2009 Dodge Challenger Makes Its Official Debut

By Chris Haak

02.06.2008

Just over two years after making its debut in concept form at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the full production version of the 2009 Dodge Challenger has been unveiled in Chicago.

Pricing for the Challenger was released months ago, and dealers have already been taking orders, in spite of having no photos of the production car to show to prospective customers other than a handful of teaser images. Of course, with first year production limited and a lot of pent-up demand from Baby Boomers hearkening for the big horsepower days of the 1960s, first year cars will be selling for well over MSRP. They’ve already been on eBay with the chance to bid for amounts above MSRP.

Personally, I prefer the Camaro’s styling, as it manages to pay tribute to the great 1969 model without copying it. It’s interesting that GM and Chrysler showed the Camaro and Challenger at the same auto show, yet Dodge is beating Chevy to market by a year or more. It certainly helped Chrysler that they already had a viable rear wheel drive platform in the LX (which underpins the Charger, Magnum, and 300), while GM still had work to do on its global rear-wheel drive large vehicle architecture.

The first year production will be limited to 6,400 cars, and all will be in SRT8 trim with a 425 horsepower 6.1 liter Hemi V8 and a five speed automatic. Subsequent model years will add a Tremec six speed manual transmission, an R/T trim with a smaller 5.7 liter Hemi V8, and a 3.5 liter V6. Colors for the first model year will be limited to Hemi Orange (shown in these photos), Bright Silver Metallic and Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat, with faux carbon fiber decals on the hood for all three colors.

Please see the press release below for more information.

PRESS RELEASE:

OVERVIEW
The Ultimate Modern American Muscle Coupe

All-New 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8®

– Iconic Dodge muscle car returns after a 35-year absence
– Design stays true to Challenger heritage while delivering a host of modern amenities and “race inspired, street legal” SRT DNA
– Powered by a 6.1-liter HEMI® V-8 engine that produces 425 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque
– Each 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 features limited-edition, numbered dash plaque

The return of the iconic Dodge Challenger brings what pony car fanatics crave: ground shaking performance, unmistakable design cues reminiscent of the original Challenger, world-class ride and handling characteristics and benchmark braking. On top of that it features a wide variety of modern amenities and technology designed to delight a new generation of driving enthusiasts.

“The all-new Dodge Challenger SRT8 is engineered to give customers everything they want in a modern muscle machine,” said Mike Accavitti, Director – Dodge Brand and SRT Global Marketing, Chrysler LLC. “The new version of Dodge’s American classic boasts tire-smoking performance and head-turning design while offering a wide array of state-of-the-art technology, such as GPS navigation, ‘Keyless Go’ entry, a MyGIG™ infotainment system and UConnect hands-free communication.”

Developed by Chrysler’s in-house performance engineering organization, the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 was engineered with a focus on the five pillars of every SRT vehicle: bold exterior design that resonates with the brand image, a race-inspired interior, world-class ride and handling across a dynamic range, a standout powertrain and benchmark braking.

Dodge will offer the limited-edition 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 in three colors: HEMI® Orange, Bright Silver Metallic and Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat. Each two-door, rear-wheel-drive coupe will be produced with a numbered dash plaque, carbon fiberlike hood stripes and will be powered by SRT’s 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine that boasts 425 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque.

With a U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $37,995 (including $675 destination), the all-new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 arrives in Dodge showrooms this spring.

The 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 vehicles will be manufactured at Chrysler’s Brampton, Ontario, Canada assembly plant.

Performance targets for the all-new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 include a 0–60 mph time in the low 5-second range, 0–100–0 mph in less than 17 seconds, a ¼-mile elapsed time of less than 14 seconds, 60–0 mph braking distance of approximately 100 feet, and a skid pad performance of 0.88 g.

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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2 Comments

  1. I hope this is not the absolute right car at the absolute wrong time.

  2. Big Sexy, great point. I doubt that if the concept was shown in Detroit this year, it would be built two years later, in a post-35 mpg CAFE world. It sure as hell isn’t going to help Chrysler’s average fuel economy.

    Personally, I really love the 300C SRT8, and could easily afford the car, but I can’t bring myself to drive something that gets half the gas mileage of my Honda Accord. Driving a car like that is almost an F-you to the environment. But boy, would it be fun.

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