There are times when reality bites. Having a Viper is great, but you can carry only one passenger and very little gear. And you simply can't tow anything. What's a hot-blooded performance freak to do?

Until 2003, there were two choices: the Ford Lightning, with 380 supercharged V-8 horsepower and styling that screamed attitude (leader of the category since its launch in 1993), and the new-for-2003 Silverado SS, with full-time all-wheel drive and a 345-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-8. Last year, however, Dodge made it a threesome with the introduction of its Ram SRT-10 regular cab. With 500 horsepower and surprisingly good handling, it quickly snapped heads and brought new attention to the Ram line. Not to mention that it holds the "Guinness Book of World Records" run as the fastest production pickup truck in the world.

There have been no shots fired back at the SRT-10 since, and it looks like a new Lightning has been shelved for a few years. But that doesn't mean Dodge is willing to sit back and relax. For 2005, the Ram SRT-10 line has expanded--literally and figuratively--to include a Quad Cab model SRT-10 Ram. Unique features include a 20-inch-longer wheelbase and overall length increased by 16.1 inches; meaning, where two fit in the regular cab, now a family of four fits comfortably. In addition, while the regular cab comes only with the T-56 six-speed manual transmission, the Quad Cab's standard tranny is a 48RE four-speed automatic. Why the change? Dodge tells us the regular cab was designed for those interested in pure performance; the Quad Cab is for those who want their performance truck to, well, function as a truck. The SRT-10 Quad Cab can be equipped with a trailer hitch, unlike the first model, to pull up to 7500 pounds. Also helping the truck's towing ability are a transmission cooler and heavy-duty torque converter.

For those who've spent time in a Ram 1500, amenities are what you'd expect, plus a few unique accents. SRT touches include whiteface SRT gauges and special embroidery on the headrests of the heavily bolstered race-inspired seats. In addition, brushed-aluminum accents are on the doors and center stack and power adjustable pedals are aluminum. Exterior cues, like on the regular cab, include the hood scoop, dual exhaust tips, SRT badging, and a rear wing, mounted to the bed side rails. An aluminum tonneau cover comes standard on the Quad Cab and is a new option for regular cab models.

It's nice Dodge put the effort into making an SRT-10 Ram able to tow and hold more people, but performance is what this truck should be about. The extra wheelbase, two doors, and trailer hitch adding just over 350 pounds should translate into different driving dynamics and test-track times. And, of course, it would be impossible for this truck to get identical performance times as the regular cab. But the numbers are closer than you may think. The Quad Cab automatic is 0.4 second slower to 60 (it gets there in 5.3 seconds) and does the quarter mile at 103 mph, where the shorter six-speed manual pickup does it in 107. Braking is nearly identical.

On the road, the Quad Cab is civilized. Feel like cruising around town? This truck can lope along at a comfortably conservative pace without the typical performance-truck tradeoffs. Need to step things up? The truck will happily meet the spirited demands of your right foot, and, yes, it's possible to get the tires loose without much effort. Steering and handling are probably the biggest surprise, as Dodge engineers spent most of their time matching the steering ratios and shock tuning with the best overall performance feel. The Ram is surprisingly easy to live with. The only downside was chassis shudder on a local freeway with inappropriately spaced expansion joints.

On the surface, the combination of Viper power and a Quad Cab's interior volume may seem a waste, but Dodge recognized the shortcomings and addressed them without detracting from the spirit of the original (and it didn't hurt that it didn't have to create a platform from scratch to do it). What other manufacturer offers a choice of transmissions and cab styles in its high-performance truck lineup? None, actually.

And, if you think this will be the only four-door high-horsepower truck out there for a while, think again. For 2007, Ford just announced it's hoping to have the SVT Sport Trac Adrenalin (see story in this issue), a 390-horsepower SUT. Looks like the competition's heating up yet again.

2005 Dodge Ram SRT-10 Quad Cab
General
Location of final assembly Saltillo, Mexico
Body style Four-door pickup
EPA size class Light truck
Drivetrain layout Front engine, RWD
Airbags Dual front, side
Powertrain
Engine type 90o V-10, all aluminum
Bore x stroke, in 4.03 x 3.96
Displacement, ci/L 505/8.3
Compression ratio 9.6:1
Valve gear OHV, 2 valves/cyl
Fuel induction Sequential multiport
SAE horsepower, hp @ rpm 500 @ 5600
SAE torque, lb-ft @ rpm 525 @ 4200
Transmission type 48RE 4-speed automatic
1st 2.45:1
2nd 1.45:1
3rd 1.00:1
4th 0.69:1
Reverse 2.20:1
Axle ratio 4.56:1
Final-drive ratio 3.15:1
Rpm @ 60 mph 1900
Recommended fuel Premium unleaded
Dimensions/Capacities
Wheelbase, in 140.5
Length, in 227.7
Width, in 79.9
Height, in 74.7
Track, f/r, in 68.0/67.4
Headroom, f/r, in 40.8/40.8
Legroom, f/r, in 41.0/41.0
Shoulder room, f/r, in 67.0/67.0
Total interior volume, cu ft 121.1
Ground clearance, in 7.4
Approach/departure angle, deg 16.5/25.0
Load lift height, in 33.7
Bed size LxWxD, in 75.9x66.4x20.2
Base curb weight, lb 5572
Payload capacity, lb 1150
GVWR, lb 6700
GCWR, lb 14,200
Towing capacity, lb 7500
Fuel capacity, gal 26.0
Chassis
Suspension, f/r IFS, double A-arm, coil springs/live axle, leaf springs
Steering type HD rack-and-pinion
Ratio 15.4:1
Turns, lock to lock 3.0
Turning circle, ft 45.7
Brakes, f/r 15.0-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc, 4WABS
Wheels 22x10.0-in polished forged aluminum
Tires 305/40ZR22 Pirelli Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico
Load/speed rating 114W
Performance
Acceleration, sec
0-30 2.1
0-40 2.9
0-50 4.0
0-60 5.3
0-70 6.7
0-80 8.8
0-90 11.0
0-100 13.4
Quarter-mile, sec @ mph 13.7 @ 102.9
Braking, 60-0, ft 125
Lateral acceleration, g 0.81
Speed through 600-ft slalom, mph 60.3
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy, mpg 9/12
Price
Base price $50,000
Price as tested $50,095

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