When The Dodge Boys first announced that the new Charger would have four-doors, muscle car aficionados howled in protest. On the face of it, it s hard to understand why a couple of extra portals would get them so enervated. When considering the suitability of an American-branded steroidal sedan for induction into the Tank Top T-shirt School of Automotive Fame, surely there are only two considerations: A) is it fast and B) how fast is it? After all, the original Charger s harmonica-style front grill and cheese wedge angularity didn t exactly set the bar for automotive design. Besides, what s a couple of doors between stoplights?
The new Charger R/T is certainly quick enough to earn its place in a musclehead s heart. With a 5.7-liter 350hp Hemi lurking under the hood (anyone opting for the V6-powered SE or SXT gets socks for Christmas), the reincarnated Charger blasts to sixty in well under five-and-a-half seconds. The quarter mile comes up in 13.9 secs. She ll top out at a relatively meager 130mph, but a quick trip to the de-limiterization shop ought to sort that out (just don t forget to change the tires).
Not to put too fine a point on it, with numbers like these, the Charger R/T can walk a Thunderbird like the lardy retro dog that it is/was. There s no fuss either; with the perfectly named ESP traction control nanny riding herd on the autobox and wheel spin, it s strictly press and play. The Charger R/T makes a nice sound too, like the world s largest rubber-band propelled balsa airplane.
As for the four-door thing, well, we are talking about a re-skinned Chrysler 300: a five-star, five-up cruiser with plenty of wallow and handling to match. Is that such a bad thing? Yes. It s about time (plus twenty years) that Detroit built a sedan that can thrash and burn. Which means less weight. Which means fewer doors. Anyway, with a 425hp hood-scooped SRT version to follow, The Dodge Boys are about to put the muscle car cognoscenti s metaphysical prejudice to the test. Is more always less? [by Robert Farago]