The Dodge Challenger SRT8 has graced the cover of just about every major automotive rag these past couple months, and muscle car-loving Baby-Boomers are emptying their 401Ks for the chance to own one. If your budget can't take the blow of a $40,000 coupe, however, the folks at Chrysler have debuted a couple more models at the 2008 New York Auto Show that will cost quite a bit less. The Challenger R/T will take the stage later today in NYC and it offers a good portion of the SRT8's power, as well as nearly every design cue seen on its more expensive big brother. Dodge is also unveiling the base SE model (right) for those who want a good looking RWD coupe on a budget.
Since the SRT model was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show over a month ago, we already know a lot about the Challenger in general. For the R/T model, the real story lies under its hood where an upgraded 5.7L Hemi V8 engine has received a 30-hp bump to 370 ponies, while torque also increases by eight to 398 pound-feet. Opt for the new pistol grip six-speed manual tranny – a first for any LX-platform model – and power jumps to 375 hp and 404 pound-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm, but premium fuel is recommended if you want that third pedal.
BONUS: Dodge also released new pics of the Challenger SRT8 in silver, which you can check out in the gallery below.
Chrysler pumped up its famous powerplant by adding variable valve timing, which helps increase its compression ratio from 9.6 to 10.5, and by adding a second spark plug per cylinder for a cleaner burn and higher peak power. Besides providing extra grunt, technology enhancements improve fuel economy by 5% versus the previous generation HEMI while also improving the quality of its tailpipe emissions.
The Challenger R/T features a long list of standard equipment including 18-inch machined aluminum wheels, dual exhaust, ABS, ESP, traction control, vented brakes and an eight-way adjustable power driver seat. Buyers can also check off options like Remote Start, Keyless Go push-button start and heated leather seats. Dodge will also make available a special Classic R/T version that wears Richard Petty B5 Blue with black side stripes and unique script badging later in the 2009 model year. The Classic R/T will also feature five-spoke 20 inch rims that won't be available on any other Challenger model.
For RWD Coupe-lovers on a budget, Dodge will also offer a base Challenger SE (above is the only pic we have so far). The car will be given the well-traveled 250-hp 3.5L V6 mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. As you can see from the photo above, the SE model also looks very much like the more upscale R/T model, save for its 17-inch steel wheels.
The R/T and SE Challenger will be available in fall of 2009, with the Classic R/T arriving late in tn the 2009 model year. Stay tuned to Autoblog throughout the day today for more info on these models, as well as video of their unveiling and live shots from the show floor.
Introducing the All-New 2009 Dodge Challenger
35 Years Later, Dodge Redefines Modern American Muscle
- Re-creation of vintage American muscle car blends nostalgic flair with modern engineering and technology
- First five-passenger, two-door coupe produced from proven Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger platform
- First modern-day, HEMI®-powered car offered with precision-shift six-speed manual transmission
- New-generation 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 delivers increased fuel economy (an estimated 5 percent) with more horsepower (30 hp) and improved torque (8 lb.-ft.)
- 5.7-liter HEMI goes from zero to 60 mph in less than six seconds
- SRT-exclusive 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine goes from zero to 60 mph in less than five seconds
- Best-in-class rear head (37.4 inches) and leg (32.6 inches) room provides spacious back seat for up to three adults
- Best-in-class trunk space (16.2 cu. ft.) equal to the Dodge Charger
- New "EZ" entry with high-mounted seat-back lever for easy, one-handed operation; enables second-row passengers to enter and exit with ease
- More than 25 safety and security features including supplemental side-curtain air bags, advanced multi-stage air bags, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and anti-lock brakes
- Equipped with cutting-edge technology including MyGIG™ radio/navigation, UConnect® Hands-free Communication System, Keyless Go push-button start and Remote Start
- To ensure quality, Dodge Challenger engineers logged nearly 3.2 million customer-equivalent miles in the development process
- All-new 2009 Dodge Challenger to arrive this fall
"Our all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger is a modern-day muscle machine representing the best from the past and present," said Mike Accavitti, Director, Dodge Brand and SRT Global Marketing, Chrysler LLC. "Thirty-five years following the debut of the original, we are bringing Dodge Challenger back and loading it with essential hardware, styling and technology desired by today's buyer."
The Dodge Challenger is the first five-passenger, two-door coupe produced from Chrysler's proven rear-wheel-drive platform that delivers the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. Developed with Dodge's credo of "bold, powerful and capable," the Challenger delivers a modern two-door muscle car.
Three models will be offered in North America: Dodge Challenger SRT8®, Dodge Challenger R/T and Dodge Challenger SE.
