The Dodge Charger has always made big, loud speed its reason for being. Even the simple R/T V8 runs a shouty HEMI and gets close to 5 seconds on the 60-mph sprint. Simply heroic thrust on the road. All with pricing that is a damn bargain versus any hot Camaro or Mustang, let alone anything else with a V8 and four doors. (Rare breed indeed, lately).
So now we have this Daytona edition with its Hellcat-alike bodywork and sexy black details. Atop the Daytona kit you can add a three-number code that shouts POWERRR from the heavens: the 392.
Now it is not just a rear-drive V8. But one with shredded muscles and 485HP on tap.
A machine that can create enormous mushroom-clouds of Pirelli smoke at the tap of the gas pedal.
But also has the wide-tire grip and Brembo brakes to keep the handling civil and massively fast around corners.
Is the Daytona 392 as heavenly as it looks and sounds to live with over a week?
Spoiler: hell yes.
Here we have a very exciting drive video review, 60 photos and normal section headings of Exterior, Interior, Performance and Pricing.
Sure, we all know what the Charger looks like. Spending time with one really opens your eyes to new and beautiful details, though.
The Daytona pack for 2017 and 2018 is one of the sexiest upgrades around. It swaps the front bumper and grille for a shared look with the Hellcat, along with the ram-air intake via the hood scoop. All function here – this snorkel intake force feeds the enormous cone air intake under the hood.
New rear bumper and side sill extensions complete the hardcore design makeover. It is better than any bodykit because of how seamless and intensely aggressive the Hellcat body pieces are.
Where the 392 really scores but style points are the stance and massively wide rubber all around. You can just tell even from 50 feet away that this is no R/T V8. 392 just rides so low and mean! The 275-series tires all around add needed inches of extra rubber versus the 245s on the 5.7-liter Hemi Daytonas.
And capping off all the sexieness of the 392 are the giant slotted Brembo brakes. Six pistons are enough to banish all brake fade and snap this car to a stop even faster than it will accelerate. Which is saying something! Forged 20-inch spider spoke alloys in black are subtle and timeless rollers for the Pirelli P-Zero 40ZR tires. Nice to have all-season rubber available, even though the test car wore optional $600 P-Zero summer rubber.
The only thing we miss versus the SRT392 is the SRT badge in the nose. This Daytona has a different grille badge that is slightly less intense. One last thing to note in this A-plus exterior style? The bi-xenon HIDs are optional as part of a $900 Driver Confidence Group that also brings blind spot monitors.
EXHAUST STARTUP VIDEO
The cabin of the Daytona is where some compromises exist. All the dark materials and dark headliner are slightly too somber and serious for such a hilarious car.
The 392 upgrade adds a huge dose of functionality and luxury to the cabin. The giant SRT-spec seats are suede and leather with heat/cooling functions. There are performance mods all around: bright pedals, 180MPH speedometer, and special Daytona stitching.
Even the ‘carbonite’ dash trim is unique the the Daytona. But there is just something missing in Charger’s cabin these days. The dash is so massive and tall and the dark headliner join forces to make for a pretty gloomy cabin. It is imminently functional inside and perhaps even lovable… but if Charger has one weak spot as pricing rises past $40k, it is this interior.
The least favorite cabin detail? The headrests up front are not comfortable or adjustable enough to be nice on long drives. Even while the seats huge your shoulders… lean back your neck and there is nothing there. These are active headrests that pop forward in a rear crash – which may explain their lack of much adjustment.
Beyond those gripes the Charger Daytona is stellar inside. Drive position is outstanding, the Uconnect touchscreen is extra brilliant with Performance Pages that do not come on the R/T, and the overall usability of all the tech is flawless. The tester lacked active cruise and lane-keep but we did not miss either one. The Bilstein high-performance dampers, stellar on-center steering feel and rock-solid tracking stability mean highways are a peach. Just TRY to keep it under 100-mph when passing slower traffic!
2017’s new Active Exhaust system really seems to work in upping the volume at full throttle. This standard feature on all HEMI V8s now does not use remote flaps in the exhaust… it just opens a special flap closer to the engine when at max attack.
There are some rare times, like a morning remote start, where the Charger 392 could be a little quieter.
Actually, scratch that. The incredible sonic range of this engine is almost as glorious as the 485HP it cranks out. 6.4 huge liters makes you rethink any allegiance to turbos.
As you should see, watching the HD video above of the car driven flat-out will give a lot more information and sensation than anyone can type. The Daytona 392 maintains a simply huge amount of cornering grip and top-end THRUST.
This drivetrain with 475 pound-feet simply has power for days. It’s ingear surge is almost more impressive than the effortless 0-80mph runs through the gears.
There are a few points we get mortifyingly wrong in the above video. This does.. somehow… include the name of the vehicle. Shaking my head.
- NAME: First off this is the Daytona 392 not the SRT392. There is a difference.
- SUSPENSION: The full SRT has adjustable suspension, different steering wheel (and seats?). This Daytona 392 has Bilstein Hi-Po springs that have a progressive rate change that helps firm up the car nicely.
- TIRES: 275-series tires width in front as well as the back. Helps explain why this 6.4L’s nose is so pinned down around fast bends.
Are these things critical to fawning, panting fanboy love for the Charger 392? Nope. This Daytona 392 spec just makes the important upgrades available in a cheaper package.
As you will learn when starting your Charger shopping, there are a few dozen different trim options – making this one of the most custoimizable muscle-cars you can buy.
In terms of other big brave statements? Most fun American sedan ever? Best naturally-aspirated V8 engine note in the world?
And of course easiest donut maker in existence.
The test Charger 392 stickers from $39,995 before destination charge, but includes a few juicy options on the way to its $48,275 out-the-door price.
The 392 upgrade is a cool $5k and a long list of mods (see monroney sticker photo). $595 summer tires, $895 driver confidence group and $695 for Uconnect with Nav. Car has Apple CarPlay and Androud Auto for its giant touchscreen – even witout the nav option.
Outstanding value? F yes.
But who can talk about value when the real theme is LOVE.
Charger with any HEMI is a love-fest. But most are not as perfectly judge as this. Big tire/brake kit, big motor and big speed.
2017 Charger Daytona 392 is the top way to get sideways on demand… AND flung through a road course with sticky, grippy balance. This car can do it all – and will win your heart. Guaranteed.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.