Built on the same platform with DaimlerChrysler’s 300C and Charger there was obvious for some of us that Dodge will release a doped version of the Magnum sports-tourer, also called SRT-8 (where SRT stands for “Street & Racing Technologies” and 8 represents the number of cylinders of the nasty 372 cui HEMI engine). As its other SRT-8 brothers the Magnum promises a 0-60 mph sprint in less than 5 seconds and a top speed of 170 mph. Not bad for an all family station wagon....
Thename “Magnum” was first used by Dodge for its high-performance engines in the 60s. Later on the name appeared on some of their truck motors. It got to be the name of a car only in 1978, when Dodge used the “Magnum” appellative for their sporty hard-top coupe. The Dodge Magnum is back for a couple of years as a life-style station wagon, the guys from Chrysler like to call a “sports-tourer”. But only the 2006 Dodge Magnum got back to its sporty roots with the latest addition in the range, the SRT-8.
The Magnum was intended as a station-wagon brother for Dodge’s large-size saloon, the Charger. It was first presented in 2003 as a SRT-8 model, therefore the addition of the high-end sporty version was easily to anticipate.
As all other models produced by DaimlerChrysler high performance division, the Street & Racing Technologies the new comer is a “wolf in bear clothing”. While the looks suggest a massive and quite heavy car, it’s the V8 HEMI that gets to pull some magic tricks, like hitting the quarter mile in 13.9 seconds with all the kinds, grandpa and the family pet aboard.
One of the Magnum’s extreme characteristics is the huge 120 inches wheelbase, which gets to be even bigger than that of a Cadillac Escalade. As a result of this the front wheels have been pushed forward, as in BMW limousines. If you add the cab-forward, Chrysler patented front screen layout and the descending roof-line, then we get a really noble profile. To bad that is not sustained in details, where the Magnum seems to be just a little to tensed.
Obviously the new SRT-8 will charm potential buyers with it’s versatility of mixing utility and temperament. On the practical side this car is no record setter, but still offers a lot of load space. Behind the 60/40 split folding rear seats there are 27.3 cu. ft. to be accommodated with luggage. If no rear seats are required, they can fold flat and extend the load capacity to a more than honorable 71.6 cu. ft. The carpeted compartment located under the folding boot floor, the 12-volt boot located outlet and the retractable cargo cover complete the carrier-abilities of the Magnum.
With a base price of about $45,000, the new Dodge Magnum SRT-8 is a performance bargain. It can tire smoke a Porsche Cayman while giving heart-attacks to four environmentalist passengers in the same time. The competition comes mostly from German luxury manufacturers, the Audi RS6, the Mercedes -Benz E63 AMG Sport Wagon and the highly anticipated BMW M5 Touring, being the best in this class. They are clearly more luxurious and refined than the Dodge, but they also get to cost twice as much.
In terms of design the Dodge Magnum SRT-8 sends no subtle message. The body language clearly states that the car was born to eat miles and pretty much of every thing that gets in front of it. The allure is very aggressive for a station-wagon, but Dodge intended to create by the use of a raised beltline and lowering roofline what they call a sports-tourer. That would get to be more of a life-style vehicle than the usual grandma shopping companion. A lot of improvements have been made to sustain the car’s astonishing performance potential.
The front spoiler was completely redesigned in order to reduce lift and improve engine cooling. Dedicated cooling intakes also get to feed via integrated ducts the oversized front-brakes in extensive decelerating episodes. The rear spoiler is also completely new. For the SRT-8 is lower and a lot more aggressive with wide cutouts for the dual 3.5-inch exhaust tips.
Other distinctive body elements for this model are the body-color front grille insert with chrome trim the satin-finish front and rear bumper inserts and the body-color rear mirrors and door handles. An additional individual touch is provided by the “SRT” badging.
The Magnum SRT-8 comes in three exterior colors: Bright Silver, Brilliant Black and Inferno Red Crystal Pearlcoat.
Engine & transmission
The new Street & Racing Technologies HEMI engine is a proud descendent of its predecessors. As in the entire HEMI family the combustion chambers of the engine get to be hemispherical and due to that provide a plus o power and efficiency. Visually the affiliation to the HEMI breed is proven by the orange cylinder block and the black valve covers.
An interesting thing is that the new engine gets to offer the same power as the 60s “Street HEMIs” but with a decreased displacement and therefore with a better horsepower-per-liter ratio, which goes up to 69.8. Also the 2006 SRT HEMI is a lot better in terms of fuel efficiency and emissions than its predecessor coming from the ages of cheap fuel and pollution non-awareness.
SRT division used as a starting point the elder 348 cui HEMI which has been bored out by 3.5 millimeters to reach 372 cui. In order to achieve the 85 bhp power gain the engineers also increased the compression ratio from 9.6:1 to 10.3:1, redesigned the cylinder head, the intake and exhaust systems for increased flow, and increased engine speed.