The Dodge Challenger R/T features the new-generation 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine with a five-speed automatic transmission that produces an estimated 370 horsepower (276 kW) and 398 lb.-ft. of torque (540 N•m). For 2009, the HEMI engine is upgraded to get an estimated five percent improvement in fuel economy as well as an increase of 30 horsepower (9 percent) and 8 lb.-ft. improved torque (2 percent) over a greater range of engine speeds. The Dodge Challenger R/T also offers a precision-shift six-speed manual transmission - the first for a new-generation HEMI-powered car - that produces 375 horsepower (280 kW) and 404 lb.-ft. of torque (548 N•m) when running on premium fuel. The Dodge Challenger R/T can go from zero to 60 mph in less than six seconds.
The 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 features an SRT-exclusive 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine mated with a new-for-2009 six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic transmission with Auto Stick that generates a blistering 425 horsepower (317 kW) and 420 lb.-ft. of torque (569 N•m). The vehicle can go from zero to 60 mph in less than five seconds.
The Dodge Challenger SE powered by the 3.5-liter High Output V-6 with a four-speed automatic transmission produces 250 horsepower (186 kW) and 250 lb.-ft. of torque (339 N•m).
Patterned off the Dodge Charger architecture, the front suspension and five-link independent rear suspension system on all Dodge Challenger models provide excellent ride and handling characteristics.
The Dodge Challenger design team stayed true to the concept revealed at the 2006 North American International Auto Show, while drawing upon elements from the original Challenger. The result: a bold, aggressive muscle machine that blends nostalgia with modern Dodge style.
"Our designers wanted to capture the mind's-eye view of what people today remember about the Dodge Challenger from 35 years ago," said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President – Design, Chrysler LLC. "Their challenge was to excite today's customer by capturing the emotion of the original Challenger, while offering today's comfort and performance."
On the exterior, the long, raised performance hood with scoops and recessed grille with round dual headlamps are reminiscent of the original Dodge Challenger. The bold A-line, or character line, that runs from stem to stern gives the all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger an instantly recognizable muscle car profile. Retro dual rectangular exhaust outlets complete the look from the rear.
On the interior, the trapezoidal theme of the door-panel cove and gauge cluster, dark headliner and slanted shifter console are inspired by the original Dodge Challenger. The modern interpretation of the Dodge Challenger offers exceptional rear seating for a two-door coupe, achieving best-in-class rear head (37.4 inches) and leg (32.6 inches) room compared to the competition. Coupled with best-in-class cargo space (16.2 cu. ft.) - equal to the Dodge Charger - the all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger offers added comfort and functionality.
The all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger offers customers a full range of innovative technologies including:
- MyGIG™ provides a cutting-edge multimedia audio and entertainment system, with built-in navigation
- UConnect® Hands-free Communication System provides convenient, voice-activated communication with Bluetooth® cellular phones
- SIRIUS® Digital Satellite Radio offers a variety of commercial-free radio programs and music for enhanced listening enjoyment
- Keyless Go allows the driver to start the vehicle with the simple push of a button
- Remote Start starts a secured vehicle with the key fob
- More than 25 Safety and Security Features
Dodge Challenger offers more than 25 safety and security features including:
- Supplemental Side-curtain Air Bags extend protection to all outboard front- and rear-seat passengers
- Anti-lock Brakes (ABS) modulate the brakes for the driver to provide steering control while braking
- Electronic Stability Program (ESP) applies selective braking or throttle reduction to control oversteer and understeer
- Brake Assist ensures maximum braking action during panic stops
- Traction Control reduces the throttle and/or applies selective braking to optimize traction during acceleration
- Hill Start Assist (HSA) for Manual Transmission application assists the driver in launching the vehicle on an incline
- Automatic Headlamps turn headlamps on at dusk and off in the daylight without driver intervention
- Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPM) alerts driver about low tire pressure(s) in order to facilitate safe handling
2009 Dodge Challenger Production
The all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger will be built at the Brampton Assembly plant in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. It will be built on the same assembly line as the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.
With a U.S. market share of 6.4 percent, Dodge is Chrysler LLC's best-selling brand and the fifth largest nameplate in the U.S. automotive market. In 2007, Dodge sold more than 1.3 million vehicles in the global market.
The Dodge brand's first crossover vehicle - the all-new 2009 Dodge Journey - is available in the first quarter of 2008 and will be available outside North America in both left- and right-hand drive in mid-2008. Arriving this spring is the limited-edition 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 with a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine that boasts 425 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. The all-new 2009 Dodge Ram with game-changing exterior and interior design, innovations, best-in-class features and craftsmanship will arrive this fall. Also arriving this fall is the 2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid. Recently, the all-new 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan arrived in dealerships with 35 new or improved features including the newest innovation, the Swivel 'n Go™ seating system. In 2007, Dodge Avenger and Nitro entered key volume segments outside North America, joining the Dodge Caliber, which launched in those markets in 2006.