2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2007
FAST FACTS
  • New model to compete against the Ford Mustang

  • Two-door coup_ body style with 5-passenger seating

  • Styling inspired by 1970 Challenger

  • 425-hp, 6.1-liter, Hemi V-8 engine

  • Based on Dodge Charger/Chrysler 300 platform

  • Rear-wheel drive (RWD)

  • 20-inch wheels and tires

  • 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds; 1/4 mile in 13.3 seconds

  • Limited edition of 6400 cars

  • On sale Spring 2008

Introduction

Though it was only offered for five model years and sold only 188,600 examples, the 1970-74 Dodge Challenger is among America's most beloved muscle cars. The original Challenger was offered in coup_ and convertible body styles, and had a racing pedigree earned in SCCA Trans Am events.

Chrysler Corporation revived the Hemi in 2003 with a new 5.7-liter V-8 engine and added a higher-performance 6.1-liter version in 2005. At the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Dodge showed a new Challenger concept. The production model, the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8, was unveiled at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show.

The 2008 Dodge Challenger is a modern interpretation of the original 1970 Challenger. It is offered only as a RWD, 2-door coup_ to compete against the Ford Mustang. For the abbreviated 2008 model year, it will be offered only as a high-performance SRT8 version. Smaller versions of the Challenger, with V-6 and V-8 engines, are likely for 2009, and a convertible body style is rumored to be in the works as well.

DesignThe new Challenger is based on a shortened version of the LX platform that hosts the Dodge Charger and Magnum and Chrysler 300. The wheelbase is 116 inches and the overall length is 197.7 inches, making the modern Challenger 6 inches longer in wheelbase and 6.4 inches longer overall than its 1970 predecessor. It is also 4 inches shorter than the current Charger.

Up front, it features four round high-intensity discharge headlights, and the hood has a raised center, dual functional scoops, and "carbon fiber-like" dual stripes. The front fascia is backed by brake cooling ducts. At the rear, the spoiler, valance, and rocker panel are flat black to play off the body stripes. Three colors are offered, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat, Bright Silver Metallic, and Hemi Orange.

Inside, the Dodge Challenger has seating for 5 with front buckets and a second-row bench seat. The seats have leather upholstery with suede inserts, stitched accents, and orange accent stripes. The gauge cluster includes a 180-mph speedometer, and the headliner is dark like that of the original Challenger. A limited-edition, numbered plaque is found on the passenger's side of the dash of 2008 SRT8 models.

Model Lineup

The Dodge Challenger will be offered only in the SRT8 trim level for 2008. Only 6400 examples will be built and each will include a numbered dash plaque. Standard equipment includes leather upholstery with suede seat and door panel inserts; 8-way power-adjustable front seats; heated front seats; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; air conditioning; cruise control; power windows and locks; power heated exterior mirrors; remote keyless entry; tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls; AM/FM/CD, 13-speaker, Kicker High Performance audio system with a 322-watt amplifier and 200-watt subwoofer; Sirius satellite radio with one-year subscription; auxiliary input jack; Reconfigurable Display; automatic headlights; fog lamps; rear spoiler; and P245/45R20 Goodyear RS-A all-season tires on aluminum wheels. Available options include Dodge's MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment system, Dodge's UConnect hands-free cell phone link, and Goodyear F1 Supercar summer performance tires. The 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 is priced at $37,995 including destination.

Hardware

Under the hood, the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 features the overhead-valve, 6.1-liter, Hemi V-8 engine that Chrysler LLC uses for the SRT8 versions of the Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum, Chrysler 300 and Jeep Grand Cherokee. It cranks out 425 hp at 6200 rpm and 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 4800 rpm. Dodge says the 6.1-liter V-8 engine powers the Challenger SRT8 to a 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds, and a quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds. The engine is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission with Dodge's AutoStick manual shiftgate. The Challenger SRT8 is EPA-estimated at 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway.

Underneath, the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 has a multi-link short and long arm front suspension, and a 5-link independent rear suspension with coil springs, a stabilizer bar, and Bilstein gas shocks. The brakes are vented 14.2-inch diameter discs up front and vented 13.8-inch discs in back. Four-piston Brembo calipers are found at each corner. Dodge says it has engineered the 2008 Challenger SRT8 to reach the following performance targets: 60 mph to 0 braking in 110 feet; 0 to 100 mph to 0 in 16.5 seconds; and a 0.90 lateral g on the skid pad.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 includes multi-stage front air bags; head-protecting curtain side air bags; a tire-pressure monitor; anti-lock brakes with brake assist; traction control; and electronic stability control. Dodge says the electronic stability control program is specially designed for the Challenger SRT8's performance handling characteristics.

The 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 has not yet been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for crashworthiness or rollover resistance.

Technology

The 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 has the SRT-exclusive "Reconfigurable Display." Located in the vehicle information center, this feature displays what Dodge calls "performance pages." The system can provide readouts of lateral and longitudinal G forces, 1/8- and 1/4-mile time and speed, 0-60 mph time, and braking distance.

Dodge's MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment incorporates the audio system with a navigation system. It has a 20-gigabyte hard drive that can hold song and picture files, as well as navigation map information. Songs and pictures can be ripped from a CD or loaded from a jump drive via an integrated USB port.

The navigation system in Challenger SRT8 is offered with Sirius real-time traffic. Dodge's UConnect wireless cell phone link allows calls on Bluetooth-enabled cell phones to be played over the vehicle's speakers.

More information on the 2008 Dodge Challenger
Ratings and details for all Dodge models
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