The 2009 Dodge Challenger SE (V6, late production) starts at $21,995, while the Challenger R/T (Hemi) starts $29,995 and the SRT-8 starts at $39,995. Some popular option prices for the SRT8, according to “CudaAAR:” sunroof, $950; MyGIG with GPS, $890; high-performance summer tires, $50. Track your own Challenger!
Other pricing details just sent in by Joseph Martino: for the Challenger R/T, the six-speed manual transmission will actually add $995 to the list price ($915 dealer cost), identical to the sound group. Satellite radio is under $200; hood-to-fender striping is $200; and the power sunroof is $950. Twenty-inch chrome-clad wheels add a whopping $1,350, with less dealer profit than you might think.
On the SRT-8 versions, the manual transmission adds just $695 - far less than the $1,700 gas guzzler tax, which is partly subsidized by dealers.
Overall, dealer profits, at least based on dealer invoicing (with advertising costs imposed by the factory thrown in), are far lower than one might think on the Challenger. Dealers might be upset, but it’s also possible most dealers see the Challenger more as free advertising and a customer draw than as a profit center... that is, the dealers who aren’t charging over list price. With the low base price, the 2009 Dodge Challenger might be selling near or below Chrysler’s cost, too — the advertising and the image boost may well be more important at this point. It looks like a badly needed hit, at a time when most releases are failing to live up to their expectations.
Many thanks to oh20 for the past two years! Also see the New York Auto Show coverage!
Dodge Challenger cars (2008-2009)
Powering the Dodge Challenger R/T is a revised 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine producing 370 horsepower (276 kW) with a five-speed automatic, and 375 hp (280 kW) with a six-speed manual transmission. The engines belt out 398 lb-ft (540 Nm) and 404 lb-ft (548 Nm) of torque, respectively; the Challenger R/T can do 0-60 in under six seconds, bone stock.
Model-year 2008 Challengers are in production now, and orders are being taken for 2009s, reportedly with a hefty discount for military personnel. The first Challengers were mainly for internal use but customers’ cars appear to be coming out now in small numbers. A problem with framing has been resolved, paving the way for full production, but Chrysler appears to be moving at a conservative pace to prevent quality problems from having a serious impact.
(Steve) Saleen Challenger
Steve Saleen and his new company SMS announced a new line of Signature Series ultra-high performance vehicles, starting with the 570TM and 570XTM Challenger. The street legal cars will be based on the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T and will feature a supercharged 5.7L Hemi with power ratings of 500 and over 700 horsepower, respectively. Each limited edition Challenger will be signed by Steve Saleen.
Billy Tally, SMS Chief Technical Officer, said, “The horsepower and torque that we are developing from the SMS Supercharged Hemi is phenomenal, and combined with suspension and braking improvements our SMS Challenger will be an incredibly capable, refined and tractable vehicle.”
2009 Dodge Challengers
The manual-transmission Challenger R/T has numerous differences from the automatic aside from the transmission itself, using a variable displacement power steering pump, different rear shocks, and other tuning changes — and the ability to shut off the ESP completely, rather than having it in “rescue” mode. The gas mileage for the manual transmission is a little lower than the automatic, because it cannot have the multiple-displacement system (cylinder shutoff). A special-edition Dodge Challenger Classic R/T will be available later in the 2009 model year, with B5 blue paint, black side stripes, unique badging, and 20-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels.
The 2009 Challenger SRT8 keeps its 425 horsepower V8, while adding a stick-shift option; it can do 0-60 in under five seconds. The Dodge Challenger SE, powered by the 3.5-liter V-6, uses a four-speed automatic.
Engines and transmissions
For 2009, the Hemi engine was upgraded to get 5% higher gas mileage, and more power, especially at lower engine speeds for a better off-the-line feel, thanks to variable cam timing, an expanded MDS operating range, an increased compression ratio, improved port flow, and reduced restriction exhaust and induction. Other updates are crankshaft structural upgrades, a dual-mass crankshaft damper, floating pin piston design, valve spring design and oil pump capacity increase for VVT. (Again, manuals can’t use MDS — yet).
The 3.5 liter V6 uses a dual-tuned intake manifold with electronically controlled manifold short-runner valves (SRV) — in other words, switching from short to long runners to achieve a “supercharging” effect at various engine speeds.
