By on July 25, 2014

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This doesn’t feel like something I should admit in public, let alone in the electronic pages of this august publication, but I always had a tiny little problem with the Challenger SRT8, way down in my super soul.

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If you haven’t seen Vanishing Point, put your laptop down, get out of the bathroom, and go watch it. While it’s far from flawless, the movie that made the Challenger immortal has much to recommend it. I can imagine that modern filmgoers might have a bit of trouble understanding how it all comes together; were it to be remade today there would probably be fifteen minutes of explanatory voiceover a la Pacific Rim. “My name is Kowalski. I was a cop once, and I became disenchanted with authority, and so on, and so forth…” Thankfully, that isn’t the case with the original.

Of course, the Vanishing Point Chally is a white R/T. Which means that, by definition, the coolest possible Challenger is a white R/T. Unfortunately, until now that meant the coolest possible Challenger wasn’t much use on a track, particularly in the stopping department. Until now.
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Chrysler directly compares this new R/T “Scat Pack” to the old SRT8 Core. As you can see in the graphic above, there’s more equipment for less money. Another valid comparison might be to the old R/T 5.7 Track Pack, which was underpowered and underbraked compared to a 5.0 Mustang. Not so this new car, which has 485 horsepower and four-piston Brembos front and back.

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The track analysis I did earlier this week puts the Scat Pack 6MT neatly between the V6 and the Hellcat, as you’d expect. What’s less clear is that the Scat Pack is a massive, massive improvement over the old R/T as a dynamic proposition. It’s not just that it has more brake and better handling than its predecessor, it’s that it’s better-balanced despite having an additional hundred and fifteen horsepower. Yes, the nose feels heavier than that of the V6, but that’s a lot like saying that dating Monica Bellucci would pose a bit of a language problem compared to dating Lena Dunham. Who cares.

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It’s a decent car on the track, and I’d say it’s at least in the vicinity of the 5.0 Mustang, particularly in the way it sheds speed, but it’s hard to imagine most Scat Packs ever seeing a racetrack. Let’s talk street. In order to get to the rather truncated track time we were offered with the Challengers, I first had to drive and ride for three hours through the rural areas surrounding Portland in a six-speed Scat Pack. Much of that drive took place at 30mph or slower thanks to heavy concentrations of cyclists on the road, but that was a bit of a blessing because it gave me a chance to evaluate the Challenger’s low-speed manners.

The control efforts are absurdly low, and I mean that literally. This car has four hundred and eighty-five horsepower and it’s no more difficult to drive than a Mazda3. The shift action is fingertip-light and the Tremec TR6060 has clearly defined gating. I was never troubled by any skip-shift silliness. Your grandmother could drive this car, as they used to say in the car rags. Plus it’s quiet until you stand on the throttle and then it’s merely stirring, not annoying.

With this round of interior revisions, Chrysler’s finally bringing the Challenger up to the standards of its sedan siblings. I’d say that the brightwork and plastics quality place the Scat Pack about halfway between the dismal Charger and the enchanting 300C. There’s real stamped aluminum scattered throughout the interior and a fashionably thick steering wheel. My driving partner for the event was befuddled that the “shift paddles” didn’t work, but he eventually accepted my explanation that they were to control volume and track selection on the 8.4-inch uConnect.

“Yeah, I guess it makes sense that the shifter on the console would have to move while you’re paddle shifting,” he opined.

“Excuse me,” I said, “there’s something really important on my phone I have to pay attention to for an hour or so.” This latest uConnect is as good as it is elsewhere and I was able to complete a fairly detailed Bluetooth phone call while repeatedly throttling up and down through the gears. The climate-control knobs are a little wobbly, the same way they are in a Fiat 500L, but remember: this is an engine that you’d have to pay a significant tariff to get in a German car. My old Audi S5 was twenty thousand dollars more expensive and brought just three-quarters of the power to the table. The current Audi S5 has that candy-ass supercharged V-6, which is just as fast as the old V8 but that’s like saying that a Double Quarter Pounder weighs the same as a filet mignon from Ruth’s Chris. Who cares.

The car’s a middle finger to every CO2-restricted, low-testosterone, involuntarily-celibate German coupe out there. It will run twelve-second quarter-miles with no trouble and it gets attention everywhere it goes. The modest external changes for 2015 are improvements, particularly the “6.4L” logo. There’s now a set of Bimmer-style angel eyes on the thing, too, which will matter to someone.

You can get it in white and then you’ll have a proper Vanishing Point car. There goes the Challenger… the super-driver of the golden West. My test car was $44,875 including navigation and leather. Yeah, a Mustang five-liter will hang with it most anywhere but it’s not the same thing and we both know it. Go ahead and buy one with my blessing. It’s better than ever, and it’s finally got the right badge.

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130 Comments on “Review: 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 6MT...”


  • avatar
    Mr Imperial

    “The car’s a middle finger to every CO2-restricted, low-testosterone, involuntarily-celibate German coupe out there.”

    Can’t wait to read the pending retorts from Audi/Bimmerphiles out there :)

    Why can’t more people just enjoy this car for what it is, and that it exists? Even fifteen/twenty years ago, power levels like this were not available, unless you wanted to spend well north of $65K. This truly is the second golden age of muscle cars.

    Not every car has to be a corner carver. Not every car has to be the most trackable one out there. Just be glad cars like this exist, we could all still be driving K-Cars and X-Body decendants.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. Honestly, I’m the type of person that’s more likely to buy a German car, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate this car or that it isn’t still desirable to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Siorus

      “Why can’t more people just enjoy this car for what it is, and that it exists?”

