The 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 followed the initial revival of the Challenger as one of the most anticipated sophomore years since the days when Dodge muscle cars ruled the streets with V8 rear wheel drive performance. The 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 offered a change from the then-current lineup of predominantly sedans, trucks, and minivans, and Dodge enthusiasts all over the country lined up to get their hands on the first release of reborn Mopar muscle.2008 challenger srt.jpg

    After so many years without a V8, rear wheel drive performance car from
    Dodge, the Challenger release was greatly anticipated; to commemorate
    the return of this 70’s pony car, Dodge made the 2008 model very
    simple, including lower production numbers than many had hoped. This,
    in turn, made the car that much more sought after – all of the 2008
    Challengers were pre-sold. Every 2008 Dodge Challenger came equipped
    with the 6.1L Hemi engine and a 5-speed AutoStick transmission. The
    SRT8 was the only trim offered and the few options dealt with the
    sunroof, navigation system, and colors: Hemi Orange Pearl Coat,
    Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat, or Bright Silver Metallic Pearl

    Though the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 was generally a success, the
    public had some complaints: many were unhappy about the exclusion of a
    manual transmission option, some wanted a more fuel efficient engine,
    and others demanded more options such as body colors and wheels. Dodge
    did not wait long to reply to those concerns with the juicy details for
    the 2009 Dodge Challenger lineup, which addressed nearly all of those

    The 2009 Dodge Challenger

    The 2009 Dodge Challenger arrived with the addition of two new trim
    lines: the V6 Challenger SE and the mid-level Challenger R/T. Along
    with the returning Challenger SRT8, the vehicles are physically similar
    and the overall look of the 2009 Challenger is shared across all trim
    lines. These offerings provided the option to get good mileage out of a
    great looking V6 daily driver or tear up the drag strip in a 425hp SRT
    model, both bearing the same awesome look with only minor differences.  

    The SRT8 model received the fewest changes, though there was big news
    for the 2009 Challenger SRT8: a manual transmission option. The
    standard engine and transmission package for the SRT8 remained the 6.1L
    Hemi/5-speed AutoStick, but the manual transmission was finally
    available along with a handful of supporting modifications to enhance
    the driving experience. The 2009 SRT8 models with AutoStick
    transmission have a 3.06 rear gear ratio, which jumps to 3.91 in the
    6-speed manual, helping to greatly increase acceleration abilities. The
    manual SRT8 also comes with the Dodge Trak Pak, offering hill start
    assist, anti-spin rear axle, performance tuned steering, and a switch
    to disable the Electronic Stability Program (ESP). The interior
    remained unchanged, the SRT keeping its policy of mixing comfort with a
    firm, steady ride during periods of spirited driving, including a set
    of bright silver pedals for the manual option. One small alteration to
    the SRT8 was the removal of the Hemi Orange Pearl Coat; in its place
    another classic Dodge color, TorRed.

    The 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T is closely matched in price, though
    slightly pricier, to the 2009 Ford Mustang GT. A bit heavier than the
    Mustang, the Challenger comes with a 5.7L Hemi making 370 horsepower
    and 390 lb-ft of torque; 23% more horsepower and 22% more torque than
    the current Mustang GT. The R/T may end up as the most popular
    Challenger model thanks to the technology of the 5.7L Hemi engine,
    featuring a Multiple Displacement System (MDS). This system can yield
    fuel mileage up around 30 miles per gallon on the highway (specific
    results, may not be typical). Like the SRT8 model, the R/T comes with a
    5-speed AutoStick transmission and 3.06 gears and offers a 6-speed
    manual transmission backed by either a 3.73 or 3.91 ratio Sure-Grip
    differential. The Challenger R/T features a heavy duty braking system
    with 4-wheel antilock disc brakes and traction control that functions
    at any speed. The Challenger R/T does not share a suspension with the
    SRT8, but all Challengers use a short and long arm suspension setup in
    the front and a multilink independent suspension setup in the rear;
    helps to keep the wheels on the road in as many situations as possible.
    The Challenger R/T has a slightly less race-inspired suspension setup,
    offering a smooth ride but lacking the high speed limits of the SRT8.
    However, if you like the idea of the 5.7L Hemi with MDS and a 6-speed
    transmission backed by a set of 3.9 gears, the SRT tuned suspension can
    be added to R/T models for some added cost. And the Dodge Trak Pak will
    put the performance steering assembly found in the Challenger SRT8 into
    an R/T. While the Trak Pak gives you the option of disabling this, the
    2008 R/T also features ESP.

