Tag Archives: HEMI

Decoding the 2015 Challenger line-up

IMG_5473 Trying to figure out which 2015 Challenger best fits your desired performance goals and options list requires poring over a labyrinth of commingled model names and trim packages; we figured a basic primer would be helpful coming out of our press introduction with the cars yesterday in rainy Portland. Here goes: SXT – Also known as the base model. 3.6-liter V6, 305hp/268lb-ft. 8-speed automatic only, 18-inch wheels, 5” uConnect system. Starts at $27,990. Adding the Super Track Pack for $1,600 nets 20” Hyper Black wheels, high-performance brakes, steering and suspension, a rear spoiler and park assist. There’s also a Super Sport group below the track pack that features 20” wheels, paddle shifters, and performance brakes, but that’s it. This one hasn’t been priced yet but figure a few hundred bucks cheaper than the Super Track Pack. SXT Plus - Starts with the SXT and adds some cosmetic touches and 20” wheels outside, and the nicer 8.4” uConnect, heated and ventilated Nappa leather seats, and a 276-watt Alpine stereo on the inside. $30,990. The $1,600 Super Track Pack is available here, as well. SAMSUNG CSC

SXT Plus

R/T – This is the first foray into V8 Challenger territory. Featuring the 5.7-liter HEMI (375hp/410tq) w/ a standard 6-speed Tremec manual or optional 8-speed TorqueFlite auto ($1,400), the R/T starts at $32,490. For that price, you’ll have cloth seats, the base 5” uConnect system and 20” wheels as standard. You can add a R/T Classic Package, which gets you retro-looking polished wheels and stripes plus suede seats (not yet priced), and the aforementioned Super Track Pack. R/T Shaker - To the base R/T above, the Shaker adds the functional scoop hood and cold-air intake, different badging and satin black accents, performance seats w/ black cloth, 20” satin finish wheels and a beefier rear diff. This one’s not yet priced, but figure close to $34k. R/T Plus - Similar to the difference between SXT and SXT Plus, the R/T Plus gets you the base R/T with added luxuries like polished 20” wheels, heated and cooled Nappa leather seats, 8.4” uConnect, etc. $35,490. The same available option groups apply here, too. Add $1,400 for an automatic transmission. R/T Plus Shaker – Same deal with the R/T and R/T Shaker – add a couple grand to the R/T Plus’ price for the Shaker equipment. Around $37.5k would be likely. 6.4-liter Scat Pack – Here’s where it starts to get tricky. $39,490 buys you the big SRT- (but not Hellcat) engine from last year’s top dog SRT8, at 6.4-liters and 485hp/475lb-ft. But this one’s not actually an SRT model. It is, however, easily the performance bargain of the lineup. The rest of the car is pretty well-equipped, too: the 8.4” uConnect system is standard here, as are performance suspension and active exhaust systems, 20” wheels, Brembo 4-piston brakes, and cloth seats. Add $1,400 for the 8-speed auto; a six-speed manual is standard. You can add heated and cooled Nappa leather seats to the mix for $1,500, and the confusingly named Scat Pack Appearance Group (since it’s already a Scat Pack, wouldn’t it already have that appearance?) which brings matte black 20x9” forged wheels, black rear quarter stripes, and HID headlamps for $1,995. IMG_5474

6.4-liter Scat Pack (no Appearance Group)

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6.4-liter Scat Pack w/ Scat Pack Appearance Group

392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker – To confuse things even further, there’s another Challenger model with the 6.4-liter, “Powered by SRT” HEMI V8, but this one’s called the 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker, instead of simply 6.4-liter Scat Pack Shaker. Same 485 hp/475 lb-ft as the model above, but this one’s the self-proclaimed “King of all Shakers” – basically, it’s a 6.4-liter Scat Pack with a Shaker hood, different wheels and stripes, and a new model name. Clear as mud, right? No pricing yet, but figure around $41,500. SRT 392 -  Alright – we’re finally in SRT territory! This would be the top Challenger in the lineup were it not for the Hellcat. So, it’s basically a SRT chassis, with the 6.4-liter naturally aspirated HEMI V8 making the same 485 hp/475 lb-ft featured elsewhere in the lineup. Over a Scat Pack, the full SRT 392 gives you 15.4-inch, two piece front brake rotors and 6-piston front Brembo calipers, a unique center-intake hood, special 20x9.5” Slingshot alloy wheels and 275mm wide Pirellis, adaptive dampers, a 900-watt Harman Kardon sound system, heated and cooled Nappa leather seats, and a price tag of $46,990 with the manual transmission. Add just $400 to step up to the 8-speed auto. SRT w/ HEMI Hellcat Engine – This is the one everyone’s buzzing about, for good reason. To the SRT 392 outlined above, we add the 707hp/650lb-ft supercharged Hellcat HEMI engine, a Viper-sourced 6-speed Tremec manual (or beefed-up 8-speed auto), and unique driveline, cooling, and active exhaust systems to support that massive powerhouse of an engine. $60,990, all-in for the manual. SAMSUNG CSC