      I think some people fetishize certain aspects of a car-be it the make, the model, the trim level (*cough* M3 fanboys *cough*), or even just the drivetrain layout, cylinder count, whatever.

      It becomes analogous to sports teams. Theirs is the best, everyone else sucks, no matter what. “I’m rubber, you’re glue, everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you! Neener neener neener!”

      Idiots.

      I think it’s further compounded by people basing their opinions on what they’ve read, seen, and heard rather than what they’ve actually experienced. Hell, I used to bash FWD cars something awful until I got some seat time in a MK4 GTI VR6.

      It’s been my experience that I can find something to like about most cars; not all, but most. My own collection is a mashup of vehicles that most people would find at the least a little odd, if not utterly nonsensical; it includes everything from an ’87 Mercedes 300D to a C5 Z06. And you know, the funny thing is, I enjoy the Benz every bit as much as i enjoy the Corvette-albeit for very different reasons.

      I think many of the most vocal bench racers-online and off-would do well to do less talking, and more driving.

      Go bum a bunch of test drives from your local dealerships one weekend people, damn. Seriously. Wash your car, shave, put on a clean shirt and go BS some salespeople to drive some stuff.

      What’s the worst that could happen? You might drive something completely antithetical to everything you hold dear and find that you like it? The horror. Or, you know, you might find that you do, in fact, hate it as much as you thought you did-in which case you can go right back to posting online about how car x is such a flaming POS. BUT you’ll have real-world experience to back up your opinion, so you won’t (necessarily) come off as a giant flipping twat.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr Imperial

        Thank you :)

        The B&B here have more credibility than most, since some commenters here have legit track experience. Their opinions I give merit to. Good luck finding that elsewhere.

        What’s the equivalent of Armchair Quarterbacks? Internet back-seat drivers?

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          Bench racers, gotta pour over all the technical minutiae and then ceaselessly extol the virtues of your vehicle and disparage all others.

          Anybody passionate about their ride can get caught up with it and then there are those forums that take it to a completely different level.

          I’ve never really checked out a BMW forum but The Ford and GM pony car forums (SVT Performance and Camaro5 come to mind) never let you down.

          And thanks to various special editions and packages for these cars you get a little internecine squabbling within a brand.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Agreed. I try to be a consummate empiricist and encourage others to do likewise.

        One of the purest drives I’ve ever owned was a base 1993 Toyota 2wd pickup – the only option was sliding rear glass. And, the people that rode in that truck absolutely loved it. The few that I taught to drive a manual in that truck adored it! It was lightweight, low powered (yet torquey), uncomplicated joy.

        I think the new Challenger is better in all ways than the previous model and I appreciate these cars and those that they inspire and compete with. However, following your guidance I have to admit that I prefer smaller, lighter, simpler to bigger, heavier, more complicated.

        The new Challenger is awesome, but it’s made for a different kind of enthusiast. Fortunately, there’s room at the table for all.

      • 0 avatar

        Agree, so very much. There is a to to like in a lot of different cars, for myriad reasons. However, it does get annoying when those who have varied tastes have to listen to different insults because they chose this or that car. The phrase Mr Imperial quoted is exactly an example of why so many respond badly to this kind of car. I mean, go out and buy it if you like it, but why again the middle finger?

    • 0 avatar
      hurls

      Single data point here: I’m an Audi/Bimmerphile (one of each in the garage), and my most sporting car is a 116 HP NA Miata.

      I want this car.

      So no retort here :) (then again, I’m not CO2-restricted, low testosterone or involuntarily celibate. Not German either)

  • avatar
    rpol35

    “I can imagine that modern filmgoers might have a bit of trouble understanding how it all comes together; were it to be remade today…”

    It did get remade in 1997 with Viggo Mortensen and it’s pretty schlocky. Not entirely so, the Challenger (this time 426 C.I. Hemi powered) is still the star but it doesn’t have that circa 1971 existentialism (or Delaney & Bonnie for that matter) that makes the original what it is.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Didn’t see this comment right away before I made it myself further down the page. I guess not many people saw the film. Car movies are almost always fun though, to us car guys.

      • 0 avatar
        rpol35

        Zykotec – I read your take on VP II and agree, as you say if it’s a car movie and you’re a car guy you’ll get some enjoyment out of it.

        I was surprised when I realized that VP-II was made in 1997, I thought it was more recent. I’d watch it again if it were on but I just watched VP-I last week, it’s on my DVR, so the comparison would become really obvious.

        Thx

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Barry Manilow? Really?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I’ll inevitably get flamed for this, but while this car seems well thought out and performs well for the reason Jack mentions, 45k isn’t exactly chump change in the recovery-lacking-for-the-90%.

    Yes, this car has close to 500 horsepower, and yes it is more refined & civilized as a GT style cruiser than the Mustang GT w/Coyote as a daily driver, but I can buy a 2014 Mustang GT with a manual transmission and the beautifully powerful (and burbly) Coyote for less than 30k new right now (and around 30k with Track Pack).

    Here I am showing a preference for a Ford product, due in no small measure for my respect for Ford’s best motor in a long, long time, because 15k in savings, for a vehicle that can do some things better as a performance car than this iteration of Challenger, is no small savings.

    Go figure.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      No flames here, DeadWeight, you make a good argument. If it were my money — and it just might be — I’d wait a couple of months for the 2015 Mustang. Ford is claiming that the GT is faster than the old Boss, and you could option it up nicely and still stay well under $40K.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I won’t be buying a new car until I get sick of current soon-to-be 9 year old car (won’t happen soon) that still looks/runs like new (thanks to preventive maintenance) and that has better ride/handling attributes than 98.843% of newer vehicles I’ve tested or rented in last 5 years, but if I were to, the 2015 Mustang is the finest new Ford I’ve seen in…as long as I can recall, and one of the few cars that doesn’t leave me “meh” (like new Lexi, BMWs, Acuras, etc.).

