Dodge Charger SRT8 vs BMW M5 vs Jaguar XFR

Around 500bhp, rear-wheel drive and under 5 secs to 100 – let battle commence!

By Shahzad Sheikh

BMW M5, Dodger Charger SRT8, Jaguar XFR

BMW M5, Dodger Charger SRT8, Jaguar XFR

Feast your eyes on these images. Three colossally cool cars that are specialists in bringing the thunder. Yet these three super-saloons come from entirely different places, and arrive at the same proposition through very distinct approaches and at vastly varying prices. So why are they here, together, now?

BMW M5, Dodger Charger SRT8, Jaguar XFR

BMW M5, Dodger Charger SRT8, Jaguar XFR

An American, a Brit and a German, ranging from less than AED200k to over AED600k and so true to the national stereotypes that you could easily paint them as automotive caricatures – which is exactly what I will do in the conclusion. Oi! Don’t scroll down. Stay with me here!

BMW M5, Dodger Charger SRT8, Jaguar XFR

BMW M5, Dodger Charger SRT8, Jaguar XFR

These cars are actually direct rivals, even if the potential buyers are unlikely to be in the same league. Each is a four-door saloon with rear wheel drive through a sequential auto. All three are powered by humongous V8s putting out figures near or above the 500bhp mark, and each will get to 100kph in under 5 seconds.

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

The American

The Dodge Charger has a new suit, and we’ve already ranted and raved at some length about how much we love the subtle but significant restyle that has added elegance to the brutish block-shape and finished it off with an evocative, and now signature, ring of LED taillights – there are few cars that look better at night than this Dodge.

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

The interior too is massively improved over the out-going Charger, and whilst in this company it looks and feels cut-price, for this segment of the market it’s slightly above par. What it does have though is a bit more character than the rather dour, but certainly much more upmarket dash of the M5. They’ve reverted back to a round steering wheel centre hub for the sports steering and there’s carbon effect trim around the instrument panel.

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

What is cool are the SRT functions available in both the instrument panel ahead of the driver and on the centre-mounted information monitor which will record acceleration runs (both time and distance) as well as braking and g-forces. It even gives you a drag-strip style readout of run times. Great novelty factor, not much practical use though, and we’re not suggesting you should be using this facility on public roads of course 😉

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

Otherwise this is a big comfy, spacious saloon, that even rides very well thanks to adaptive damping. But really you’re not interested in any of that are you? You wanna know how it goes. Well, although the SRT8 bodykit and package (which includes a boot filled with wheel and tyre and thereby rendered useless) makes this car look meaner and mightier than the regular Charger, with its already substantial road-presence, starting up and revving it doesn’t seem all that different.

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

Ah, but stick it in drive and give it the beans and the thing transforms from decently docile into freakishly furious. Even with the traction control untouched, floor the pedal and you get wheelspin off the line, as 470lb ft of torque lets rip. Press the button with the little graphic depicting a car and wavy lines and it’ll be hard to keep things pointing straight. It even sounds gruntier and more movie-star like when you’re on it. Once it finds grip it lunges forward and has the highest standard top speed here today, with 282kph available (in regular guise the others are restricted to 250kph).

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

Compared to them, though it’s not quite in the same league when it comes to handling, turn-in feels sluggish and reluctant by comparison, but then this is a big heavy boat at 1977kg and direction changes would never come naturally. Having said that, keep things smooth and precise and it will carry tremendous grip through corners – 0.89g lateral force is pretty impressive.

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

Overall though, what it lacks in finesse and refinement in this company, it makes up for in spades with its honest nature, genuinely feel and charming simplicity – no multimode driver’s aids here. And all of that equates to a fun and genuinely satisfying car to drive.

