By Patrick Rall
Among the big debuts at today’s start of the Chicago Auto Show is the 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Core – a special package designed to lower the price of the brawny Mopar muscle car without hindering performance. The Challenger SRT8 Core joins the other “Core” SRT models including the also-new Chrysler 300C SRT8 and the Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee.
The Dodge Challenger SRT8 is one incredible muscle car but when someone is shopping for their new American performance car, the Challenger SRT8 carries a starting price that is in the area of $10,000 more than the Ford Mustang GT Premium Coupe or the Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe. Granted, the Challenger SRT8 packs a great deal more power, tons of standard amenities and real seating for four adults but when a buyer gets down to the brass tacks – the Challenger SRT8 costs a whole lot more than the Mustang GT or Camaro SS.
The folks at the Street and Racing Technology brand have started with the standard 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 that is available in dealerships across the country right now and have removed a handful of items that add expensive (and weight) without adding any type of performance. The Challenger SRT8 Core package does not have fog lights nor does it have the expensive high tech HID production headlights. The Challenger SRT8 Core also doesn’t include stripes or the big, bold 5-spoke wheels found on the current production Challenger SRT8, instead calling upon the same 20″ wheels found on the Charger Super Bee. Inside, the standard leather seats have been removed to make room for a set of less expensive seats that still feature the same race inspired design as the current SRT8 but in place of the leather covers is the same ballistic cloth that is featured in the new 2013 SRT Viper. While adding cost, I’d bet that those leather seats weigh a little more than the leather units as well – even if only a bit more.
The only significant change in terms of performance made to the new Dodge Challenger SRT8 Core is the removal of the dual mode active damping suspension system that is standard on the non-Core Challenger SRT8. This dual mode suspension system allows for an aggressive, stiff sport suspension mode along with a gentler normal mode so that the Challenger SRT8 can offer a smooth ride under normal driving circumstances while also being ready to tackle the track with the push of a button. This system is awesome but it is costly so in an effort to cut the cost of the Core package – these specially equipped Challenger SRT8 models are fitted with a traditional suspension system featuring stiff Bilstein dampers that focus more on handling. Sure, this package may not offer the same level of creature comforts but for those who want to go fast, the new Dodge Challenger SRT8 Core package offers all of the high performance Mopar goodness that you want with a price tag that is almost $6,000 less than those models in dealerships now.
The 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Core carries a price of just $38,995 and that still includes 20″ wheels, a high end infotainment system, Brembo brakes and the 470 horsepower Hemi V8. The 2013 Ford Mustang GT Premium Coupe with the Brembo brake package and the electronics package carries an MSRP of $38,785 – and that car “only” has 420 horsepower. Thanks to the new Challenger SRT8 Core package, Mopar lovers who want to go fast can do so for almost the same price as a comparably equipped Mustang GT while having 50 more ponies tucked under the hood.
Finally, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 Core package includes two unique retro colors – Hemi Orange and Plum Crazy – along with the standard Challenger SRT8 colors already offered.