2013 Dodge Charger Daytona review: It’s got your number

2013 Dodge Charger Daytona

2013 Dodge Charger Daytona

If words have meaning—a popular phrase these days—then numbers do too. In this case, the number in question is 0778/2,500. The answer is not, as your math teacher might suggest, 0.3116… Instead it’s value added, if not for some future car collector, for the Mopar fan when he (or she) at a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth event.

In this case it refers to a limited edition 2013 Dodge Charger Daytona. With a twenty-five hundren unit production run, we don’t expect to see a big bump in dollar value until the time that enough have succumbed to the ravages of time and driver temperance. And even then…

2013 Dodge Charger Daytona

2013 Dodge Charger Daytona (click to enlarge)

No, instead we will see fellow Dodge Charger Daytona owners sidling up to other Charger Daytonas and comparing serial numbers. In our case, that’s 0778. For better or worse, that’s the press loan vehicle, for whatever provenance that may add after the p.r. department at Chrysler sells it off.

The 2013 is more than just a limited edition dash plaque, of course. Dodge starts with a Dodge Charger R/T or Charger R/T Road & Track, then on the outside adds unique hood stripes, roof wrap and R/T spoiler all in Satin Black, plus 20-inch polished aluminum wheels with Gloss Black pockets on the outside. Charger Daytonas are also limited to four colors, Daytona Blue, Bright White, Billet Silver or Pitch Black.

Inside trim changes include, on the Charger R/T Road & Track, unique black performance Nappa leather and suede seats, heated and ventilated, with Daytona Blue stitching and piping. Similarly, the Daytona on the R/T with the Daytona package gets the same look but with a custom sport cloth seat. With either seat, “DAYTONA” is embroidered in blue into the upper front seat backs.

2013 Dodge Charger Daytona hood

Matte black panels on the hood of the 2013 Dodge Charger Daytona are subtle. (click to enlarge)

Special dark brushed aluminum trim is used around the cabin, and a Mopar bright pedal kit is standard. A 552-watt 10-speaker Beats Audio System is also standard.

Don’t expect extra power, however. Whether with the 2013 Dodge Charger R/T or R/T Road & Tack, the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 produces no more than 370 horsepower. Right, only.  That’s probably enough for most and certainly as much as one really needs (although not perhaps wants) from a performance family sedan. Not enough? Sign up for the Charger SRT8, the four-door version of the 2014 Dodge Challenger SRT8 we recently tested.

A five-speed automatic is the only transmission available with the 5.7-liter V-8. We know, a five-speed sounds so primitive. After all, the V-6-powered Charger comes with an eight-speed automatic. At least the five-speed comes with paddle-shifting, with the shifts quick and firm. The transmission will shift up at redline even in manual mode. Our suggestion is to allow the transmission to shift up on its own when accelerating. The gearbox knows the redline better than you do.

2013 Dodge Charger Daytona interior

Leather with suede inserts are part of the Road & Track trim 2013 Dodge Charger Daytona. (click to enlarge)

The suspension is the usual short-long arm front and multilink rear suspension, though performance-tuned, like other R/T and R/T Road & Track trim models, differently from the V-6 models. The Dodge Charger, however, is a big car in the tradition of American four-door sedans. That translates as a roomy interior but it also means corner carving on winding backroads is constrained by the Charger’s dimensions rather than its handling competence. And competence it has. Our test Charger Daytona was equipped with the optional Super Track Pack, which includes sport steering, sport suspension, three-season performance tires and a three-mode stability control system.

We’re still not very sure who Dr. Beats is or why is audio is so great, as in the 2013 Chrysler 300 Motown recently tested, but whatever he’s dealing out, the Hemi beats him hands down. And it’s not loud exhaust. No doubt the noise control that filters out the road noise also cancels the sounds from the dual exhaust. But the clean mechanical sound of a crafted assemblage of mechanical bits finds its way past the steering wheel. Yes, it’s good to accelerate, if only to listen to the band.

2013 Dodge Charger Daytona

2013 Dodge Charger Daytona (click to enlarge)

The engine comes with cylinder deactivation, and it seemed to us that mores time was spent with the engine with four cylinders working than with all eight, even at tall highway speeds. In fact, the 2013 Dodge Charger with the 5.7-liter V-8 is now rated at 16/25 mpg city/highway. That compares to 16/23 for the 2011 test car. Our mileage was 15.7 mpg for mixed driving