The Brit

You can read my original review on this XFR here, but this car, priced almost midway between the other two, is also a perfect halfway house between them. In terms of style it’s a close run thing between this and the Charger, although where the Dodge has presence, the Jaguar has sex. It’s a smooth and slinky shape, and with the new restyled front, particularly those headlights, it’s now the car it should’ve been since the day it was launched. Not that previous XF wasn’t great-looking, but this one’s even better.

2012 Jaguar XFR

2012 Jaguar XFR

Left to its own devices, off the line it will trounce the other two cars here, even though it’s actually the slowest to 100kph (4.9 seconds quoted versus 4.8 for the Charger and 4.4 for the M5). The electrics keep everything in check so the car feels like its momentarily bogging down, before the computers confirm the grip and 510bhp and 461lb ft are transferred to the tarmac.

2012 Jaguar XFR

2012 Jaguar XFR

Dynamically it’s brilliant too, with great electronics-aided grip. My only complaint is that those same nanny systems are a bit too aggressive and abrupt at coming in and curtailing the fun. As soon as you think you’ve got a nice mini-drift on, the power is cut and the car seems to snap to attention. Turn everything off, and it turns into an hooligan that’s a bit too lairy.

Still, the ride is good and performance is solid, and it sounds the business.

2012 BMW M5

2012 BMW M5

The German

Let’s just start with the statement that this is simply the best sports saloon ever. Read my original review here.

Everything is perfectly judged, from the surprisingly compliant ride, to the feelsome hydraulic steering, the supremely stable stance of the thing, the face-rearranging performance and the reassuring braking.

2012 BMW M5

2012 BMW M5

Then there’s the extraordinary handling, superb grip – even with the ragged tyres on our test car – intuitive and unerring response, and the way it makes you forget you are hurling a luxury-spec 1870kg (lightest here) saloon car around.

2012 BMW M5

2012 BMW M5

It really is something rather special and I can’t emphasis enough how capable and dominant this car is. With 560bhp and 502lb ft of torque, hook everything up right and nothing should be able to stay with it, spec the M-pack and the speed will be derestricted to 306kph. It’ll embarrass supercars whilst delivering occupants in comfort and limo-like isolation. The build feels bullet-proof, it’s the most planted on the road, and you get a sense that it will last the longest here. It’s almost perfect.

2012 BMW M5

2012 BMW M5

Almost? Well after all this eulogising there’s a few major ifs and buts to contend with. The first is the fact that whilst this latest Five is the best looking one in a long time, and the M bodykit certainly lends it serious road presence, it doesn’t have the stand-out factor of the other two. The second is the sheer complexity of the car.

2012 BMW M5

2012 BMW M5

In a drag race, in the time that the BMW driver will have selected which tranny, steering, suspension, engine mode would be best suited, the other two have done the run, celebrated and gone down the pub for a beer, cold or warm depending on which side of the Atlantic they’re from.

And thirdly… well let’s get to the verdict for that one.

BMW M5, Dodger Charger SRT8, Jaguar XFR

BMW M5, Dodger Charger SRT8, Jaguar XFR

Verdict

I promised that I would resort to stereotyping to describe these three cars, so here goes:

The M5 is the po-faced nerd in a pristine and spotless white lab coat wearing horn-rimmed spectacles that suffers from, but doesn’t recognise, OCD and harbours an almost manic zeal for perfectionism. Devoid of emotion it will not be able to comprehend this conclusion, lodging instead a protest based on the simple fact that it cannot lose this test, because it is the best car here. Which it is. But it’s not the winner.

2012 BMW M5

2012 BMW M5

The dapper Jaguar wears stylish Saville Row, usually whilst out saving the world, wooing the best looking babe in the room with a mere twinkle of its headlight, and boasts a smug grin with a witty retort never far from its lips. It’s as brutally effective at deploying its offensive skills as it is at being the most charming, hospitable and gracious host. Plus it has the best looking interior here by far.

