Wednesday, May 23, 2007


So, this is the first ever Fast Forward blog. I have never written a blog before. So, please bear with me. I'm learning as I go. Let me just take a moment to tell you a little bit about what this blog is and what I intend to do with it. First, the Fast Forward blog is, in part, an online version of my automotive reviews, which appear each week in 15 community papers in the Baltimore area. So, with this space, I'll be posting my reviews of current cars, trucks, and SUV's. Second, beyond giving you my take on each of these vehicles, I want to create an informal online discussion about cars and trucks in general. I'd like to keep this part of the blog as general as possible. While each of us has our own passions, I hope this site will become a meeting place for auto enthusiasts of every kind. So, without further adieu, I'll post one of my recent reviews. Please let me know what you think and what, if any, questions you may have. Happy reading!

SRT8 Adds Real Muscle to Charger

Fast Forward
By Marcus MacFarland


One of the largest and most famous mergers of the 1990’s was Daimler Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler. During this partnership, the Dodge division of the Chrysler group flourished with a variety of models ranging from the PT Cruiser to the Dodge Viper. However, a common denominator for many of these popular vehicles has been below average fuel efficiency. As times have changed Chrysler has struggled to keep pace with the many changing consumer demands. This mega-merger ended less than happily, however, when DaimlerChrysler sold the Chrysler group to Cerberus Group, a move that was announced the same week I had one of their more specialized offerings, the Dodge Charger SRT8, which is extraordinarily muscled version of the sedan carrying that hallowed moniker.


This rough and tumble version of the full-sized sedan has enough Hemi-inspired horsepower to make any muscle car fanatic grin with approval. Consider that this 6.1-liter Hemi produces 425 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. As if that wasn’t enough, this Charger will stop too. Unlike the muscle cars of yesteryear, which might have been better served by a parachute rather than the drum brakes they came with, the SRT8 is outfitted with marvelous Brembo pieces that haul this bruiser to a halt in a hurry.


You want corners? The SRT8 can handle those too. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this 4160 lb. Behemoth didn’t feel nearly its actual size. In fact, not only does it turn in without major understeer, but even with all of that torque, the rear-end remains stable all the way through a corner to the exit point. Also, under normal driving conditions the firmer suspension doesn’t make ride quality suffer, which is impressive considering that it comes equipped with massive 20" rims.


The appearance of the SRT8 is consistent with its content. It has an aggressive stance, muscular lines, and looks like it’s going 100 mph even when sitting still. Just looking at it might make the average sedan owner whimper as you roll by. Inside, the appearance of the interior, with its two-tone leather and suede seats, is simple and sporty. The gauge cluster is made to look almost as if it was borrowed from a Nextel Cup car. Slide into the backseat and you realize that practicality ample legroom for most adults.


The SRT8 is one heck of a muscled family car. However, don’t think you’re going to get all of this fun without paying the piper. Not only will the SRT8 set you back about forty grand, you’re also gonna pay at the pump.