Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New York 2008: 2009 Dodge Challenger - Now in 3 delicious flavors!

Click above for a hi-res gallery of the 2009 Dodge Challenger SE

Chrysler has formally unveiled the full 2009 Dodge Challenger range here at the New York Auto Show. Jim Press gamely handled a few technical snafus that plagued one of the skits going on behind him as he re-introduced the the Challenger SRT8, pulled the wraps off the Challenger R/T and showed us the budget-minded Challenger SE for the first time. Enthusiasts get their wish in 2009, with Chrysler offering a Tremec 6-speed manual transmission in both the SRT and R/T cars. R/T buyers who opt for the stick get an extra five horsepower -- for a total of 375 -- over the R/T auto's 370. Aside from its wheels and badging, the R/T is the spitting image of its fire-breathing SRT brother and should be just as adept at sending tires to the afterlife.

We were also interested to see the entry-level Challenger SE in person, and from the looks of things, it's a nice value package. Pricing in the low-20s puts it in the range of a a wide variety of buyers, and its 245-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 is paired with a 4-speed auto to deliver around 25 mpg highway. It may be the base car, but it's good-looking, with spoiler-free decklid, polished alloys and the same hot retro profile as the V8 cars. Inside, the big difference is the SE's fabric upholstery, otherwise, the layout is what you'll find in other Challengers. The SRT is killer, the SE's better than we expected it to be, and the R/T is the one a lot of us could see ourselves rolling in. Take your pick. The Challenger's just cool.

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