2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392: First Drive

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Like the Inaugural Edition I drove, subsequent Challenger SRT8s will get the new 6.4-liter (392 cubic inches) Hemi V-8 rated at an estimated 470 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 470 pounds-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm. Dodge says the car can go from zero to 60 mph in just under 5 seconds on its way to a top speed of more than 180 mph.
While I didn’t get close to the car’s top speed, the new V-8, when teamed with the optional six-speed manual transmission, felt strong, with enough power to let you rotate the car around a corner some by pressing the accelerator. The engine also sounds burly, with a sharp bark emanating from the tailpipes.

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The six-speed manual’s throws are very short, and each gear engages with mechanical precision. The clutch pedal is very light for a high-performance car, so don’t worry about it tiring your left leg.
If you’re looking for a muscle car in the classic sense of the word, the Challenger has been — and remains — a good choice. While it will take a few laps at the track in stride, it still feels like the big car that it is. It’s better-suited for boulevard cruising, and with the new V-8, I bet it’ll be some trip.

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Mike Hanley has more than 20 years of experience reporting on the auto industry. His primary focus is new vehicles, and he's currently a Senior Road Test Editor overseeing expert car reviews and comparison tests. He previously managed Editorial content in the Research section. Email Mike Hanley

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