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2010 Dodge Challenger – Click above for high-res image gallery

It's no secret that Chrysler is making the most of its new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine. We've tested this mill in the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and know the automaker has plans to offer it in the forthcoming Dodge Avenger, Durango, Charger and Journey, as well as the new Chrysler 200, 300 and Town & Country. Good news all around, but what's most interesting is that the Challenger pony car will benefit from Pentastar power, meaning that the base V6 model will be better poised to compete with its cross-town rivals, the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro.

The 2011 Challenger V6 will produce 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque, gains of 55 hp and 18 lb-ft versus the 2010 model. Compare that to the Mustang with its new 305-hp 3.7-liter V6 and the Camaro with its direct-injected, 312-hp 3.6-liter six, and what we have here is quite the showdown. Now, all the Challenger needs is a slightly better interior, and we'll be in business.

See how the V6 Challenger stacks up to the Mustang and Camaro side-by-side in the table below, and follow the jump for Chrysler's official press release.

Base Price Engine Size Horsepower Torque MPG Weight
Dodge Challenger $23,245* 3.6 liters 305 @ 6350 268 @ 4800 N/A*** 3819 lb
Chevy Camaro $22,680** 3.6 liters 312 @ 6400 278 @ 5200 17 / 28 3741 lb
Ford Mustang $22,145** 3.7 liters 305 @ 6500 280 @ 4250 19 / 31 3453 lb
* 2010 model pricing ** Plus destination *** Not yet rated

[Source: Chrysler]
Show full PR text
Pentastar V-6 Set to Roll Out Across Broad Range of New Chrysler Vehicles

* New Pentastar is slated to be available across 13 vehicles, including trucks and sport utilities, by 2013
* Significant cost savings realized with shift from seven engines to one V-6 engine
* 2011 V-6 Challenger boosted 55 horsepower to 305 horsepower with new Pentastar V-6
* Introduced in 2011 Jeep® Grand Cherokee, new V-6 engine will soon be available in new Chrysler Town & Country, 300 and 200, and Dodge Charger, Avenger, Durango and Journey
* Designed for a range of specific applications, horsepower and torque are tuned for specific models
* Fuel efficiency improvement will average up to 7 percent across the model range.

October 21, 2010 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Improved fuel efficiency, more power and reduced emissions, all hallmarks of the new Pentastar V-6 engine, will soon be available across 13 models from Chrysler Group LLC.

The Pentastar V-6, the most advanced six cylinder engine ever produced by Chrysler Powertrain group, is slated to be the 'workhorse' engine across many models and will eventually replace seven different V-6 engines over the next three years. By 2014, the new V-6 is expected to account for more than a third of the powertrains in the vehicle line-up and substantially contribute to an overall corporate fuel efficiency improvement of more than 25 percent.

"The Pentastar engine is suited to meet the requirements for a full range of vehicle applications in terms of power and fuel efficiency including passenger cars, mini-vans and sport utilities," explained Bob Lee, vice president of engine engineering for Chrysler Group LLC. "It has been designed for today and many years to come. Already, we are looking forward to adapting future technologies as they become available to the Pentastar V-6 for even more fuel efficiency and performance."

Compact and lightweight, Pentastar V-6 will be used in front-, rear- and all-wheel-drive models. Already standard on the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, the V-6 will gradually phase out seven V6 legacy engines ranging from 2.7 – liters, up to 4.0 – liters in the current product portfolio. Overall, the new Pentastar will enable Chrysler Powertrain to reduce major engine components from 189 parts to just 32, greatly simplifying the build process and improving quality. Significant cost savings also are realized with purchasing efficiencies and a reduction in limited, high piece cost parts.

Some parts, including the exhaust manifolds, will completely disappear by virtue of being cast directly into the cylinder head. Today, the engine line-up features 32 different left and right exhaust manifolds. That will drop to zero with the new Pentastar V-6.

Upper and lower intake assembles, which accounted for 21 and 11 different parts numbers (respectively) have been reduced to two upper and lower assemblies. Camshaft variations will drop from 14 to four and just two fuel rails will be required rather than the current 14.