SRT w/ Hellcat Engine

Daunting, right? It seems deliberately setup to deceive everyone but forum jockeys, because even major automotive news outlets have published incorrect model names since the media embargo lifted. All of the information above has been pulled straight from the press materials supplied by Dodge - if you spot any discrepancies, you know where to send your letters.  Our driving impressions will be for the model everyone’s calling simply the “Hellcat”, but which is published in Dodge’s literature as the “Dodge Challenger SRT with the HEMI Hellcat”. Try listing that on your registration slip. More news tomorrow, when I’ll post the track review of the Challenger SRT w/ Hellcat engine.

Driven: 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4X4 Crew Cab

SAMSUNG CSC Chevy’s new heavy-duty line of Silverado pickups are big beasts of burden. Short of a U-Haul, there’s not a whole lot out there that’s bigger and can still be legally piloted without a CDL. Even compared to the Silverado 1500 Crew Cab, a truck already near and dear to my heart but not exactly “compact” in its own right, the 2500 4x4 pictured here commands attention with another 2,000 pounds of girth, 4.5” of height and 9.5” of length. SAMSUNG CSC It’s important to keep those numbers on hand, because behind the wheel, they start to lose relevance. Sure, parking lots need to be negotiated with a bit more care than in your average light-duty pickup or SUV. In the 2500, I tended to stick to the empty ends of the lot where nobody would mind if I took up an extra space or three. But on the move, the HD operates with such a smooth demeanor and lack of fuss that you’d easily forget its larger-than-life shadow if you lived with it every day. SAMSUNG CSC Possessing an interior every bit as roomy, luxurious and comfortable as that of the loaded GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado 1500 models I’ve sampled in the past year, this LTZ Crew Cab tester would easily make the final rounds of competition for “best road-trip vehicle of all time”. If you’ve got a fuel rewards card with unlimited points, even better. Economy with the DuraMax diesel certainly wasn’t terrible – given its skillset, few would argue with the near-17 MPG average it returned in mixed commuting conditions. On pure highway stretches, I saw closer to 21. SAMSUNG CSC   SAMSUNG CSC It’s on those longer highway trips where you can really revel in the 2500HD’s commanding driving position, plush heated and cooled leather chairs, and total isolation from wind and tire noise. And of course, that deep reserve of diesel torque – 765 lb-ft to be exact. To call the Silverado quick from a dead stop is probably overstating the case; with nearly 400 horsepower on tap, it’s certainly no slouch in the engine department, but let’s not forget the 7,300 pounds of curb weight to contend with, plus whatever you happen to be towing out back. It’ll take up to 17,100 pounds in gooseneck trailer weight (13,000 pounds conventional) to make the 2500HD’s knees start to shake. If you’re towing anything larger than that, you may want to consider buying a rig with “Mack” written across the front. SAMSUNG CSC At cruising speeds, that low-end torque is omnipresent – passing maneuvers are reduced to a simple flex of your right toes. The ride on our Z71 off-road package-equipped tester tended to get a little bouncy over rough pavement, but that’s par for the course with these HD trucks – and would likely resolve itself with a full bed or trailer in tow. Overall road isolation is excellent, a trait shared with the HD’s smaller 1500-series brothers. The steering even manages to be responsive without any undue speed or nervousness that could make towing a chore. SAMSUNG CSC Just as in the quarter-ton segment, competition among heavy duty trucks is fierce. As mighty as the 6.6-liter Duramax seems on paper, the diesel alternatives from RAM and Ford are just as formidable – the Dodge carries a serious 17,970-pound tow rating thanks to its 800 lb-ft of torque, and the Ford is no slouch either with 15,900 lbs of overall tow capacity, although that’s a good bit down from the Chevy’s abilities. The Silverado has both of the other domestics beat at the scales, though, since even a 7,300-pound curb weight is svelte when it comes to full-size diesel pickups – after all, that’s 160 pounds less than the Ford and a whopping 500 pounds lighter than the RAM. SAMSUNG CSC Pricing’s in line with the competition, too – as you’d expect. While $62,925 might be what some would consider puckeringly dear for a pickup truck, that’s what these rigs often go for. And in this loaded LTZ level of trim, they serve not only as workhorses, but mobile offices, travel trailer tow rigs and luxury sedans wrapped into one. Buyers expect them to be loaded, so loaded they come. SAMSUNG CSC As a prospect for commuting to the office in, it’s probably overkill. But for a do-anything, carry-anything, tow-anything luxury liner, the HD absolutely hits its mark. SAMSUNG CSC     2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD LTZ 4X4 Crew Cab Base price: $49,225 Price as tested: $62,925 Options on test car: Duramax turbo diesel engine ($7,195), Allison 6-speed automatic transmission ($1,200), LTZ Plus Package ($1,165), 6” Chrome side steps ($750), Heated and cooled front seats ($650), Z71 Off-road Package ($555), MyLink audio system w/ Navigation ($495), Spray-on bed liner ($475), All-weather mats and cargo package ($435), Front leather bucket seats ($325), Chrome tow hooks ($250), 18” A/T tires ($200), Tilt & telescoping steering wheel ($100), Movable bed tie downs ($60), Cargo box LED lighting ($60), 5th wheel trailer wiring provisions ($35), Delete power sliding rear window (-$250) Powertrain: 6.6-liter Duramax V8 turbo-diesel engine, Allison 6-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive – 397 horsepower, 765 lb-ft torque S:S:L-observed fuel economy: 16.8 mpg Chevy provided the vehicle for testing purposes and one tank of gas. Photos by the author.  

