By on July 27, 2014

Five seconds: that’s the lap time difference between the V6 Challenger Track Pack and the SRT Hellcat around PIR. How much money do you save by being willing to take it a bit slower?

ElectraFest 1362

Even if you doubt some of Chrysler’s math, there’s no arguing the fact that this year’s V6 Challenger is a much better proposition than it was previously. Coming straight out of Brampton, ON and featuring an available Super Track Pack with 13-inch front brakes and two-piston calipers, the V6 has 305 horsepower to push 3,834 pounds. That’s not quite an Accord V6 Coupe’s worth of power-to-weight, nor will it trouble the Camaro which is 180 pounds lighter plus offers a manual transmission to hurry things along.

Still, with the eight-speed automatic transmission providing remarkably snappy shifts across an optimized range of gearing, you’d be ill-advised to take the most modest Challenger lightly, particularly if you’re driving something from before the current era of HGH-fueled automobiles. Think of it as an LT1 Z/28’s worth of performance, with the modern telematics and 30mpg capability thrown in as a bonus.

Around PIR, however, the 8AT proved to be a bit of a problem. I rode along with the first journalist to drive the V6 on-track. During his second lap, the transmission decided that manual mode was no longer available. Sliding the shifter to the left produced an immediate upshift-and-hold in sixth gear. This happened when I tried the car approximately half an hour later, as well, and probably cost me a tiny bit of lap time. Left to itself, the Challenger isn’t brilliant at determining how and when to shift, and that slowed it down a fair amount. On the street, you’d be fine; a non-pre-production car would also probably not suffer from the same amount of difficulty.

It would be nice to have a manual-transmission V6 Challenger — but who’d buy it? In this day and age, it’s already a minor miracle that you can get a six-speed manual on all the other variants. Still… it would be a really decent car, the same way the V6 Mustang six-speed is a really decent car.

Chrysler’s careful to emphasize that that the Chally’s size is considered an asset by buyers, who overwhelmingly cite the interior space advantage over the other ponycars as a purchase decider. Still, the weight and the size don’t help it around PIR, where the Super Track Pack brakes simply aren’t up for the challenge, ahem, posed by the V6’s power. It’s a decent handler and it feels well-balanced, but something like a 328i coupe would be more rewarding on-track even if it didn’t offer the same amount of curb appeal.

The interior upgrades that impress in the other trim variants are present here and the cloth seats are surprisingly decent. If this was all the Challenger you could afford, you wouldn’t regret the decision. It’s a good solid personal-luxury-car with a lot of pace, a lot of looks, and a lot of technology on offer. The only real problem is this: you’d wish you’d gotten the HEMI, wouldn’t you? Of course you would.

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70 Comments on “Challenger Week Outtake: 2015 Dodge Challenger V6...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Sweet colors. With the Penstar the V6 Challenger is a much better value proposition and doesn’t seem like a let down like when it was only 250 hp. (Lets not even talk about the shame that was the 2.7 ltr version – Chrysler should round up all 2.7 Chargers, Challengers, and 300s and crush them so we can forget they existed.)

    Glad to see that interiors have been steadily improving and I do like the styling of the 2011 and up cars.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Actually there was no 2.7 version of the Challenger. The base SE/SXT had the 3.5. The pokey was offered in the Charger, Magnum and 300. I don’t know how they pulled the weight. It should not be that hard to upgrade them to the 3.5 H.O

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Thanks for the clarification, I assumed since they offered that tiny little 6 in the Charger they offered it in the Challenger. No LX platform vehicle should have been offered with something like that.

        • 0 avatar
          nrd515

          My next door neighbor had a Charger with the 2.7. I assumed it had the 3.5 in it when I borrowed it one day when my truck was having it’s windshield replaced. I had driven a Charger R/T about a month before and liked it enough to buy one, but the 2.7 was just dog slow, it reminded me of one of the old slant six powered cars from the late ’60s. I had to ask my neighbor why he bought it, and he laughed and said he sent his brother to the auction, unaware that the 2.7 Charger even existed, with the instruction to “Buy a Charger, 300, or a Magnum!”, thinking that at worst, he would get a 3.5l version of one of those three. No wonder it went so cheap. When his mother quit driving a couple of years later, she sold him her 300C, and the Charger went away, unmissed.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            That’s a great story. The few people who I knew who had 2.7L LX cars had similar reasons why they bought them. “I didn’t know it could come with an engine this bad and bought it without driving it!”

