I get a tingly sensation around my unmentionables when I see a new Challenger. It’s kind of like the time I saw Halle Berry in public. I was so damn bashful, I had to look away and chuckle to myself when we made split second eye contact, like an idiot. Sure, there is a difference, but I still chuckle stupidly and drool when I see a Challenger – and so do you.
Click HERE or the image (right) for a photo gallery of the new 2011 Dodge Challenger.
So, when I was told that there would be a selection of 2011 Dodge Challengers for us (members of the press) to play with, I giggled like a school-girl. The good people at Chrysler Group LLC invited TFLcar to Northern California for a play-date with eight of their new 2011 offerings. There is more than new headlights and revised chrome going on here – these vehicles are revamped to the point that some are new.
Dodge left the Dodge Challenger’s sexy shape alone and instead focused on improving just about everything under the skin. Engines are more powerful, suspensions are improved, steering feel is much better as is maneuverability and the interiors are all new.
Sadly, only a few of us can afford to buy, run and insure the V8s. So, if we want the Challenger’s looks without the beef – we have to settle for a V6. Bummer dude. Here’s the good news – the V6 Challenger is WAY better than last year’s clunker. That’s because Dodge used its new, high-tech, DOHC Pentistar V6. It’s a more competitive, competent engine with 305 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque. It’s hooked up to a five-speed Auto-stick, automatic transmission. The combo works great, but we WANT a stick! Word is, Dodge is playing with the idea and we’ll know more down the line.
So – do you think it’s an economy car gussied-up to look like a Challenger? Well, it is – sort of. It should get into the mid to high 20s for highway MPG and provide a smaller carbon footprint. Fortunately, it’s not slow. In fact, it’s a zippy setup. I put my left foot on the brake, slammed my right foot down on the gas and – you guessed it – the rear wheels broke free and began to spin. The engine howl is closer to imported finesse over Detriot muscle – but it’s not horrible. If you truly miss the V8 burble, record a Hemi and blast it out the speakers when you roll through town.
Handling is great with a ride none of the competition can match. There is something to be said about cornering in a car that weighs hundreds of pounds less than its V8 brethren. Sure, it’s still a heavy car – but now it feels lively and much more responsive.
A beautiful brand new interior with “soft touch” materials awaits – it’s got to be best in class.
It may not be faster than the new Mustang V6 and I think it will come real close to the Camaro V6 is performance and economy. Either way, it no longer embarrasses itself. I urge folks who want a V6 coupe to look at the drop-dead, sexy V6 Challenger.
Base price for the 2011 Dodge Challenger SE is $24,670.
Here’s the rest of the pack:
The 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 marks the return of the 6.1-liter Hemi. It is now known as the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 (for cubic inches) and it puts out a bowel-shaking 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque… DUDE – that’s a 90 ft-lb increase over last year! There are LOTS of upgrades for the SRT8 392, we’ll review one soon and give you more details. The pistol-grip six-speed manual returns as does the five-speed Auto-stick automatic transmission.
The base price for the 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 is $42,555.
The 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T (with a six-speed manual) 5.7-liter V8 makes 376 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. The five-speed automatic/Auto-stick makes 372 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. This is another car that excites TFLCar like crazy. We will post videos, reviews and other irreverent crap when we test it – soon!
Starting price for the 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T is $29,670.
So – IS the V6 2011 Dodge Challenger SE a REAL Challenger? It’s hard to say, but I know one thing, I blush when I look at it and made coitus-like faces when I drove it.
Automotive media, racing, vehicle evaluation, wrecking yards, and car sales are just a part of Nathan Adlen’s vehicular past. He writes out of high octane passion! To read more reviews by Nathan Adlen or just to enjoy more of excellent writing please visit him on at his examiner.com page HERE.