2013 Dodge Charger Bad to the Bone>

How many times can a starlet reinvent herself? Depends on how much plastic surgery she has, and if the public is willing to give her a second, third, or fourth chance. It’s happened before, and if it works for humans, why not for cars? In this case, we’re talking about the Dodge Charger, which started its life almost a half century ago as a concept vehicle in 1964. The first production version came along in 1966 as a fastback muscle car intended to be the leader of the “Dodge Rebellion.” It offered four engines, all V8s, including a massive 426 Street HEMI that appeared six months into its model life.

The Charger also played among racing’s elite in NASCAR, winning the grand national championship with 14 first-place finishes and David Pearson behind the wheel. The Charger also made a name for itself over the year as the star of The Dukes of Hazzard TV show from 1979 to 1985. By 1971, the Charger was in its third generation, and its powerful engines slowly disappeared due to the energy crisis. By the time the fourth-generation version appeared, it was no longer the massive muscle car, but a bloated, oversized vehicle based on the Chrysler Cordoba. (This is also the same history that many actresses tend to follow.)

By 1978, the Charger was dead.

Fast forward to 2006, and the Charger reappears, with rear-wheel drive, a V8 HEMI engine option and four doors where the original had two. It had heritage design, and for the most part was accepted by the crowd.

Another leap forward seven years, and we’re looking at the 2013 Dodge Charger, redesigned in 2011, retaining its heritage design but more refined and aerodynamic. For 2013, the Dodge Charger has come full circle, with the muscle car performance in ride, handing, and power reminiscent of the original 1966 version.

The 2013 Dodge Charger features best-in-class fuel economy at 31 mpg highway, an 8-speed automatic transmission, a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive, and UConnect infotainment system that is second to none in speed, ease of use, and usefulness.

There are seven trim levels, which might be a bit daunting to decipher, but just think mild to wild. The SE gives you the looks, the low price, and the fuel economy you want in an everyday commuter. The top-end Charger R/T Road & Track model is for those who want to look mean and be able to throw it around a road course with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that makes 370 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

The Charger isn’t just for performance enthusiasts. If you like the mean exterior looks, but want to be comfortably ensconced inside, the SXT is the trim level that will make you happiest. It comes with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, automatic dual-zone climate controls, Alpine audio system, 12-way power front heated seats, and more.

For the full boat, performance and luxury, the R/T Max has it all. Pricing also ranges from an affordable $25, 995 up to the R/T Max at $36,495.

While this may sound like a crazy lineup, we’re not done yet. That movie star we talked about earlier? She’s not only reinvented herself, she’s gone a little mad in the process…same with the Charger. How about an SRT8 model and even and SRT Super Bee version? The SRT8 is the epitome of performance, with a base price of $45,995 and the infamous 6.4-liter HEMI V8 that makes a whopping 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. It’s not for the weak or inexperienced driver, but it will be rewarding to drive if you know what you’re doing.

Whether it’s stars or cars, it’s hard to live up to legendary status. It takes constant work, rework, reinvention, and passion. We’re not saying the Dodge Charger is Liza Minnelli, but they both have come a long way in their lives, and seem to offer more for us to enjoy every year.

Editors Choice Features for the 2013 Dodge Charger:

Best-in-class fuel economy

Cold-air induction system

Sport-tuned exhaust on 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine raised output to 300 horsepower

Smokin Hot new paint colors Billet Silver Metallic Clear Coat, Copperhead Pearl Coat, Granite Crystal Pearl Coat, Jazz Blue Pearl Coat and Phantom Black Tri-Coat

Written by: BJ Killeen HerHighway Contributor, Owner Team Killeen and Road-Test Editor Drivers Talk Radio and Editor Christina Selter