          • 0 avatar
            Drewlssix

            Had a guy come in with a new 14 charger bought after a hail storm. He was obviously proud of his purchase until I asked him if they didn’t have any v8s with price cuts or if he just wanted the 6. He asked shocked if it really was a 6. The look on his face as I affirmed its v6ness was genuinely sad.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I always thought that the 3.8L V6 would have been a better base engine for the LX cars (and the Sebring/200/Avenger). The original LH cars offered the 3.3L so I don’t think packaging would have been an issue.

          It’s not like the 2.7L was impressing anyone and while I doubt the pushrod V6 would have been much faster it could have at least been an affordable workhorse.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      I rented a Charger with the 2.7 in Las Vegas in 2007. It was the decontented rental edition. The engine was smooth and refined but not enough oomph for a car that large and heavy. Also, the rental edition had no ABS, no ESP, and no side airbags, but had a smooth ride and grade logic on the transmission. It, combined with some of their other lame-duck offerings at the time like the Caliber and PT Cruiser, turned me off to Chrysler products for quite some time.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    OK! Lets desist calling this a ‘Personal Luxury Car’. It is a nice car, but there is nothing luxurious about it. It is not an ELR, SL, or many of the other cars that define personal and luxury.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      An ELR defines paying too much for a car. That’s not luxury, that’s being a sucker.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        @_Luke42…. That knock on the basement door means your mother has left your daily ration of pizza at the top of the stairs.

        Now plow your pasty white ass through the shoulder high detritus of your lazy useless life and get up there and get it before it cools, or does it matter. Probably share it with your rat buddies at your elbow, like you, they don’t care whether it’s hot or cold or a few days old and smells a little funny because of the mold starting to grow on it. You can’t taste it cuz you have no taste for or in, anything.

        Had a shower lately and changed your short’s? Probably too much effort to climb the stairs and then there is that aversion to soap.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      The ELR and SL aren’t “personal luxury cars” any more than an M3 is a pony car. The prototypical “personal luxury car” was a Thunderbird, or any of the cars (Monte Carlo, Riviera, later Bonnevilles) that competed with it.

      In that tradition, the Challenger — optioned correctly — is one of the closer things we’ve still got.

  • avatar
    brianyates

    Jack, perhaps the heading should have read “Challenger Weak Outtake”
    An M4 would be alot more fun.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “… something like a 328i coupe”

    There is no such car anymore.

    You dare ignore BMW’s new, very simple to understand, and superior to all things naming system?

    • 0 avatar
      Dragophire

      Hey dude..you might know this but there are somethings you cant do on this site…You cannot say anything negative about BMW 3 series or Apple products….The locals will have you head.

  • avatar
    omer333

    I dunno, maybe you want the HEMI, but gas prices, insurance, and other financial issues make a V6 Challenger a good idea.

    Because, let’s face it, daycare ain’t cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      30k is one of those threshold price points, it seems doable for most middle class folks… At that price, one could buy either a V6 Challenger or a moderately well optioned Mazda CX-5 AWD. It appears the Challenger offers a lot of standard equipment.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Because, let’s face it, daycare ain’t cheap.”

      You ain’t kidding. But, when it came down to ordering mine, the price bump wasn’t enough to justify not getting the Hemi. Hemi, because acceleration. The Hemi/8spd probably won’t see 30mpg, but I can only assume it will net a few mpg better than the 21-22mpg I averaged in my previous Hemi/5spd car.

      The phenominal fuel mileage of the Pentastar/8spd is very appealing though. A few weeks ago I drove a 2014 300 with that combo and averaged a very real 35 mpg on a very mountainous trip between Calgary, AB and Kelowna, BC.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        I could easily see the sense in a 300 with the Pentastar. It provides all the power I could reasonably need, and the fuel economy would be great. If you’re buying a retro-muscle car though, not buying the V8 would only lead to a lot of regret. Yes, not all of those classics had them, but the fantasy did, and that’s the whole point of the car.

