If the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8's outward appearance is decidedly retro, its performance level is thoroughly modern.
Sporting the same 425-hp, 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 found in other Chrysler SRT8 models, the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 delivers a vast amount of thrust when the pedal on the right is pressed to the floor. Its power peaks at 6,200 rpm, at which time the driver's ears will be treated to what Car and Driver calls "nearly 84 decibels of symphonic, mechanized glory." Most reviews have 0-60 happening in about 5 seconds, although TheCarConnection.com has seen reports of times even quicker than that. The top speed of the Dodge Challenger, 2008 edition, is estimated to be around 170 mph.
The 2008 Challenger SRT8's prodigious forward motivation is hardly surprising. However, as Car and Driver observes of the Dodge Challenger, 2008’s version is "more than just a drag-strip junkie." The front suspension includes special Bilstein dampers, made to SRT specs, while the rear is a multilink design, which should give it an advantage over its archrival, the Ford Mustang, which still employs a live rear axle. Edmunds states that the Challenger "lunges off the corners and swallows the straights."
Still, despite being built for speed, the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 doesn't sacrifice much ride quality; according to ConsumerGuide, "Even small bumps and ruts are felt, but only major impacts can be described as harsh."
"SRT models always go big on brakes, and the Challenger is no exception," says Motor Trend. The 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8's brakes come in the form of 14.2-inch front rotors and 13.8-inch rotors at the rear, supplied by Brembo and squeezed by four-piston aluminum calipers.
One of the few performance gripes found by TheCarConnection.com was with the steering. ConsumerGuide says, "Accurate steering is marred to a fault by excessive power assist. A shame, because Challenger is an otherwise sharp handler..." Also, some reviewers were disappointed that the only transmission offered is a five-speed automatic, but that will change with the addition of an optional six-speed manual for 2009.
TheCarConnection.com’s drives of the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8's 6.1-liter V-8 revealed a thrilling, throbbing engine, one teamed well with the six-speed automatic transmission. Handling is surprisingly adept, and since the wide, flat design tells you exactly where the Challenger sits in a lane, it's easy to zip in and out and give other drivers a first look at this muscle car. Just be prepared to answer repeated questions at every stoplight--and to rev the engine for gawkers, too.