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2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack First Test

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/6/2014 Evan Klein, Rory Jurnecka

No, no … don't be silly. To claim the 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack is the best Challenger yet would be to dismiss the epic brutality of the recently launched Challenger SRT Hellcat. You know, the one with 707 demented horses and an asphalt-melting 650 lb-ft of torque if you believe Dodge -- and closer to 722 hp and 672 lb-ft if you believe our dyno test.

Let me revise my original question. Is the Challenger R/T Scat Pack the best bang-for-the-buck Challenger available today? Without a doubt. Call it an SRT-lite, if you like. It slots into the lineup above the 375-hp, 410-lb-ft Challenger R/T ($32,490 base) and below the Challenger SRT 392 ($46,990 base), but borrows the latter's 6.4-liter, 485-hp, 475-lb-ft V-8, itself up 15 hp and 5 lb-ft over the 2014 version. With a base price of $39,890, the Scat Pack can't feature all the bells and whistles of the SRT 392. And it doesn't. It gets last year's SRT brakes (Brembos with vented/slotted rotors and four-piston fronts) instead of the new six-piston setup for 2015. It also doesn't get the SRT's adaptive suspension or fancy leather interior. Instead, it makes due with a sport suspension from Bilstein and cloth seats. A six-speed manual transmission is available, but to avoid the gas-guzzler tax, it's worth opting for the excellent new eight-speed TorqueFlite paddle-shift automatic, which finally replaces the outgoing, outdated 5A. An active dual-exhaust system, 20-inch wheels, and more aggressive front splitter and rear spoiler complete the Scat Pack trim.

© Provided by MotorTrend Of course, the R/T Scat Pack also gets the same cosmetic changes as the rest of the Challenger lineup for 2015, which means the narrower front grille, split LED taillights, and massive interior revamp are all aboard. It's no stretch to say the cabin especially is miles ahead of both Camaro and 2014 Mustang as far as aesthetics and materials quality go, though it's a closer match to the new 2015 'Stang. The best-in-class Uconnect infotainment setup comes in the Scat Pack as standard equipment, along with a rear-view backup camera, dual-zone climate control, and parking radar. As a complete package, the Scat Pack is a well-equipped car.

It's also a very quick car. At the track, our automatic-equipped Scat Pack nailed a 4.2-second 0 to 60 mph run, the quarter mile approaching shortly thereafter in 12.6 seconds at a trap speed of 112.3 mph. It's no Hellcat, but the Scat Pack soundly beat the last Challenger R/T we tested (a 2011 model), which managed 5.0 seconds to 60 mph and a 13.5-sec quarter-mile at 105.9 mph. The Scat Pack even edged out the last SRT 392 we tested (also MY2011) by 0.4 second to both 60 mph and the quarter mile. On the figure eight, the Scat Pack also bested its 2011 brethren, with a 25.5-second run, just beating the SRT's 25.6 and, more decisively, the R/T's 25.9. Braking distance from 60 mph was 4 feet and 9 feet shorter than the R/T and SRT, respectively, at 108 feet.

© Provided by MotorTrend On the road, the Challenger Scat Pack is a beast. A big, heavy beast. Tipping the scales at 4235 pounds, it doesn't like to play sports car much. On the winding canyon roads above Malibu, California, the car shows it has plenty of grip though. It positively smothers the road with its width, and though the Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires aren't supercar-wide (just 245 width all around), the car stays stuck more adeptly than you'd expect. A push of the Track Pack button on the center stack brings up a screen that allows steering, throttle and trans response, and the ESC to all be set to Sport mode (it also calibrates Launch Mode). Do this and the wheel becomes weighty in your hands and the transmission rev-matches downshifts. The eight-speed automatic is good in Normal mode, but comes alive in the Sport setting. Manual shifts with the paddles are satisfyingly quick though, with torque oozing from every seam on the Challenger's body, those paddles don't need to be used too much. Rolling along Pacific Coast Highway, the TorRed colored Scat Pack draws a surprising amount of attention -- of course that's helped along by the rumble and bellow of the 6.4-liter engine underhood. Every stoplight becomes a drag strip and it's all too easy to disintegrate a set of rear tires well before their treadwear rating might suggest. Clearly, a bit of prudence reaps dividends here.

The only parts of the R/T Scat Pack that didn't feel entirely up to the task were the brakes and cooling system. While the car was admittedly being pushed fairly hard on a 104-degree Southern California day, and 2 tons is a lot of mass to accelerate and slow, the brakes and cooling system both showed signs of suffering. The former suffered quite a bit of fade after a quick canyon run with a bit of elevation change. The water temperature needle was quickly approaching the red zone by the time we reached the coast. The car never overheated or failed to stop, but the impression was that both systems were working overtime. We suspect that if the ambient temperature had been 20 degrees lower, there wouldn't have been as much cooling trouble, but we're not sure if that would have helped the brakes much. After all, there's a reason the SRT now carries beefier binders.

Still, with an MSRP that's roughly $7000 less than the SRT 392, the R/T Scat Pack offers a heck of a lot of performance for the buck and a heck of a lot of style and fun as well. If old-school musclecar charm is what you're after, you could do a lot worse than the Challenger Scat Pack. © Provided by MotorTrend

2015 Dodge Challenger R/T 6.4
VEHICLE LAYOUTFront-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 2-door coupe
ENGINE6.4L/485-hp/475-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8
TRANSMISSION8-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)4235 lb (55/45%)
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT198.0 x 75.7 x 55.9 in
0-60 MPH4.2 sec
QUARTER MILE12.6 sec @ 112.3 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH108 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT25.5 sec @ 0.81 g (avg)
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY225/135 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB1.06 lb/mile

2015 Dodge Challenger RT Scat Pack© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Dodge Challenger RT Scat Pack

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