Leading the way will be the 2011 Dodge Challenger that will be exclusively equipped with a higher horsepower version of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. Certified by the Society of Automotive Engineers, the higher horsepower V-6 produces 305 bhp @ 6350 rpm - representing a 55 horsepower increase over the previous 3.5-liter V-6. Torque also is noticeably up with the V-6 rated at 268 lb.ft. @ 4800 rpm.

The increase in power and fuel efficiency is derived from technologies incorporated in the new engine and strategically developing both the intake and exhaust systems to take advantage of the compact engine layout and vehicle packaging.

"From day one, our objective with the new Pentastar V-6 engine always was to develop an engine that was capable of producing more than 300 horsepower," according to Lee. "What we've done is adapt proven technologies to this new V-6 engine to bring even more power to Challenger for 2011"

Engine Structure

Constructed with a high-pressure, die cast aluminum block fitted with cast iron bore liners and aluminum cylinder heads, the 60-degree 3.6-liter Pentastar engine is compact and lightweight. At 503mm in total length, the new V-6-liter is 94mm shorter than the 3.7 engine that was previously used in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Models including Charger, Challenger and Avenger have had engine length decrease 34mm from the previous 3.5 – liter V-6.

With this shorter length, engine packaging constraints are reduced. On Challenger, for example, this allowed engineers to improve both the intake flow and exhaust flow resulting in more power.

Bore and stroke measure 96mm by 83mm (respectively). Cast aluminum pistons with low friction rings are fitted to forged steel connecting rods. Pistons have been designed with a reduced skirt area to help reduce both weight and friction. Compression ratio for the engine is 10.2:1 for all applications.

The strong, lightweight pistons are cooled with piston cooling jets fitted in each cylinder that spray oil on the piston to more effectively control heat and help reduce the onset of detonation in the combustion chamber.

The nodular iron crankshaft also is common across all applications. Fatigue strength of the crankshaft was increased 83 percent with the rolled fillet process. The crankshaft is fitted with four bolts on the main bearing supports. Two additional bolts are cross-fitted in the main bearing caps providing an extremely rigid bottom end. Additionally, as part of the overall refinement of the Pentastar V-6, a structural windage tray is included to help reduce oil splash on the crankshaft and reduce power losses from the reciprocating assembly. The tray also improves structural stiffness and contributes to lowering engine noise.

New Oil System

Lubrication of the engine is through a variable displacement pump that adjusts the flow rate and pressure to minimize the energy used by the pump. The engine management system determines the oil pressure needs of the engine and commands an electronic solenoid to drive the pump into low or high pressure mode. If the engine is running below 3500 rpm, for example, the pump operates in the low pressure mode to conserve energy. When the engine is operating at more than 3500 rpm, the pump switches to high pressure.

A force balance mechanism inside the oil pump adjusts the size of the pumping chambers to deliver the appropriate oil flow to meet engine demands. If the oil is cold, less oil is needed and the pump reduces the size of the internal chambers. When the oil is hot and gets thinner, more oil is needed. A spring located inside the pump increases the size of the pump chambers. This action helps minimize the amount of energy required to pump the oil.

For consumers, oil changes are simplified with a paper filter located on top of the engine. To help reduce long term environmental impacts, the paper filter can be incinerated rather than disposed in a landfill. Crankcase capacity is six quarts of oil with a filter change. Traditional, non-synthetic motor oil with an ILSAC standard of GF5 is recommended. Change interval is 8000 miles under normal driving conditions.

High Flow Intake and Exhaust

Cylinder heads are constructed of T7 heat treated aluminum and feature dual overhead camshafts with roller finger followers. On the intake side, valve diameters are 39mm with 17 degrees relative to the bore axis. Exhaust valves are 30mm in diameter and canted at 18.8 degrees. Combustion chamber volume is 52.7cc.

Independent cam phasing also is used on all four camshafts. Torque actuated, the phasers use the natural action of the valve springs to pump the phasers into position, lowering the amount of energy required to move the phasers very quickly. The small size of the phasers combines to reduce weight and allows the camshafts to be spaced very closely together for optimum valve angles and combustion chamber geometry.

