Base V6 and optional 5.7- and 6.4-liter V8 engines return, the latter with a bit more power; Mostly new 6.2-liter supercharged V8 for the Hellcat makes 707 horsepower and pushes the car to a claimed 199 mph; Eight-speed automatic replaces the previous five-speed unit while a six-speed manual is still available.
Detroit’s Big Three automakers have rediscovered the good old days of tire-smoking performance and the Dodge Challenger is a prime example. For 2015, Dodge is relying on heritage (specifically the 1971 model) in introducing a refreshed model with numerous technical and content improvements. Externally, there’s a new hood and nose, while more prominent rear quarter panels, a split-taillight design and integrated exhaust outlets are evident in back. The interior gets new retro-influenced seat coverings plus a heated and ventilated leather-covered sport seat option. The dashboard, gauges, steering wheel and 8.4-inch touch-screen/backup camera are also new, as is the “high sill” floor console reminiscent of those found on Challengers of old. Although the base 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 and 375-horsepower 5.7-liter “Hemi” V8 (standard on R/T trims) return unaltered, the output of the 6.4-liter V8 has been increased to 485 from 470 horses. This engine, a Challenger SRT mainstay, is also fundamental to the new R/T Scatback and 392 Hemi Scatback Shaker (referring to the engine-mounted hood scoop) models. The new top-of-the-heap engine, which is exclusive to the limited-production Challenger SRT Hellcat, is a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 rated at 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. That of course bests the 662-horsepower Mustang GT500 and the 580-horsepower Camaro ZL-1. An eight-speed automatic transmission (replacing the previous six-speed unit) is now standard in V6 Challengers, and optional on all V8s, which come standard with a six-speed manual. Challenger pricing begins at $28,000 for the base model, including destination charges, but you’ll need to more than double that payout (to $61,000) for the SRT Hellcat.