  • avatar
    srh

    Looks like a frustrating way to go round the track.

    For those of us for whom PIR is our home track, might you provide a flavor of the actual track times one might expect in the Challenger, when unimpeded by a slower journalist ahead?

  • avatar

    Buying an SRT vehicle isn’t about saving money and it’s certainly not about going around tracks.

    It’s so when you open up your hood everyone else goes *holy isht*.

    It’s so when you’re on the road or in the parking lot people point to the car and say *wow man nice Jeep*.

    It’s the same difference between buying a Nissan Altima Coupe and a Nissan GTR.

    Yes the V6 with AWD and 8-speed is a solid all-season vehicle that will save tons of money.

    But this is MURICA’.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Reg; “It’s so when you open up your hood everyone else goes *holy isht*.”

      More like ‘holy shit, look at all that plastic.’

      Opening the hood and seeing eight barrels of Webers on a small block , dual-quads, Tri-Power, a Paxton Supercharger. Or, opening the hood of a Miata and seeing a 572″ Chey big block… That’s what holy shit means.

      Opening the hood on any SRT, just means your checking the oil or wiping the dust off the plastic. Srt just means to me, an over hyped faux hemi in a too heavy vehicle whose ass end is always trying to catch its front end in a curve under power or late panic braking or driving straight off the road if you brake when entering a corner too fast, which will be most of the time until you figure out it isn’t ever going to go around a corner with any alacrity or in a sporty manner.

      OK… Lets hear the howls…col!

    • 0 avatar
      hgrunt

      Do you pop your hood every time you’re getting gas and wait for someone to walk by and make a remark about how big your engine is?

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        If I were lucky enough to have a Hellcat engine, I would probably just make some half-mile long 11’s from time to time, so no one would need to ask about the engine ;) I would want it in a Magnum though, so the kids could enjoy the smell of burning rubber too.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      BigTruck is right. You’d buy the Hellcat, because nobody else has one. Because you can. You’re not going through a midlife crisis!

      Of course the V6 is better value. But, if cars were bought solely on value, we’d all be driving pre-owned Camry’s.

      And a Camry doesn’t do a burnout as well as a Challenger.

    • 0 avatar
      Kriegar

      dammit…you forgot the dammit

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    its still porky the pig, too bad Fiat didnt put it on weight watchers.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      The Hellcat Challenger is Porky the Pig in the same way the 49ers Justin Smith is. At 285 he’s a lot heavier than the other Smith (Aldon at 265), but in a 40 yard dash, guess who’s quicker?

    • 0 avatar

      Please show me another car with a V6 that comfortably seats 4 six-foot-tall 200 pound adults so I can compare the Challenger’s mass to it.

      Thanx…

      • 0 avatar
        johnhowington

        i didnt have to try hard, toyota avalon is 200lbs lighter. try again.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Accord Coupe.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “Accord Coupe.”

          Accord _Sedan_

          For that matter, Camry SE V6, Nissan Maxima, Volkswagen Passat, etc, etc.

          The Challenger isn’t a bad car, but there’s a lot of other cars that can fit four six-plus footers. Heck, the Nissan Versa fits four better than the Challenger does, if you aren’t needing power, as does the VW Jetta GLI (if you do need the power, but aren’t wedded to the cylinder count).

          • 0 avatar
            turboprius

            Maxima? Not being critical, but why would anyone recommend a Maxima? Sure it looks nice, but it has smaller interior dimensions, costs more, isn’t as safe, and has less features than the Altima. Not to mention it uses Premium fuel.

            Only gripe about the Altima are those reliability scores in CR and TrueDelta.

        • 0 avatar

          Accord Coupe???
          Sure if I don’t have a HEAD or hips.

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            “Please show me another car with a V6 that comfortably seats 4 six-foot-tall 200 pound adults so I can compare the Challenger’s mass to it.”

            Bigtruck, most of the mid-size sedans that offer a V6 have grown large enough to handle four 6 ft tall, 200 lb men. The relatively tall Camry, Accord, and Passat definitely can. Can’t remember the Altima rear seat headroom. Curb weight is 3400 to 3500 lbs with the V6. The Challenger is a great looking car, but hopefully the next generation can lose some weight.

