HIGH POTENTCY VANISHING CREAM
2015 Dodge Challenger SRT 392
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sun, May 17, 2015
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Remember the white Dodge Challenger in “Vanishing Point”—the 1971 cult movie wherein Barry Newman as Kowalski is commissioned to deliver a Challenger R/T 440 Magnum from Denver to San Francisco? Dodge has the perfect vehicle ready for the motion picture remake. It’s the new Dodge Challenger SRT 392, and Harvey Schwartz delivers the goods for LA Car.
Story and pictures by Harvey Schwartz
Compared to its counterparts at Ford and Chevy, the Dodge Challenger is the most true-to-form in honoring its lineage to the sporty muscle car of the 20th century. The 2015 Dodge Challenger is redesigned and re-engineered with performance-enhancing technologies inside and out, but remains true-to-form. The SRT (Street and Racing Technology) team at Dodge has thrown the gauntlet down with the all-new 707-horsepower Hellcat supercharged V8 engine, with demand out-stretching production capabilities. On the other hand, the SRT with the normally aspirated 392 cubic inch HEMI V8—now with 485 horses (up from 470) and 475 pound-feet of torque (up from 470) can be had for immediate purchase.
The 392 SRT is no slouch. It has enough power and torque to propel this retro-modern styled coupe to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.4 seconds, using the standard launch control feature. The HEMI V8 engine features a cast iron block and aluminum heads with hemispherical combustion chambers and a Fuel Saving Mode. The hot gases are channeled out of the engine through a dual 2.75 inch straight-thru exhaust system with twin Electronic Exhaust Valves (EEV) exiting through two wide chrome rectangular tips. Extra air to feed the newly upgraded 392 V8 engine comes from a new, larger, power-bulge aluminum hood featuring a ‘cold-air’ intake which is a visual styling cue from the first Dodge Viper coupe built in 1996. When pushing the red start button, the rumble of the engine really gets ones juices flowing in anticipation of the fun and excitement of piloting the car.
This Challenger is stunning from any angle, as Dodge and SRT designers and engineers spent 35 percent more time in the Chrysler Group’s full-scale wind tunnel in Auburn Hills, Michigan, compared with the previous generation Dodge Challenger SRT developing and further refining the aggressive and functional exterior of the car. The result is a re-engineered Challenger capable of maximum aerodynamic performance for spirited driving on the road or on the track. The retro-modern styling is true to the legacy of this famous muscle car from the 1960s and 70s. At the front is a new fascia design and an all-new vertical-split grille providing a menacing update of its 1971 inspiration. To make way for the all-new twin stripe designs on the SRT 392, windshield washer outlets are now located under the bulging hood for a cleaner look. all-new quad projector headlamps give a more detailed appearance, while a more aggressive brow ‘chops’ the upper portion of the lamp design for an even more sinister assertiveness. Four light units with LED halos cast a cool glow from beneath the brow of the car. The outboard light units contain both low-and high-beam HID-projector headlights. The inboard units contain parking/marker lights. A wider trapezoidal front air dam and slimmer grille opening highlight the width of the coupe, while helping to provide necessary engine cooling.
A new, larger fascia splitter helps improve airflow and reduces front lift to maintain optional aerodynamic balance. I wouldn’t want to see this bold and aggressive front fascia in my mirror when driving another test vehicle. It’s move over time!
From the side, the Challenger SRT’s signature rear-quarter panels stand out from the crowd of other muscle cars, while fender and belt lines tie together at the front and rear of the car to create a sleeker appearance. The silhouette also shows steeply raked windshield A-pillars, aero-styled, power-remote/heated side view mirrors, body color pullout door handles, deep side extensions and the famous cast aluminum fuel filler door. Helping to fill the wheel wells on the Challenger SRT 392 are SRT exclusive ‘Slingshot’ split-seven spoke 20X9.5 inch, lightweight forged-aluminum wheels with a standard matte black finish. The huge wheels are wrapped around with Pirelli 275/40ZR20 inch P Zero low-profile, ultra-high-performance tires for excellent grip plus a smooth, quiet ride at speed.
The rear recalls the historic 1971 model’s styling with a new split tail-lamp design and rear fascia. The tail lamps feature a new LED graphic with a glow of light than can be seen from blocks away, really. On top of the trunk lid is a higher spoiler with a raised SRT logo to keep the rear well planted at speed and a redesigned rear valance helps the car look even more plant on the ground. Peering out under the bottom are large rectangular chrome exhaust tips at each side. This new Challenger SRT 392 looks spectacular from all sides and is ready to rumble and mix it up with other high performing muscle cars.