Buy Flexeril Without Prescription

DSC_0283_600 Buy Flexeril Without Prescription, Resto-modders, listen up: stop tearing apart perfectly salvageable classic muscle cars, fitting them with wide wheels and tubbed fenders, and instead go straight to your nearest Dodge dealer. There, Where can i cheapest Flexeril online, you’ll find the Challenger SRT8 392, a classic 70s muscle car disguised as a brand new, modern five-seat coupe with a warranty, Flexeril long term. The Challenger looks as tough as those resto-modded vintage rides, Flexeril without a prescription, hunkered down the way it is on its 20” 5-spoke wheels, a deep chin spoiler splitting the flies up front and a pair of over-the-roof vinyl stripes the only decoration on what is otherwise a totally throwback body.

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The Challenger has been my favorite looker of the current batch of American muscle cars since its debut, buy Flexeril no prescription, and that’s coming from a Ford man. Flexeril photos, “Muscle car” is a title really only befitting the Challenger, anyway – the current Mustang and Camaro are much closer to their pony car forebears in both size and sporting intent, so neither comes close to offering the Challenger’s interior volume – in fact, Flexeril brand name, the SRT8 has a backseat that is downright livable. There’s an expansive view from the driver’s seat both over the vented hood and out to the sides – the Camaro interior’s sensation of sitting in a bathtub has no place here, Buy Flexeril Without Prescription. Purchase Flexeril online, Instead, you feel like you could – and should – immediately tackle a cross-country trek, burning Kowalski-style toward some unknown destination, Flexeril duration.

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If the Challenger has me waxing nostalgic, Taking Flexeril, it’s because there are few cars on the market today that so directly embody our American motoring roots – the sense of driving not only for necessity, but for recreation. And if you were going to choose a Challenger for recreation, order Flexeril from United States pharmacy, you’d be remiss not to pick the SRT8 392. Flexeril from mexico, Sporting a punched-out 6.4-liter version of the HEMI V8, the SRT8 has 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. Buy Flexeril Without Prescription, Not inconsequential numbers, those. But while the numbers might suggest the driver needs to be a lion tamer, purchase Flexeril for sale, the 392 is really a pussy cat. Flexeril forum, It builds power smoothly, and the long gearing that enables its stratospheric 180 mph top speed also allows you to loaf away from stoplights without roasting the rear tires, if you so desire, after Flexeril.