        It could be a potential TT (Tasty Treat).

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Considering both cars have way more performance than you can realistically use on the street, why not save the money? A $45000 car with a drinking problem and a penchant for eating rear tires is not within reach of all that many people.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        People buy the sizzle in spite of the quality of the steak.

      • 0 avatar

        The Mercedes E350 is a “me too” car for wealthy people.
        They are willing to drop $60,000 just to be seen in a car that says “Mercedes” on the back and at that price, OFFERS NOTHING MORE than seats and a steering wheel.

        The Chryslers come fully loaded for far less than $50,000 – unless you go SRT loaded – and offer far more than even the cheapest Mercedes.

        And it’s not as if someone can argue that reliability is better in the Mercedes. It isn’t.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @BTRS

          Well, as a comedian once said, a Chrysler 300 looks like a Bentley until a real Bentley rolls up. The Mercedes is the real thing too. There is always something with more stuff for less money. A KIA Optima has more toys for less money than the Chryslers.

          I seriously don’t get the point of these muscle head cars, though thankfully modern tech means they can stop and turn now too. I would never buy one in a million years, but I do think they are cool, and smile when I see one on the road in cool color. To each his own.

          • 0 avatar
            Drewlssix

            Modern technology isn’t the cause so much as market demand. The old pontiac sprints could hang with most euros of its day that came close to its size but the market favored cheap v8s and bare minimum brakes and suspension. Similarly the camaro was offered with 4 wheel 4 pot disc brakes that had impressive bite for a cheap price. You will likely never see one irl though. Most any musclecar you can think of had a small block or 6 cylinder equipped handling option that almost no one bought.

          • 0 avatar
            3Deuce27

            @ ‘Drewlssix’ No ‘Muscle Car’ had a small V-8 or a L6. The definition of a muscle car is a big block engine in a mid-size or smaller vehicle. A big block in a full size car was not considered a Muscle car.

            The Firebird Sprint was one great little car. I seriously considered buying one new, but bought the Charger R/T 440 instead. I put a couple of those Poncho OHC sixes in early Chevy pick-ups. Perked then right up.

        • 0 avatar
          ccc555

          You are entitled to your opinion but after driving the ’14 E350 4matic vs the same class audi/bmw/cady cts and yes Chrysler 300….I thought the benz was by far the most comfortable and best driving of the group. (Purposely staying away from Asian competitors this time around as I have had 2 unfulfilling Toyotas and an Acura that I also didn’t enjoy). The benz has been an absolute awesome car with the only complaint being the user interface which is okay but not as good as it should be. That said different strokes for different folks and showing up looking like a redneck or boy racer Ina lime green challenger is something I prefer to avoid. And the benz wound up around 52k w/ pretty much every option I would want, need or use except for the diesel which I will get next time.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            E350 4matic is old, boring rich uncle of Toyota Camry.

            Or Subaru Legacy.

            *IMO*

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            Not sure if the price lines up, but I seriously enjoyed my loaner week in a GS350. It may be more fulfilling than anything with a T instead of an L in the oval. The AWD is available there too…

          • 0 avatar
            Siorus

            I grew up in an almost exclusively Mercedes family; we had/have everything from a W111 250SE coupe to a 450SEL 6.9 to a W221 S65. My first three cars were Mercedes; I still own two and I adore them both. I worked for a german car repair shop for a number of years and I know most of the postwar Mercedes products like the back of my hand. I’ll happily argue until I’m blue in the face that the W201, W124, W126, R129 and W140 cars are, from the standpoint of sheer engineering excellence, the best cars anyone has ever made. Full stop.

            The point i’m trying to make is that I like Mercedes. A lot. And I’ll give you this-I agree with you, the current E is comfortable and by all accounts they drive pretty well.

            But I wouldn’t-I couldn’t-buy a W212 E-class.

            I looked at one a few months back when a family member was shopping for a replacement for their W211 E63.

            You know what I noticed?
            -The power trunk opener. The M5 has one, so does the S8 (said family member wasn’t interested in the S6-not enough power). When you open the trunk in the BMW and the Audi, the lid smoothly, quietly opens to its full width, then stops. What happens when you open the lid on the Mercedes? It flings the f*** open at mach 7, slams into the bump stops and bounces. Disgusting. Seriously. Disgusting.
            -The center console storage compartment lid. Again, the BMW has one. Press the button and it opens. It’s not smoothly damped and velvety like it would be in a Rolls or whatever, but it opens in one smooth, quiet motion. The Benz? Same thing as the trunk. Flies the f*** open fast enough to put out an eye, hits the stops and then-THEN-it RATTLES! A brand freaking new, still-on-the-showroom-floor, less-than-10-mile E class. With a rattle. ARE YOU S****ING ME?

            I had to walk away. Seriously. It gave me a headache. My 124 is 26 years old and it has nearly 170,000 miles on it. You know what it’d do if it rattled? It would die of humiliation. It would just disappear one night without telling me where it went, and I’d never see it again. It’d roll itself into some dark corner of some back alley in some forgotten industrial park somewhere, crumple itself into a ball of high strength steel and mb-tex, and cry tears of shame and 15w40 until it rusted to death. Rattles. In a Mercedes. *spits*

            It makes my brain itch. Like Weezer’s “Island in the Sun” but worse.