2012 Jaguar XFR

2012 Jaguar XFR

And as for Dodge’s Charger SRT8? Well that’s your all-American superhero – bulging muscles, loud lycra suit, booming voice, shock and awe tactics and always ending up being a bit more heavy-handed than was entirely necessary. But as its alter ego, it’s also got an incredible sense of humour, and some great stories to tell.

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

2012 Dodge Charger SRT

Whilst the BMW M5 persona will intimidate you, and the XFR will inspire you, the SRT8 is the one you want as your best mate because he’s good laugh, great company, and someone solid to have in your corner when the chips are down.

BMW M5, Dodger Charger SRT8, Jaguar XFR

BMW M5, Dodger Charger SRT8, Jaguar XFR

And if you find all this a bit too subjective – here’s a bit of objective reasoning that will you bring you back to earth with a bump. The manufacture-retail price for the Charger SRT8 is around AED160k though the local dealer wants AED188k ($51k) off you – haggle hard to get a bit off though. If that still sounds like a lot for the Charger with its 6.4-litre (‘392’ in American) HEMI V8, consider that for AED190k you will get an Audi A6 2.8 FSI V6.

Even more shockingly, this Charger will stay wheel to wheel with both the M5 and the XFR, yet is less than half the price of the AED409k ($111k) Jaguar and under a third of the cost of the AED615k ($167k) BMW. And although if you were particularly fortunate in life, it would be possible to easily justify the very likeable XFR, to spend well over half a million dirhams on the M5, you’re walking past cars like the Nissan GTR (starts from AED435k), Audi R8 (AED468k), nearly all the Porsche 911s and perhaps more eye-wateringly, a Maserati MC Stradale at AED587k.

BMW M5, Dodger Charger SRT8, Jaguar XFR

BMW M5, Dodger Charger SRT8, Jaguar XFR

Coming back to the value for money argument though, the American wins this prize fight barely having lifted its substantial fists. If you’re on a budget, it’s the one you should buy. And even if that’s still out of your budget, remember that a regular Charger R/T which is almost as cool and nearly as quick, can be had for a saving of around AED50k (read that review here).

Specs
BMW M5
Price: AED615,000 ($167,115)
Engine: 4.4-Litre V8 – 560bhp at 6000rpm, 502lb ft at 1500rpm
Performance: 0-100kph 4.4seconds, 250kph (306kph), 9.9L/100km
Transmission: seven-speed dual clutch auto, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1870kg

Jaguar XFR
Price: AED409,000 ($111,150)
Engine: 5000cc Supercharged V8, 510bhp @ 6000-6500rpm, 461lb ft @ 2500-5500rpm
Performance: 4.9secs 0-100kph, 250kph, 12.6L/100
Transmission: six-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1891kg

Dodge Charger SRT8
Price: AED188,000 ($51,087)
Engine: 6424cc (392cu in) V8, 470bhp @ 6000rpm, 470lb ft @ 4300rpm
Performance: 4.8secs 0-100kph, 287kph, 22.6L/100
Transmission: Five-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 1977kg

9 responses to “Dodge Charger SRT8 vs BMW M5 vs Jaguar XFR”

  1. Punit says:

    Link to the Charger R/T broken 🙁

    • admin says:

      [Shahzad] There’s a technical problem with that content, we’ll restore the link, as soon as it’s resolved. Many apologies for the inconvenience.

  2. Justin says:

    I actually bought the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 after reading this article. I was all set to buy a Cadillac CTS-V, instead ended up saving a 100K and buying this. No regrets, awesome car!

  3. Elephant says:

    Actually, the new Charger SRT8 pushes 605 horsepower as dyno-tested, not 470. The SRT8 engine was rated at 470 horsepower for insurance reasons, but it actually has 605.

  4. ali ahmed says:

    bmw the best car & the great car

  5. Bheki says:

    Jaguar is the best..a charming cat

  6. bmw is the great car in the world

  7. Cool says:

    I have bought the new jag xfr speed pack. I even challenged a drag race with my friend who owned a m5. It was a half mile track and on fourth gear I won

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