Last month, Dodge unveiled the 2008 Challenger SRT8.While this was interesting news, the absence of a manual gearboxoption, a sticker price of about $40,000, and the inevitable dealermarkup made this an ostensibly mid-life-crisis-only affair. At thisweek's New York Auto Show, however, Dodge unveiled what's in store for 2009.Not only will the SRT8 become available with a Tremec six speed derivedfrom the Viper, but Dodge will be offering two new variants of theChallenger: The R/T and the SE.
The R/T model, essentially the "mid-range" option, is aimed squarely at theMustang GT segment. The powerplant is a next-gen 5.7 Hemi motor,generating 375hp and over 400lb.-ft of torque - a 30hp increase overthe previous 5.7 found in models like the Charger and Magnum, whilealso yielding a slight gas mileage improvement as well. With the TrakPak option, you'll also get that same six speed gearbox in the SRT8 - asetup good for 0-60 times under six seconds. And with independent rearsuspension standard on all models, expect this one to cornersignficantly better than similar offerings from Ford built with thecompletely archaic live axle design.
The 3rd option to those on a budget is the SE.Powered by a stout 3.5 liter V6 generating 250hp and 250lb.-ft oftorque mated to a 4 speed automatic, even the low end model will havesome balls.
No pricing for the two new models is available from Chrysler yet. Regardless, I'll take a black R/T with a six speed, please.
If you want to see more of the 2009 Challenger in action, check out more shots of the car in our photo gallery.