Helping to come out ahead in the mix is the awesome mechanicals beside the 485 horsepower SRT-tuned V8 engine. Transferring all of the 475 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels is a standard 8-speed transmission. The TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic ZF8HP70 transmission is a joy to use either in the automatic mode or when keeping the gear in high rpm’s, but using the T-handle-pushing back for upshifts or forward for downshifts. I really liked operating the paddle shifters located on the steering wheel. With either sequential modes, the shifts up or down are instantaneous with a thump sound as I rocket out faster or quickly slow down. The new M-gate shifter and steering-wheel-mounted paddles better connect me to the transmission and key considerations when tapping the nearly 200 possible drive-combinations on the 392 STR that stem from five distinct settings: Default, Street, Sport, Track and Custom.
One can personalize the driving experience via the all-new Drive Modes that functions by pushing the SRT button on the center stack, then selecting ‘Drive Modes’ from the ‘SRT & Apps’ menu, then selecting ‘Drive Modes’ from within the Performance Pages menu. Drive Modes tailor the driving experience by controlling horsepower, transmission shift speeds, steering, paddle shifters (automatic only), traction and suspension. Drive modes are pre-configured for Street, Sport, Track and Default settings, while Custom setting lets me customize the driving experience to my favorite settings-Custom allows me to personalize the vehicle’s performance parameters, Street is for normal driving, Sport delivers increased vehicle performance capability over the Default Mode, Track delivers maximum vehicle performance capability on smooth, dry surfaces, Default activates automatically when starting the car. There is also a Valet Mode that disables this system utilizing a 10-pin security code.
SRT’s Launch Control is standard and features performance enhancement by stiffer, asymmetric half-shafts that minimize ‘power hop’ under hard acceleration and a new driveshaft that boasts high-strength CV joints and geometry optimized for spirited driving. Power is put firmly on the ground through a performance-tuned, asymmetric limited-slip differential that allows for a unique bias-ratio tuning for on-and off-throttle behavior. This serves to enhance grip, stability and steering response, enabling smooth power delivery for hard acceleration on corner exits. When trail-braking, the differential further tightens to stabilize the car and prevent oversteer. The transmission has a final-drive ratio of 3.09 and an overall top gear of 2.07. For Dodge purists, the 392 SRT can be ordered with a six-speed manual Tremec TR-6060 with ZF-SACHS 240mm Twin-Disc Clutch.
The handling capabilities of the SRT 392 match the ultra-high-performance power and 8-speed TorqueFlite transmission with SRT tuned steering and suspension systems. In street mode, the suspension is softer yet gets firmer as the speeds increase. When firm the drive is like riding on rails-so stable, so composed and flat attacking curving roads. Even though the Challenger is riding on a longer wheelbase than the competition it tracks beautifully when cornering, it bites down and gives me the confidence to take curves at speeds one wouldn’t ordinarily try. But with the SRT 392, one can brake, drop a gear then rocket out of the curve. Turn the ESC/Traction Control system off and let the rear slide out, then go back in line while pushing the throttle harder.
The SRT fully independent suspension features an SLA (short-long arms) setup with high upper A-arms, coil springs over gas-charged ‘ADS’ Bilstein shocks, 32mm hollow stabilizer bar and lateral & diagonal links. The rear is a five-link setup with coil springs, link-type 19mm hollow stabilizer bar, gas-charged ADS Bilstein shocks and in an isolated suspension cradle to reduce noise, vibration and harshness. The steering system is a perfect match for this SRT tuned race bred suspension utilizing a rack & pinion multi-mode electric assist setup with razor sharp and super quick reaction to my steering inputs. I can switch from Street, Sport and Track parameters for the steering wheel-each weighed perfectly to my request. The steering ratio is an excellent 14.4:1. With 10-inch wide high-performance tires and a front strut tower brace the rigidity up front is enhanced and the meaty tires grab when cornering and when straight-ahead at super high speeds.
All of these high-performance, high-speed and handling capabilities are matched with a monstrous braking system to quickly and safety slow the all-new Challenger SRT 392 down. Up front is massive 15.4 inch, two-piece hat, slotted and vented rotors clamped with 6-piston Brembo ‘Monobloc’ calipers. The rear features 13.8 inch vented and slotted rotors clamped with Brembo 4-piston calipers. Standard ABS, BA, EBD, ESC/Traction Control, Brake Knockback Mitigation all work together to keep the Challenger 392 SRT together when braking hard on the track and when braking on wet or slick pavement. The all-new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT 392 is a magnificent machine-fast on the street or on the track. Its size belies its abilities and it is a whole lot of fun to pilot.
