New meets old in the 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T
Test drive: there's a lot to love about the 1.8 tonnes muscle car that goes from 0-100 km/h in 5.2 seconds.Neil Churchill November 29, 2015
The wonderful thing about American cars nowadays, is that they always surprise.
The old stereotypes of U.S. vehicles, that they are made of plastic and can’t go round corners, may have died out in the last decade, but that doesn’t stop you from feeling pleasantly surprised when you get behind the wheel of a good muscle car.
That is certainly the case with the 2015 Dodge Challenger. Taking retro style inspiration from the classic 1971 Challenger, the new beast is a real beauty with its split grille, projector headlamps and LED halos.
The colour scheme with its side stripe and matching brake callipers is, as the kids say these days, ‘on point’, as are the air scoops on the bonnet.
Inside the car is just as well designed. With Dodge owned by Chrysler, the Challenger uses some of its parent company’s tech including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning. The rear-view camera is a dream on the 8.4-inch touchscreen, although the sat nav is a little fiddly.
The two-tone suede leather is comfortable, the soft bucket seats hold you firm and the fine stitching could have been lifted from a suave European rival. There is certainly nothing cheap or plastic about this American icon.
It is a big and heavy car, there’s no getting away from that, and as such the steering does feel slightly heavy at low speeds – to really get it performing, keep it over 3,500 rpm. Compared to its two muscle car rivals – Ford’s Mustang and Chevrolet’s Camaro – it is still the more classic, all-American brute in that sense.
Unlike the Mustang or the Camaro though, finding two Challengers that are the same is easier said than done. There are eight trim levels available for the 2015 model - including a 6.2-litre HEMI powered Hellcat - fourteen different interiors, 12 wheel options and a range of paint colours.
We had the R/T at our disposal, and the AED 172,999 that you hand over gets you a 5.7-litre V8 under the hood and 375 horses and 410 lb-ft of torque under your right foot. With its eight-speed automatic transmission, the R/T can go from 0-100 km/h in 5.2 seconds, and on to a top speed of 268 km/h. Impressive stats for a car that weighs over 1.8 tonnes.
- Engine: 5.7 HEMI V8
- Power: 375 hp
- Torque: 475 Nm
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- 0-100 km/h - 5.2 seconds
- Top speed: 268 km/h
- Price: AED 172,999