Induction is handled through a multi-point port fuel injection system and a lightweight composite intake manifold. Throttle bore diameter is 74mm. Both the intake and exhaust systems have been designed to provide efficient flow characteristics with a minimum amount of restriction in the passages. On the exhaust side, spent gases exit through an integral exhaust manifold that is cast into the cylinder head – unique in the Chrysler engine line-up.

The integral exhaust manifold eliminates the need for separate cast iron or steel exhaust manifolds and contributes to improvements in engine refinement and weight. The integral manifold also results in a broader range of stoichiometric operation reducing fuel consumption during mountain grade and trailer tow driving.

Extremely efficient with advanced emission technology, the new 3.6-liter Pentastar is designed for all future emission standards. This requires no Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and helps reduce the mass of the engine. The 3.6-liter V-6 will be introduced to meet Federal Tier 2 BIN 5 emission requirements and Ultra-low Emissions Vehicle II standards. The engine also has been designed to meet all known future worldwide emission standards including LEV III and PZEV California standards. For export applications, the Pentastar V-6 is capable of meeting Euro6 standards.

Despite the impressive gains in power, the engine is designed to run on regular unleaded fuel with an octane rating of 87. The engine also can run on E85 blended gasoline.

Lightweight and Powerful

Weight reductions are impressive. Fully dressed, the new Pentastar V-6 is 94 lbs. lighter than the 3.7-liter engine it replaced in Jeep Grand Cherokee. Similarly, while larger in displacement, Pentastar weighs 42 lbs. less than the 3.5-liter it replaces in the Chrysler 300 application.

Additionally, horsepower gains have been significant across all models. On the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, horsepower has increased dramatically from 210 horsepower from the 3.7-liter to 290 horsepower on the new Pentastar 3.6-liter engine – a 38 percent increase. On the new Avenger/200, horsepower has increased to 283 horsepower from 250. On models including the Chrysler Town & Country, horsepower also has skyrocketed to 283 with the new Pentastar V-6 – up 86 horsepower from the previous 3.8-liter. On Minivan models that were equipped with the 4.0-liter engine, horsepower is up 32 to 283 horsepower.

The soon-to-be-introduced Dodge Charger will feature more than new sheet metal. Under the hood, the Pentastar V-6 will provide another 42 horsepower, now 292 horsepower.

All models equipped with the new Pentastar V-6 engine will also benefit from increases in torque. More importantly, the 3.6-liter has a broad, flat torque curve with 90 percent of peak torque available between 1800 – 6350 rpm, providing customers with outstanding driveability and power.

Reliability & Refinement

Before the first aluminum block was cast, the new Pentastar V-6 benefited from more than 45,000 hours of computer analysis to optimize the design of the engine. Once assembled, the engines were thoroughly tested and evaluated on dynamometers and in vehicles. More than 12 million customer equivalent miles were logged on the dynos followed by vehicle testing of nearly 4 million customer equivalent miles.

Already recognized as one of the quietest V-6 engines available, world class NVH levels start with a stiff and lightweight block. To help reduce vibration, all components are bolted directly to the block eliminating bracket assemblies. To further reduce vibration, the engine and transmission connection is extremely rigid to eliminate motion between the two major assemblies.

"We feel the new Pentastar V-6 represents the best technology to deliver exceptional refinement, fuel economy and performance," Lee said. "This engine allows increased flexibility to apply new technologies while providing significant cost savings to the company by substituting the state-of-the-art Pentastar for previous V-6 engines."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      These are nice numbers and all, but why are these V6 cars always compared against each other, instead of some other cars out there??

      It's like, yeah, they are put doing some very admirable numbers, but Nissan's Z is putting down 330-350 HP from about the same displacement (3.7L). And it's not like it's down in torque either - the Z makes about 270-276 lb-ft of torque which is right in the ballpark of these engines. And the Z only weighs in at about 3200-3300 lbs.

      I am not even a big fan of the Z, but when all you do is compare muscle car to other muscle cars, you tend to lose perspective of what other performance cars are doing.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The VQ37vhr is pretty torque light.
        The reason is makes that power is the VVEL system.

