Friday, February 13, 2009
Picture Mercedes Benz E550 2008
Even if it can’t quite keep up with the E63, though, the SRT8 will best most other cars in contests of speed. The Charger’s 370-cubic-inch Hemi produces 425 horsepower, enough for a 4.8-second 0-to-60 run and a top speed of 173 mph, besting the speed-limited AMG by 18 mph. Too bad there’s no American autobahn, but just in case you’ve christened your own, there are ginormous 14.2-inch Brembo brake rotors and four-piston calipers in the front to do battle with momentum.
If the SRT8 is a sharp handler, it’s because this American’s veins run with familiar German blood. Like the Chrysler 300C, it features a chassis lifted from the previous-generation E-class.
As you’d expect of an $86,125 sedan, the E63 AMG is really quite good at everything; technical director Larry Webster declared it “the best Mercedes sports sedan I've ever driven." Much of this has to do with the Benz’s techno-powerhouse 6.2-liter V-8 generating 507 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque—that’s 82 more horsepower than the SRT8 with just over 100cc more displacement. The E63’s engine alone, however, would cost 50 percent more than a Charger SRT8 if you bought a new one from your corner Mercedes shop.
You would have to be blind, deaf, without olfactory glands, and sans nerve endings to confuse the interiors of these two cars, but at least the SRT8 features seats with suede inserts to keep your butt planted during high-speed maneuvers. If you’re feeling a little self-conscious about driving a car from the same company that sells the Caliber, the SRT8’s $49,070 price advantage could buy you an aftermarket forced induction system to make up the horsepower differential, an interior upholstered with sheared beaver pelts for incomparable luxury, and all manner of chrome and billet bling to ensure proper valet placement.
All hip-hoppery aside, the Charger SRT8 blesses its user with speed, moves, and comfort far beyond its price tag. We’d drop the extra $50,000 on a down payment for a house, but if you have $86,125 to spend on a car, you probably juggle assets like we drown in debt.