy, and they're not deep enough, and so your fingers tend to slip out of them. (As disclosure, our household includes a paid-full-price 2005 Magnum R/T; its owner loves it, but admits its fit-and-finish isn't up to that of the 2001 PT Cruiser it replaced.)

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    Normally I'm not a fan of spoilers - so named, I'm sure, because they spoil one's rearward vision - but the Charger's tailfin suits it, as does the gnarly front fascia. While I've always liked the regular Charger's appearance, I like the SRT8 version better.

    So is it worth the ten grand to upgrade? In reality, the R/T's 5.7-litre, at 340 hp, does just fine in this car, and for $3,000 over the R/T you can have the Daytona, which makes 350 hp and features a long list of unique appointments. In day-to-day driving, the 6.1-litre is really more about bragging rights, and its price-tag - along with those posted at the fuel pumps - will keep this car's sales numbers small.

    Still, I have to admit that, with a stretch of open road, the stereo cranked and my foot close to the floorboards, I had one huge grin on my face. I think I even said, "$&#!*, I love this car!" out loud. But then, if you're a fan of big, traditional American muscle like I am, that's pretty much what you'll say too.

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  2. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    One baaaad mutha fucka.
     
  3. glide

    glide primer

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    "The sole transmission choice is a five-speed automatic."

    No. No, no, no.
     
  4. King Ralph

    King Ralph Active Member

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    No thanks.
     
  5. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I'd take that over the manual in my GTO. It shifts faster and my foot wouldn't catch on the third pedal all the time. :mad:

    But then I wouldn't be as e-cool as all the auto bashers on OT. :mamoru:
     
  6. glen5839

    glen5839 LS1 Elitist Prick Mod Super Moderator

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    is 45k a good value for this automatic sports car?
     
  7. glide

    glide primer

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    I love automatics.

    Teh Charger should have a manual as an option.
     
  8. CarGoBOOM

    CarGoBOOM Active Member

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    god damned canadiens
     
  9. Foo

    Foo Could I have been anyone other than me?

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  10. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    I see them fairly often here now. The front looks good. The rest is still :hsugh:
     
  11. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    We know, it needs a Ford logo. :p
     
  12. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    The CTS-V is the only other car like it and it costs thousands more. And it breaks rear diffs easily.
     
  13. Light Speed

    Light Speed Guest

    :rofl:
     
  14. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Who is Zerin?

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    He takes good pics. :eek3:
     
  15. Bobby Ballsack

    Bobby Ballsack I could be a friend to you

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    Too bad it's uglier than sin.
     
  16. Bobby Ballsack

    Bobby Ballsack I could be a friend to you

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    And no 6 speed manual, no care.
     
  17. Foo

    Foo Could I have been anyone other than me?

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    guy that run's dubspeed and gets all these cars to review. press fleet.

    the pictures that i generally post are from his site.... sometimes i take your articles (quoted as Trishield of course) and post on his site.

    :)
     
  18. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    The Challenger is going to be this car with a different body, interior, an optional Tremec and some length chopped off the wheelbase.
     
  19. GucciGucci

    GucciGucci Active Member

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    :hsugh:

    This car takes muscle to carry all the cash you'll need for gas

    Warren Brown, Washington Post

    Saturday, September 9, 2006

    09-09) 04:00 PDT Newport , R.I. -- Quitting the 2006 Dodge Charger SRT/8 was easy. I looked at the fuel bill -- $110 after four days of driving around Northern Virginia and environs.

    My wife, daughter and I arrived here in a more reasonable vehicle, the 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid, a compact sport-utility model that gets 32 miles per gallon on the highway and uses regular unleaded gasoline. It was the natural choice for our two-week road tour of New England and Nova Scotia.

    This column is about the car we left behind, a traditional American muscle car that would have made perfect sense to me a decade ago, but that makes little sense to me now. Why the change of heart? Simple. Oil is getting harder to find. Gasoline is getting more expensive to pump.

    As if to emphasize those points, the rambunctious 6.1-liter, 425-horsepower V-8 Charger SRT/8 was delivered to my driveway the same week BP PLC announced the shutdown of its pipeline at Alaska's Prudhoe Bay oil field, the source of 400,000 barrels of oil a day, 8 percent of the nation's oil output.

    That development coupled with the money I was spending on premium gasoline for the Charger SRT/8 undermined any affection I had for the mighty roar of its big engine, its ability to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds, or its aggressive, hell-bent-for-speed exterior.