        Lets see if Hyundai gets 350hp from a direct injection version of their 3.8.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Easily. The VQ37vhr only returns 73 ft-lbs per liter.
        The VQ25hr that preceded it made 78, the VQ35hr that directly preceded it made 77.
        If Nissan didn't add displacement, the 'VQ35vhr' would of had less torque that the VQ35hr.

        There is plenty of potential in that engine (400hp@8000 :) but the marketplace is moving against high revving engines.
        • 4 Years Ago
        How can you say that its torque lite when it makes pretty much as much as any of the engines in the chart above while also making more power??
      • 4 Years Ago
      This shouldn't be news until they find a way to also shave 400 lbs off that fine-looking pig.
      • 4 Years Ago
      @ GMFanBoi

      Must have been a non 2011 Mustang that your friends Camaro was racing, or an automatic...There isn't 1 website or magazine that has the 2011 V6 Camaro faster than the 2011 V6 Mustang. Not 1, can quote immediately Car and Driver and Consumer Reports but trust me there are more. So you calling them all liars? Almost everyone has the Camaro V6 at 5.9 0-60 and Mustang at 5.4, some even lower with the upgraded rearend....I traded in a 02 Z28 for a manual 2011 Mustang V6, and I have nothing against GM as I loved that Camaro...But you obviously have a biased view on this topic
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great looking car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dont care what anyone says the Challenger is by far the best looking of the trio! Even if the new V6 only 27mpg that is still a win win for Chrysler.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Torque and MPG FTW!

      • 4 Years Ago
      Mustang = Pony Car
      Camaro = confused Pony car
      Challenger = Muscle car

      They may play in the same arena, but they are after different tastes. Granted, I would take a V6 Mustang over these other two, but the Challenger is a different kind of animal all together.
        • 4 Years Ago
        so Mustang is like a MMA-fighter while Challenger would a body-builder
      • 4 Years Ago
      About time. If you consider IL's review on the 2010 Dodge Challenger SE V6 recently:


      Handling aside, the 0-60 times are absolutely pathetic... most Honda Accords and Toyota Camry V6's will be able to take you at the lights and leave you in the dust. :P
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Dan

        You own a FSVT then, right?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, the Acc and Cam V6s may be able to compete just fine, but they are completely different markets, cars, and buyers... Japanese v American... FWD v RWD... 2Door v 4Door... Sport v Cruiser Suspension...

        Anyhow, the Challenger still needs to lose some weight, it's a sharp looking car with a great engine, but the weight will hold it back.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ John

        The Challenger with the 3.5 ran 0-60 times in the mid 7 second range, Si is faster.

        The Si put about 170HP to the wheels stock. 140 is WAYYY off. Sounds like you didn't know too much about the vehicle you sold at all.

        There have been people who have ran a low 14 second quarter mile in a bone stock Si. There are multiple videos on YouTube showing the engine bay, trunk, and timeslip as proof that it was stock and the exact time that it ran.

        Maybe you just can't drive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So? The V6 is not the performance model. It's the family version. You get all the looks, and an engine that gets you where you need to be.

        I do wish it competed better with the Mustang and Camaro (this pig is simply too fat), but who cares what else it would lose too. If the R/T was getting out-run by an Camry then yes, you have a problem. The V6 model is simply to give you great looks at the cheapest price.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ katshot

        My friend has a 8th gen Accord coupe V6 with the six speed. With JUST and intake he ran a 13.9 (might have been a 13.8). I saw the timeslip myself, but it was a while ago. That is damn fast for an Accord.

