While every major automaker is moving forward and going more modern, it seems that Dodge is moving forward by going backwards — retrospective, that is. The refreshed 2015 Dodge Challenger takes an additional hint of inspiration from those legendary muscle cars of old; specifically the 1971 Challenger Scat-Pack and Shaker trim options. Rumors abounded that Dodge would unveil the mythical supercharged Hellcat during the 2014 New York International Auto Show (taking place right now through April 28). As media days wind down in the city that never sleeps the rumored unveiling of the illusive creature remains just a rumor and nothing more. However, there has been some excitement with at least two trim levels to take you down memory lane.
The Scat-Pack and Shaker trim levels will be outfitted with the monstrous 6.4-liter (392-cubic inch) Hemi engine that currently powers the SRT-8 Challenger, so whether or not we will see a supercharged Hellcat or SRT-8 variation for 2015 remains to be seen. The 6.4-liter Hemi will be upgraded for 2015 to 485-horsepower and 475-lb.-ft. of torque and 0 to 60 can be accomplished in 4.4-seconds in a so equipped car. Scat-Pack cars will feature a more customer customizable performance platform that allows consumers to choose from a treasure chest of factory performance upgrades including high-performance exhaust systems (catalytic converter back, of course), cold air intakes, reprogrammed engine control units, and even Mopar ported and polished cylinder heads. Appearance upgrades such as customizable lighting and specially designed factory wheels will also be an option. I don’t know about you, but I kind of like the way this Fiat guy does business.
The Shaker package is so named because the engine air cleaner box protrudes through the hood. Since the air-box is mounted directly to the engine, it shimmies and shakes independently from the hood and the rest of the car. The 2015 Shaker version will be offered with your choice of either the 5.7-liter or 6.4-liter Hemi engine, an improvement over the 2014 model which came only with the 5.7. This effective and nostalgic design lends an even more high-performance flair to the already bodacious exterior of the new 2015 Challenger.
The most noticeable improvement to either trim level selected for the 2015 Challenger may be the new eight-speed Torque Flight automatic transmission. It is standard equipment on the base SXT trim level and is offered as optional equipment for every other trim level; with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, no doubt. Don’t fret, a six-speed manual gearbox will still be available, too.
Dodge decided to roll back the clock a little farther on the exterior of the 2015 Challenger with a new split grille and a more pronounced bulge under the hood, then added projector beam fog lights and halo LED headlights. In the rear, there is more gloss black paint around the valance with split LED tail lights and a wider overall appearance than its predecessor.
The interior takes styling cues from the legendary 1971 model car as well, with a high-sill center console and brushed aluminum bezels for the gauges. In a perfect combination of old and new, a center mounted control center offers every available electronic creature comfort, premium audio, and connectivity device imaginable, culminating with an available 8.4-inch LCD touchscreen display in the center and a 7-inch customizable driver display between the speedometer and tachometer.
The one area in which Dodge has left the old behind is safety. The 2015 Challenger is now available with a forward collision warning system, adaptive cruise control, mitigated braking, blind spot monitoring, and cross traffic detection. Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability and traction control, antilock brakes, and an assortment of strategically placed airbags.