Car Review: 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Plus

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When Dodge brought the Challenger back to life a few years back, the passion for this car was very high. Now with a refresh for the 2015 model year, there is even more to cheer about with the 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Plus. We drove this beast for a week, and even though the Ohio weather wasn’t the best, we still had a great time behind the wheel.

EXTERIOR

Inspired by the iconic 1971 Challenger, all 2015 models take on a bold new appearance that draws on the 1971 model’s split-grille and split-tail lamp cues, updated to 2015 with four signature LED headlamp halo surrounds offset by piano black trim. Single projector-beam headlamps at each front corner light the road ahead. High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps are also available.

In profile, the 2015 Challenger’s signature muscle car proportions and large thruster rear-quarter panels stand out from the crowd, while fender and belt lines tie together at the front and rear of the car to create a sleeker appearance. Nine wheel designs are available, including an all-new forged aluminum lightweight 20-by-9-inch wheel design finished in Hyper Black II, which provides a unique anodized metallic look with a flush body-side appearance. Meatier, high-performance three-season rubber is available on the Challenger R/T Scat Pack and 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker models. The 20-inch hyper black aluminum wheels on our test model were conversation-starters alone. This car is hot!

A new, split tail-lamp design continues the historic 1971 model’s inspiration. For a modern look, the Dodge brand’s signature LED treatment creates a single ribbon of light within each lamp. A redesigned rear valance provides the 2015 Challenger with a widened, more planted appearance, while fascia-mounted exhaust tips (with the Pentastar V-6 engine) provide a high-performance finished look.

Heritage and high-impact exterior colors range from B5 Blue and Sublime Green to TorRed. Seven different stripe options give Challenger drivers the ability to get instant customization straight from the factory.

INTERIOR

Inside the 2015 Dodge Challenger is an all-new enthusiast-designed cockpit featuring world-class materials, execution and technology, also inspired by the interior of the 1971 Challenger. To highlight the muscle car’s performance abilities, the 2015 Dodge Challenger is designed with a performance cockpit that embodies the trapezoidal-themed exterior in an artistic and more organically styled way.

The Dodge Challenger’s new cleanly executed instrument panel features an aluminum-stamped driver’s bezel that establishes the driver’s cockpit. For a high-tech look, an innovative 7-inch TFT instrument cluster screen extends through the driver’s bezel and provides a customizable display. The gauge cluster features an analog speedometer and tachometer that straddle the TFT customizable instrument cluster and provide a heritage-inspired “tic-toc-tach” look with throwback radial numbering and concave shape. Additionally, the center stack neatly houses the new 5-inch and segment’s largest available 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreens.

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First Drive: 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

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We came out of Turn 9 into a long arc that seemed more like a straight-away at the Portland International Raceway and hit 105 mph before braking to enter Turn 10. We were driving the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat; well, we were actually riding with a professional driver to get a feel for what this Dodge Challenger could do in expert hands.

One thing was clear: this 1.9 mile, 12-turn asphalt and concrete road racing track really wasn’t configured for the likes of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. That is the official name for this muscle car, but look for it to be condensed to Hellcat which is a perfect fit for its personality. The car will go on sale in the third quarter.

The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat has a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that makes 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. It can be mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a bulked-up eight-speed automatic transmission capable of funneling the massive torque that the engine makes to the rear wheels and onto the pavement.

At the track, we had the eight-speed automatic. The gear box didn’t matter, though; the performance of this car rivaled that of some supercars which cost 10 to 20 times more than its $60,990 base price. Some numbers have not been finalized, like the SRT Hellcat’s zero to 60 mph time, but that is expected to be in the low three seconds.

Top speed is 199 mph, the supercharger can pump 30,000 liters of air into the engine in one minute and, wide open, that engine will gulp 1.5 gallons of gasoline every 60 seconds, draining the 19.1 gallon fuel tank in 13 minutes. But driven normally, it’s been reported that the Hellcat could get 20 mpg on the highway, though official EPA numbers had not been released at the time of the test drive.

The Hellcat engine is not simply a bump-up of the last Challenger SRT powerplant. 91 percent of its parts are new. A deep-skirt, cast-iron block with cross-bolted main bearing caps, unique aluminum alloy heads with hemispherical combustion chambers and a screw-type IHI supercharger are at its core.