          • 0 avatar
            formula m

            If it fits your giant head and fat ass, “Murica” must be proud

          • 0 avatar
            formula m

            Honestly who drive’s around with 4 people that weigh over 200lbs each, over 6ft tall that is not a work truck or family car/van/suv? If you are picking up 6ft 200+lbs women in your sad excuse for a “personal luxury car” you have bigger problems than the car you drive lol

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “Accord Coupe???
            Sure if I don’t have a HEAD or hips.”

            I’m probably taller than you are and fit reasonably well.

            That said, I had the option of buying an Accord and got a Fit instead because, well, it fit better. The mandatory sunroof robs a couple of inches in both the Accord and Civic.

        • 0 avatar
          omer333

          I don’t know BT, Jack’s pretty comfortable with his own bad self to be rollin’ in an Accord Coupé…

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        BigTrucks, they’ve made their point. There are many mid sized sedans and coupes that, in their highest engine trim, are quite competitive with the Challenger in its lowest powered form.

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        If you are worried about carrying four adults around, then why bother with a bloated 2 door like the V6 Challenger? A Camry V6 has you covered, and probably beats you 0-60 and the quarter mile. That said, this Challenger V6 would make more sense if this car were 600 lbs lighter.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          Or, if you need added testosterone in your car, there’s the 4 Door Charger.

          The back seats in a sedan are easier to get to than those in a coupe, because of these things called…

          doors!

  • avatar
    mcs

    I think the lesson here is to invest money into improving your driving skills first, then on the car.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    If I could get a blue one like the one in the photos, I’d be all over it. The local Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep/RAM/Fiat/etc., dealer here seems to only stock the cheapest versions of everything. Could be a reason, true, but it makes shopping on the lots on Sunday evenings rather dull.

    If the V6 Chally really is a LT1 performance envelope with better telematics, that would suit me just fine. I like the look and I think I would like the fuel mileage and price. Also, the revised Camaro has a nice V6 appearance package these days, it would be kind of a toss up.

    Granted we all want the big motor and the bag of chips that goes with it, but *my* reality is I now want something that I can live with everyday that won’t beat me to death on the bumpy roads and at the gas pump…

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    So which do you prefer as a daily driver? Your Accord or Challenger V6? does the Accords manual transmission offset the Challengers RWD? Which has more space? how much better is the Accord mpg?

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      As a redirect question;
      Jack, if you were shopping next month instead of, (what was it, six months ago?)would any of the Challengers have deserved consideration or made the cut?

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Lord Flipping Darnit! Don’t these journos know when to get out of the way? Prolly Scotty Burgess hogging the tarmac like it’s the buffet table.

  • avatar

    Pro Tips:

    1) Don’t buy a V6 Challenger in white or silver unless you want to look like a rental/Santander repo.

    2) Don’t buy a V6 Challenger with base painted wheels unless you want to look like a rental/Santander repo.

    3) Don’t buy a V6 Challenger with tape stripes unless you want to look like a rental/Santander repo.

  • avatar
    marmot

    God dang that blue one is good lookin. Do you see how the car is sitting just over the wheels like it has been custom lowered? To get that sleek look in a Mustang requires a special package, I think. To me the new car looks just as good as the classic. I’d have to go for the HEMI. Jack, I’ve really enjoyed the Challenger articles.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Best looking muscle car available, that’s what sells this thing. I can absolutely forgive the weight disadvantage so long as the performance dart they are working on ends up being the c segment killer they seem to be promising.

    No one whos opinion I’d value would buy one for the raw performance anyway.

  • avatar
    segfault

    Hahaha, Youtube showed me an ad for Mustang accessories when I watched the video.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “During his second lap, the transmission decided that manual mode was no longer available. Sliding the shifter to the left produced an immediate upshift-and-hold in sixth gear.”

    The ZF 8 speed trans has individual clutch temperature sensors. When an overtemp is detected, manual mode disables until the clutches cool down. It’s possible that all this track driving caused an over temp and a lockout.


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