A Closer Look: 2011 Dodge Challenger gets upgraded to better compete with Mustang, Camaro

2011 Dodge Challenger R/T

Dodge’s current halo car, the Challenger, follows the trend of new power and drivetrains as well as reworked suspension, interior and exterior upgrades. When it first came out, immediately Dodge had something going for them. It was one of the rare cases where revitalizing the past has somewhat worked. The Challenger rings every petrolhead’s memories and imaginations because it’s a modern representation of what made American motoring so great back in the glory days of leaded fuel, long hoods, big engines and loud exhausts. But it fell short of the competition with a lackluster interior and boring road mannerisms and really, it was nothing more than a Charger in a more handsome suit with two of its doors cut off. Hopefully, the new updates will make the Challenger a better competitor amongst the blasts from the past, the Mustang and the new Camaro.

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The Challenger receives almost the same suspension retuning to allow for a 0.90g skidpad rating and more compliant handling. Additionally, the brakes also received some work offering better response and feel. Amongst a bucket list of improvements, the Challenger also receives a completely new variable electro-hydraulic power steering system that Dodge says will offer far better feel and on-center tracking. According to the Mopar company, the system monitors in steering angle, vehicle and engine speed, and the chassis control systems 13 times a second, and adjusts the steering effort accordingly, allowing for a fully active system.

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2011 Dodge Challenger:

Dodge offers three different suspension-tuning packages with equally differing wheel and tire combinations.

In light of the new V6 muscle car wars, the new Pentastar V6, just like nearly every other model, also finds its way into the base model of the Challenger. Because it’s a completely new engine, making it lighter than the outgoing V6, the Challenger receives a near 50/50 weight distribution for the V6 model (52.4/47.6 front/rear to be specific). The 3.6L Pentastar V6 ends up giving the 2011 Challenger SE a whopping 306-hp and 268 lb-ft of torque. The 5.7L HEMI virtually remains unchanged and is mated to a new Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual that has been slightly reworked, offering more refined actions. It offer 376-hp and 410 lb-ft of torque.

Of course, the big news for the 2011 Dodge Challenger is the 2011 SRT8, which gets a 392-cubic inch HEMI V8 making 470-hp and 470 lb-ft. of torque, an extra 90 lb-ft of torque at 2,900 rpm versus the previous 6.1L V8 engine. The 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 is available standard with a 5-speed automatic transmission with Auto Stick or an optional Tremec TR-6060 6-speed manual transmission. The combination allows the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 to go from 0-60 mph in the high 4-second range.

2011 Dodge Challenger in Action:

Visually, the Challenger maintains its unique, muscle-car styling with some minor tweaking. On the inside, Dodge employs its Design for Six Sigma method, improving the levels of refinement and precision to world-class levels…whatever that is.

Either way, Dodge hopefully realizes that it cannot succeed in this world making subpar products. And after the entire run-through I’ve written up for these updated Mopars, seems like they caught that drift… at least on paper. How will it all stack up in the real world? Only time will tell.

2011 Dodge Challenger MSRPs:

  • 2011 Dodge Challenger SE: $24,670.
  • 2011 Dodge Challenger SE (with “Rallye” package): $26,670.
  • 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T: $29,670.
  • 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T (with “Plus” package): $31,170.
  • 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T (with “Classic” package): $32,970.
  • 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392: $42,555.

2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8:

– By: Chris Chin