The interior matches the high-performance characteristics under the sheet metal. Inside is an all-new enthusiast-centric cockpit with world-class materials, execution and technology. Key elements are inspired by the interior of the 1971 Challenger. The performance cockpit of the new Challenger carries an essence of the 1971 Challenger in an artistic and more organically styled way.
The all-new instrument panel is canted forward, and features a stamped aluminum bezel which sets the tone for the driver’s display. For a high-tech look, a seven-inch driver-selectable driver information display (DID) screen is centered in the gauge cluster and provides an almost infinitely customizable display. The DID screen is flanked by new analog speedometer and tachometer gauges, which provide a heritage-inspired look with concave shapes and hub-covered needle design, reminiscent of the ‘tic-toc-tach’ gauges from the 1971 Challenger. Additionally, the dashboard’s center stack houses the new standard 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen. The aluminum foot pedals with rubber inserts grip the driving shoes spot on. New for 2015, one can select one of the many offered backgrounds to connect the digital look and feel with the chosen interior package. An all-new media hub with an SD card slot, USB outlet and audio jack is neatly housed inside the padded center console’s flock armrest.
The redesigned SRT-branded thick/3-spoke/power tilt/telescopic/heated/leather-wrapped steering wheel now features an aluminum flat bottom. Buttons to control the driver-configurable full-color thin-film transistor (TFT) display are large and illuminated. Buttons for the Uconnect and phone access new reside along the bottom edge of the horizontal spokes. The adaptive cruise control option that my test Challenger SRT came with is configured by buttons that are symmetrically opposite the right hand side of the wheel. As before, the audio controls of the optional Harmon/Kardon 900-watt amplifier, 19-speaker Surround Sound system are still located on the back of the upper spokes of the steering wheel.
To make cruises more pleasurable, the new 2015 Challenger SRT features redesigned seats with improved cushioning, deeply cut with more comfortable contours. For even more improved comfort and convenience, new for 2015 are standard heated and ventilated front bucket seats. The passenger seat also has an easy exit/entry function to provide access to the rear seat.
Performance Pages shown on the center stack are easily brought up and shows 0-60 mph time, 1/8 mile time, 1/4 mile time, 0-100 mph time, 60-0 mph time, g-forces, etc. It is almost endless with full gauge readouts.
Whew! The new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT 392 is a high-performance machine that gives its all to the enthusiast driver, whether on the street or on the track. It delivers the ultimate in power, performance, comfort, innovative electronics/connectivity, and safety in regular street mode or when on the track testing an enthusiast’s mettle. It isn’t for everyone; it’s for those who dare to drive one of the industry’s ultimate high-performing coupes. Dodge has done a great job of keeping the muscle car heritage alive.
© Story and pictures by Harvey Schwartz
A more-than-worthy successor to the Challenger R/T 440 Magnum that appeared in the original “Vanishing Point”.
For more information about Dodge products, go to www.dodge.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT 392 Price: Price: $44,995.00 (base) $49,925 (as tested including $995.00 destination) EPA fuel economy rating: 15 mpg city/25 mpg highway Engine: 6.4 liter (392 cubic inch) 16-valve OHV “HEMI” V8 Horsepower: 485 @ 6100 rpm Torque: 475 pound-feet @ 4200 rpm Transmission: 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic ZF8HP70 transmission with manual mode and paddle shifters Steering: Rack & pinion multi-mode electric assist setup with 14.4:1 steering ratio. Drive configuration: Front engine, rear-wheel drive Suspension SLA (short-long arms) front setup with high upper A-arms, coil springs over gas-charged ‘ADS’ Bilstein shocks, 32mm hollow stabilizer bar and lateral & diagonal links; five-link setup with coil springs, link-type 19mm hollow stabilizer bar, gas-charged ADS Bilstein shocks in the rear. Brakes 15.4 inch, two-piece hat, slotted and vented rotors up front clamped with 6-piston Brembo ‘Monobloc’ calipers; 13.8 inch vented and slotted rotors in the rear clamped with Brembo 4-piston calipers. Standard ABS, BA, EBD, ESC/Traction Control, and Brake Knockback Mitigation. Wheels and tires: SRT ‘Slingshot’ split-seven spoke 20X9.5 inch, lightweight forged-aluminum wheels with a standard matte black finish; Pirelli 275/40ZR20 inch P Zero low-profile, ultra-high-performance tires Dimensions Length: 198 inches Width: 75.7 inches Height: 55.9 inches Curb weight: 4,251 pounds