2006: A Legend Returns
After being absent from the Dodge lineup for almost two decades, the Charger returned in 2006. This time around, it gained two more doors, quite a bit of heft, and was several inches longer than the sport compact that came before. Purists had hoped for a return of the coupe. It didn’t happen. With the exception of the Ford Mustang, high performance coupes, such as the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird, had gone the way of the dinosaur anyway. Also, other high performance V8 sedans that were once coupes like the Chevrolet Impala SS and Mercury Marauder were also long gone. Seems the Charger was the only game in town if you wanted a full-size, American performance sedan.
The performance lineup of the 2006 Dodge Charger consisted of the R/T and the SRT8. The R/T displaced a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 340 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. It came mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The leviathan SRT8 had a 6.1-liter V8 with 425 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque lurking underneath its hood. It also came standard with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Dodge also offered two performance packages for the R/T. The R/T with Road/Track Performance Group package added load-leveling and height control shocks, 18-inch aluminum wheels with blacked-out pockets, and performance steering and suspension. The Daytona R/T was easy to spot with its unique front fascia that included a black honeycomb grille and chin spoiler, “Daytona” decals on the rear quarter panels, and a blacked-out Hemi decal on the hood. Both packages featured a more powerful 5.7-liter Hemi engine with 350 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque.
Back in March 2006, Motor Trend pitted the Charger SRT8 against the Pontiac GTO in a knock down, drag out fight that proved the Charger was no slouch. Even though the GTO was 0.3 seconds faster from 0 to 60 and 0.2 seconds faster in the quarter, Motor Trend seemed more impressed with the Charger’s overall road manners. The writer states “In the end, “out of place” is how we viewed the GTO in context with the Charger. While quicker than the Dodge, the Pontiac felt less refined, less civilized, and less inviting than the Charger. Given the option to drive one, whether on a short stint or a long haul, the Charger is the obvious choice–the best musclecar for the job.”
2007: Back for More
Dodge kept the momentum going for 2007 with the release of the Charger SRT8 Super Bee. The Super Bee was revealed during the 2006 New York International Auto Show. It was the first special edition Charger from Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology group. It was also the first time since 1971 the Super Bee package was available for the Charger. The Super Bee was only available in Detonator Yellow and featured a black hood and decklid face along with Super Bee logos on the rear quarters. The interior featured contrasting yellow stitching on the steering wheel, shift knob, and seats. Only 1,000 Super Bees were produced for the 2007 model year.
The Super Bee was powered by a 6.1-liter Hemi V8 with 425 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick was standard equipment and was the only transmission available in the Super Bee. Dodge claimed a 0 to 60 time in the low five second range and a 0 to 100 to 0 time in under 17 seconds. Even today, those times are still pretty impressive.
2008: Not the Only Game in Town
The Dodge Charger lineup was still going strong in 2008. Dodge refreshed the interior by adding soft-touch materials on the door trim, armrests, and center console. The instrument panel, instrument cluster, and center console were also redesigned for 2008.
The performance lineup consisted of the R/T and SRT8. The R/T Daytona, R/T with Road/Track Performance Group, and SRT8 Super Bee packages were also still available. For 2008, the SRT8 Super Bee came decked out in a B5 Blue paint scheme. It was still limited to a production run of only 1,000 units. The R/T Daytona also had a limited run of 1,750 cars painted in Hemi Orange.
You knew it was bound to happen. Just when you think you’re the only game in town, a contender steps up and challenges the reigning champion. The 2008 Pontiac G8 GT was essentially a Holden Commodore from GM’s Australian subsidiary. This party crasher came equipped with a 6.0-liter V8 producing 361 horsepower and 385 lb.-ft. of torque. Of course, comparisons between the two would be made. The Dodge Charger and Pontiac GTO were at odds during the classic muscle car era and that grudge continues into the 2000s. Some things never change.
Motor Trend pitted these two combatants against one another back in early 2008. The Charger went from 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds where the G8 took 5.3 seconds. In the quarter mile shootout, the Charger ran the distance in 14.1 seconds and the G8 covered this distance in 13.8 seconds. The Charger may have been a bit slower but consider this. The Charger was almost 50 pounds heavier than the G8 and the G8 had 21 more horsepower than the Charger.
2009: More Power
2009 sees the R/T get a boost in horsepower. The 5.7-liter Hemi produces 368 horsepower and 395 lb.-ft. of torque, up from 340 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. This bump in horsepower is courtesy of a new variable valve timing system.
The 2009 Charger sports a new taillamp design that features recessed circular cutouts reminiscent of the 1968 Charger. The SRT8 also gets new standard amenities including dual-zone temperature settings, remote start, and heated front seats.
The R/T Daytona and SRT8 Super Bee take a bow and ride off into the sunset after the model year is over. As in previous years, Dodge created a limited number of these in special colors. Only 475 R/T Daytonas were produced in Stone White and a mere 425 SRT8 Super Bees left the factory in Hemi Orange.
2010: Generations End
With the R/T Daytona and the SRT8 Super Bee absent from the Charger lineup, a bit of pizazz was missing from the Charger lineup. However, that didn’t mean performance suffered. The SRT8 was still capable of running from 0 to 60 in the low five second range, sprinting the quarter mile in under 14 seconds, and could go from 0 to 100 to 0 in under 17 seconds.
2010 closed out the sixth generation Charger. Was the new Charger worth the two decade wait? We think so. Even though it returned as a sedan, looking back, that was not necessarily a bad thing. The sixth generation Dodge Charger brought back some excitement that had been missing from the Dodge lineup for some time. With V8 power and rear-wheel drive, the Charger was one of the few American performance sedans left with some bravado. It’s hard to believe ten years has passed since this generation ended.