Five-Point Inspection: 2015 Dodge Charger SRT 392

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

For 2015 the Dodge Charger erupted onto the scene with a controversial new look that was quickly forgotten once the powertrain options were announced.

That’ll happen when a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 making 707 HP is sitting on the spec sheet.

Easily the most powerful full-size family sedan on the market today, there is another power-crazy Charger that has been forced into the shadows by the Hellcat: the SRT 392. With a large, meaty V8 of its own, the SRT 392 is no slouch and offers great performance at a lower price.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat Review

That raises a question: Is the 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat really necessary? Or is the Charger SRT 392 the better performance buy with all things considered?

The looks of the two SRT models are fairly similar. They both feature rounded exhaust tips instead of the Charger’s usual rectangular muffler outlets thanks to the SRT performance exhaust system. The wheels are similar, both measuring 20 X 9.5 inches, but the finishes between the SRT 392 and the Hellcat are different.

Other than differing fender badges to distinguish between the Hellcat and the SRT 392, the only other real exterior difference comes on the hood. All SRTs have a large cold air intake centered on the hood, but the Hellcat is the only model to also feature a pair of heat extractors on either side.

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (shown in Ruby Red Alcantara suede/black leather) - passenger door view

The SRT 392 features the same interior design elements found on the Hellcat. That means it gets a three-spoke, flat-bottom steering wheel, a seven-inch digital screen between the main gauges and an 8.4-inch touchscreen. The seats are finished in leather with Alcantara accents in a choice of colors.

Like all 2015 Dodge Chargers, space inside the SRT 392 is surprisingly tight for front seat passengers as anyone over six-feet tall may have headroom issues if the optional sunroof is equipped. Other than that, comfort is good and four full-size adults and their luggage can easily fit in the SRT 392.

All the handling hardware is shared between the two SRT models. That means the SRT 392 includes the three stage adjustable dampers, large 15.4-inch front brake rotors squeezed by six-piston Brembo calipers and wide Pirelli P Zero tires measuring 275/40R20 in width. Unlike the Hellcat though, the SRT 392 Pirellis do not come with Y-Plus speed ratings.

Like I’ve found in the Hellcat, tire grip is surprisingly good for such a heavy car. Since there is no supercharger or intercooler hardware, the SRT 392 weighs less than the Hellcat at 4,410 lbs. That’s a 165 lbs. weight savings, most of which comes at the front end of the vehicle. This improves weight distribution for the SRT 392 to 54/46 front/rear compared to the Hellcat’s 56/44. Better still, the steering in the SRT 392 is customizable through three settings unlike the Hellcat.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Dodge Charger SXT AWD Review

On the track, I didn’t notice a huge difference between how the Hellcat and SRT handled corners. But with less power being sent to the rear wheels, I didn’t have to be as cautious with throttle application when exiting as I did with the Hellcat monster. The rear end can still be hung out, but it’s much easier to control. The SRT 392 is more Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in how it can be a sedate cruiser or raucous animal. The Hellcat is a beast almost all the time.

Power for the 2015 Charger SRT 392 comes from a 6.4-liter V8. Power is up this year by 15 hp to 485 while torque jumps 5 lb-ft to 475. These numbers may seem low compared to the Hellcat, but the SRT 392 still has more power than the Chevrolet SS or Ford Taurus SHO. Heck, it’s even more powerful than the BMW 550i or the Mercedes-Benz E 550.

Power is sent to the rear-wheels through a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission that isn’t quite as heavy duty as the unit found in the Hellcat, but still robust enough for duty in the 392. Fuel economy isn’t completely tragic thanks to the eight-speed automatic, with ratings pegged at 15 MPG city and 25 MPG highway.

SEE ALSO: 2013 Dodge Charger Review

The performance SRT exhaust lets the big HEMI V8 sing properly and it sounds great under hard acceleration, much like the Hellcat minus the supercharger whine. There is a bit of a drone on the highway, but will anyone buying an SRT model not want full exhaust sound at all times?

Getting 707 hp for under $65,000 is a tremendous deal. But if for a second we aren’t all blinded by horsepower figures, the SRT 392 makes a good case for being an even better performance bargain. Costing just $48,380 after destination charges, the SRT 392 is over $16,600 cheaper than the Hellcat.

That price nets all the looks, comfort, technology and chassis performance of its angrier sibling. The only real differences are a few cosmetic tweaks, the fabled red key and of course the supercharged V8 engine. Is $16,600 too much to ask for an additional 222 HP? Yes, especially considering several aftermarket companies will gladly make up that power deficit for less cash.

What $16,600 may be worth though are the bragging rights of owning the most powerful production sedan ever sold in North America. But not for me; I’d rather keep the money and stick with the wholly capable 2015 Dodge Charger SRT 392.

GALLERY: 2015 Dodge Charger SRT 392

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Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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2 of 3 comments
  • Johnls39 . Johnls39 . on Nov 19, 2014

    I am not a big Charger fan but I will pick the SRT over the Hellcat. The reason is because there are not much difference between handling between the two. SRT makes more sense than the Hellcat IMO.

  • XIRONFISTx XIRONFISTx on Dec 07, 2014

    What kind of IDIOT makes a living writing about cars and asks a question about whether a car with 707 HP is necessary? OF COURSE IT IS NECESSARY!