In order to increase the air intake new higher-flow cylinder heads were fitted. A specially designed intake manifold, and exhaust headers with individual tubes encased in a stainless steel shell specially designed for the 372 cui HEMI engine were also added. For a further increase in air flow Larger-diameter valves and reshaped ports in the heads were mounted to the engine. For higher-speed reving the intake manifold was designed with larger-diameter and shorter runners. The exhaust system was routed through a large-diameter (2.75-inch vs. 2.5-inch) exhaust system with 3.5-inch final chrome tips.
Further engine fine tuning was achieved by equipping performance-oriented camshaft profiles that allow more air in and out of the cylinders, as well as manage a higher engine speed. Also hollow intake/exhaust valves stems and the sodium filled exhaust valve stems help dissipate heat more efficiently. The peak power rpm of the engine was increased nearly 20 percent, to 6,000 revolutions per minute from 5,000 rpm. That may not seem much in comparison with the 9,000 peak rpm of a BMW M5, but is pretty good for an American stock car.
The increased engine speed had to be sustained by a strengthened engine. In order to achieve that several components were redesigned, including the engine block, the forged steel crankshaft, the high-strength powdered-metal connecting rods, the floating-pin pistons (cooled by oil squirters), and the oil pan modified to manage oil return to the pan sump at high engine speeds.
The HEMI’s torque is being set to ground by an A580 five-speed automatic transmission with specially calibrated driver-selectable AutoStick (a feature that offers fully automatic or manual shifting selection). Further the torque is being sent to an upgraded differential using a heavy-duty four-flange prop shaft.
engine 90 Degree Hemi V8, Twin Spark Ignition
fuel feed Multi-Port, Sequential, Electronic Injection
f suspension Short-Long Arm, Upper A-Arm, Coil Spring over Gas Shock Absorber, Stabilizer Bar
r suspension Five-Link Multi-Link, Stabilizer Bar, Shock Absorbers,
The sporty character of the Magnum SRT-8 can also be seen in its suspension set-up. Higher traveling speeds, reduced acceleration and braking times bring additional stress to the car. In order to compensate for that the car has SRT-tuned dampers, specially tailored spring rates and suspension bushings, and also large-diameter anti-sway bars. Also the ride height of the Magnum SRT-8 has been lowered with one-half inch than that of other Magnums in order to decrease the weight center. A specially tuned Electronic Stability Program (ESP) is also set to meet the Magnum SRT8’s performance handling characteristics.
A much desired ability in performance vehicles is that of fast stopping. The power required for reaching high speeds can be extremely dangerous if not doubled by an equivalent stopping power. Without the use of exotic racing technology featured on European competition vehicles (like ceramic compound disks) the braking system was generously sized and is among the best to be offered on an American stock vehicle.
The Magnum SRT-8 features performance brake calipers developed by Brembo and finished in Dodge SRT red for each wheel. Every of them are equipped with four pistons for even clamping performance. The front vented rotors size 14.2 inches and those in the rear 13.8 inches.
Thesteering system is mainly the same with that on other Magnums. It consists of a rack & pinion and has hydraulic assist.
Tires & wheels
One of the flashiest elements from the 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT-8 is the new wheel and tire assembly. They are composed of five spokes 20-inch forged aluminum wheels fitted with high-performance Goodyear F1 tires with asymmetrical tread. The low profile tires size 245/45 ZR20 in the front and 255/45 ZR20 in the rear.
The interior design of the car is clearly based on that of other Magnums with whom the SRT-8 shares most of the components. In detail the new model gets a sportier look and additional comfort accessories. The deeply sculpted sport seats in the front are finished with performance suede inserts to hold the occupants during maneuvering. They also feature a contrasting red stitching.
On the option list there are “carbon fiber” leather trim for the steering wheel and also special carbon fiber finishing for the center stack.
Dash gauges include a 180-mph speedometer, a tachometer and a thermometer, with dark numbering on a white background as requested by the sporty pedigree of the car.
Among standard features we can count the digital AM/FM radio with six-disc CD changer, the audio controls mounted on the steering wheel, the power adjustable pedal cluster and the rear cargo net.
As options are available a power sunroof, heated seats, supplemental side air bags, and the Trailer Tow Group package that offers load leveling and height control.
The interior trim for the Magnum SRT-8 is offered in Dark Slate Gray/Light Graystone.
Being produced without the use of a “traditional recipe” the 2006 Magnum SRT-8 is a “love it or hate it” type of a vehicle. By trying to mix family utility and all that muscle it reminds me somehow of “Mrs. Doubtfire”, a strong biceps nanny, able to take care of all the kids, but with no need for a self-defence course. With a very good value per money it could serve who need only one car instead of a muscle-car and more conventional station wagon.