            Other than that… In my opinion, the overall appearance and quality of the W212’s interior is not competitive with the interiors in the current 5 series, A6 or CTS. And I suspect there are some issues with the driving experience, too, even if the magazines won’t touch on them for fear of losing their press junkets.

            Full disclosure: I have not driven the W212 E350; I have driven the W211 E350 and E63, the C63, the S63, and the S65, though, so I think I can make some educated inferences.

            The 3.5L V6 has always been a pretty sweet little engine, no complaints there. But the 7G Tronic does a stellar job of upholding Mercedes’ long-held tradition of insisting upon designing really, really crappy automatic transmissions in-house rather than just buying a decent box from ZF, GM, or even Aisin-Warner. In some applications-the E350 probably amongst them-it won’t even rev match downshifts, and it’s sluggish and unresponsive with both manual and automatic gear selection. The kindest thing I can say about it is “at least it’s not the 5G-Tronic”. I’d wager the brakes in the E350 are also a little lacking for serious driving (let alone Siorus driving), and I suspect the suspension tuning leaves some performance on the table versus the BMW, the Audi and the Cadillac.

            I’m glad you like your E350, but I’m not sure I’d put it on a pedestal above the 300, the CTS, or its German competition.

            It certainly gets some things right-nothing rides like a Mercedes, the V6 is a solid engine, it still has the “right” brand image-but I don’t personally see that it’s necessarily a better car than anything else that can be had at that price point.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatist

            Siorus

            I am of a different era. I grew up in a time (60s) when MB represented, solid, SENSIBLE engineering. Not gimmicks. Lincolns and Cadillacs were loaded with gimmicks. Now cars are loaded with utterly ridiculous gadgetry (power seat belt extenders??!) and sadly MB seems to be right with the pack there. Design purity has long ago been lost.

            [Actually my wife’s 560SL is pretty sensible: MANUAL soft top, no power trunk opener or seat belt extenders. But that may be due to its early 70s design]

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          Methinks you need to drive the E class if you haven’t. Benz wannabes buy the C class. The Benz is a solid, heavy sedan that exudes competence. And you’d not only need money to join the club, you’d need it to stay in the club.

          Not that I could afford to join…

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I get both C’s and E’s as upgrades from Hertz fairly frequently (it’s GOOD to be President’s Circle). I don’t find much in it, one is mostly just bigger than the other. The C IS a little cheaper inside, but they drive about the same. Like a Mercedes.

            Neither is as carved from granite feeling as my old ’88 300TE, but that car cost nearly as much as a current E350 25 years ago (with all the amenities of a jail cell), so I can forgive a bit of cheapening for the massive price reduction. They are still very pleasant cars in a very non-sporting way.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I’m not a fan of Ecoboost anything, so the current V6 Mustang with a manual, that’s being heavily discounted now (18k to 22k for a new one depending on brake/suspension package) can make for an aftermarket tuned wet dream.

        I can imagine turning it into a stealth destroyer of egos attached to cars costing twice as much (for those who are into such things) for an approximate 6k to 10k in aftermarket mods (big carbon brakes, upgraded suspension, FI…maybe even room left over in budget for tasteful cosmetic makeover).

        Imagine a 26k to 30k tuned V6 Mustang MT that hunts & destroys BMW Ms & V8 Camaros with relative ease.

        VALUE proposition.

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          “V6 Mustang MT that hunts & destroys BMW Ms & V8 Camaros with relative ease.”

          This apex predator stuff that suffuses car guy sites always leaves me perplexed. I never see it when I drive.

          Do these epic contests take place on public highways in the wee hours? At some kind of raceway on weekends? How does one get the ego satisfaction of blowing away similar illegally fast, obsessively tweaked cars?

          Where is the car guy Serengeti?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “This apex predator stuff that suffuses car guy sites always leaves me perplexed. I never see it when I drive.”

            Yes in TTAC Land everyone will constantly want to race. You should expect multiple racing challenges per day on your regular commute, and you are bound by the rules of automotive enthusiasm to participate in all of them. If you are to lose any of these races you have been HUMILIATED in the worst degree possible.

            Away from TTAC Land I’ve owned a few fast-ish vehicles and have been challenged to race precisely never. If someone were to pull up next to me in their tuned out Mustang/GTI/Ram and wanted to race I would just ignore it.

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            Thanks, kind of what I thought.

            So, I guess I’ll donate The Book of Big Truck to Goodwill along with The Book of Mormon.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            The last time I got challenged on the street was by some backwards-hat-wearing-lowered-Civic-driving knucklehead. I was driving my box-stock light green Saab 9-5 V6t station wagon. He pulled up to me at a light on the local bypass and revved and revved his engine while giving me the “let’s go” sign. I comprehensively left him in the dust. That oddball asymmetrically turbocharged V6 had some grunt.

          • 0 avatar
            Siorus

            @petezeiss:

            In my experience, it’s a regional thing. I live in the bay area. A large percentage-perhaps even the majority-of people around here will:
            -Speed up to keep you from merging ahead of them
            -Refuse to let you in if you signal
            -Cut you off if you leave more than about 1.5 carlengths between your car and the car in front of you, irrespective of speed you’re traveling at
            -“Cut in line” by using “freeway only” and “right turn only” lanes and such as personal extensions of merging lanes
            -Refuse to move to the right if you come up behind them on the freeway, then speed up to keep you from going around them

            They also have a hard time with things like right turns on red lights and figuring out whether they should drive 25 in a 40 or 40 in a 25, but I digress.

            I’m not talking one driver out of 100. I’m talking approaching 50%. Around here, if you find yourself at an intersection, with a merge from two lanes to one on the other side, odds are pretty good the guy in the next lane over is going to stand on it when the light turns green-whether he’s driving a Bentley or a Prius.