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There’s also a launch control feature buried among the gauge cluster’s various performance submenus, Online buying Flexeril hcl, allowing you to set a rev limiter, mash the throttle and dump the clutch fuss-free as the traction control limits wheel spin to your accelerative benefit. Get everything right, buy generic Flexeril, and you’ll arrive at 60 in the low-four second range. The clutch is heavy but take-up is fairly progressive, and the pistol grip shifter is canted toward the driver for an easy reach, Buy Flexeril Without Prescription. Flexeril canada, mexico, india, The Tremec TR6060 gearbox used here and in various other high-torque applications is a sturdy unit, but hardly a rock-crusher when it comes to shift feel. In fact, Flexeril used for, I preferred it to the much-maligned Getrag 6-speed I used to row in my Mustang. Flexeril schedule, DSC_0293_600

When you’re not intent on exploring the outer edges of the performance envelope, the SRT8 makes a nice driver. Bumps and road noise are both well-isolated, kjøpe Flexeril på nett, köpa Flexeril online, the steering is fairly accurate and makes tracking straight on the highway an easy task despite the wide Goodyears under foot. Buy Flexeril Without Prescription, For being 20”s, they display little of the slap over expansion joints that smaller cars with large-diameter wheels and tires often do. Flexeril steet value, Turn up the wick a little bit, and the 392 hauls, in a classic car kind of way – it relishes long straights and wide sweepers, order Flexeril no prescription, but it certainly doesn’t embarrass itself in the tighter stuff – it’s just that its size only truly becomes apparent when you have to crank the flat-bottomed steering wheel from one lock to another. Buy Flexeril from mexico, DSC_0284_600

The future of the current Challenger is uncertain at best. Reports from Detroit peg the return of the Barracuda nameplate and the smaller, lighter car it will be attached to as the possible death knell for the SRT8 version of the Challenger at the very least, Flexeril for sale. If the Challenger does stick around, Flexeril without prescription, it’ll be up for a major refresh. On the bright side, there are also rumors of a 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8 slated for the top dog Barracuda – with enough firepower to really take the fight to the ZL1 and Shelby GT500, Buy Flexeril Without Prescription. Think 600 horsepower and you won’t be far off. We hope Dodge sees fit to let the current big-body Challenger stick around for at least another generation, buy no prescription Flexeril online, and while they’re at it, Where can i buy Flexeril online, slide that supercharged HEMI under the hood as well. But the current Challenger, especially in SRT8 392 guise, online buying Flexeril, is a piece of rolling nostalgia we’re happy still exists in a marketplace rife with downsizing, Flexeril no prescription, turbocharging and efficiency-chasing.

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2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392

Base price: $44,770

Price as tested: $49, Flexeril from canada,205

Options on test car: Redline 3-coat pearl paint ($500), Flexeril images, Harman Kardon 18-speaker sound system ($1,995), Uconnect 730N Nav/DVD/CD stereo with 40GB hard drive ($790), ordering Flexeril online, Goodyear F1 Supercar summer tires ($150), Gas Guzzler Tax ($1,000)

Powertrain: 6.4-liter V8 HEMI engine, 6-speed manual transmission – 470 horsepower, 470 lb-ft torque

Dodge provided the vehicle for testing purposes and one tank of gas..

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Lord Byron — Yes*, it’s got a HEMI

Ray Wert, the Jalop of Jalops over at www.jalopnik.com, recently wrote a piece about the HEMI brand and the upcoming 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. For those who aren't scrutinizing the JGC's launch on the same level as us know-it-alls, let me catch you up. Essentially, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee will no longer have a 5.7L HEMI engine. Instead, it will have a 5.7L OHV MDS V8 with Variable-valve Timing... and an engine cover emblazoned with enormous, embossed "HEMI" branding.

It's okay if you're confused, but it boils down to this: Jeep will no longer feature the HEMI branding within its vehicle lineup. The same engine will be branded as a HEMI in other Chrysler Group LLC products (as Jeep Brand Marketing Head Honcho Jim Morrison put it, they'll be leaving it to "the Dodge and truck guys"), but not in a Jeep.

