2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee

Bumblebee butt stripes trace their origin to Dodge’s street machines of the late 1960s, and the trademark graphics still seem to possess some cachet with 21st-century gearheads, or so believe the product-planning denizens of Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) department. Witness said stripes on the new Charger SRT8 Super Bee.

The latest iteration, one of three SRT “Core” introductions at the 2013 Chicago auto show, features a helmet-clad 3D bumblebee emblem on the crosshair grille, in addition to the rear fender stripes, which now include “Powered by SRT” graphics. The 20-inch aluminum wheels are carried over from the 2012 package—we tested it last year—and the black-painted Brembo brake calipers are shared with the other new SRT offerings.

SRT mined its history books for the Super Bee’s new Hemi Orange Pearl Coat paint. The lurid Plum Crazy Pearl Coat, shared with the Dodge Challenger SRT8, also joins the palette.

The point, as with the other Core SRTs, is to offer all the performance of the regular car at a cut price. Last year, that meant deleting items like heated seats, the active exhaust, active dampers, and more to create the Super Bee. The active exhaust is included this year; the 2013 changes include a switch to cast 20-inch wheels in place of forged units, cloth upholstery with striping, a single-mode Bilstein suspension, and halogen headlamps instead of HIDs. The fog lamps of the regular SRT8 have been deleted, too.

  • Instrumented Test: 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee
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As with all non-Viper SRT models, the Charger is powered by Chrysler’s 6.4-liter Hemi V-8—470 horsepower, 470 lb-ft—with cylinder deactivation. It’s bolted to a six-speed automatic transmission with launch control. Using the computer assist, SRT forecasts 0–60 in the high-four-second range, a 175-mph top speed, and 23 mpg on the highway. We saw 4.2 seconds to 60 in our test of the 2012 Bee.

The 2013 Charger SRT8 Super Bee will be priced at $42,990 plus gas-guzzler tax when it buzzes into dealers this summer, saving three grand or so on its better-equipped stablemate.

2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee

2013 Chicago Auto Show full coverage

By Tony Swan