(kW) @ rpm
|Challenger R/T, manual||10.5:1||375
|Challenger R/T, automatic||10.5:1||370
C/R = Compression Ratio. Manual R/T is LEVII/Tier 2, Bin 5; Auto R/T is ULEVII/Tier 2, Bin 4
The six-speed Tremec TR-6060 manual transmission was derived from the 600 horsepower 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10, with triple cone synchronizers in first and second gears and dual cone synchronizers for third through sixth gears, along with modifications including new gear ratios. The clutch is the Viper’s (ZF-Sachs) 250 mm twin-disc design for torque capacity and clutch life, low pedal efforts, excellent engagement qualities and optimized spinning inertia; it features a 1-4 skip-shift and reverse inhibit solenoids, with a 5:1 remote shifter. Hill Start Assist (HSA) is standard with the manual transmission; it holds the brake for three seconds and allows the driver to seamlessly apply torque via throttle for an effortless start. The brake automatically releases when the system senses engine torque. Also included with the manual transmission is a unique dual exhaust that has two low-restriction bottle resonators replacing the underfloor muffler, and bright pedals.
The five-speed automatic has an aggressive first-gear ratio for launch performance, and AutoStick to select a higher or lower gear.
The V6 four-speed automatic provides adaptive electronic control of all shifting with an electronically modulated converter clutch (EMCC) that nearly eliminates torque converter slippage and enhances fuel economy up to 3%. With electronic throttle control, torque management is more sophisticated than before; this improves wide-open throttle up-shifts and down-shifts.
Gear ratios for each transmission are listed under “specifications” on this page.
Brakes and suspension
The Dodge Challenger R/T with a manual transmission features a variable displacement power steering pump which reduces fluid temperatures while decreasing the parasitic losses to achieve improved fuel economy (0.2 mpg); all have speed-sensitive power steering.
The front suspension is an independent short-long arm design with a high upper A arm, coil spring over gas-charged shocks and stabilizer bar, with lateral and diagonal lower links; the SRT-8 uses Bilstein monotube shocks. The rear suspension is a five-link independent setup with coil springs, link-type stabilizer bar, shock absorbers, and isolated suspension cradle; the SE and R/T (with automatic) use gas-charged twin shock absorbers, while the SRT-8 uses Bilstein monotube gas-charged shock absorbers, and the R/T with manual transmission uses gas-charged monotube Nivomat load-leveling shocks. The SE’s suspension is called “Touring” while R/T gets “Performance” and SRT8 gets “High Performance.” SE also doesn't get the fancy chrome fuel filler door; and the SRT uses a half-inch lower ride height, with specially stability-control program. For 2009, SRT engineers fine-tuned suspension settings for both performance tires.
Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all models. Ducts located in the front fascia direct airflow to the front brakes, which reduces front-brake temperatures by as much as 15% in heavy use for enhanced performance and longer life. Brake pads are tuned to match the performance characteristics of each Dodge Challenger model.
- The Dodge Challenger SRT8 uses Brembo four-piston calipers on all four wheels, for a 60 to zero mph stopping distance of approximately 110 feet.
- The Challenger R/T uses twin-piston aluminum calipers and vented rotors in the front and single-piston aluminum calipers with vented rotors in the rear, for a 60 to zero mph stopping distance of approximately 125 feet.
- Finally, Dodge Challenger SE uses single-piston aluminum calipers and vented rotors in the front and single-piston aluminum calipers with solid rotors in the rear. These brakes have a larger effective radius than many competitive systems, providing a 60 to zero mph stopping distance of approximately 130 feet.
Four wheel antilock brakes, traction control, and electronic stability control with brake assist are all standard on R/T, SRT8, and, when the Popular Equipment Package is ordered, on the SE. The SE’s Popular Equipment Package will probably be popular indeed; it includes anti-lock brakes, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with traction control and brake assist, 18-inch aluminum wheels, tires better than those found on economy cars, eight-way power driver’s seat, fog lamps, luxury ﬂoor mats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, security alarm, and dual-illuminated visor mirrors. The popular equipment package for the R/T is less to the point: it includes leather, six-speaker stereo with big amp, satellite radio, heated front seats, “luxury floor mats,” keyless ignition, seatback map pocket, automatic headlights, and heated otuside mirrors.
