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EXECUTIVE EDITOR BOB GRITZINGER: Wicked, wicked, wicked. Surprisingly, I found myself lusting for more—not from the powertrain, but from the exhaust note, which seems muffled to the point of irrelevance. But I love the way the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 reminds me of big ol’ highway-runner Dodges from the past, with its strong stance, glide ride and over-the-top performance, in straight lines and when you toss it hard into corners. It doesn’t handle like a Chevrolet Camaro or a Ford Mustang, but it still likes to carve a curve without much drama, tire squeal or understeer. Love the paint job and the pounding audio system.

Elsewhere, this car’s active cruise control is a solid workhorse, handling most speeds and gaps in traffic fairly quickly and without much drama. Seems like one of the better systems.

Overall, the SRT8 is big, it’s bad, and that’s that.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR ROGER HART: I enjoy any time behind the big, thick, flat-bottomed steering wheel on the Charger SRT8. This experience was marred just a bit by bad wheel vibration, but other than that, I really like this car. For one, the door opens about as wide as any car that I can recently remember to make it real easy to get in or out. I also love the huge infotainment screen, but I’m not sure I like having to page through a screen or two to get to the seat heaters where a simple button on the dash would work just as well. But it does make for a very clean-looking dash. It’s also cool having heated cloth seats, which are very comfortable, making spending time in here a pleasure.

And what’s not to like about the 470 hp? This car is a throwback of sorts, with a bunch of new technology to boot, including adaptive cruise, blind-spot warning and a backup camera. Let’s call it the Good New Days.

EDITOR WES RAYNAL: The thing I probably like best about the Charger SRT8, besides the power of course, is that it can be both a fun car you can throw around some (little body roll, quick shifts, great brakes) and a docile cruiser if that’s what your mood needs. The steering could be a bit heavier for my tastes.

To me the ride feels tight but tuned to not beat you up. It’s not harsh mostly. It can be a tiny bit jarring at times on Detroit’s potholes, but recovers quickly and really, Detroit streets are just awful. I tend not to blame the car in these instances.

In fact, I actually like all these big Chryslers300C SRT8, Charger SRT8, Challenger SRT8, Grand Cherokee SRT8—they’re fun, they look good and are well built.

Someone above wrote about how the active cruise control handles speed and gaps in traffic quickly and without drama and that it “seems like one of the better systems.” I agree, but what makes it a good system to me is that I can turn it off and run regular cruise.

EDITORIAL INTERN GRAHAM KOZAK: There’s a reason you see Chargers wearing police livery, and it’s not their stellar fuel economy. They’re big and heavy machines, something the car can’t seem to let you forget. The large, hefty doors close with a solid “thunk.” The steering wheel isn’t exactly dainty, and steering feel hasn’t been completely sanitized with electronic aides.

Fortunately, the SRT8 package provides enough power make that bulk feel satisfying rather than stifling.

I managed to work in a spin on the expressway in to my short commute. I’m glad I did, because that’s where the car seemed to be in its element. Passing was exhilarating, and suspension provided a good amount of feedback without ever threatening to become punishing. On-ramp acceleration was the best chance I had to appreciate the roar of the engine, which frankly could have been a bit louder while cruising. If I’m going to pay a gas-guzzler tax, I might as well get a satisfying soundtrack out of the deal…

On the other hand, this thing comes packed with a host of luxury accoutrements from remote start to a heated steering wheel. Buyers of this car probably aren’t looking for a truly brutal muscle car experience; with that in mind, the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 presents a pretty reasonable—and very rewarding—overall package.

NEWS EDITOR GREG MIGLIORE: I’m a fan of Chargers, so driving this machine was a pleasure for me. It’s a rocket ship, and clad in bright reddish-orange paint, it really presents like mayhem on wheels. It’s a blast to drive; it’s almost too easy to achieve triple digits. I like the lines and long, truly muscular look of this sedan. The Charger is cut. The power is impressive. It’s buff. Give Dodge credit for having serious attitude and conveying that in the SRT brand.

The chassis is mostly comfortable, though I felt some hard-road imperfections. I guess that’s to be expected, as this car does have sporting ethos. The steering is a bit lighter than I would have liked on-center, but largely it’s rather precise for maneuvers. The rocking V8 sounds great and operates smoothly. The trans is surprisingly smooth too, considering it’s carryover.

I love the cabin. It’s the definition of athletic without being soft. Some cars look too posh—not this one. It’s well-appointed. I like the flat-bottomed steering wheel, handsome instrument panel and excellent, bolstered seats. The Charger in SRT trim is exactly what a modern muscle sedan should be, in my eyes. It’s sophisticated, yet still a potent sedan.

2012 Dodge Charger SRT8

Base Price: $47,620

As-Tested Price: $49,810

Drivetrain: 6.4-liter V8; RWD, five-speed automatic

Output: 470 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 470 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm

Curb Weight: 4,365 lb

Fuel Economy (EPA/AW): 17/17.9 mpg

Options: Adaptive cruise control group including forward collision warning, adaptive speed control ($795); driver confidence group with blind-spot and rear-cross path detection, rain-sensitive windshield wipers, smartbeam headlamps, approach lamps ($745); redline three-coat exterior paint ($500); 245/45 R20 BSW three season performance tires ($150)

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