Today's Dodge Challenger is so effective at directing its Nixon-era precursors that we're amazed it doesn't work on leaded gas. Delightfully brash if a bit oafish, it is an old-school kind of badass that its main competitors have actually advanced away from. While Chevrolet and also Ford were out chasing after Nürburgring lap times with the most up to date Camaro and also Mustang, Mopar engineers constructed a streetable Challenger that can stand out a wheelie. The new-for-2017 Challenger T/A, however, is a hard-core reminder that, in the past, Dodge's muscle mass sports car was a real production-based roadway racer.
The T/A takes its name from the SCCA's legendary Trans-American champion, which was in its prime in 1970 when Dodge signed up with the collection as well as sent out the after that brand-new Challenger to battle AMC Javelins, Chevy Camaro Z/28s, and also Ford Mustang Boss 302s on North America's premier racing circuits. Although the 1970 Challenger T/A was brief and also inevitably unsuccessful in competitors, its auto racing pedigree, as well as scrappy mindset, made Mopar aristocracy out of the 2399 roadgoing homologation cars and trucks.
Vehicle drivers, Start Your Engines
The 2017 T/A design is yet another stonking variant of the current Challenger that was last upgraded for 2015, albeit one with aggressive handling hardware as well as great deals of satin-black touches. Its extra fond memories come as part of a $4400 to $7200 package, depending upon the trim degree as well as which Hemi V-8 you select: a 5.7-liter with about 375 horsepower or a 6.4-liter (close adequate to 392 cubic inches to satisfy Chrysler's history-minded marketing experts) with 485 horsepower as well as 475 lb-ft of torque. Our test car showcased the last mated to the Challenger's optional $1500 eight-speed automated, which erases the six-speed-manual 392's $1000 gas-guzzler tax, properly making the transmission a $500 choice.
Dodge opened up the brand-new T/An engine's breathing with a standard, variable efficiency exhaust system as well as a much less restrictive air filter fed by both the hood scoop as well as a pair of Air-Catcher intakes within both inboard fronts lights (emphasized by LED-illuminated T/A logos). Neither engine's result modifications, but the 392's rowdy bellow is also invigorating to ignore. The Challenger's trip-wire throttle and also the persistent absence of grip make it complicated to leave the line without spinning the back tires, however, the Hemi's mellifluous rap makes it a lot more challenging to lift off once the fun begins.
Although C/D never ever evaluated the original Challenger T/A, we did strap examination gear to the mechanically identical 1970 Plymouth 'Cuda AAR that shared the Trans-Am grid with the Dodge. Powered by a cautiously ranked 290-hp 5.6-liter (340-cubic-inch) V-8 backed by a four-speed handbook, the 3585-pound AAR's lazy 14.3-second quarter-mile perform at 100 miles per hour pales in comparison to this huge 392's 12.5-second blast at 116 mph-- on pace with similarly powered Challengers from the 21st century.
While the manual gearbox would certainly have been much more old-timey, we can't fault exactly how swiftly and deftly the brand-new Challenger's ZF-sourced automated controls the Hemi's thrust, whether by itself or through the wheel-mounted change paddles. The T/A balanced a good 17 mpg throughout its time with us, and also the 26 mpg it returned on our 200-mile freeway test loophole-- 1 mpg far better compared to its EPA highway ranking-- would certainly have made it a veritable Prius in 1970.
A Dancing Pachyderm
Decades of tire and suspension improvement also let today's autorun circles around its precursor at the examination track. The T/A stopped from 70 mph in a solid 151 feet and topped the grapes amongst contemporary Challengers with 0.93 g of hold, which would be rather impressive if the most popular Ford, as well as Chevy pony vehicles, weren't using the much side of 1.0 g. Dodge's chassis upgrades come by means of the included Super Track Pak, which lowers the body by 0.5 inches and also fits non-adjustable Bilstein dampers and also a three-mode stability-control system that can be completely deactivated. Variations with the 392 engine likewise receive large Brembo brakes-- 15.4-inch front blades clamped by six-piston calipers and also four-piston, 13.8-inch discs in back-- surrounded by brand-new 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels shod with either 275/40ZR -20 all-season tires or our example's $695 Pirelli P Zero efficiency rubber.
Beauty astronauts would certainly have taken pleasure in Dodge's Performance Pages that present on the infotainment display with a touch of the Super Track Pak button. When you're not distracted by its many scale readouts and efficiency timers, the system permits you to readjust the launch-control rpm and also various setups for the guiding weight, stability control, and also transmission responsiveness by means of Comfort, Sport, and also Track settings. None of the computers offer any type of feeling to the T/A's rather quick 14.4:1 steering shelf, neither were they as helpful as a careful appropriate foot on our quickest acceleration runs. And also we dig that there is no setting to absolutely tame the T/A's overtly loud-and-proud swagger on the street.
But the T/A requires more tire and also a severe diet. With 55.3 percent of the auto's hulking 4274 extra pounds resting over the front wheels, understeer is bountiful and there's no leaving this Dodge's oppressive bulk. Body roll is marginal at the limit, however, the stiff and choppy suspension containing all that mass had us wishing for the top-spec SRT 392 version's comfier three-mode flexible dampers. Even though the T/A changes instructions far better compared to any kind of Challenger we've driven, a Camaro SS or Mustang GT would need to be filled with travelers making it a close battle on a racetrack.
Too Cool for School
Our test car's Destroyer Grey paint made for a scary pairing with the T/A bundle's matte-black finish on the wheels, hood, fascia, roofing, trunk lid, fuel-filler door, and body-side T/A stripes. We specifically like the timeless Challenger manuscript on the back looter and also the optional $295 hood pins. Also in offered T/A shades such as Go Mango and also Yellow Jacket, a couple of automobiles might manage to look like a weapons-grade peacock in addition to this Dodge. (The most photogenic of the initial T/A race vehicles were painted bright eco-friendly, a shade echoed in today's Green Go.) Much more black trim, as well as a 180-mph speedometer, emphasize the T/A's typical cabin upgrades. On the higher-end 392 as well as 5.7-liter T/A Plus versions, black Nappa leather changes the stock houndstooth towel on the helpful front sporting activity seats, as well as our test auto additionally, had the excellent 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen user interface with navigating in addition to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a $795 option.
The base T/A's order publication opens at $38,490, but you'll need a large $46,090 to step into the 392, regarding 5 grand less than the full SRT 392 version. But at $53,995, the final tally on this instance went beyond even that mark, thanks to alternatives such as the $1695 Leather Interior group (heated as well as aerated front seats, aluminum trim bezels, a power tilting and also telescoping steering column with a warmed wheel), a $1595 Harman/Kardon costs stereo, the $1195 Technology team (adaptive cruise ship control, automated high-beams, forward-collision warning, rain-sensing wipers), as well as the $1095 Driver Convenience group (HID headlights, remote beginning, blind-spot tracking with back cross-traffic discovery).
That rates presses the leading Challenger T/An above the cost of the track-focused Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE as well as the Ford Mustang GT with the Performance bundle-- and not far from the access factor of Ford's 526-hp Shelby GT350. Those contrasts, nevertheless, matter little to the Mopar fanatics who get the T/A's auto racing lineage. While it may not be the sharpest device in the paddock, the T/A 392 gains pole position as a tire-smoking wormhole to the great ol' days.