            This is a pretty stark contrast to my experience in Oregon, where-even in Portland-drivers in general are pretty polite. That skit from Portlandia ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaXMTtykHfE ) is… shockingly accurate.

            Down here, though, people drive like jackwagons.

            Explicit street races aren’t that common, but I find that there’s a correlation between the degree of asshattery exhibited by your competit-er, other drivers-and what you’re driving.

            Take the traffic light with a 2-1 merge as an example.

            My Z06 has no mufflers; just cats, x-pipe and resonators. It is deafeningly loud. Nobody will even bother. They just let me go first.

            With the stock exhaust on it, I’d get the occasional badly misinformed person-almost invariably in something German; lots of non-M 5 series drivers, for instance-who would try to beat me off the line.

            It happens more in the S65 than in the Corvette; more still when I had a STI. On the other hand, my diesel Volkswagen is pretty much ignored by most people.

            The most absurd incident I’ve had was either the twerp in an older Hyundai Accent that got an unwilling-and unfortunate, for him-lesson in the capacity of a 472ci V8 to impart forward momentum on a ’69 Cadillac, or the middle-aged guy in an a W211 E320 who evidently didn’t get the memo that modern diesel trucks are unslow.

            So, you know, it happens. Not every day, but at least a few times a week I have to deal with somebody who, for whatever reason, just has to be in front of me.

            YMMV depending on where you live.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            @ Siorus

            I’ve been in the Bay Area for the last few years, but was previously near Boston. Trust me, Bay Area drivers ARE polite. And MA drivers look polite next to NY/NJ drivers.

            Anyway, I don’t find the spiteful competitiveness you describe that bad out here. Many drivers seem to be in their own world and just plain bad, but not generally malicious.

            As for standing on it at a stop before two lanes merge, don’t take it personally. Someone does have to get there first – if you both take off at normal speeds, you get there at the same time, and that doesn’t work for anyone.

            They don’t necessarily think their car is faster if they try to pull away quickly. Plenty of people drive powerful cars but don’t always use it. They just don’t want to be right next to another car when the lanes merge.

            Has it occurred to you that when someone does this you can simply let them pass?

          • 0 avatar
            Siorus

            @burgersandbeer:

            I think a lot of them are just very inattentive, yes. I need to get a train horn installed on… something.

            I’ve heard Boston and NY/NJ are worse; I really have no desire to find out. The bay area is bad enough for me.

            And yes-since I’m not bigtruckseriesreview-it has occurred to me to let other people go first. lol. And sometimes I do!

    • 0 avatar
      Siorus

      Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t quite see the Mustang and the Challenger as comparable cars-as much as the marketing departments at both companies would probably prefer that i did. The Dodge is a much larger, much heavier (to the tune of 600lbs or so, as i recall) car.

      I think someone commented the other day that the Challenger marked the return of the American personal luxury coupe, in the vein of the Riviera, the Toronado, and the Eldorado. I think that’s a fairly apt description. It’s certainly more sporting than any of the original personal luxury coupes were-well, the American ones, at least-but I think it’s closer in concept and execution to a ’64 Riviera than it is to a Mustang.

      As for the Mustang, the last one I drove was shortly after the Coyote was released. I found it very… underwhelming, I guess.

      The 5.0 isn’t a bad engine, but i was expecting more out of it, particularly in the way of low end torque, than what i got. The gearbox is appalling. I don’t know if Ford has updated it since 2010, but it stands as probably the worst manual transmission i’ve dealt with in a modern car. The gate spacing is nonsensical; the fore-aft throw distance would make anybody that has ever driven a Kenworth product feel right at home, while the side-side gate spacing is tighter than the transmission in my STI. As i recall, it also had an extremely stiff neutral return spring, which conspired with the wacky gate spacing to force me to play the “1st or 3rd? I have no freaking clue! Let’s try to guess while we slowly let the clutch out” game for the entirety of the test drive.

      I also felt that it was a little too softly sprung, and the brakes were spongy. That’s all pretty easily fixed-I’m sure a set of H&Rs and Bilsteins, a short shift kit, some better pads and stainless brake lines would have fixed it right up but… Unless we’re talking like, the BOSS 302 or something, for my money, I think I’d probably split the difference in weight and size and go with the Camaro.

      • 0 avatar

        People keep comparing the Challenger to a Mustang.

        I really think they ought not to.

        • 0 avatar
          Mr Imperial

          The 1970-74 Challenger was meant to be a ponycar competitor to the Mustang and Camaro-and for some, that association will never go away.

          Which I believe you know, just sayin’

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        The Getrag MT82 M6 has backed every 5.0 since its introduction with the 2011 car. Prior to this all Mustangs used a Tremec transmission (the TR3650 M5 coupled to the 4.6 3v and TR6060 M6 coupled to the 5.4 4v SC)

        A lot of the problems can really be traced to Ford’s use of a remote mount shifter instead of the superior transmission mounted linkage both before the introduction of the MT82 and after.

        I’m not sure why Ford insisted on using an remote shifter? I’d like to think it was a sacrifice made in the name of NVH but it could have been a bit cost saving in that Tremec and Getrag had an off-the-shelf piece that was adapted to the application.

        Hopefully the 2015 car has dispensed with the remote shifter.

        • 0 avatar
          3Deuce27

          Reg; “Hopefully the 2015 car has dispensed with the remote shifter.” Ford Spokesman/engineers have stated that they have addressed shifting issues with the Gen-7 Mustang. What that means exactly was not stated. What I find ironic, is that fan boys denied there was a problem and over the years, Ford naturally didn’t address it in the previous generation. The after market certainly addressed the problem.