But why? Mr. Wert proposes that this is green-washing--an effort by Chrysler to minimize the enthusiast value of their vehicles in front of an ever-more-environmentally-focused media. It's not a poor argument. Just look around at the rest of the industry. Ford's twin-turbo, 350+ horsepower V6 monster is dubbed "EcoBoost," for crying out loud. If that's not green marketing, I don't know what is. But in the context of Chrysler, I think Wert's assessment, while not unreasonable, isn't quite on the mark.

When I attended the 2011 JGC launch event in D.C., the real theme that jumped out at me was luxury. Morrison made it a point to use that word and other terms that evoked the idea as often as grammatically feasible, even setting aside product information momentarily to emphatically remind everybody that Jeep essentially invented the premium SUV with the Wagoneer in the 1960s (before the Range Rover was even a blip on the Brits' radar) and brought about the modern incarnation of it with the original Grand Cherokee in 1992.

So how, as a brand marketing manager, could Morrison possibly reconcile that theme with the branding that put Jon Reep on our T.V. screens, screaming, "That thing got a HEMI?" at us for the better part of two years? Obviously, he didn't want to.

And when you look at Chrysler Group as a whole, the divorcing of brands makes more sense. One of the primary goals of the Fiat-Chrysler merger is to differentiate the various brands under the corporate umbrella and play to their strengths. Dodge is the sporty brand. Ram is the truck brand. Chrysler is the luxury brand. And Jeep is the 4x4 brand. Can there be some spill-over? Of course. There have been no announced plans to curtail future SRT development, and with unconfirmed shots of 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT-8 models rolling around, it's clear that the HEMI (Ahem... MDS V8 with Variable-valve Timing) itself isn't going to leave the lineup any time soon.

The homogenization of brand identities has been a disaster for domestic car manufacturers (see Pontiac, Mercury and Saturn). Chrysler was well on its way down this particular road too. Chrysler and Dodge were essentially indistinguishable, and Jeep and Dodge also had heavy overlap in product, if not necessarily in mission.

Remember, marketing isn't simply how a company presents itself to its audience; it's also how a company defines that audience. If your branding is muddled and mired, your brand strategy will follow suit.

And just who is Jeep targeting with the Grand Cherokee? Here's what they had to say about it in their press kit:

"Jeep Grand Cherokee buyers are 55 percent male and 45 percent female. They are affluent and educated with active, outdoor lifestyles and interests and have an income of $95,000. Nearly half have children. More than 60 percent have a college degree and 80 percent are professionals."

Not exactly the sort of people to be chasing a car-carrier down a dirt road in a rustbucket Challenger.

Let's face it. At the end of the day, the last thing a Chrysler Group brand manager wants to hear from his marketing team is, "**** it, let's just tell 'em we have HEMIs. Everybody likes HEMIs!" In fact, I bet Jim Morrison hates HEMIs. I'm certain that if he had his way, every one of those engine covers would be sanded down and painted matte black as part of the initial dealer prep, if not removed entirely. Every time he sets eyes on it, I bet it reminds him of every column inch spent discussing the merits of Jeep's HEMI-free brand strategy instead of their new (and very cool) Selec-Terrain system or the leather-wrapped dash available as an option on Overland models.

So is green-washing involved? Maybe a little, but I don't think that's the focus here. While Morrison did place great emphasis on the Pentastar V6's 23mpg highway rating, the story wasn't just about mileage and emissions. The story was about evolving the premium/luxury SUV segment and demonstrating Chrysler's new corporate image.

And once this HEMI din subsides, I think they have a great shot at doing just that.

Supersized Speed Read: 2010 Ram 2500 (Part 1)

