With the introduction of the Chevy Camaro and the reborn Ford Mustang, Dodge’s pony car has been slacking in the performance department. When you remember that performance is what these cars are all about… well, it’s easy to see the issue for Chrysler.
Ontario Street Car got their hands on a leaked 2011 Challenger brochure recently, and the news is good for Mopar fans. Every single version of the Challenger is getting an upgrade, and some of them are quite hefty.
For starters, the base model is getting the new 3.6 liter Pentastar V6, which puts out 305 HP in 268 lb-ft of torque here. Dodge is estimating an EPA rating of 19 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway, which is up a few MPG’s from the current model.
That’s a 50 HP bump from the current Challenger, which should help it compete with the Camaro and Mustang much more effectively.
The 5.7 liter HEMI model will now put out 379 HP and 410 lb-ft, which is a bump of 7 and 10, respectively. The estimated fuel economy is 17 in the city and 25 on the highway.
The current big dog of the Challenger world gets some more cubes.Up from 6.1 liters, the 6.4 liter HEMI in the SRT-8 model gets a serious bump of 50 HP and 35 lb-ft. The new specs are 475 HP and 460 lb-ft of torque.
Comparison of Model Year 2011 Pony Cars
As you can see from the chart, the Challenger is much more competitive than before, but still falls short across the board. On the V6 front, it matches the Mustang in power, while still packing an extra ~300 pounds. It will be slower and less efficient than the Mustang, and it’s even less efficient than the Camaro.
In the V8 world, Dodge didn’t do much. The Challenger is still light on power, while being the porkiest of the bunch. Assuming Dodge doesn’t have a secret weight drop in store, The Challenger R/T is ~200 lbs heavier than the Camaro SS, and a whopping ~400 lbs heavier than the Mustang GT.
When you step up to the highest level of pony cars, only two challengers are left – Ford and Doge. Chevy doesn’t yet make a Camaro faster than the SS, so it’s out. How does Dodge fare in this round? Poorly. Though the 2011 Challenger SRT-8 gets a solid 50 HP bump, it still falls short by a whopping 75 HP to the Shelby GT500. Adding insult to injury, the Dodge is 300 lbs heavier than the Ford. That combination means Dodge is sure to lose the performance crown here too.
Sure, the Challenger got better for 2011. But the Mustang got a lot better, and crushes Dodge across the board. If you’re in the market for a pony car, you can feel free to skip Dodge. Ford and Chevy are running the show here.