          When jumping from a new GT to an SS or the Stang V-6 to the Camaro V-6, the second thing you notice is the difference in shifting between the two. The Camaro’s were smooth and direct, you always knew where you were, the Mustangs nebulous, and 1st to 2nd and 3rd to 2nd had issues in selection. The shifts were also mechanically restrictive in the Mustangs.

          Like ‘Siorus’, I found the Camaro more to my liking for its shifting and composed handling in the rough and in compression and extension/lift/unweighted turns. Its seat height and driver positioning also had a sporty feel to it. The car just felt immediately more comfortable in all regimes compared to the Stang. I’m not against Mustangs, over the years, I have owned, new, two of the best, and have never owned a personal new Camaro.

      • 0 avatar
        Pinzgauer

        A bone stock Mustang would have the 3.31 gearing which sucks the life out of the Coyote. I felt the same as you after driving a bone stock GT. You mention the Boss, and it addresses all of your issues. Short shifts, adjustable suspension, brembo brakes and 3.73 gearing. Its an absolute blast of a car to drive. Its why I bought a Boss. Camaro…ugh there’s no comparison.

        • 0 avatar
          Siorus

          Yeah, I figured the Boss would be the answer. Never considered the gearing in the one I drove, but I’m sure you’re right, since it was just a bone stock, straight-off-the-lot 2011 5.0. I *think* it had the track pack, but this was nearly 4 years ago so I don’t really know.

          On paper the 3.73s seem a little short to me, my gut feeling would be to go with the 3.55s, but maybe I’m wrong. What kind of RPMs does yours do at say, 70 or 80 in 6th with the 3 .73s?

          Between the Boss and the SS, I’m not honestly sure which one I’d have. I haven’t driven either one, but the Boss is pretty clearly a sharper, more sporting car than the normal SS. I really need to drive them both; I suspect I could be happy with either one.

          • 0 avatar
            3Deuce27

            The comparison is the Boss versus the Z-28, or the SS to the GT.

            Both the Boss and the Z-28 are much better sorted cars designed and equipped to go directly to the track. The GT and SS are moderately capable boulevard cruisers or Grand Turismos Rapidos.

            The extra OEM dollars spent on the Boss and Z-28 are quite evident in their resulting elevated capabilities over the baser models.

          • 0 avatar
            Siorus

            Theoretically, yes, the Z/28 is the competitor to the Boss 302, but the Z/28 stickers for $75k; the Boss-before it was discontinued-was under $43. Which puts it in line with the SS, not the Z/28.

            And the Z/28 has beaten the R35 around a track; I don’t think the Boss 302 has. The Camaro has a fair bit more power and seems like a more track-focused car overall.

            For those two reasons, imo, the cars aren’t directly comparable.

          • 0 avatar
            3Deuce27

            I was referring to the focus of the cars, not the prices, but we have the Boss 302S…$89,995.00 and they have been compared, though, the ‘S’ can’t be licensed.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        “I think someone commented the other day that the Challenger marked the return of the American personal luxury coupe, in the vein of the Riviera, the Toronado, and the Eldorado. I think that’s a fairly apt description. It’s certainly more sporting than any of the original personal luxury coupes were-well, the American ones, at least-but I think it’s closer in concept and execution to a ’64 Riviera than it is to a Mustang.”

        I think the current Challenger is close to the original Charger in concept: a large, powerful, plush two door coupe that offers a mix of luxury and performance.

        I think a Challenger would make an absurdly good highway car for long distance touring. It’s nice to see something with character and presence, that offers a uniquely North American approach to high performance. It’s also a great halo car, to help define Dodge as something other than a purveyor of second rate airport rental cars. It sounds like this car is really well executed – the worst criticism Jack could come up with was “The climate-control knobs are a little wobbly”.

        I’m glad this car exists in 2015. For those who don’t like it and would prefer “simplify and add lightness”, the same company would be happy to sell you an Alfa 4C…

      • 0 avatar
        johnny_5.0

        Agreed. I think of the ’15 Challenger more like a domestic non-luxury 6 series than I do something that’s supposed to hang with a 1LE on the track for the same money.

        As others have mentioned, the 3.73 gears make quite a difference in the Mustang. First becomes so short you’ll probably just start from 2nd 90% of the time. The shifter is indeed the worst aspect of the car from a performance standpoint. That’s why aftermarket ones are a really popular, and relatively cheap upgrade (not that you should have to). Even just changing the bracket makes a big difference, there’s too much slop in the OEM unit.

        2016 MY should be a really sweet time for these cars. Heavily refreshed Challenger with a big enough engine optional in non-SRT models to handle its heft. Brand new Mustang. Brand new Camaro. The Camaro on Alpha with an LT1 and the 8L90 tranny should put up some stupid fast numbers on the cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      Stumpaster

      “Yes, this car has close to 500 horsepower, and yes it is more refined & civilized as a GT style cruiser”

      And so it is. That’s the end of that discussion. Or, or, or, you can by a 328i station wagon for the same money, or a loaded Odyssey. But who gives a damn.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      A Scat Pack Challenger will probably still be more expensive than the ’14 Mustang GT, but remember Dodge offers plenty of discounts as well. Try building one and the final MSRP isn’t obvious, the configurator focuses on price after available discounts.

      Where did $45k come from anyway? The picture in the story shows $38k.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      There’s room for a Coyote and a Hellcat in my lottery fantasy garage. I’m smitten by the Uconnect (and was a Mopar man way back when) so if I’m buying one or the other used in 5 years it’s the Challengers style, infotainment and non-track road worthiness that will win the day.

