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2006 Dodge Charger SRT8 Road Test

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Michel Deslauriers
Coming to radar guns near you

2006 Dodge Charger SRT8 (Photo: Philippe Champoux,
There's no doubt about this car; 425 horsepower in a four-door sedan that holds 4 or 5 occupants is like lighting a cigarette with a flamethrower.

It's like eating your soup with a shovel. It's like giving your pet a bath with a pressure washer. It's like cutting a piece of paper with a circular saw.

Figuring out what you need 425 horsepower for is like asking a multimillionaire what he'd buy if we won the lottery. And telling you that you don't need 425 horsepower is like telling my 3-year son that chocolate doesn't taste anything.

Dodge's Charger is imposing enough as it is, but the SRT8 package is striking. It polarizes onlookers as you pass them by. Adolescents want you to treat them to smokeshows, and behind the wheel of this Charger,
2006 Dodge Charger SRT8 (Photo: Philippe Champoux,
you feel as if you're king of the road. The 20-inch wheels, lower-body skirt package, curved rear spoiler and hood scoop ensures that you don't mistake the SRT8 from lesser versions.

The SRT8 is motivated by a 6.1-liter HEMI V8. That's right, good ol' American cubic inches. Although it burbles at idle pretty much like the 5.7 HEMI, once you punch the engine past 3,000 rpm, the 6.1 emits a bone-tingling roar that quickly becomes addictive. Yet at slow city speeds, or when the local police cross your path, the SRT8 is muted and docile.

I picked up the car the day after a Quebec automotive journalist got nailed behind the wheel of it at 222 km/h on the highway. That's a near-$1,000 ticket and an instant suspension of one's driver's license. Not
2006 Dodge Charger SRT8 (Photo: Philippe Champoux,
much real estate is required to achieve dizzying triple-digit speeds, and you always have to look at the speedometer to make sure you're not a spontaneous felon.

Saying that this car's fuel consumption is not its strong point is an understatement. Yet my average is not as bad as I had expected, at 14.7 L/100 km. The SRT8 requires premium fuel, by the way, and it isn't equipped with the MDS cylinder-deactivation that's featured on the 5.7 HEMI.

It's a big car, so you shouldn't expect road-carving handling. Yet the ride isn't harsh, although slightly more buttoned-down than the 300C SRT8. The pizza-pan-sized disc brakes stop the hefty sedan with authority.

2006 Dodge Charger SRT8 (Photo: Philippe Champoux,
The cockpit of the Charger SRT8 is pretty nice. The dashboard doesn't really set it itself apart, but the leather and suede seats wrap around your body like a straight jacket. They're comfy. The same applies for the rear seat, except for the middle occupant who will feel as if he's being punished. I don't appreciate that the rear outboard seat belts' pretensioners don't ratchet tight, which fail to make a parent feel very confident when buckling up the kid in back.
Michel Deslauriers
Michel Deslauriers
Automotive expert