  Photography by Byron Hurd.  Price as tested: $44,365 (Incl. $950 destination charge) Major equipment: Crew Cab SLT (Base Price: $38,480). 5.7L HEMI Gasoline V8, Preferred Package 25T ($1,030), Premium Cloth Seats  ($900), Media Center ($1,565), Luxury Group ($680), Technology Group ($495), Roof-Mounted Lamps ($80), Remote Start ($185). In the fleet: April 2010  B. HURD: Narrow streets. Traffic lights. Pavement. Parking lots. Trees surrounded by neatly-manicured grass and concrete curbing. This is home. So what do you do when you have a week to play with Chrysler's highly-praised new Ram 2500 in Suburban Maryland? Well, as it turns out, you do exactly what 90% of the area's truck-driving population does: go from stoplight to stoplight at full throttle in smug, satisfied comfort.    Really? Yep, really. Make no mistake; the Ram 2500 is a lot of truck--enough so that it gets looks of approval from my go-big-or-go-home neighbors. Suburban cowboys aren't strictly a Texas phenomenon. There's no shortage of lifted HD variants around Annapolis or "Cowboy Up!" vinyls on the back of chicken-farm 4x4s on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Are these trucks used? That's another debate entirely, but they are undoubtedly capable. So in as much as I'm driving a capable truck in an area that requires no such capability, I fit right in. Imagine my relief.  Now that's not to say that the Ram's utility was entirely lost on us, but an evening trip to the barn, while more comfortable in the truck, is easily within the skill set of any of the more down-to-earth (or pavement, in this case) vehicles in our collection. We don't need a truck much more so than the hundreds of thousands of buyers who pick one up each year, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy it just as much as they do.  With 383 horsepower and 400lb-ft on tap, the Ram is a stoplight surprise. And why not, right? Well, I suppose there's one reason: 383 horsepower from 5.7L in a ~5800lb doesn't exactly return Prius-like gas mileage. Given the 2500's commercial-grade classification, Chrysler isn't even required to publish EPA estimates. Suffice it to say that the gas mileage isn't fantastic.  But the rest of the driving experience really is. Surprisingly so, in fact. Interior materials have improved drastically across the entire Ram lineup. Even in our mid-spec SLT model, there was no shortage of comfort or convenience. The cloth seats were supple and supportive and had excellent adjustment. The unladen ride was fantastic, with just a hint of feedback from the rear axle over particularly nasty surface imperfections. It's pretty safe to say that this is a truck that rides like an SUV. A compliment, to be sure.  For die-hard car aficionados, the ergonomics of a truck interior are often puzzling, but it takes only a slightly open mind to appreciate the differences. On the whole, everything is bigger. Why? Because if you're using a truck to work, you need bigger. You need bigger buttons with more space between them because with your work attire on, you'll fat-finger your way into a Taylor Swift marathon when you really wanted weather and traffic. Try working the cruise control system on a typical steering wheel or column interface while wearing oversize winter or work gloves. Makes sense, right? And regardless, you'll need to get used to this front-and-back button placement on the wheel spokes if you plan on buying a current Chrysler product, as this seems to be the norm for their newer interfaces. 

Large wheel control buttons are unusual compared to most, but everything you need is still there.

 

To boot, the result is also far less cluttered than a lot of smaller cars' multimedia/multifunction interfaces. And, as usual, Chrysler's Multimedia Center/MyGig integration is top-notch, boasting one of the most attractive GUIs in the industry. The tech goodies don't end there, however. Our tester also came equipped with a back-up camera and parking assistant. While handy, we only found it useful in situations where surrounding obstacles were significantly shorter than the edge of the bed, as most snags were readily apparent thanks to predictably excellent outward visibility.  Mind you, it still feels huge.  The sum of these parts is a solid, comfortable truck with excellent, go-anywhere road manners that just barely fits into the daily grind. It's no wonder Chrysler's latest heavy duty entry is so widely-praised, and we won't hesitate to throw our recommendation on the pile.  Look for Part 2 of this Supersized Speed Read in the coming weeks.  Zerin Dube takes a 2010 Ram 2500 Cummins for a back country romp in the great state of Texas.

