After a long wait, the details and photos of the subtly refreshed 2011 Dodge Challenger coupe are finally in, but the changes are far less spectacular than expected. If you want the short story, the 2011MY version of the Chrysler Group's muscle car gains a new Pentastar V6 for the base model and a 6.4-liter V8 for the SRT8 (already previewed on the Inaugural Edition special), plus a revised suspension and some barely noticeable styling changes.
If you are able to spot a cosmetic difference on the outside, chances are you're probably working for Chrysler's design team. At the front, there's a restyled trapezoidal front air dam with a larger opening while the Dodge logo has been removed from the hood.
The larger "duck bill" front spoiler in black, the racing-style fuel-filler door and the 18-inch alloy wheels which are now standard on all models, plus the Challenger logos on the front fenders, pretty much round up the exterior updates.
For some reason, the Chrysler Group's cost cutters decided to limit changes to the new three-spoke steering wheel, which by the way, is the same one found on the other 2011My Dodge models like the Grand Caravan [...], some minor updates to the instrument panel gauges and redesigned seat structures, with the front pair now featuring seatback tilt- with memory. Finishing the interior upgrades is the addition of standard automatic climate control on all versions.
Under the sheetmetal, the Detroit automaker's engineers redesigned the front- and rear-suspension geometries and added new parts to improve handling. In addition, a revised brake-pedal ratio and refined brake booster promises to better braking response and feel, while an all-new electro-hydraulic power steering (EHPS) system completes the package.
Buyers will have the option of three powerplants. The base Challenger SE is motivated by the firm's new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine producing 305 horsepower, or 55 more horsepower than the engine it replaces. The new Pentastar is not only more powerful, but also lighter than the previous V6 helping to slightly improve the front-to-rear weight distribution (52.4 / 47.6 compared with 53.5/46.5 previously). The V6 is paired to a five-speed automatic transmission with Auto Stick.
Next up is the Chrysler R/T which keeps the 5.7-liter HEMI V8. When paired to the refined Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission, the V8 churns out 376HP and 410 lb-ft accelerating the Challenger R/T to 60mph in under six-seconds. With the five-speed automatic transmission the eight-cylinder unit is rated at 372HP and 400 lb.-ft. of torque (542 Nm).
Dodge had previously released details on the SRT8, which will be offered at launch in a special edition guise (see here). Power is provided by a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 with 470-horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque, or 45HP and 70 lb-ft more than the previous SRT8's 6.1-liter V8 engine.
The 2011 Challenger will hit dealerships within the next few weeks.
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