2011 Dodge Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 new car reviews

The latest Challenger packs an even bigger punch into a familiar face.
Wondering where the name comes from? A peek under the hood explains all.
The interior on our test car is not for the meek. Check out what's between the front seats: a real stick shift.
It does cut a nice shape at sunset, however.

Better than: Any non-Hemi Challenger
But not as good as: '70 Hemi 'Cuda?
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 85.61

To all of those of you who said that the pony car had its glory days in the '60s, we say, “Ha!” We'll say it again. Ha!

Not only are pony cars back, they aren't even watered-down pretenders. Sure, they're now wearing XXL T-shirts, but we're living in a day where a V6 pony car makes more than 300 horsepower. Remember when a hot V8 made 225?

Want proof that pony cars are just heating up? See Exhibit A: the Chrysler SRT8 392. What's that, you ask? Some kind of stripes-and-wheels package?

There's plenty of stripes and chrome to go around, but there's some meat to this one, too, like a 392-cubic-inch version of Chrysler's fabled Hemi engine. In stock form it's rated at 470 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. We'll let those figures sink in for a bit. (Chrysler boasts that the engine's 73.4 horsepower per liter beats that of the fabled 426 Hemi of days gone by.)

One semi-related comment before anyone points out a possible error in this review: The consumer website calls the car the Challenger 392 SRT8, while the media site says Challenger SRT8 392. Either way, it's a torquey beast.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I admit that I wasn't blown away by the Challenger the first time I drove one--too big, too much fat. It looked cool in the photos and the proportions were right, but in real life it was just too giant.

Maybe I just needed some time away, as I dig the 392. Yes, it's still big as a house, and practically dwarfed anything I own--my wife's Civic, the Subaru, etc. Maybe the chassis just needed more power. Whatever the specifics, I liked it.

The seats, however, I'm not a big fan of. They're just too much for me. Give me something tweedy and grey, and I'll be happy.

And if was really in charge, I'd also love to see a modern pony car that's the right size. How about the Mazda RX-8 for a bogey? To me, that's about the right size for a 2+2.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
alex
alex UberDork
8/8/11 1:12 p.m.

That kind of power out of a warrantied, clean (emissions-wise), stock motor is simply stunning. Anybody who says this isn't they heyday of internal combustion engines is fooling himself.

Resacarattlesnake
Resacarattlesnake None
8/10/11 1:42 p.m.

I have a srt8 challenger that i take to track events and it does very well, with a few mods it does great now. It is no civic or suubaru and was never intended to be! If i wanted a subaru i would have got one.

Hntsvl_E30
Hntsvl_E30 New Reader
8/17/11 12:39 p.m.

November 1970, my friend asked me to go with him car shopping. We both wanted to see the new Challenger, and he wanted to get rid of his anemic 383 Road Runner. Right by the front door to the Dodge dealer was a green on green Challenger R/T 440 Six-Pack, slapstick auto. It had little dog dish wheel covers on green steel wheels. It was love at first sight for him. I did not like the all green look, inside and out, but then I was not paying. It was crude, very hot inside, loud and almost had to be parked if it rained. The Firestone Wide Oval tires could not contain that amount of torque, so it did amazing burnouts. There were black stripes in front of my house that lasted for years. Would I want one. No way. Too crude and dangerous with that suspension. I would rather have one with a suspension designed in conjunction with Mercedes. Oh wait! They have that.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

To all of those of you who said that the pony car had its glory days in the '60s, we say, “Ha!” We'll say it again. Ha!

Not only are pony cars back, they aren't even watered-down pretenders. Sure, they're now wearing XXL T-shirts, but we're living in a day where a V6 pony car makes more than 300 horsepower. Remember when a hot V8 made 225?

Want proof that pony cars are just heating up? See Exhibit A: the Chrysler SRT8 392. What's that, you ask? Some kind of stripes-and-wheels package?

There's plenty of stripes and chrome to go around, but there's some meat to this one, too, like a 392-cubic-inch version of Chrysler's fabled Hemi engine. In stock form it's rated at 470 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. We'll let those figures sink in for a bit. (Chrysler boasts that the engine's 73.4 horsepower per liter beats that of the fabled 426 Hemi of days gone by.)

One semi-related comment before anyone points out a possible error in this review: The consumer website calls the car the Challenger 392 SRT8, while the media site says Challenger SRT8 392. Either way, it's a torquey beast.

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