We test drive the 485 horsepower 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT in the city for some backstreet brawling and on the country roads for wide open fun. It’s the kind of car that makes you want to be the bad guy who hangs on in the wrong part of town.
Taking a moment for a quick walk around here on the wrong side of the tracks, we can see styling was updated for 2015 with a split grille up front from the days way back but marries the look with modern halo-ringed daytime running lights.
A deeper chin splitter comes on the SRT that’s a subtle bit more than on the R/T, but not too much to live with in the real world of curbs and driveways. The retro look repeats out back with a handsome split LED tail light design and huge dual exhaust tips.
Our Challenger SRT was well outfitted with full striping and all the radar sensors that came with its technology group. Standard though are the mean looking 20-inch Hyper Black wheels which show off its huge Brembo six-piston brakes with red calipers.
The SRT brings a fully decked interior with heated and ventilated leather sport seats, some of the best in the business I think. The leather wrapped flat bottom steering wheel with shift paddles is also heated. And as you can see ours was optioned with red trim for an extra $95.
Challenger got a new interior for 2015 which has design reminiscent of the 1971 Challenger, but is modern to the touch with high quality materials and contemporary ergonomics. It has all the technology you would expect today, but retains a remarkably simple layout.
The fact you have to meander through an infotainment user interface front and center is more than made up for with the Performance Pages. Here you are treated to a myriad of custom ways to adjust the chassis, steering, powertrain and traction controls in ways few cars let you.
The performance pages of the center screen are backed an instrument cluster which is also a great mix of retro design and modern information sharing. The dials look seventies, but between them is a configurable display that offers lots of modern tech.
Manual shifting for the eight-speed automatic can be done either by the shift lever in manual gate or steering wheel paddle shifters. And behind the paddles are buttons for audio system adjustments like station and volume.
Rear seat space passes for useable provided the front seats aren’t too far back. It is tight however with leg room and head room being only adequate for short trips. The trunk too is large enough for this class, but the 33” lift over height is a bear as is the small trunk opening.
Overall, the interior is one of the more well executed blends of retro design and modern day livability. Comfort is top of the game and it seems few compromises were made in ergonomics to make the look happen.
Another blend of retro and modern is found under the hood where you get a 6.4 liter push-rod V8 which cranks out a nice loud 485 horsepower and 475 pound feet of torque. It’s even badged retro with its 392 cubic inch displacement.
Modern comes in however with its cylinder deactivation system which shuts down four cylinders during low speed or coasting situations to save fuel. This helps it earn its EPA ratings of 15 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.
Unlike the R/T we tested last year with the same system, the 6.4 engine’s transitions from four to eight cylinders are a bit more noticeable. And the performance exhaust accentuates its a considerably different sound running on four-cylinders.
The Challenger SRT could likely be a boon for those with anger management issues. Smoky burnouts can be done at the drop of the hammer with effortless aplomb. On the other hand if you are angered easily, the fact that this car accentuates the reality that society drives to slow could be a source issue.
Getting out into the uninhabited country is the best way to solve the issue regardless of which personality type you are. The SRT has a chassis that really invites you to stretch its legs and sample the different modes of its Bilstein adjustable dampers.
Its chassis gets a short and long A-arm front suspension which is a stand out in its class with the Mustang and Camaro both making due with MacPherson Struts. We have electric power steering here in the SRT, which while not as nice as a hydraulic rack, is not too bad in feel.
As tested, our Challenger SRT weighs in at 4,251 lbs making it the heavies of the Big Three muscle cars. This does put the engine to task as well as its big brakes which are 15.4-inch Brembos up front and 13.8-inch at the rear, but they do the job well.
In the week of driving the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT a little nice and a little not nice, I achieved a tank average of 16.5 mpg. It’s not impressive, but not bad given I couldn’t even get to the end of my street without romping on it. I’m just a big knuckle dragging monkey when it comes to muscle cars.
The 2015 Dodge Challenger makes it to our I’d Buy It List for 2015 as it really comes off as a well rounded car that not only makes its muscle well known but you can also live with it from day to day. It achieves five of five stars this week too!