Some significant news coming out of the Dodge Motorsports camp recently. Roger Penske has announced he will move his Sprint Cup team to Ford vehicles for the 2013 race season, leaving Dodge without representation in NASCAR’s top tier (at least for now).
Dodge debuted the new 2013 Charger race car edition before NASCAR events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last year despite not having a top-tier team signed to drive it.
Sam Hornish, Jr. was the first to test the 2013 Charger at a closed event at the Homestead-Miami Speedway that was attended by all four manufacturers involved in NASCAR.
Stock car racing originally appealed to manufacturers with a “Race on Sunday, sell on Monday” philosophy but in recent years the track vehicles look very little like their showroom counterparts. Dodge is looking to turn that back around saying that soon the relationship between the Dodge Charger street car and the Dodge Charger NASCAR race car will be unmistakable.
And while both Ford and Dodge race rear-wheel drive V-8 cars in the Nationwide series (with Mustang and Challenger respectively), Dodge is the only brand that can make that claim for the 2012 Sprint Cup series and its Charger as all other teams raced versions of their front-drive midsize sedans.
Recently I test drove the 2012 Dodge Charger R/T Road and Track edition in stunning Redline Pearl body paint. Charger was redesigned last year with body lines and subtle styling cues paying homage to Charger’s heritage but saddled with modern powertrains and interiors (and safety equipment).
Under the hood of our tester was the latest 5.7-liter V-8 HEMI with Fuel Saver cylinder deactivation technology that offers 25 mpg on the highway but still delivers a very healthy 370hp when prompted. The new Charger featuring Dodge’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine backed by all-new eight-speed automatic gearbox offers up to 31 mpg highway.
Our R/T tester came with a five-speed automatic but adds new die-cast zinc steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters and features 20-inch chrome-clad wheels with all-season performance tires. A Super Track Pak was added to our Charger that puts performance steering, sport suspension and heavy duty disc brakes on the car along with sport mode electronic stability control.
The car is absolutely gorgeous and is clad with heritage R/T badging and at night the interior is bathed in warm ambient lighting.
A host of modern amenities are found throughout the latest Charger models including heated and ventilated front seating and one of the largest indash infotainment displays in a modern performance vehicle.
The 2012 Dodge Charger is not just a modern sedan for gearheads – I would recommend this car to anyone who enjoys the journey as much as they do the destination.
Pricing for the 2012 Dodge Charger R/T begins at $29,995 with our loaded tester arriving at $37,665.