PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) — American muscle is alive and well in the 2013 Dodge Charger SRT-8.

While Dodge’s full size muscle car is available in a number of configurations from slightly ripped — the base V6 4 speed automatic — to the bulging muscles of the Hemi SXT, the SRT/8 takes the Charger to a Himalayan level of performance. A level that puts it above most other cars and allows it to face off with some of the best sports sedans that do not call America home.

At first look, the curvy shape of the Charger gives it an aggressive look, motion even when standing still.

A few years ago, Dodge updated the Charger, adding a sculpted indent on the sides, giving  it a much bolder profile while paying h2012 08 26 19 13 35 Drivetime With Vinnie Richichi    Road Test: 2013 Dodge Charger SRT/8omage to the great Chargers of the ’60s and ’70s.  A rework of the front fascia, grille and headlights sharpened the lines and gave it more of a forward lean while the wall-to-wall LED taillights are among the coolest-looking on the street.

Special SRT fascia and ground effects, as well as wheels, give the SRT/8 a meaner, bolder look. Surprisingly fresh for a design that has been on the street since 2005.

Slide into the front seat and you immediately feel like you are at the command center of some muscle car with another nod to the ’70s in the  dual round gauge dash, but look to the right  and it’s all 2012 with a big screen command center. Dodges Uconnect system and Garmin Nav is easy to use and has a minimal learning curve. It also has analytical G-force timing and racing kind of information, which I am sure will give you hours of untold pleasure, letting you know how many G-forces are pinning your posterior in the driver’s seat.

I loved the heated, wrapped steering wheel with the racing flat bottom — a nice touch.  Front seats are also comfortable and the two-tone stitching comes is a classy touch.

Fire up the SRT/8 and the hills are alive with the sound of power.

The rumble of the 6.4-liter Hemi is like a cold water wake-up splash in the face with the vibe of the motor getting into your bones like a good muscle car should. Slap it into drive and the 475 horses jump to life through the 5-speed automatic. The tranny is geared to snap shift and send the message in the five seconds it takes to get to 60 that you are driving a machine capable of great things.

On the road the SRT/8’s beefed-up adaptive suspension lets you set the ride for your circumstance including sport and performance up to comfort. Dodge has done a nice job of letting the Charger serve a few masters from an all-out break — the tires racing to touring through the countryside listening to the rumble. The Charger actually feels smaller and more nimble than it measures out to be, with excellent steering manners and on-a-dime stopping thanks to massive Brembo 4 wheel brakes!

The SRT/8 I drove is not cheap — with a sticker price of $50,260 — including adaptive cruise, collision avoidance package, heated seats, 20” SRT wheels and all-season tires. Advertised fuel numbers are 14 miles per gallon city and 23 miles per gallon highway.

I couldn’t get enough of the Charger SRT/8.

Taking the car on a long trip out to Deep Creek, M.D. and then north to Lake Erie, it was all I could do not to jump into it all the way when there was no one around and I have to admit, I failed miserably. The pleasure of cranking this well-designed machine out is what driving is all about. It’s almost too much car for most folks and just enough car for me. What’s more, it’s good to see a muscle car that can go toe-to-toe with the European performance sedans both in comfort and in driveability. The ’60s and ’70s were never this good were they?

Click here to listen to the entire review of the Dodge Charger SRT/8:

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Reviews, news about cars and the people who drive them, interviews and tips on how to get more out of your driving experience all on Drivetime with Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte Saturday mornings 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Newsradio 1020 KDKA. Also listen to Vinnie on The Vinnie and Cook Show Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.

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