Following up on six years of steadily increasing sales, Dodge revealed an update of the revivalist Challenger pony car at the New York International Auto Show, an extensive freshening that preserves the look, spirit, and rumble of yesteryear with contemporary engineering and electronics.
The 2015 Dodge Challenger sustains its unabashedly retro roots, but the updated styling is drawn from the 1971 model, rather than 1970, according to the Dodge. That year, its second on the market, marked the zenith of Challenger performance, the final year with the option of 426 Hemi V-8 muscle.
Subtle Design Cues
The design distinctions between 1970 and '71 were subtle, and that's true of the 2015 update. The front and rear fascias have been redesigned-a thinner split grille slot, deeper airdam, an LED halo surrounding the quad headlights, a bigger power bulge in the hood, a new Shaker hood option, and LED taillights.
But like the transition from 1970 to '71, the 2015 profile is essentially the same as 2014. Aside from a new cast aluminum axle housing, that's also true of the chassis. And the retro theme is sustained by what Dodge calls "high impact heritage hues:" B5 Blue, Tor Red, and Sublime, an electric green that may be visible from low earth orbit. There are also seven "heritage inspired" stripe options.
The all-new interior is a blend of retro design and contemporary technology. Highlights under this heading include a new 7-inch TFT cluster nestled between the tachometer and speedometer with programmable information via Dodge's Performance Pages feature; a new 8.4-inch touchscreen option with Chrysler's U-Connect telematics; driver selectable operating modes; and a new rearview camera. An S3 card slot, auxiliary audio input and USB outlet are integrated into a new media hub housed in the center armrest.
The front seats have been redesigned, with upholstery choices ranging from cloth to Nappa leather, and the option of heating and cooling for those clad with hides. There's also a performance seat option with heftier bolstering.
V-6 and V-8 Power
As you'd expect, there's no shortage of muscle. Engine choices are familiar: Chrysler's 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6, and 5.7- and 6.4-liter Hemi V-8s. EPA fuel economy ratings weren't final at show time, but are expected to be about the same as 2014.
Output for the Hemis ranges up to 375 hp and 410 pound-feet of torque in the Challenger R/T when the intake air is enhanced by cold air from the optional Shaker hood, and the engine is paired with a Tremec 6-speed manual transmission. The Shaker package also includes a low restriction exhaust, emitting a visceral rumble.The Shaker package also extends to the chassis via the optional Super Track Pack, with upgrades to suspension, brakes, steering, three-mode stability control, and Goodyear Eagle F1 performance rubber.
The 6.4 Hemi generates 485 hp and 475 lb-ft, and both Hemis will include the option of Chrysler's TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic (standard with the V-6), replete with paddle shifters and a new electronic shift feature.
Also new: an electric power steering system.
Scat Pack Returns
Dodge has also introduced a new line of Scat Pack accessories from Mopar, Chrysler's in-house aftermarket department. Scat Pack hardware includes 5.7-liter V-8 engine upgrades, performance suspension parts, and 20 x 9-inch forged alloy wheels, and Brembo brakes, plus a Scat Pack appearance package with a 276-watt audio system and animated start-up screen.
Offered in eight trim levels-SXT, SXT Plus, R/T, R/T Plus, R/T Shaker, R/T Plus Shaker, 6.4-liter Scat Pack, and 392 HEMI Scot Pack Shaker-the 2015 Challengers will reach showrooms this fall, with some of the high performance Shaker elements due later in the year.
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