The Dodge Challenger is one of the most infamous names, when discussing American Muscle. It’s heritage is focused around high performance and straight-line speed. Later renditions, have became better all around performers. Names like SRT8, Scat Pack and Hellcat, invoke a desire to ingage in wreckless driving activities. The Challenger GT sounds like something different. Something that falls away from its heritage.
What do I mean by “fall away from it’s heritage?” Well, the Challenger GT is mainly powered by a V6. Most American muscle cars are V8 powered. This one is also AWD. Most American muscle cars are RWD. So that’s the main reason why the GT falls away.
I understand why FCA decided to use AWD and a V6 for the GT. It was to save weight and price point. First of all, the HEMI with AWD would have pushed the Challenger into Scat Pack and SRT territory when concerning price. These trims are supposed to be the best Challengers you can get, before the Hellcat. A Challenger with a generic trim named GT, would not resonate as much as the other two. Not to mention, the AWD HEMI combination isn’t popular in FCA’s current ranks.
The main issue is the consumer. Not to many Challenger loyalists wouldn’t accept an AWD HEMI combo. While this would only make the Challenger GT even more of a beast, it wouldn’t make any sense in the grand scheme of things. It makes sense for the Charger and 300, not the Challenger.
It’s nothing against the Challenger GT. The 306HP/268lbs-ft TQ, 3.6 Penastar V6 is no slouch. When I test drove a 2016?Charger with the V6, I was thoroughly impressed by the power the engine put down. It wasn’t as loud and dramatic as the HEMI, but still a nice option for it. The AWD setup makes sense for the Challenger GT as well. Potential buyers who live in states that see more inclement weather would be pleased with having a Challenger for the summer in SRT trim, and a Challenger for the winter in the GT trim.
For what I’ve seen so far, the lack of the V8 doesn’t translate to a lack of sportiness. The Challenger GT still has plenty of performance inspired options that make it worth while. To add to that, unless you stare at two V6 Challengers long enough, you still wouldn’t know he difference.
Also, add in the fact that the Challenger can be shifted to a different market. Instead of competing with he usual suspects, the Camaro and Mustang, the Challenger GT would possibly, be aimed at some imports. I’m not saying I know which ones exactly, but I am saying the Camaro and Mustang won’t be the main focus. I highly doubt this would force Chevy and Ford to make AWD versions of their muscle cars, but you never know.
At the end of the day, the Challenger GT is slightly impressive. While purists might not take to well to the AWD setup and a HEMI option is not in sight, the Challenger GT might be a hit. As far as it being a “muscle car,” it’s not. It may open up doors for a different breed of muscle car. It might flop, like Lebron (no offense).