Although it won't go on sale until this fall, the new-gen 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 is definitely returning to the lineup following a one-year absence. Based on the new-for-2011 Charger platform, this ultimate Hemi-powered performance sedan made a preview appearance in Chicago, looking suitably menacing to say the least.

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Even at rest, the new Charger SRT8 is destined to turn heads. Its in-your-face presence starts with a bolder front fascia treatment that includes a stylized blackout version of the signature Dodge crosshair grille, prominent splitter plus a unique SRT8 hood with blackout air extractor that helps engine cooling.

The rear still carries the racetrack LED taillamps, but gains a bespoke spoiler and four-inch round dual exhaust tips. Unique body-color rocker sills and SRT8 20-inch forged and polished alloy wheels add a bit more drama while a new bellypan tidies up the underside aero and integrates special ducting to keep the oversize Brembo brakes cool.

The news just gets better when you bring the beast to life, as the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 packs a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 slated to make 465 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque -- impressive gains from the 425/420 figures of its 6.1-liter predecessor in the 2010 model. No EPA figures yet, but the standard Fuel Saver cylinder-deactivation system, active air intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing bode well both for enhanced efficiency and superior performance. Backed by the familiar five-speed AutoStick automatic transmission that gains steering-wheel-mounted paddles for 2012, the new Charger SRT8 is pegged to hit 60 mph in just under 5.0 seconds and top out at 175 mph.

As in the past, the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 gets a full sport suspension. This time, it starts with a new adaptive damping system that uses a host of real-time road and driver inputs to create optimized profiles for its selectable "Auto" and "Sport" settings. Also on board is a new hydraulic power steering setup that offers better feel and response. Rounding out the mix is a three-mode electronic stability control with segment-exclusive Ready Alert Braking and Rain Brake Support safety features.

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Inside, the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 puts a performance spin on its well-appointed cabin. Carbon-fiber-weave aluminum dash trim sets the stage along with unique door panel materials and various "SRT8" logos while a racing-inspired flat-bottom steering wheel and deeply bolstered heated/cooled sport buckets trimmed in leather with perforated suede inserts round out the look. On the comfort/convenience front, the Charger SRT8 come with Keyless Enter-N-Go, adaptive-cruise control with Forward Collision Warning and Blind-spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path Detection plus a a 900-watt/19-speaker harman/kardon premium surround sound audio system, 8.4-inch multifunction central display panel, Uconnect Touch/Uconnect Voice interfacing, and heated rear seats. One additional nice touch: The SRT8 touch screen also includes series of dedicated Performance Pages that allow the driver to monitor and evaluate a wide range engine and vehicle dynamics data.

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