There has been so much hype about the new 470bhp 392 SRT8 and the upcoming new Charger that a lot of folks have forgotten about the fantastic 379 bhp Challenger R/T with the tasteful yet still very potent Classic package. In many ways it’s the more balanced performer and certainly a better argument over the outgoing 425 bhp 6.1 liter SRT8. The Challenger R/T still has the fuel saving MDS system intact but with the better and wider spectrum range of functionality so even if the revised 5.7 liter HEMI V8 is pumping out almost 40 bhp and 20 lb.-ft more torque than when the engine was launched in the Chrysler 300C over 6 years ago, it gets better fuel mileage. Awesome, less guilt for more fun!
Our test unit also had the newly refined Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission as part of the optional Track Pak, the same used in the Dodge Viper. With the smoother shifts, unique performance-tuned dual exhaust and under-floor mufflers with low-restriction bottle resonators; our Challenger R/T was very entertaining and surprisingly light footed too. The improved variable valve system and overall better engine tuning via an increased compression ratio, improved port flow, reduced restriction exhaust and induction, crankshaft structural upgrades, a dual-mass crankshaft damper, new floating pin piston and valve spring designs, an increased oil pump capacity have made the 5.7 liter HEMI feel, function and sound like a whole new engine. The culmination of these efforts has made the power-to-weight ratio much more efficient and the car feels dramatically different in the process with a sense of agility that wasn’t there a couple of years ago.
The standard equipment on the new 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T includes higher performance-disc brakes, quicker steering that consumes less energy too, a 3.73 rear-axle ratio combined with a 215 mm rear axle, a new LED-illuminated instrument cluster with 160 mph primary speedometer, instrument panel with mini-carbon bezel, classic chrome 5-spoke 20” wheels with summer tires, fog lamps, “R/T” grill badge, “HEMI” hood badges, special graphic body stripes and rear body-color deck-lid spoiler.
The Challenger R/T is a true American musclecar that is both amazingly versatile as well as good old fashioned fun to drive. The only problem is that it is still unnecessarily large much unlike the Ford Mustang GT which makes much more power, has a less sophisticated suspension system, yet it is more dynamic, more focused, and ultimately more rewarding to drive under every condition.
Specification – 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T Limited Edition
Engine: V8, 5654 cc, ohv 16V, HEMI VCT, 6-speed MT
Max power: 379 bhp @ 5150 rpm
Max torque: 410 lb ft @ 4300 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 5.3 sec.
Top Speed: 255 km/h (158 mph)
Fuel Mileage: 15 mpg City & 24 mpg Highway
Price as tested: US$ 37,295.00
+Loads of character, better than ever, massive fun
-New Mustang GT still a better performer
C! RATING 9.5/10