  • avatar

    The one thing I really wish Chrysler and everyone else would do is either:

    #1 DROP THE PADDLE SHIFTERS

    or

    #2 add a LOCK OUT that keeps them “off” until I put the car in “sport” mode.

    People who’ve never used Paddle shifters will inevitably touch them by accident and drop the car into gear 1. then you have to explain to them how to “hold the paddle” to go back to “D”.

    Last thing I want is my girlfriend screwing up my Jeep.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “#2 add a LOCK OUT that keeps them “off” until I put the car in “sport” mode”

      They added that for 2015. You can turn them off in the performance pages.

      A welcome addition as on my 2013 Charger R/T, my wife would often stuggle to figure out how to get the car to shift automatically again after bumping the paddles.

      I’ll be keeping them turned off for every day driving on the 2015 Challenger I ordered yesterday.

    • 0 avatar
      Stumpaster

      Are you saying drop the paddle shifters because it is confusing how the stick shift moves through the gates as you hit the paddles?

      That was funny.

    • 0 avatar
      turboprius

      My sister thought the paddle shifters on the Rogue were audio controls. We pulled over, went back into drive, and everything has been good ever since.

      #1 is a good plan, as even those who are number four in their high school class don’t understand paddle shifters.

  • avatar

    I don’t like the Challenger for myself as a car, but I’d really love to borrow a Hellcat and take it to one of those “greener” rallies with Hybrids and EV’s and just do burnouts all over the place.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      I’m all in favor of performance cars, but are you really so desperate that you have fantasies of destroying $600 in tires just to piss off people who believe in science?

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      It’s much more fun to use the power and size to block the green weenies with their “Cleanpass” Priuses from elbowing their way into the HOV lane. They’ve turned a permission into an entitlement and have a tantrum if they can’t get into “their” private lane.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        I keep trying to convince myself that the guys who drive their muscle cars aggressively aren’t all douchebags, but some of these comments are making that very difficult.

        • 0 avatar

          lol, agreed.

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          As in any unstructured debate, the douchebags on each side yell the loudest. It makes it hard for the realists on either side to hear each other and not waste time responding to the ridiculousness. Remember when you could just shun a douchbag and not invite them to the party next time? I miss real conversations with opposing views discussed rationally, occasionally finding middle ground.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    A loaded Mustang GT will be low to mid 40’s (I’m not talking about the incentives on 2014 models now). It will handle better and go faster but so what.

    This reminds me of all the guys on the M3 boards that go on about the coupe vs the convertible. Yes my convertible weighs 400lbs more but 99% of the time you are not going to be on the track so who cares?

    The Challenger is a different kind of car and I think targets a slightly different demographic (older perhaps).

    If they had a convertible of it I’d probably own one. I may still give a 392 shaker a test drive along with a 2015 GT convertible.

    • 0 avatar
      johnny_5.0

      Let’s be realistic about pricing. MSRP for a track package Mustang is under $34K. Even a premium track package is under $37K. If you mostly want the go fast bits, the Mustang is a comparative bargain. And everything but the Boss or GT500 were easy to get for dealer invoice. I just hope the same holds true for the Scat Pack.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Scat Pack? Does that mean this Challenger leaves, err, droppings on the floor?

  • avatar
    B Buckner

    The ’68 Challenger in Bullit was pretty cool as well. It made the styling of the McQueen Mustang look 10 years old, although that Mustang is a classic. Great movie, watched it on TV Wednesday night. Saw Vanishing Point as a 16 year old new driver. Wow!

    • 0 avatar
      lmike51b

      Charger. IMO, the Mustang looked better then and still does today. And to me, still the best car chase scene.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Best chase scene ever, but to be honest the rest of the movie kind of sucked…

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        The Mustangs built for the movie, even after structural modifications, were not physically up to the stunt tasks required of them, while the Charger, stock, held up quite well, and there is this … “In a magazine article many years later, one of the drivers involved in the chase sequence remarked that the stock Dodge 440s were so much faster than the Mustang that the drivers had to keep backing off the accelerator to prevent the Dodge from easily pulling away from the Mustang.” Note that the 390″ FE engines in the Bullit Mustangs were built for more performance. They should have just put some ‘Side-oilers’ into the Mustangs to even things up.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Well that’s it, I went and ordered a 2015 Challenger. Thanks a lot, Jack.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Enjoy it!

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Are we gonna get any details or what?

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        2015 R/T, 5.7L 8AT, Super Track Pack, Jazz Blue ext, red/black leather interior with the same matte black wheels as on the car pictured above.

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          Must be an RT Plus then; the build-a-car doesn’t show leather as an option for base RT. [Red leather on a blue car? You sure about that?] Just as long as the wheels aren’t those damn chrome-clad plastic-faced ones. Went through 2 sets with cracks in the plating; seems to appear in the spring. Sold the last set after getting them warrantied and replaced them with ’13 MY all metal ones.

          Congrats, sure you’ll enjoy it.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          Cool, thanks for filling us in. Any chance we’ll see a review here on TTAC?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            By the end of this week, the B&B will probably have had their fill of Challenger hype for a while. We’ll see.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          Enjoy! I’m a fan of the dark blues. Jazz blue reminds me of BMW’s orient blue, which I’ve had on my last two cars.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Just make sure yours doesn’t wind up the one in “Vanishing Point”.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        FWIW, the ‘Challenger’ that ‘crashed’ at the end of the movie was a white ’68 Camaro that they just blew up while it was standing still. Really strange since they trashed most of the white Challengers that Chrysler gave them. Maybe Chrysler wanted all the cars back intact, even if they were mostly totaled.

