The latest Ford Mustang is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The next Chevrolet Camaro is rumored to be smaller, lighter and likely powered by a four-cylinder engine. But when Dodge updated the Challenger coupe for 2015, its new addition wasn't a four-cylinder engine — it was the tire-smoking SRT Hellcat model, powered by a jaw-dropping 707-horsepower, supercharged V-8. That's what Dodge thinks of the smaller, lighter, more efficient trend, and kudos to the automaker. Who knows how much longer we'll have cars like these on the road, given increasingly stringent fuel-economy mandates?
Dodge updated the Challenger inside and out, with a mild nose job and butt lift and a thoroughly new interior with modern conveniences. Powertrains mostly remain the same, with a new eight-speed automatic transmission replacing the old five-speed auto in the 2014 model. But with an all-new Mustang just around the corner and the Camaro not far behind, has Dodge gone far enough in updating the Challenger to keep it relevant and competitive?
Dodge's iconic muscle coupe will flex its way into dealerships later this summer, but it won't necessarily stretch your budget on the base-model end with a starting-price increase of only $500. The 2015 Challenger starts at $27,990 (all prices include a $995 destination charge).
The Challenger is available with four different powertrains, starting with the base SXT model, followed by R/T, R/T Scat Pack and SRT 392, and the much-hyped, 707-horsepower SRT Hellcat. SXT models again come with a 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 305 hp and 268 pounds-feet of torque. New for 2015 is an eight-speed automatic transmission that Dodge says boosts fuel economy by as much as 11 percent; last year's version was EPA rated at 18/27/21 mpg city/highway/combined.
Standard exterior features include a 1971-inspired split satin-chrome grille, dual exhaust with bright tips, 18-inch aluminum wheels, a "power bulge hood" with twin functional intakes and power body-colored folding heated side mirrors. Inside the SXT comes with cloth seating, a stamped aluminum instrument panel bezel, a six-way power driver's seat, a six-speaker audio system, dual-zone temperature control, keyless entry with push-button start and a leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel and shift knob.
When a small hammer isn't getting the job done, the most obvious solution is to get a bigger hammer, right? Dodge is bringing out its biggest hammer with the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat — its supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 makes a whopping 707 horsepower. Dodge says it's the most powerful V-8 it's ever produced and the most powerful muscle car ever.
The full 707 hp is unleashed when drivers use a red key fob; the second black key fob lowers output to a measly 500 hp. Is it overkill that the black key loses 200 horsepower and still has more power than a regular 485-hp Challenger SRT? Hell, no; bring it on. The Challenger SRT Hellcat hits dealerships in the third quarter of 2014. There's no word yet on pricing.
Cars.com photo by Evan Sears
Forget kid in a candy store; these "kids" got to spend the day someplace much sweeter: the racetrack. The Cars.com Editorial team took its annual pilgrimage to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., for the Midwest Automotive Media Association's spring rally.
With two days of track, street and off-road driving and nearly 100 cars available for testing, there were plenty of favorites from the event. Continue below for a gallery of the highlights.
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