Car Review: 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Plus
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.
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.
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
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
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: 2013 Dodge Dart GT
After test driving a 2013 Dodge Dart GT, we were reintroduced to an all-new Dart that is a thoroughly modern vehicle that’s beautifully designed and crafted and is loaded with state-of-the-art technology. The 2013 Dodge Dart compact car is redefined performance with an agile, fun-to-drive experience, compliments of its Alfa Romeo roots and confidence not normally found in a car in this price range.
The Dodge brand dug deep into its rich nearly 100-year history to name its all-new compact car, the 2013 Dodge Dart, and is again drawing on the storied history for the newest Dodge Dart model. The aggressive design is eye-catching and smooth as silk, from the projector fog lamps to the 18-inch aluminum wheels. The header orange cleat coat paint screamed attitude on the road and garnered compliments from folks of all walks of life. Looks matter, and the Dart GT delivers with cues like unique performance front fascia with black accents and hyper black grille, black projector headlamp bezels, body-color door handles, class-exclusive integrated dual exhaust with bright exhaust tips and class-exclusive racetrack LED tail lamps.
Our 2013 Dodge Dart GT was loaded with premium standard features including perforated heated Nappa Leather seats, an 8.4-inch touchscreen and 7-inch TFT. The GT model adds standard features like unique premium Nappa perforated leather seats in black with ruby red stitching or two-tone black/ruby red, class-exclusive heated steering wheel (which was welcomed in colder Midwest weather), heated front seats, dual-zone automatic temperature control, remote start (with automatic transmission), universal garage door opener, ParkView rear backup camera, and a class-exclusive 7-inch TFT (Thin Film Transistor) reconfigurable instrument cluster display.
Other features include premium door trim panel with soft-touch upper surfaces, leather steering wheel with audio controls and speed control, accent stitching on the instrument panel, power 10-way driver seat including power lumbar support, driver and front passenger seatback pockets, overhead console with sunglass holder, front passenger in-seat storage, illuminated front cup holders, illuminated vanity mirrors, temperature and compass gauge, 12-volt auxiliary power outlet in console, speed-sensitive power locks, power windows with express one-touch up/down front windows, ambient LED interior lighting and automatic headlamps. Clearly one of the sportiest cabins in the compact segment with style you’d expect in expensive sports cars.
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Bullz-Eye hits New York City with Dodge
I traveled to New York City courtesy of Dodge to check out and drive some of their 2011 models, including the 2011 Dodge Avenger. This was my first opportunity to test drive this vehicle, and I had a red Dodge Avenger Heat V6 for the drive (see the photos above). It was a rainy spring day, but I was able to push the Avenger on some country roads outside of the city along with hitting the city streets as well. The V6 made this car fun to drive, and Dodge made a number of changes to this vehicle for the 2011 model year to improve the handling. The wet roads weren't a problem and I loved the way it handled tight corners. The result was a vehicle that matched the aggressive styling, and I think this car will be a big hit for guys looking for a sporty sedan. Check back for our full review of the Avenger in our Car Channel.
Dodge also had some Chargers for us as well. I drove the V8 R/T in the past and was very impressed with the vehicle, so I took the opportunity to drive the 2011 Charger Rally Plus with a V6 engine (see the silver Charger in the photos above). While it doesn't have the power of the V8, this V6 Charger performed very well and had plenty of power. You can save some money and get better mileage with the V6, so for many guys this might be the better option. I recommend you drive both of them and you can choose based on your own preferences, but I came away impressed with both the V8 and V6 versions of the Charger. This car handles beautifully for a full-sized sedan and it has the most aggressive styling in its class in my opinion.
On Thursday night the group hit the BroBible Alpha Experience on Manhattan's West Side. The event showcased products and brands targeting the male demo, and Dodge was one of the signature sponsors along with other brands like Microsoft, Xbox, The Art of Shaving, Under Armour, Blackbeard Rum and more. The event produced a great crowd and was capped off with a concert by The Knocks on Skylight West's rooftop. It was nice to be back in New York with a great party crowd. Fortunately the weather cooperated!
The Dodge exhibit featured an incredible Charger R/T with a black exterior and red interior. Jenn Sterger stopped to check out the vehicle and Fred Deperez, Head of Marketing for Dodge, gave her all the info on the vehicle (see the photos above). Dodge also had a slick Challenger on hand as well.
It was a great way to cap off the trip.
Photo Credit for pics 1-7: Sunny Norton (see more on BroBible's Facebook page)
In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, We are disclosing that our time, travel and accommodations have been compensated by Chrysler Corp. for our participation in the Dodge Ride & Drive. Although we have a material connection to Chrysler Corp., any publicly stated opinions of Chrysler Corp. and their products remain our own.
Posted in: Cars, On Location, Stuff to Buy
Tags: 2011 Dodge Avenger, 2011 Dodge Charger, Alpha Male Experience, BroBible, car drive events, celebrities, Chrysler, Dodge, first drive, Fred DePerez, Jenn Sterger, Jenn Sterger Dodge, Jenn Sterger slideshow, New York City, The Knocks