Track Pak includes a six-speed manual transmission, Hill Start Assist, anti-spin differential (3.73 w/18-inch, 3.92 w/20-inch wheels), and ESP full-off switch.
Interior and features
Front bucket seats have aggressive bolsters on both Challenger SE and Challenger R/T; the SRT8 model has more aggressive bolsters. Dark Slate Gray leather seats with SRT-exclusive trim are standard on the Dodge Challenger SRT8. Dark Slate Gray cloth seats are standard on the Dodge Challenger R/T and SE, with leather optional.
“We wanted to recapture the emotion evoked from our 1970s Dodge Challenger and our recent Challenger concept,” said Brian Nielander, Manager – Dodge Challenger Exterior and Interior Design.
The modern Dodge Challenger has exceptional rear seating for a two-door coupe, with best-in-class rear head (37.4 inches) and leg (32.6 inches) room, as well as best-in-class cargo space (16.2 cu. ft.) — equal to the Dodge Charger. The front-passenger seat features the new “EZ” entry with high-mounted seat-back lever for easy, one-handed operation. Courtesy lights located behind the driver and passenger seats illuminate the second row when the door is open; the second row has seat belts for three passengers and a standard center armrest, with 60/40 fold-down capability. The front center console armrest moves forward to provide flexibility for comfort, easy cup-holder use and shifting ergonomics; it has a 231-cubic-inch storage bin, 12-volt power outlet, and coin holder.
New colors for the 2009 version of the Challenger SRT8 are classic B5 Blue (late availability) and TorRed — in addition to Brilliant Black Crystal Pearlcoat and Bright Silver Metallic. New for the 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 is a classic “pistol-grip” shifter. Reminiscent of the original Dodge Challenger shifter, the new “pistol-grip” shifter is the finishing touch for the modern interior in the Dodge Challenger SRT8.
All of Dodge Challenger’s radios have a 3.5-mm audio input jack for easy connection to any MP3 player. The standard audio system has four speakers, AM/FM stereo, and CD playback. Two premium Boston Acoustics® sound systems are available. A new iPod interface is available, which charge the iPod when the ignition is on, display music choices on the radio, and pause play when the UConnect system receives a phone call. The iPod may be controlled with radio controls or with remote-steering wheel switches if equipped. The system uses a connector in the center console.
Remote Start is available on Dodge Challenger R/T and SRT8® models with an automatic transmission. With Remote Start, the customer may start the vehicle from up to 300 feet away by using the key fob. Also available is the Keyless Go function that allows the driver to start the vehicle with the simple push of a button on the instrument panel as long as the vehicle key fob is within the vehicle passenger compartment.
All 2009 Challenger models have standard equipment including side-curtain airbags, CD stereo, air conditioning, cell phone storage, cruise control, floor console with sliding armrest, power mirrors, locks, and windows (1-touch down), rear window radio antenna, 3-place rear seatbelts, satin/chrome grilles, Sentry Key anti-theft system, adjustable lumbar support, folding mirrors, tire pressure monitor, and a tilt-telescoping steering wheel. None have a spare tire; a “service kit” is provided instead. The SE model has a tire pressure warning light, while others have a full display showing each tire’s pressure individually; it comes only with the V6 and four-speed automatic, with single round exhaust.
The R/T comes with the 5.7 liter Hemi; with the stick-shift, hill start assist, anti-spin rear axle, bright pedal covers, performance steering, and ESP shutoff switch are all standard. Either way, buyers get eight-inch aluminum wheels, dual rectangular-tipped exhaust, antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob (automatic), and eight-way power driver's seat. Options include Remote Start, keyless push-button starter, body-colored rear spoiler, and heated leather seats.
2008-2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8
After 35 years, the big Dodge Challenger has returned, with the SRT8 version powered by a 425 horsepower Hemi engine with 420 lb-ft of torque that can get to 60 mph in under 5 seconds. See the video!
