Dodge Challenger 6.4-liter Hemi — Performance your way

By David Finkelstein

A recent road test of the 2015 Challenger coupe certainly helps to cement ones thoughts that Dodge is clearly the leader with performance-oriented vehicles stateside. The Challenger is positioned up against the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro as candidates likely cross-shopped in this specialty class of two door, rear wheel drive automobiles.

Worth noting, Dodge is building on its elevated sales momentum with the new Challenger. More precisely and according to Chrysler marketing research, this automotive sales segment is up some 10 percent since 2009 and is projected to grow more than 42 percent in the next five years.

For the 2015 model year, Challenger's exterior now takes on a bold new appearance that mimics and draws from the original 1971 model. For the '15 model year, it has a split front grille assemble as well as split tail lamp design cues. Additionally, four signature LED headlamp “halo surrounds” are offset by piano black trim and single projector-beam headlamps.

Optional, are high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps. With the car's profile, Challenger’s signature muscular car proportions and large thruster rear-quarter panels stand out, when placed up against competitive models. The fenders and belt lines blend nicely together at the front and rear of the car to create a very sleek appearance.

The Dodge brand’s signature rear LED tail lamp treatment creates a single row of bright light within each lamp unit itself. A redesigned rear valance provides the 2015 Challenger with a widened, more planted footprint, while fascia-mounted exhaust tip outlets provide a high-performance finished and custom look.

Besides a host of bright exterior colors to chose from, the factory also offers seven different stripe options of which will get instant awareness from others on the road — awareness that translates a car with customization touches. Nine, beautifully engineered wheel designs are also available from the factory.

Inside Challenger is an all-new driver-enthusiast-designed performance cockpit with its well placed gauges and controls. Its execution features numerous premium materials, and technologies abound. It too was also inspired by the interior of the 1971 Challenger.

Craftsmanship is evident with the cars interior's welcomed fresh look.Its further flanked by all-new gauges which are featured with an analog speedometer and tachometer that provides a heritage-inspired look of the cars dash from the 70's.

Significant new technology upgrades include an all-new class-exclusive 8.4-inch touchscreen media center with their “user friendly” Uconnect Access system and a new class-exclusive 7-inch thin-film transistor customizable cluster display. Furthermore, an electronic shifter and keyless “Enter ‘n Go” with push-button start is included with all models. The Uconnect Access interface is designed to assist within various operating levels including roadside assistance, keyless enter, theft-alarm notification, voice texting and the ability to turn the Challenger into a roving Wi-Fi Hotspot plus 3-D navigation.

It's also set up with mobile app's that allow the driver to open or lock their car remotely. The Uconnect Access system leverages and works in concert with advanced embedded cellular technology.  An all-new media hub with an SD card slot, USB outlet and auxiliary audio input is neatly housed inside the center console’s armrest.

The car's all new steering wheel design features a sculpted rim so the driver’s hands have a solid grip while available paddle shifters (with automatic transmission) are located on the backs of the upper spokes. The redesigned seats have improved cushioning and more comfortable contours. They're available in premium cloth, Ballistic Cloth, Nappa leather and Nappa leather with Alcantara Suede. Performance seats are optional with large side bolsters for maximum lateral support during hard cornering maneuvers. For improved comfort and convenience, heated and ventilated front seats in Nappa leather are also now available.

Challenger is offered in 14 different interior color and trim selections.  As expected, the cars footprint is solid with its racing inspired “finely developed” suspension and heavy duty brakes. Under the hood, Chrysler offers a number of engine combinations including a 3.6-liter V-6.

However, during my recent road test, I had the opportunity to drive the 2015 Challenger with their 6.4-liter V-8 performance Hemi engine. It generates an impressive horsepower output of just under 500 and with 475 lb.-ft. of torque. Those numbers clearly suggest that the car is ready for commanding street performance driving or track usage. With the 6.4-liter engine, it reflected 15-mpg with city driving and 25-mpg on the highway. The Scat Pack trim and appearance package further brings this car to life.

The power output was harnessed and channeled with their eight-speed automatic transmission. Depending on the engine, a six-speed manual gear box is also offered. When you take a deep dive into all of the powertrain driveline options as well as eight trim levels offered, there are thousands of build combinations to help frame your Challenger as a custom built automobile.

After factory extras, the MSRP was $40,585 which also included the $995 shipping and destination charges.