    • 0 avatar
      challenger2012

      Welcome to the Club. 5.7L, RT Classic, AT, sunroof, black racing stripes and spoiler, Red exterior, black leather inside. Now, you are making me think of trading. I wonder what I can get for my RT with 19,753 miles on it?

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Sounds great! Whenever I build a car online, I always pick a blue exterior and then try to select a red interior if available. I usually get a ‘not compatible’ message, and then get prompted to select a non-blue exterior (usually black or white).

      Interestingly, Chevy’s Corvette builder has this feature, with the option to pay $600 to override the color conflict.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        With the Challenger, they block truly unsellable combinations like the sublime green ext and red or pearl interior, as well as the B5 bright blue with red interior. Jazz blue is dark enough that some will confuse it for black in certain light.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Congratulations Danio3834. I’m currently the same sublime with envy pictured above. If I weren’t financially precluded, I’d be testing the R/T 6MT vs the 8ATin a deep red to match the busted up 1970 in my garage.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    love the way these look. the heavy lidded front end the hippy sides and rear. doesn’t hurt that 30+ years ago i was driving a friends ’70 when a girl i knew told me i looked good in it.

    how trite. how memorable. but those memories are not worth the 44k entrance fee (to me at least).

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    It’s always fun to read about cars we will never see, let alone drive over here In Norway.
    BTW, they did remake Vanishing Point already, with a ‘pre LOTR’ Viggo Mortensen, and nobody knows about it, so I guess it didn’t get much attention.
    Instead of a silly voice over they gave him a ‘reason’ to race across the country (I believe his girlfriend was dying from cancer or something) and in good Hollywood tradition a very nice 68-70 Charger had to bite the dust in a chase(driven by a cop for a change). I believe they didn’t blow up any Challengers (or 69 Camaros) in the remake, and the ending was more ‘happyish’
    The original was more memorable to say the least.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “Yeah, I guess it makes sense that the shifter on the console would have to move while you’re paddle shifting,” he opined.

    Good thing I didn’t have a mouth full of coffee when I read that. Every time you comment on your fellow journos I’m convinced I’d be the most competent reviewer without a racing licence.

    You should have brought BTSR with you, at least it would be entertaining.

  • avatar
    LeadHead

    Kinda of disappointed you guys didn’t sample the Hellcat 8-Speed, or even the 6.4 8 speed. Still waiting for the V6 review.

    Also Jack, I don’t know why you hate on the Charger interior so much. You drove a bargain basement SE rental version with the 5-speed. Every other trim above that has the 8-speed as standard. I’ve seen in a ’14 Charger SXT Plus, and it’s an extremely nice place to be with colored accents everywhere and that same nice aluminum trim panel as the 2015 Challenger.

    That is exactly why I don’t like reviews of rental cars, because they’re almost never a vehicle anyone would buy. Some makes even have special even-more-decontented-models just for fleets.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      LeadHead,
      The alternative to rental reviews is to get a vehicle hand-picked by the manufacturer, which has been thoroughly quality checked and has every option imaginable. And then, the reviewer is beholden to the manufacturer to write a positive review, or they’ll get cut off.

      I would much rather get an honest review of a rental stripper that has a few miles on it than the usual BS other sites offer.

      • 0 avatar
        LeadHead

        Not really, Media fleets usually have vehicles of nearly every trim available for checkout. From lower-end models to full on luxury-suites-on-wheels.

        Bargain basement rentals are not the way to review a car. Like I said, the SE Rental edition charger has interior and transmission options that literally aren’t available on any other trim. Very few SE Chargers would be stocked at a dealer, and even fewer people in the general public would buy them.

        I’d rather see a dealer test-drive car reviewed (ignoring any moral implications) before a rental reviewed.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          LeadHead,
          If you feel strongly about it, then feel free to submit a reveiw of whatever model you choose – Jack and crew are always looking for new contributors!

          • 0 avatar
            LeadHead

            It’s not my job to review cars, or take time out of my day and make a salesman think I’m interested in a car, when I’m not.

            It is however, IMO, the reviewers of TTAC’s responsibility to provide fair unbiased reviews of vehicles. Doing a review of a base model rental vehicle is neither of those.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            The review of the Charger was fair for what it was, a rental review. Referring back to that rental as the standard for that model might not be the best representation of the whole lineup, though.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      LeadHead,
      Feel free to offer up our ride for a Baruth to come test and review. The readers ride are a happy medium between rentals and MFG picked pro prepped ringers.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I drove every challenger I could get my hands on. Time was short unfortunately.

      I’ve reviewed the current model charger srt8 and r/t awd before, if that helps.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Knight jumps LeadHead! Bishop jumps LeadHead! Pawns jump LeanHead! *Gangbang*!

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Glad to hear braking and handling dynamics are greatly improved. It was needed.

    I’ve found the Challenger wallowing. I think of the three “pony cars” out there it is by far the best looking one, and probably darn close to the most practical in the sense of a four person hauler with luggage.

    But damn son, it is one BIG car.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Is it just me or is that one sorry excuse for a bumble-bee stripe? Geez…

  • avatar

    ““Yeah, I guess it makes sense that the shifter on the console would have to move while you’re paddle shifting,” he opined.”

    Maybe he watches a lot of World Rally Championship racing.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Boy I wish I could buy one of these things. When they arrive down here they will probably be over $100K after switching the steering to the wrong side of the car and going through all the ADR paperwork.

    And there are 2 wonderful tracks nearby: Phillip Island and Sandown. There are more around.


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