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.

Product Review

The 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country is a do-it-all Swedish army knife

Volvo laced up its smallest station wagon in hiking clothes to create the V60 Cross Country. It's a lifted, all-wheel drive wagon that laughs at icy roads while coddling its occupants. We travel to Sweden to try it out.

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.

The hottest of all Mini hatches is coming with a Batman-approved design

The Mini John Cooper Works GP concept first seen at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show will go into production in 2020, Mini has confirmed. The John Cooper Works GP is the ultimate performance version of the Mini Cooper.

Volkswagen’s hot-rodded T-Roc R is ready to shred its tires to confetti

Volkswagen released a teaser sketch to preview a hot-rodded SUV named T-Roc R. Insiders suggest it will be closely related to the mighty Golf R, meaning it will pack a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at about 300…

Honda’s Urban EV is shaping up to be a high-tech, high-style electric city car

Honda will travel to the 2019 Geneva Auto Show to unveil a close-to-production prototype that previews an adorable, city-friendly electric car. The Urban EV will offer about 155 miles of range, and its interior is a tech lover's dream come…

Audi’s Geneva-bound Q4 E-Tron concept will give us a glimpse of the future

Audi has released a trio of teaser sketches to preview the Q4 E-Tron concept. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show, the design study takes the form of an electric SUV with a muscular design and a tech-filled interior.

Tesla’s Dog Mode lets good Samaritans know that Fido’s A-OK

Tesla's latest over-the-air software update adds two features called Sentry Mode and Dog Mode. Sentry Mode records footage and alerts the owner if someone breaks in, while Dog Mode runs the A/C so owners can safely keep their dogs in their…

Rock out in the carpool lane with Singing Machine’s Carpool Karaoke microphone

Carpool Karaoke fans can count down the days till summer. That's when Singing Machine's Carpool Karaoke microphone will be available. Connect the Carpool Karaoke Mic to your car radio to make your next road trip a mobile karaoke party.

Bentley Bentayga Speed surpasses Lamborghini Urus as world’s fastest SUV

The Bentley Bentayga Speed has wrested the title of world's fastest SUV from its cousin, the Lamborghini Urus. But the Bentley is just 1 mph faster than the Lamborghini. It requires 626 horsepower to achieve that top speed.
Emerging Tech

With CabinSense, cars will soon know who’s riding in them and respond accordingly

What if your car could know who's riding in it and customize the entertainment and safety options accordingly? That’s what's promised by the new CabinSense in-car Occupancy Monitoring System.

General Motors cycles into a new market with its first-ever ebikes

When General Motors launched a public campaign last year to name its new ebike brand, many wondered if Bikey McBikeface might win out. But it didn't. Instead, it's called Arīv, and the two bikes are up for pre-order this week.

The Polestar 2, Sweden’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, begins taking shape

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.

2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

The 2020 Kia Soul is the third generation of Kia's boxy curiosity. The Soul maintains its signature look, but gets tech and powertrain upgrades. The all-electric Soul EV returns as well.