    Put another way, the Charger SRT/8's thirst for fuel was a mood killer. It's hard to engage in guilty pleasure when you know you are going to pay an enormous price for the sin. With the Charger SRT/8, you are going to pay and pay and pay ...

    The big rear-wheel-drive sedan gets 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 miles per gallon on the highway for a combined city/highway mileage of 17 miles per gallon, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Gee! Some full-size pickups get better mileage than that!

    The government calls the Charger SRT/8 a "gas guzzler." That means it comes with a federal gas guzzler tax -- a whopping $2,100 in this case, more than double the gas guzzler tax on Mercedes-Benz's fuel-thirsty E550 luxury sedan.

    The EPA's Web site at www.fueleconomy.gov puts the annual tab for fueling the Charger SRT/8 at $3,038. But that assumes driving 15,000 miles a year at a cost of $3.24 a gallon for premium unleaded gasoline.

    That's a big assumption. For example, early August prices for premium unleaded gasoline in some Connecticut and Rhode Island towns were as high as $3.58 a gallon.

    Is it worth it? No. And here's why:

    Although the Charger SRT/8 is a total hoot to drive, so fast it's almost scary, there are not many places in the United States, or anywhere else, where you can drive it as fast as it can go -- 165 mph.

    Driving at half that speed on almost any U.S. highway will get you a big speeding ticket. If you are convicted of the offense, it also will leave you with major penalty points on your license and an accompanying increase in insurance costs for the SRT/8, which is expensive enough to insure with a perfect driving record.

    I'm aware that none of this sounds like car-guy or car-lover stuff. But, hey, let's get real.

    If you are a frequent visitor to weekend speedways, where it is legal to drive your car as fast as you and it can go, fine. You'll love the Charger SRT/8. The car moves! It boogies! And it comes with nice strong Brembo brakes to stop it with authority.

    From that perspective, the Charger SRT/8 is a speed freak's dream, appropriate for an automobile that comes from the Street and Racing Technology unit (SRT) of DaimlerChrysler Corp.'s Chrysler Group.

    But considering its insatiable thirst for the most expensive gasoline, the Charger SRT/8 offers little to people who buy large sedans to be used as family haulers and/or everyday drivers. In that context, it makes no sense at all.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    2006 DODGE CHARGER SRT/8

    Complaint: The Charger SRT/8 has unacceptably lousy fuel economy.

    Ride, acceleration and handling: The Charger SRT/8 is a heavy runner at 4,160 pounds. It is not the most maneuverable car in tight, urban traffic, where it is also the least fuel-efficient. But it's an absolute speed demon on open roads, assuming you can find one. Braking is superior.

    Head-turning quotient: It's over-the-top, mean-street aggressive and designed to look that way.

    Body style/layout: The Charger SRT/8 is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, full-size American muscle sedan with a traditional notchback trunk.

    Engine/transmission: A standard 6.1-liter, 16-valve V-8 engine develops 425 horsepower at 6,000 revolutions per minute and 420 foot-pounds of torque at 4,800 rpm. The engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission that also can be shifted manually.

    Capacities: The Charger SRT/8 has seating for five. Luggage capacity is 16.2 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 19 gallons of required premium unleaded gasoline.

    Mileage: My combined city/highway mileage was less than -- repeat, less than -- the EPA's rating of 17 miles per gallon. I averaged 15 miles per gallon, probably attributable to the use of the car's air conditioner on 90-degree days.

    Price: Base price is $35,320. Dealer's price on base model is $32,893.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/09/09/MTGTGL1K9J1.DTL&hw=Dodge&sn=001&sc=1000

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  20. Foo

    Foo Could I have been anyone other than me?

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    they were at the redline test drive in San Antonio this week...

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  21. LEGbEND

    LEGbEND .

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    No clutch, no care :o

    If the Magnum SRT8 came with a manual, I'd be leasing one...
     
  22. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I hate him even more now. :eek4:
     
  23. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    It's Canadian Driver, lol
     
  24. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    canadian years, idiot
     
  25. Foo

    Foo Could I have been anyone other than me?

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    check out his site and see all the shit they've had..

    reviews due up this month include the c6 z06, chevy let him have one for almost 12 days.

    :rofl:

    we dogged that car.:)

    SRT-10 Viper... Trailblazer SS, Audi RS4...


    he's got some nice hook ups.
     

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