2011 Dodge Charger SRT-8

Front 3/4 view of 2011 Dodge Charger SRT-8

Never underestimate the power of something that looks this mean.

It's kinda easy to do, given that the Dodge Charger has been with us for 5 years now and a new one's on the way. We've seen it too many times in airport car rental lots and giggled as Mark Harmon and the gang on NCIS make the 6-cylinder ones they drive try to look menacing.

But five minutes in a Charger SRT-8 is enough to wipe that smirk right off my face...and replace it with a great big ear-to-ear grin.

                              Rear 3/4 view of red 2011 Dodge Charger SRT-8

Tromp on the pedal of an SRT-8 and the rear of the car is what everyone else on the road is going to see.

Yes, it has a Hemi. 6.1 liters worth, putting out 425 horsepower with 420 pounds of torque. The 5-speed "AutoStick" automatic transmission is up to the task, though a real six-speed manual would be ideal.  Whatever...the point is brute strength and the Charger SRT-8 delivers big time.

According to the window sticker that came with our tester, it's the official passenger car of NASCAR, which makes perfect sense. This is what NASCAR used to be. Take a big standard car, stuff the hairiest engine possible under the hood and hang on.




No...but a big barrel of fun for a reasonable price. Base is $38,180. Yeah, that is awfully close to $40K. Find me this much performance for less than this money and maybe I'll change my mind.

Of course, you can load these up and that's just what the Dodge PR people did. This one had the SRT Option Groups II and III, roughly $2,800 worth of options including an upgraded radio, 13 high performance speakers, a 322-watt amplifier, a 200-watt subwoofer, surround sound, Uconnect, iPod control, a security alarm and a nav system.

Throw in the power sunroof ($950), HID headlamps ($695), performance tire and wheel upgrade ($250), rear seat video system (in a sedan?) ($1,480) and the inevitable gas guzzler tax (13 city/19 highway) of $1,700 and your bottom line after $750 destination charge is $46,850.

If your heart and your bank balance say yes, there's a lot of fun to be had here.