Dodge has managed to corral the Challenger Hellcat’s power when needed. First, the car will come with a pair of key FOBs – one red, the other black. The red one releases all of the car’s oomph, but the black one will hold output to 500 horsepower.

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First Drive: 2015 Dodge Challenger

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We came to the City of Roses to test drive the 2015 Dodge Challenger. But that was really a misnomer. Yes, we drove the Challenger — well, three of them — but the real news here was brand expansion rooted in horsepower. Dodge wants to reassert its heritage as a mainstream performance brand, and with the 2015 Dodge Challenger, it takes a big step in that direction by offering a product for just about every power niche when the new Challenger goes on sale in the third quarter.

Dodge offers a literal avalanche of variants. When the new Challenger goes on sale in the third quarter, trim lines will include the SXT, SXT Plus, RT and RT Plus, RT Shaker, RT Plus Shaker, Scat Pack and 392 Hemi Scat Pack. The variants are so numerous they rival the powertrains on pickup trucks.

But at the heart of this Dodge Challenger product assault are the engines, and all four of them get no less than 300 horsepower each. This menu of muscle cars is topped by the 707 horsepower 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat. It is in a class by itself, and we’ll deal with that particular model in greater detail later this week.

Power for the lineup starts with a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque; this is the lone Challenger engine that has only one transmission, an eight-speed automatic. Then there is the 5.7-liter V8 HEMI that makes 372 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, but that output is when it is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. With a six-speed manual gearbox, the horsepower is bumped up to 375 with 410 pound-feet of torque. That incremental uptick in power makes a difference to a true enthusiast. This engine has a cylinder shut off system for fuel savings when it is mated to the eight-speed automatic transmission. It has an EPA rating of 16 mpg in city driving and a respectable 25 mpg on the highway.

The 6.4-liter HEMI developed by Dodge’s Street and Racing Technology Team (SRT) was more direct. With an eight-speed automatic or the six manual, this engine made 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. We secured a 2015 Dodge Challenger 6.4L HEMI Scat Pack for the drive on historic U.S. 30 to the Crown Point Vista. It is the first purposely built scenic highway in the U.S., and the section we were on cut through the heavy foliage of the Columbia River Gorge. It was a winding, tight-turn, two-lane highway with tree-formed canopies and speed limits of 25 or 30 mph along this section. In other words, it was no place to unloose a car with almost 500 horsepower.

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Car Review: 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker

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Dodge is really serious about steering the Challenger into the front row of the muscle car race in North America with the 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker. You have to give it to Dodge, as they really know how to connect with their customers, and the new R/T Shaker is a perfect example of that connection. We drove a brand new model for a week and were blown away by so many aspects of this sweet American dream car.

EXTERIOR

The header orange clear coat exterior paint, Shaker graphics and racing stripes are electric attention grabbers wherever you drive this car! For a dynamically striking look, the new Shaker-style Satin Black hood, roof and deck-lid stripe graphics visually translate this Dodge Challenger model’s name, while a Satin Black deck-lid spoiler provides the added downforce needed for 155 mph max-speed runs. For contrast, a body-color grille surround and Gloss Black fuel-filler door were added, while all-new 20 x 8-inch polished-face aluminum wheels with black pockets and a satin matte clear coat feature a sculptured five-spoke design. For added detail, “Shaker” badges flank both sides of the hood scoop, while “HEMI” fender badges and a new “Challenger” grille badge in classic script completes the iconic exterior. Those 20 x 8 inch wheels give an already confident car about as much attitude as you can fit into one car. From just about every angle, the 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker will draw you in with throwback design that has longevity.

INTERIOR

You can feel your adrenaline pumping from the time you enter the cabin, and with the added Shaker touches, there is no doubt that this car is special. The new Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker features a unique three-spoke, flat-bottom, leather-wrapped performance steering wheel with black accent finish and integrated vehicle controls. Corresponding with the steering wheel is a unique “K-Black” painted instrument panel and center-console bezel for a discrete look. Matching the “Shaker” numbered dash plaque are door bolsters with graduated accent stitching that mirrors the logo’s artistic reverberation.

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Booth Babes at 2014 Chicago Auto Show

As usual, the good folks at Chrysler were the most consciencious about providing lovely eye candy to go along with their cars. We found some beautiful booth babes helping to promote some of their sexier cars, including an orange Dodge Challenger and a candy green SRT Viper. We also got to see the all-new Chrsyler 200 which looks like a great car and was promoted by a pretty brunette.

  

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