Reviews

Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 review

We drive the new, more powerful Dodge Challenger SRT8 392. A winner of the muscle car war?

What is it?

It’s the latest and greatest version of Dodge’s retro-style muscle car. Brought to you by the Street and Racing Technology department that also engineers the Viper, the SRT8 392 has more power, more torque and more performance than the outgoing model. The “392” harks back to a magical Chrysler Hemi engine from the early days of drag racing, although the capacity of this engine is actually 391 cubic inches.

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Technical highlights?

This is an American muscle car, so the main highlight is under the bonnet. The previous SRT8 had a 6.1-litre engine making 425bhp and 420lb ft of torque, but mid-range grunt was lacking, allegedly. The new engine features a 0.9mm wider bore and a 3.6mm longer stroke, for 6.4 litres.

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The engine also gets a new two-stage intake manifold and variable cam timing, pushing power to 470bhp and torque to 470lb ft. More importantly, there’s an additional 90lb ft at 2900 rpm. The chassis features a quicker steering rack, uprated anti-roll bars, new Bilsteins, and stiffer bushings.What’s it like to drive?

The V8 makes big noise and provides solid thrust, pushing the SRT8 onto a claimed top speed of 180mph, with a 0-60mph time of around 4.8sec. Tyre smoke, sir? Turn off the stability control and you can fry the fat Goodyear Eagle F1s at will through second-gear corners.

It actually covers ground quickly, with surprisingly good body control and accurate steering, but the 1.9-ton weight hinders agility on really twisty roads. The Brembos haul all that mass down from high speed with aplomb, however, and the ride at speed is decent, considering the 20in wheels and stiffened suspension.

How does it compare?

Starting at £27,720 in the US, its nearest rival on price is the Ford Mustang Boss 302, which is lighter, faster, and more nimble. A BMW M3 is £10,000 more expensive, but beats it in almost every category except, arguably, style. Anything else I should know?

It feels like 1969 all over again, with Dodge, Ford, and Chevrolet releasing ever-higher horsepower versions of their "pony cars." In the case of the Challenger, one of its main appeals is how much it looks like a 1969 muscle car—and its soundtrack, straight out of Vanishing Point.

Specifications

EngineV8, 6424cc
Max power470bhp @ 6000rpm
Max torque470lb ft @ 4200rpm
0-604.8sec
Top speed180mph
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