$44,680 (includes destination and gas-guzzler tax)
Options on test vehicle
392 Inaugural Edition Package ($1,995 -- includes dual white center stripes, leather seats with stripes, polished 20-by-9-inch wheels with black accents, Mopar quad exhaust); Media Center 430N ($395 -- includes Sirius travel link with 1-year service, Sirius Satellite Radio, Garmin navigation system, 6.5-inch touchscreen display, 30GB hard drive with 4,250-song capacity); Five-Speed Automatic Transmission ($995); Power Sunroof ($950); SRT Option Group II ($695 -- includes 13 Kicker high-performance speakers, 200-watt Kicker subwoofer, 322-watt Kicker amplifier); Front 245/45ZR20 and Rear 255/45ZR20 Performance Tires ($100).
Naturally aspirated, port-injected, V8, gasoline with cylinder deactivation
6,424cc (392 cu-in)
Pushrod, two valves per cylinder with hydraulic lifters, variable cam timing
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
470 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
470 @ 4,200
Five-speed automatic with console shifter
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
I = 3.59; II = 2.19; III = 1.41; IV = 1.00; V = 0.83; Final drive = 3.06
The Challenger 392 struggled to put the power of its new engine to the tarmac; it spun the tires wildly even with ESP on. The quickest run was achieved with ESP off by using slightly less than full throttle initially off the line until the rear tires had traction. The automatic's manual-shift mode gives quick, but very abrupt shifts. We used this mode to get the quickest time; it still upshifts for itself anyway. Strangely, in full automatic Drive mode it banged into the rev limiter once before shifting from 1st to 2nd.
Pedal is nice and firm. Stopping distances were short and remained consistent, as did the pedal feel and pedal travel even after repeated runs.
Slalom: Dodge has definitely improved the SRT8's handling. It no longer feels like such a heavy, sloppy beast, even though it's actually even heavier than before; steering is quicker and sharper. But this is still a very wide and heavy car with which to steer around the cones quickly. It was important to drive particularly smooth with ESP on, as the system cuts in very aggressively, thereby ruining the run. Skid pad: Careful throttle control is needed to keep from overshooting the arc, as it's easy to get the Challenger into an understeer push. ESP-on runs proved just as good as ESP-off, but easier to achieve because the stability system was quite adept at cutting in at the exact right time to keep the car on the intended line.