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Chicago Auto Show: SRT Core models make American muscle a little more affordable

2013 SRT Core 300, Challenger, ChargerChrysler’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) performance division says it wants to make performance more affordable and less complicated, something any gearhead should approve of. To do that, SRT launched three new models, appropriately branded Core, at the Chicago Auto Show.

The 2013 Dodge Challenger Core, Chrysler 300 SRT Core, and Dodge Charger Super Bee basically pick up where last year’s Charger Super Bee and (discontinued) Challenger Yellow Jacket left off. They offer fewer amenities, but the same performance, as SRT models, all at a lower price.

The important bits remain untouched. All three models retain their 6.4-liter Hemi V8s. All three produce 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, and feature cylinder deactivation for improved fuel economy.

The Hemi is coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission in the Charger and 300. The same transmission is optional on the Challenger; drivers can shift their own gears with a standard-issue six-speed manual.

SRT says all three models will do 0 to 60 mph in the “four-second range,” with quarter mile times in the “high 12-second range.”

To keep costs down, SRT installed “Ballistic” and “Axel” cloth in place of the standard models’ leather interior trim. The 300 SRT8 Core does retain the posher version’s piano black and matte carbon trim.

Each also gets some unique visual cues, including blacked-out badging and exterior trim, special wheels, and extroverted paint colors like Plum Crazy Pearl (Challenger), Billet Silver Metallic (300), and TorRed (Charger).

The best part of the deal, though, is the Core models’ lower prices. The 300 SRT8 Core will start at $44,900, $5,000 less than a regular 300 SRT8. At $39,980, the Challenger SRT8 Core will be $5,780 less than a regular SRT8 392. The 2013 Charger Super Bee will start at $42,990, which is $4,000 less than a non-Super Bee.

While there are cheaper performance cars out there, it’s hard to argue with a $4,000 to $5,000 price reduction on a car with rear-wheel drive and a Hemi. American muscle cars are supposed to be simple and cheap, after all.

The SRT Core models will go on sale this summer.

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