    The exterior changes are very minor. The rear spoiler is body colored;
    the SRT has a black spoiler, the badging on that spoiler and in the
    front fascia proudly displaying the vintage R/T logos. The Challenger
    R/T retains the Mopar Power Bulge hood, but there is no stripe option
    for the raised portion like you have with the SRT8. The standard fog
    lights from the SRT are offered on the R/T as an option only. Unlike
    the Challenger SRT8, the Challenger R/T (and SE) is offered in 8
    brilliant colors: Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl, Inferno Red Crystal
    Pearl, Bright Silver Metallic, TorRed, Deep Water Blue Pearl, Hemi
    Orange Pearl (R/T only, SE not available in Hemi Orange), Stone White,
    and Dark Titanium Metallic.

    The 2009 Challenger R/T offers either 18″ polished aluminum wheels or
    20″ chrome wheels wrapped in 235/55R18 All Season Performance tires or
    245/45ZR20’s depending on the wheel option. The only major difference
    in the interior of the SRT8 and the R/T (and SE) models is the seating.
    The SRT variant comes with SRT designed high back, race inspired
    leather seats with SRT badging and orange and silver trim. The R/T
    model has a similarly shaped seat design, but leather is an option to
    the standard cloth seats, with an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat
    and a 60/40 rear bench seat. The Challenger R/T will provide quite a
    bit of kick, and with the added convenience of MDS, the affordable
    price compared to other cars in the market, and the muscular retro
    styling, the 2009 R/T could certainly help the Challenger build a
    reputation as being one mean street machine.

    The Ford Mustang has lasted over 40 years thanks to the model’s ability
    to shift with the market, and a big part of that success is their base
    V6 model. Originally, like the vintage six cylinder Challengers, the
    non-V8 Mustangs put very little emphasis on performance. In recent
    years the V6 Mustangs gained more and more power, the current base
    model  having only 5 less horsepower as the 1997 Ford Mustang GT. This
    efficient 4.0L V6 Mustang has popularized the base model even more,
    helping the growth of the model as a whole. The Challenger design team
    kept this in mind for the SE model, powered by a 3.5L, V6 making 250
    horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque backed by a 4-speed AutoStick
    transmission. While many people keep hope up for a manual V6
    Challenger, this 4-speed automatic transmission has been reliable
    inside the Dodge Magnum, Dodge Charger, and Chrysler 300; the AutoStick
    can be a fun alternative to the normal automatic transmission. The 2009
    Challenger SE comes with a suspension setup and 4-wheel disc brake
    system that will handle the power of the 3.5L engine; the heavy duty
    brakes from the R/T model can also be chosen for an additional price.
    The power is sent to the ground by means of a single traction rear end,
    and the Challenger SE sits on a set of 17″ steel wheels with bolt on
    wheel covers and 215/65R17 all season touring tires (the R/T standard
    wheels and tires can be selected as an upgrade). The external changes
    to the 2009 Challenger SE are along the same lines as the changes from
    the SRT8 to the R/T models. First, the rear spoiler is removed, and the
    gas door is painted rather than bright chrome. The SE has no trim
    line-specific badging, as it carries only Challenger and Dodge logos,
    while the fog lights are not an option on the 2009 SE. The standard
    interior of the Challenger SE is the same as what is found in the
    Challenger R/T: cloth seating with leather seats and additional leather
    interior accents as an option.  

    The 2009 Dodge Challenger, whether it is the SE, R/T, or mighty SRT8 is
    following the formula that made the 1970 Dodge Challenger a success,
    and with that muscular styling and high performance both refined with
    modern technology, the new Dodge Challenger will likely take a good
    shot at the Mustang’s long-untested reign as the top pony car available
    in the US performance market.

    So the second model year is winding down and the new Challenger looks nice and drives well, but Dodge/Fiat is in a strange place these days. What do you see as the future of the Challenger? Did you appreciate the effort by Dodge to answer the complaints from the ’08 to the ’09 Challenger? Do you see that continuing on into the 2011 Challenger and beyond? Will the 2010 make its release date?

    Wanna talk V8’s? Lots of threads here!