The list price is just under US $38,000, including destination; for that, buyers will get —
- 0-60 in 4.9 seconds
- Five seats
- Zero to 100 mph and back in under 17 seconds
- Quarter-mile times 13.3 seconds
- 60-0 braking of 110 feet
- Skid pad performance of 0.88 g (or .9g as reported in the launch ceremony)
- A five-speed automatic (no manual transmission yet)
The two-door, rear-wheel drive coupe is based on the Dodge Charger, which has found favor among lucky police departments. With a 116-inch wheelbase, the Challenger coupe is four inches shorter than the Charger and 300C. With a brake-lock differential, all-speed traction control, and a uniquely-tuned Electronic Stability Program (ESP), the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 has world-class ride and handling characteristics.
In person (revised 3/20/08)
The Challenger has undeniable presence, whether up on a rotisserie, in photos, in video, or in person, where each color - but especially the orange - looks phenomenal, low, wide, and lean. The large running lights were an excellent idea, providing a neat touch of color with the lights on and a unique look; and they come at a time when kids are switching from noxious blue headlights to yellow-orange headlights. The grille comes off very well, and the tail is simply excellent, with full-length, even lighting around a single backup-lamp bar. (Only the end parts light up for brakes.) It is amazing that the designers were able to get approval for the full-length tail-lights, the single-bar reverse light, and the real coup de résistance, the separate sidelights and dual-headlight-style grille. Apparently, though, the main battle was to get approval for the grille without the trademark Dodge crosshairs - it looks so much better as produced that one would never believe there was anyone fighting it.
Note about the photo:
Chrysler billed the red one as a 1970, but a 1974 would account for
the bumper guards and rectangular sidelights
Christopher Nowak, senior manager of the RWD product team and lead engineer on the Challenger “base car,” was likewise enthusiastic about what he described as the superior combination of ride and handling; the SRT8 Challenger should be considerably better as a daily driver than current SRT8s, due to new tuning of the suspension. It's a car that you can live with every day, he said - and that we should look forward to seeing the others.
The seat is comfortable and feels good. The dash pad is a nice soft rubber vs a hard plastic. The trunk is surprisingly large and has 60/40 fold-down seats.
The R/T and SE seats are similar in appearance to the SRT8, but they have a more classic appearance with less aggressive side bolsters and a unique retro appearance in the "rolls" of cushioning. These seats are quite comfortable and supportive; rear seats are similar and also comfortable, with better padding than we've gotten from Chrysler lately, but legroom in the back is about what you'd expect from a car that's been shortened. Getting into the back seat is fairly easy from the passenger side, thanks to the high position of the seatback tilt-n-slide control, though you have to duck under the seat belt (or disconnect it from its seat loop). The driver's seat has no tilt-and-slide control and it's harder to get in on that side.
The interior of each model has subtle changes from the one above, as chrome is selectively removed; the R/T does not get the SRT's performance metrics, and the SE has a dechromed logo above the glove compartment. The plastic trim panels also change patterns as one gets lower in the price range. That said, none of the three interiors looks or feels cheap; the SE provides a solid value, especially compared with the smaller, more primitive Mustang (and, for that matter, Dodge's own Avenger with the same V6). The stick-shift Challenger, as previously noted, gets chromed pedal covers - but with rubber grips, to avoid that problem known to some drivers in winter called "foot slipping off the clutch."
oh20 has already stated that Chrysler is revving up their production plans from 35,000 Challengers to 50,000 for 2009 alone. Frankly, we suspect they could make the 300 and Charger the niche products and run the line full-steam for the Challenger.
The unibody 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 has a multilink short and long arm (SLA) front suspension. The front suspension cradle combines hydroformed steel tube side rails with a stamped box section lateral member for stiffness. The multilink SLA suspension allowed engineers to tune bushings to reduce vibration and noise, while maintaining performance.
The 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 sports a five-link Independent Rear Suspension (IRS) to allow independent tuning of the ride and handling characteristics. Multiple links maintain independent control of camber and toe. Lower unsprung mass improves the ride while the decoupling of left and right wheels over road imperfections maintains better tire contact and ride comfort. Stabilizer bar attachments to the knuckles provide maximum response to vehicle lean. For 2008, SRT-exclusive fully-forged 20-inch Alcoa aluminum wheels with 4-season Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires are standard; three-season Goodyear F1 Supercar tires are optional.