Speed Read: Challenger is Challenging

We didn't have a chance to shoot the TorRed Challenger SRT8 so we're using photos we took of a HEMI Orange one that we shot earlier in the year.  We aren't colorblind, I promise. -- Z
Carl Modesette: The thought hit me somewhere along the lazy, post-rush-hour, 12-mile drive home from picking up the 2009 Challenger SRT-8: "This may be the last fun car Dodge, as we know it, ever makes."  It's not exactly the kind of thought that cheers you up, but, as Barney Stinson so wisely admonishes on How I Met Your Mother: "When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead."  And how to be awesome instead in a 425 horsepower car?  Drop 3 gears and flatten the accelerator, of course. Given my druthers, I'd have chosen Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl over the TorRed of our tester, because as my wife says, it just looks mean. Nevertheless, I won't lie and tell you I didn't enjoy the temporary highway hero status conferred by our pun-colored sample; I just wouldn't pay the $225 premium for the arrest-me-now-please paint. I've always been a huge fan of the 6.1-liter Hemi SRT-8 powerplant, and I'm certainly no less a fan of its most current sheet-metal wrapper.  The 425 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque spinning through a Viper-sourced Tremec 6-speed provide hours of speed-shifting punches in the back, at least until the fuel (or points on your license) runs out.  Whether the Challenger SRT-8 is the fastest machine in a straight line or not, there's something about the glasspack exhaust note as the revs build that will never get old. Whether you like or dislike the "old" (read: retro) styling of the Challenger, there's no denying its sheer road presence.  Of all the cars I've had the opportunity to sample here at S:S:L, the TorRed Challenger has gotten the most attention from everyone, period, point blank.  Whether cruising down the boulevard, stopping to get gas, or even at the church parking lot, the Challenger was never without a cadre of admirers.  Of today's current crop of retro-muscle, the Challenger is probably the closest to its original inspiration, and even if the retro is lost on you, it's hard to miss Chrysler's big coupe on the road thanks to its exaggerated proportions. While the Challenger is a blast to drive in a straight line, it stays true to the classic muscle-car paradigm when it comes to on-road ride and handling - that is to say, it's not so good at either one.  Any assessment of handling when it comes to the Challenger will always have the "it handles surprisingly well... for a car this BIG" caveat attached.  Likewise, the best way to describe the ride quality of the car would be with this visual image: picture a fat guy riding an innertube being pulled by a speedboat on a rather choppy lake.  When the pavement gets a little irregular and the speeds start to increase, the springs and dampers just have a hard time keeping control of the Challenger's heft. There's no doubt that the engineers at SRT have prepped the SRT- 8 reasonably well for track work. It has big brakes, thick rollbars, and reasonably well-sorted damping. On the road, however, the package doesn't deliver top-notch ride quality or solid broken-road handling.

At the end of the day, the pragmatist in me takes a long look at the sticker price and can't help but be, well, Challenged.  From a "base" price of $40,220, a Gas Guzzler Tax of $1700 and a Destination Charge of $725 takes the minimum actual base price to $42,645.  Beyond that, the potential Challenger buyer must pony up an additional $695 for the why-would-you-have-it-any-other-way 6-speed manual transmission, $225 for any paint color aside from black or silver, and $1,045 for "SRT Option Group II", which basically means "bad ass stereo system".  These options took the final tally to $44,610 on our tester, and this, folks, is where we have a problem.  See, that kind of money will buy you a Ford Shelby GT500, which is the best car ever.  That kind of money will also get you pretty close to a base C6 Corvette.  Even worse, once V-8 Camaros start hitting showrooms in numbers, you'll be able to get a Camaro with the same power and torque for at least TEN GRAND less  - and you won't have to pay extra for the 6-speed manual tranny.  So, as nostalgic and enjoyable as the Challenger is, I just can't see the value - unless retro Mopar exclusivity is your primary aim.  And if it is, well, mo'par to ya.

Jack Baruth: Carl's right. The SRT-8 costs serious money, and the competition offers either more power for about the same cash (Ford) or a lighter, faster car for less (Chevrolet, assuming the Camaro sticks around in the Government Motors era). But it's worth noting that the original Challenger didn't directly compete with the Mustang and Camaro. It was a larger, more luxurious car that offered a slightly older, more prestige-conscious audience the same shove in the back as the ponycars did. Viewed in this light, the Challenger makes sense. It's just plain bigger and more expensive than the equivalent Mustang or Camaro, and it offers what the competition doesn't: a bored-out HEMI V-8 paired with slab-sided retro styling that looks more like an original Challenger than... an original Challenger does, honestly. Truth be told, I could live with the weight penalty, the dark interior, and the steep sticker price, no questions asked. There are only two reasons why I'm not already an SRT-8 owner. The first is that I have an Audi S5, which is a better-looking, smoother, more luxurious, and more competent ponycar than the Mopar or the Camaro. The second, more serious one is this: Dodge won't sell you an SRT-8 in white. You can have an R/T in white, but those of us who are fans of both "Vanishing Point" and stopping the car without drama on a road course are the proverbial you-know-what out of luck. A Challenger you can't get in white? Get real.