Track Tested Shootout: 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Vs. 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392


Charger Challenger.jpg

2010 was a disappointing year for the Dodge Charger SRT8. Dodge moved only 688 units of the 425-horsepower muscle car. 2011, however, is turning out to be a very, very good year for the Dodge Charger.

First, Dodge yanked the 6.1-liter Hemi and shoved in a 6.4-liter mill cranking out 470 hp and 470 pound-feet of torque. The interior also got a thorough redesign with materials you'd want to touch, arranged in a way that makes you want to touch them. And then it got reskinned. Other brands try for an aggressive, screaming face and are left with a gaping maw like a basking shark. Not here. The 2012 Dodge Charger is pissed and it's screaming, not basking.

The same can be said for the car's new on-track behavior. Here are some excerpts from our driver's notes, "It seems unnatural that a car this long and heavy has such quick steering and so little body roll.... Engine makes huge power, great noises."

But with newfound power and newfound looks, how does the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 stand up to the bad boy of the Dodge family, the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392?

                                           Charger SRT8               Challenger SRT8
0-30 (sec):                                 1.9                                2.0
0-45 (sec):                                 3.1                                3.0
0-60 (sec):                                 4.6                                4.5
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec):        4.3                                4.2
0-75 (sec):                                 6.4                                6.2
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph):           12.8 @ 110.3                   12.6 @ 112.1

30-0 (ft):                                    28                                 30
60-0 (ft):                                    112                               114
Skid pad lateral accel (g):          0.86                              0.88
Slalom                                       67.8                              67.0

 

 

Vehicle: 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8
Date Tested: 7-12-2011
Driver: Mike Monticello
Base Price: $46,620

Specifications:
Drive Type: Longitudinal, front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Five-speed automatic
Displacement (cc/cu): 6,424/392
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 470 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 470 @ 4,300
Steering System: Hydraulic-assist, rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, coil spring, shock absorber, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink, coil spring, shock absorber, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 245/45ZR20 (99Y)
Tire Size (rear): 245/45ZR20 (99Y)
Tire Brand: Goodyear
Tire Model: Eagle F1 Supercar
Tire Type: Summer Performance
Wheel size: 20-by-9 inches front and rear
Brakes Front: 14.2-inch ventilated and slotted discs with four-piston fixed calipers
Brakes Rear: 13.8-inch ventilated and slotted discs with four-piston fixed calipers
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,371


Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 1.9 (2.2 with T/C on)
0-45 (sec): 3.1 (3.3 with T/C on)
0-60 (sec): 4.6 (4.9 with T/C on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.3 (4.6 with T/C on)
0-75 (sec): 6.4 (6.6 with T/C on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.8 @ 110.3 (13.0 @ 109.7  with T/C on)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 112

Handling
Slalom (mph): 67.8 (67.3 with T/C on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.86 (0.85 with T/C on)

Sound
Db @ Idle: 45.7
Db @ Full Throttle: 79.7
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 66.1

RPM @ 70 MPH: 2,250

Comments

Acceleration: Much wheelspin even with ESC/TC switched on. Engine makes huge power, great noises. Automatic shifts quite quickly, but abruptly. Best run was with a tiny bit of power braking to curb wheelspin. No need to use paddle shifters or console lever, as the automatic upshifts for itself anyway. Get too much wheelspin, though, and it upshifts early, killing run. No throttle blips on downshifts.

Braking: Monster braking forces here. Very well-controlled nosedive, but the Charger would usually twitch a bit to the left, as though there might be too much rear brake bias. Incredibly consistent, and short stopping distances with no fade.

Handling: Skid pad: Steering is light at low speed, and a little unfeeling. Once the beast gets a-pushing, she keeps on a-pushing. Drop-throttle did not have the desired effect we were looking for. ESC system was a bit erratic in its intervention, cutting in all the way around clockwise, but fading in and out counter-clockwise, upsetting the car's balance. Slalom: It seems unnatural that a car this long and heavy has such quick steering and so little body roll. It took some runs to get used to the Charger, but eventually just had to trust its front grip. Steering has nice weighting, but beyond that the Charger doesn't telegraph what's going on with the suspension and tires very well, due to little weight transfer and minimal tire noise. But it sure gets the job done numbers-wise.

 

Vehicle: 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392
Date Tested: 6-1-2011
Driver: Mike Monticello
Base Price: $44,680

Specifications:
Drive Type: Longitudinal, front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Five-speed automatic
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 6,424/392
Redline (rpm): 6,250
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 470 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 470 @ 4,200
Steering System: Hydraulic-assist, speed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, high-mount upper A-arm, coil springs, monotube dampers, stabilizer bar, lateral and diagonal lower links
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, monotube dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 245/45ZR20 99Y
Tire Size (rear): 255/45ZR20 101Y
Tire Brand: Goodyear
Tire Model: Eagle F1 Supercar
Tire Type: Summer performance
Wheel size: 20-by-9 inches front and rear
Brakes Front: 14.2-inch ventilated and slotted discs with four-piston fixed calipers
Brakes Rear: 13.8-inch ventilated and slotted discs with four-piston fixed calipers
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,257


Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.0 (2.4 with T/C on)
0-45 (sec): 3.0 (3.5 with T/C on)
0-60 (sec): 4.5 (5.2 with T/C on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 4.2 (4.9 with T/C on)
0-75 (sec): 6.2 (6.9 with T/C on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 12.6 @ 112.1 (13.2 @ 110.5  with T/C on)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 30
60-0 (ft): 114

Handling
Slalom (mph): 67.0 (66.5 with T/C on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.88 (0.88 with T/C on)

Sound
Db @ Idle: 47.0
Db @ Full Throttle: 82.0
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 63.6

RPM @ 70: 2,150

Comments

Acceleration:  The Challenger 392 struggled to put the power of its new engine to the tarmac; it spun the tires wildly even with ESP on. The quickest run was achieved with ESP off by using slightly less than full throttle initially off the line until the rear tires had traction. The automatic's manual-shift mode gives quick, but very abrupt shifts. We used this mode to get the quickest time; it still upshifts for itself anyway. Strangely, in full automatic Drive mode it banged into the rev limiter once before shifting from 1st to 2nd.

Braking: Pedal is nice and firm. Stopping distances were short and remained consistent, as did the pedal feel and pedal travel even after repeated runs.

Handling: Slalom: Dodge has definitely improved the SRT8's handling. It no longer feels like such a heavy, sloppy beast, even though it's actually even heavier than before; steering is quicker and sharper. But this is still a very wide and heavy car with which to steer around the cones quickly. It was important to drive particularly smooth with ESP on, as the system cuts in very aggressively, thereby ruining the run. Skid pad: Careful throttle control is needed to keep from overshooting the arc, as it's easy to get the Challenger into an understeer push. ESP-on runs proved just as good as ESP-off, but easier to achieve because the stability system was quite adept at cutting in at the exact right time to keep the car on the intended line.

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