        People do race them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Chrysler took off the variable resonance intake manifold (killing mid-range torque) from the 3.5.
        The wheels are 7.5" wide, so you ditch the 225/60 and replace with 235/55 tires.

        and the gearing is/was pretty tall.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Does anyone else seem somewhat put off by the fact that Chrysler is whoring out this new V6? I mean thats great that they released something new, I'm happy about it. But if I've got a 2011 Challenger, its got the same motor as that rich 16 girl down the street with her 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

      Idk, I feel like something as prestigious as the Challenger deserves some specialty.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Pretty much all car companies (Euro, Japanese, American) share engines across the range. Nissan puts the 5.6L V8 in the Titan as well as the Infiniti M. Until recently, Audi had long used the same V6 (with minor tweaks) for the base A6, the medium level A4, and the top level A3. Ford put the 5.4L modular engine in...well pretty much anything with a V8. Yes, that's right, the same basic engine design that was in America's best selling vehicle was also supercharged and reworked for the Ford GT.

        I think it's a great idea since engines are so ridiculously expensive to develop.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why do you need different V6 engines for different cars other than minor changes? All that does is cost more money. And if you're really that worried about it, get the damn V8, but of course, it's the same V8 as the Jeep, too.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lol.. prestigious.. maybe in the ghetto!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        The 305hp IS the special version of the 3.6 pentastar.
        An extra 13 hp more than the Charger, and 15 more than the Jeep.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If it saves Chrysler money which is the point, who cares? The Challenger shares a platform with the Charger/300. It is HARDLY "prestigious ".

        It isn't 1970 anymore, manufacturers need or have 30 different engines for 15 different models. It is better for the end consumer anyway, as more R&D, money, and effort went into one engine instead of dozens.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Honestly, to me the worst interior of the 3 is the Camaro's by far. At least the Mustang and Challenger are nice when you step up to leather-equipped models. The Challenger's steering wheel still sucks, but maybe they'll also swap that out for the new corporate 3-spoke? Otherwise it's really not bad and very roomy/comfortable. Who knows, maybe the whole Dodge interior will get a little upgrade (like the 08-10 LX sedans did) since it's now on sale for 3 years. The Mustang's is nicest with the different upholstery color options and available glass roof and Sync but too damn small.
      • 4 Years Ago
      great improvment!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Still saddled with the MB 5 speed automatic?
      When is the ZF 8 speed coming?
        • 4 Years Ago
        God, I hope they get the ZF 6 speed automatic. (and eventually the ZF 8 speed auto)
        4.171, 2.34, 1.521, 1.143, 0.867, 0.691 Reverse 3.403
        MB's 'no ratio spread' 5 speed auto
        3.588, 2.186, 1.405, 1, 0.831 Reverse1 3.16, Reverse2 1.926
        Chrysler 4 speed 2.842, 1.573, 1, 0.689, Reverse 2.21 (this had the 3.64 axle ratio)

        I would just watch out, because Chrysler may try and pull an axle ratio change.
        3.07 would be fine with the new 3.6 V6.
        The 2.82 or 2.56 would be the [performance] kiss of death. Fine for 8 speed auto with 5.7/6.4 V8s.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I hope those ZF 8-speed auto transmissions are coming for the 2011 year model. Plus this 2011 year for the Challenger will hopefully have the same interior (er, similar at least) as the 2011 Dodge Journey.

        Yes, I agree with the others that the Challenger needs to lose some weight, but it is a full size coupe vs mid-size like the Camaro and Mustang.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hmm, you are correct. I was not aware that they had switched over. It was certainly long overdue, even a 5spd in an '09-10 vehicle is pushing it these days.

        So, did the performance increase a bit then? All the performance figures I see for the V6 are with the 4spd auto.

        I'm also assuming that the Pentastar will come with the 6spd auto as well right? Every other iteration of the engine so far has it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, they eventually 'upgraded' to the MB w5a580. The axle ratio was changed from 3.64 to 3.07 because the overdrive ratio of the Benz transmission is only 0.831 where the Chrysler 4 speed was 0.689
        Wasn't it the '09.5 when the change was made?
        • 4 Years Ago
        If only.

        The V6 Challengers actually had the even more archaic 4spd auto, not the 5spd that is in almost every other LX car(except the 2.7L versions).

        I never understood that from day 1. Every other 3.5L LX car had the 5spd but they chose to saddle the most muscle-car like version with the 4spd?? Maybe they were going a little too far with the nostalgia factor? Didn't make any sense at all.
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