Think of it as a Charger on steroids.

Start with the modern day rear-wheel drive Charger, add a 425 horsepower HEMI V-8 engine and a heavy dash of the division’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) DNA and the result is the Charger SRT8.

Before you ask:

• 0-60 mph in 5 seconds

• 1/4-mile in 14 seconds

• 60-0 braking in 110 feet

• 0-100-0 mph in 17 seconds.

While the Charger SRT8 is designed and built to be a performance machine, I was even more impressed by its ability to handle normal driving conditions.

I knew when they handed me the keys this was a fast car. I expected a machine that was well suited for the racetrack and capable of blowing the seat covers off the car next to me at the red light.

The thing is, I (like most people who purchase and drive cars) spend very little time driving around a racetrack.

Most of our driving is done on city streets and on the highway going back and forth to work and running errands — commutes that are often fraught with heavy traffic and neighborhood speed zones.

I was concerned that a machine of this caliber would require a lot of work to keep all those horses under the hood reined in.

That wasn’t the case at all.

While the 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 was more than ready to deliver all the necessary torque at my command, the Charger SRT8 is also a very well mannered, “street capable” sedan that can handle everyday driving tasks.

Requiring premium unleaded fuel and with an EPA fuel economy average of 14 mpg city, 20 mph highway, it’s not exactly practical, but it’s certainly more than capable (and a heck of a lot of fun) for those wanting to add a little muscle to the commute.

Mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with performance-tuned Auto Stick driver-interactive manual control, the five-passenger Charger SRT8 rides on 20-inch tires and features an SRT tuned suspension system with gas-charged dampers, anti-sway bars and Brembo brakes that make this car slice through the corners with both ease and grace.

In addition to the HEMI and SRT performance features, naturally, Dodge has added a number of special appearance features. Some are more than cosmetic, such as the front fascia, which integrates ducts that help direct fresh air to cool the brakes and an air dam to reduce lift. There is also a hood scoop to funnel cool air into the engine compartment.

There are a number of race-inspired interior appointments, including the power-adjustable, highly bolstered sports seats to hold occupants during maneuvering.

The instrumentation even includes a 180 mph speedometer.

And no, since all my driving took place on regular roads, I did observe the posted speed limits and never came anywhere near “topping it out.”

But being the traditionalist that I am, I was pleased to see the Charger SRT8 is available in a “Super Bee” special edition appearance package.

With a base price starting around $34,000, the Charger SRT8 is an awesome ride.

Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 15 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. Comments may be sent to Neal at