2011-challenger.jpgby Patrick Rall

    The 2011 Dodge Challenger looks very similar to the outgoing models but the big news is what you cannot see – with two new engines joining the Challenger lineup, which add more power and better fuel economy to the brawny muscle car.

    First off, the exterior changes to the 2011 Dodge Challenger are nearly
    non-existent, and to the average consumer, it is hard to tell the
    difference between a 2010 and 2011 model year vehicle.  The 2011
    Challenger gets door handles similar to what is found on the Dodge
    Charger sedan and the lower front fascia opening has been flipped and
    slightly enlarged from what we saw on the 2010 and older models.  This
    larger opening allows for better air flow to both feed and cool the 2011
    Challenger engine lineup, which was the big news for the new model

    The 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T remains largely unchanged, with the 5.7L
    Hemi V8 offering 375 horsepower/410lb-ft of torque when mated to a
    6-speed manual transmission and 372hp/400lb-ft of torque with the
    5-speed automatic transmission.  This engine is equipped with Chrysler’s
    Fuel Saver Technology (aka MDS) that is coupled with variable camshaft
    timing to improve fuel economy. 

    Dodge brand CEO Ralph Gilles told DodgeForum.com at the 2010 LA Auto
    Show that the Challenger R/T is intended to appeal to those buyers who
    want an American muscle car with a powerful V8, without the large cost
    and big power of the Challenger SRT8.  The Challenger R/T is also billed
    as a “budget muscle car” by the folks at Dodge.

    The first new engine for the 2011 Dodge Challenger is the new 3.6L
    Pentastar V6, producing 305hp and 268lb-ft of torque.  This is an
    improvement of 55hp and 18lb-ft of torque over the old entry level 3.5L
    V6 but in addition to adding a ton of power, the Pentastar V6 is also
    far more fuel efficient than the old entry level mill.  This engine
    provides a huge improvement over the old V6 but sadly, Dodge still isn’t
    offering a manual transmission with the 3.6L option.  Although the
    305hp 6-cylinder is a great engine and a welcome change, the stick-shift
    option would bring the Challenger more even with the entry level
    Mustang and Camaro.


    The other new engine for the 2011 Dodge Challenger – and the engine that
    helped the SRT Challenger pull away from the Ford Mustang GT and
    Chevrolet Camaro SS is the new 6.4L, 392 cubic inch Hemi V8.  This
    engine spent a few years strictly as a crate engine from Mopar
    Performance but for the 2011 model year, the Challenger SRT8 392 is
    born.  This new Hemi features a whopping 470 horsepower and 470lb-ft of
    torque, healthy improvements in both departments, but thanks to the
    addition of Chrysler’s Fuel Saver Technology this new high performance
    Hemi (automatic transmission models only) also offers far better fuel
    economy than the old 6.1L Hemi.  This impressive output of 470hp affords
    the 2011 Challenger SRT8 392 a ratio of 73.4 horsepower per liter.  For
    comparison, the original 426ci Hemi from the 1960s and 1970s set the
    standard for American performance engines with a ratio of just 60.9hp
    per liter.

    In addition to the fact that the 2011 Challenger’s 6.4L Hemi offers
    better fuel economy and more power, there is also the suggestion that
    the new Hemi is underrated.  Multiple sources have taken the new
    Challenger SRT8 392 to the dyno (including Chrysler on their Hemi
    Highway Tour) and in every case, the actual power output at the wheels
    was much higher than would be expected from a car with 470 bhp – showing
    that the new 6.4L Hemi is actually making more than the prescribed
    numbers from Dodge.

    Regardless of how much power the 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 is
    actually making, the rating of 470 horsepower makes the new Challenger
    among the most powerful cars available in the US.  Combined with the
    powerful new 3.6L Pentastar V6 and the tried and true 5.7L Hemi, the
    2011 Dodge Challenger lineup offers more power than even the Challenger
    of the early 1970s.