American muscle —there is simply nothing like it. It can’t be compared to super-cars and and they’re certainly no ordinary vehicle. Although some muscle cars can compete with super-cars on 0-60mph times, it is a totally different thrill. On a recent trip to Tennessee, I found myself sitting in the passenger seat of a very powerful 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 HEMI. This iconic vehicle can easily be considered the picture perfect muscle car.
The SRT series is the most powerful series of vehicles that Dodge offers. Pop the hood in the Challenger, and the 6.4 Liter, V8, 392 cubic inch HEMI engine muscles out a huge 470hp with 470 lb.-ft of torque. As if all that standard power wasn’t enough, the owner of this Challenger added some extras, including a Modern Muscle 85mm ported throttle body, LMI CAI, 180 degree thermostat, speedlogix catch can and a Trinity Diablo sport tuner. Forget the stock 470hp, this baby has about 525hp and 525 lb.-ft of torque.
For a vehicle weighing in at 4,170 pounds, this Challenger will reach 60mph in just 3.2 seconds. Yes, that is super-car status speed. Surprisingly, with all of this power, the car manages to get 14 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. And the owner of the car told me while driving with cruise control on, he’s gotten up to 26 mpg, which is outstanding for a V8. In the beautifully crafted chrome fuel cap goes premium 91 octane fuel. The engine is a beautiful beast. The perfectly clean engine reads HEMI and is beautifully crafted.
The exterior of the vehicle is very muscular and powerful looking. Sitting 4.8 inches off the ground and 57.1 inches tall, the Challenger could very easily be used as an every day driver. Personally, I love the black paint job with the dual stripe down the center. It helps give the car a mean look—much meaner than the Camaro (the Challenger’s main competition). From every angle, the vehicle looks powerful, but my favorite view is staring into the eyes (headlights) of the car head on. The SRT badge is displayed proudly on the front grille along side the name of the car. This adds a very intimidating look to the vehicle. The SRT8 badge is also displayed on the rear of the car on the small but good looking spoiler. The low profile tires hold simple but sleek 20 inch rims that again say SRT on one of the spokes. On the side of the vehicle, towards the front sits a 392 HEMI badge that perfectly pops out against the black paint.
The interior of the vehicle is just as sleek as the outside. The leather seats are opulent and make for a very easy ride, even on the bumpiest of roads. Although, when “Sport” mode is engaged the ride changes. The owner of the car explained to me how the quiet, comfortable cabin becomes a bit more bumpy. But hey, who cares? It’s a 525hp beast! The 6-speed manual transmission is conquered with a sleek and sexy shifter knob. Perhaps, one the best looking features of the interior was the SRT logo stitched into the black leather bucket seats. It truly gave a voluptuous feel. On the passenger side dashboard “Challenger SRT” was displayed to make sure no one could possibly forget what kind of monster they’re in. The navigation screen was well placed and gave both a luxury and muscle car look.
The flat bottom leather steering wheel also displayed the SRT badge as did the instruments on the dashboard. It was a very simple and clean dashboard. It was not cluttered at all, giving great maneuverability for both the driver and passenger. The backseats had room to comfortably fit a full sized adult. One odd feature of the car is that only the passenger side seat folds to allow access to rear seats. The sounds system was absolutely amazing, and with 18 built-in speakers, the driver and passenger(s) could jam out pleasantly. Even better than the sound system was the mean muscled growl that came from the engine. At a stop the V8 let off a soft growl, and as soon as the gas was just topped, the V8 let loose a monstrous exhaust note from the dual chrome tipped pipes.
After winding through the police filled suburban streets of Memphis, we entered an industrial zone. After some exploring, we found the perfect straight away to let out all 525hp. After a quick 180 the Challenger sat ready for launch. Keeping one foot on the brake, the revs built up and the growl of the engine was getting louder and louder. Now with one foot on the clutch and one foot flooring the gas, we rocketed to 60mph in just over 3 seconds. My body was blasted backwards against my seat, my eyes wide and my adrenaline pumping. The engine went from a growl to a musical roar that sounded as if a lion was marking its territory. The power from the RWD was surely felt upon take-off. After reaching about 100mph in what seemed like only 5 seconds, the monster was once again tamed and the roar went down to a growl. Only one word can be used to describe this experience and that is—wow.
Back on populated streets, the Challenger handled with ease. Although, the rear end of the vehicle did slide out, giving a nice drift with little effort. This SRT Challenger is one extremely powerful daily driver. In my opinion the Challenger wins over any model Camaro, and most Mustangs (aside from the Shelby GT500). Dodge has reinvented the muscle car for the modern day. This Challenger specifically, can outrun plenty of super-cars that carry price tags well over $200,000. In fact, the V10 Audi R8, is the only naturally aspirated exotic vehicle that can give this Challenger a run for its money. Of course the Challenger is not meant to be thrown around tight turns and remain flat like some other exotic cars, but it certainly does make it fun when the rear end slides out and the air is filled with smoke from the tires.
At the end of the road, this custom 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 HEMI is one hell of a beast. At 525hp the term muscle car has a new meaning. There monstrous beast is ready to tear up the asphalt anywhere it goes.
A big thank you to the owner of the Challenger for giving me the opportunity to go for a trilling ride and being so informative about the car. It’s always awesome to meet another car enthusiast.
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