2005-2008 Dodge Magnum story: Mopar’s wonderful muscle car
Dodge was not subjected to a gun or a private investigator. The most recent use of the Magnum name has been carried over to a station wagon instead. The Magnum was not just any car, but was based on the then new Charger sedan and was sold for the 2005 to 2008 model years. So where did this station wagon go?
Dodge dropped the Magnum after 2008 for reasons that should become clear when you think about what had affected the economy this year. Previously, the Magnum sold decently in America – for a station wagon – with sales exceeding 50,000 for at least a year. Even stranger, Dodge refreshed the Magnum for 2008, which meant the updated model lived a single year before it was scrapped.
If you ask us, the Dodge Magnum suffered a premature death – can you imagine any of those things sporting a 707-horsepower Hellcat V-8, as featured in the surviving Charger sedan for 2015? So while we’re imagining what could have been, let’s take a look at how the Dodge Magnum came about – and why it’s no longer with us.
Dodge Magnum: history, engines, specifications
When the Magnum arrived for 2005, it sported a chunky, low-slung body with a deep roof and huge flared fenders. It clearly shared his angry, chonky vibe with the then-new Dodge Charger sedan, but the headlights, grille, taillights, and other key skin markings were a little different. This wasn’t just a forage wagon, at least not outwardly.
It’s worth noting that the magnum’s aggression depended heavily on the trim level chosen. Entry-level SE and SXT models sat high up on tall sidewall tires and looked a bit silly and resembled traditional American station wagons. A 2.7-liter V-6 with 190 hp was standard (along with an old-school four-speed automatic), while SXT fairings brought in a slightly larger 3.5-liter six-cylinder with 250 hp and the same four-speed. These could sit even higher if they were equipped with all-wheel drive, which is available from SXT and brings a slightly raised suspension and a Mercedes five-speed.
The R / T version brought bigger, bolder wheels and a lower stand (except of course those with the available all-wheel drive option which, like the lower fairing, also had slightly raised suspension for better clearance). Also included? A 5.7 liter Hemi V-8 engine with 340 horsepower. All Magnum R / T models have also been upgraded to the aforementioned five-speed automatic transmission and beautiful 18-inch wheels. The R / T was a cable that went from zero to 60 mph in about six seconds, not bad for something that weighed nearly two tons.
For 2006, the powerful Magnum SRT8 was finally presented, which is powered by a 425 hp 6.1-liter Hemi V-8. The SRT8 was the meanest and nastiest magnum. This Top Dog car has proven in our tests that it can reach 60 miles per hour in just 5.1 seconds – and is therefore on a par with the Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG.
Oh yeah, there were Cop Magnums that were outfitted with more powerful landing gears, just like their more common Charger counterparts. Surely the Five-Oh enjoyed the Magnum’s extra cargo space and the even angrier look.
A station wagon bred for comfort and performance
Dodge was lucky enough to develop the LX platform on which the Charger and Magnum are based – as well as Chrysler’s Challenger coupe and 300 sedan. The vehicles were developed at the end of the DaimlerChrysler partnership, so that there was a good transition between the LX architecture with rear-wheel drive and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The direct division of parts included the five-speed automatic transmission in certain Magnum models and the optional all-wheel drive.
Chrysler engineers will say that comparing the “E-Class with a Dodge badge” is exaggerated, and that while the Benz line continues today under the current Charger, Challenger, and 300, it has waned somewhat as time has continued in updates the last 16 years. But there is no denying that the Mercedes lurks beneath the Magnum and its kind. When it debuted in 2005, the Magnum was huge – the wheelbase is an incredible 120 inches! – and surprisingly sophisticated for something from the Pentastar. These have only eaten up highway miles with a certain Germanic solidity.
In addition, despite their closed roof lines, Magnums were quite roomy inside. We would like to thank the huge wheelbase and the generous external dimensions, which expand the space at the front and rear, even for taller passengers. The Magnum’s cargo space was also impossible to smell: 27 cubic feet behind the rear seats and up to 72 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. The trunk of the Charger limousine was comparatively small with only 16 cubes – good for a limousine, but no comparison to the open cargo area of the Magnum.
If the relatively affordable, giant, rear-wheel drive V-8 option had one shortcoming, it was its interior. While the car’s hardware, design, and driving experience far surpassed the early 2000s’ expectations of a Chrysler product, the cabin was anything but transcendent. Truck-like surfaces made of unadorned, mediocre plastic meet more or less at right angles to define the scales of the door panels and the dashboard. To call it uninspired would be an understatement, especially when contrasted with the extroverted outward style.
A quick update, then a rush to die
The Magnum’s formula proved convincing enough to generate around 40,000 sales annually between 2004 and 2007, an unusual feat for a station wagon in America. Even so, and a refresher that Dodge had prepared for the 2008 Magnum, the 2009 car was canceled. This introduced the weird Magnum, which was only available for a 2008 model year, as a dead car.
Most of the 2008 Magnum updates focused on the front end, where the original’s blocky, big-eyed headlights were swapped for slimmer rectangular units that framed a similarly stripped-down Dodge reticle grille. SRT8 models received a hood scoop, and new wheel designs adorned the entire product range. Dodge played with the interior lightly, but it basically stayed the same.
So what happened to the Magnum? Sales seemed fine, and there weren’t any other large American station wagons with V-8 power available. Well, Chrysler’s restructuring in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis has accelerated. Chrysler wanted to limit its business activities and focus on core models (read: profitable) – including other special balls such as the Pacifica (the big crossover thing that preceded today’s minivan of the same name), the PT Cruiser convertible and the Crossfire sports car the Magnum in the trash can. The Magnum would live on in a slightly different form than the Chrysler 300 Touring overseas, but only for a few more years.
It is difficult to suppress thoughts of what might have crossed your mind. The Charger and its two-door Challenger sibling lived on and were extensively updated a few years later. They were given ever more powerful V-6 and V-8 engine options until, in 2014, a genius within Chrysler decided to push the 707-hp supercharged 6.2-liter “Hellcat” V-8 into the large sedan and coupe. This started an escalation in the horsepower wars, and today the Charger and Challenger are available with up to 707 to 797 horsepower. Dodge also sells both in “widebody” form with pumped-out fenders. Had the Magnum survived to this day, it could also have more than 707 horsepower and possibly widebody treatment available. With the Charger sedan cable at more than 200 miles per hour, the Magnum could have been one of the fastest station wagons in the world – if not the as fast as possible.