2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8

Classic Style Meets Modern Engineering

2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8

FAST FACTS

1. SRT8 models get the 6.1-liter Hemi with 425hp and 420 ft-lbs of torque.

2. Brembo brakes, plus a lower and stiffer suspension than the standard Challenger, lets this muscle car go fast on the straights and the twisties.

For those of us of a certain age, just looking at the 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 is like taking a trip back in time. You see, back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s when “American Iron” ruled the roads, and “muscle car” meant rip-snorting horsepower, I was graduating from high school and starting my time in college.

While I didn’t personally own any of the hot cars of the day, many of my friends who were members of the lucky gene pool club were affluent enough to own them, and I got to drive some of the best of the best. There were Boss 302 Mustangs, and later Mustang Mach 1s, and Oldsmobile Cutlass 442s, Pontiac GTOs, Chevy Camaro Z28s, a Buick Grand National, and of course the hot Mopar cars. There was the 440 cubic-inch Plymouth Barracuda, and one of my fraternity brothers at the University of Iowa had a beautiful 1970 Dodge Challenger convertible finished in Plum Crazy purple, with Bumble Bee stripes, a 426 cubic-inch Hemi V-8 with 425 horsepower, the optional “shaker” hood, and a custom 8-track stereo system. Man, that puppy could lay down some rubber and tear down a deserted two-lane country road like a rocket!  It was a time for long hair, cold beer, and hot chicks. 

STYLING: RETRO AMERICAN IRON

While the 2009 version of the hot Challenger looks like a modern American muscle coupe, it has all the retro styling cues of the past . . . long hood, short deck, wide stance and front grill, big wheels with wide tires, and devoid of gimmicky modern styling cues like wings, or extended rocker panels, brake scoops or other boy racer gimmicks.

PERFORMANCE: 425 HEMI HORSES

Start the motor and you are at once treated to the aural delight of the 6.1 liter Hemi V-8 burbling through the dual exhaust system. Precious few cars today offer up an engine sound that thrills the driver at idle. The anticipation of the 425 horsepower, with 420 ft-lbs of torque, being available at your right foot is palpable. Push in the clutch, grasp the retro pistol grip shift lever, snick it into first gear, hit the gas, pop the clutch, and the let ‘er rip! WHAM, you’re in sensory overload as the mighty Hemi roars, and the tires screech as they leave a strip of rubber on the pavement, while you’re shoulders are pinned back into the race inspired, well bolstered, leather seats. 

You’ll hit 60 mph in less than five seconds (and in first gear), then quickly shift into second for another round of torque induced g-forces, and you can hear yourself yell out, “yee-ha.”  Only respect for the local constabulary and not wishing to experience their jail, forced me to back off after hitting triple digit speeds. Chrysler tells us that I’d have hit the quarter mile in only 13.3 seconds, and it would only take 16.5 to hit 100.  But I gotta tell you, that one run alone made me feel like I shaved 25 years off my current age, and filled in the sparse patches of hair on my head. 

LOWER, STIFFER SUSPENSION & BREMBO BRAKES

While this 2009 Challenger provides all the straight line thrills of the old muscle cars, there are several things that set it miles (and years) apart from the cars of yesteryear. First off, the 2009 version comes equipped with 4-piston opposed Brembo brake calipers, clamping down on huge vented rotors, so when you hit the whoa pedal, the SRT8 scrubs off speed like a race car. And the ABS system makes sure you won’t flat-spot the tires, either. 

The other major difference between the cars of the two eras, is that the current Challenger can actually handle the road when it gets curvy. Sure you can feel the heft of the 4,100 pound car in tight corners, but the body roll is moderate, and with its limited slip differential (new in ’09) the Challenger always feels stable and well planted, and it tracks through high speed corners without the need for mid course corrections, making it an easy and everyday fun car to drive on any road.  This SRT8 would blow the doors off the 70’s models in the corners. 

And let’s not forget the Tremec TR 6060 six-speed manual transmission with dual overdrives, which is also new for ’09.  (The 5-speed automatic with Auto Stick is also available).  While the clutch effort is not as light as one would find on a little econobox, the pedal effort is much lighter than the ones from the ‘70s. Same goes for the shifter.  Short throws, light effort, and easy to find the gear you need.

You might think that a car with all this power and performance would ride like a truck and rattle your fillings over all but the smoothest pavement. But you’d be wrong. In fact the ride quality is quite pleasant. While the SRT rides a half-inch lower than the other Challenger models, the specially tuned shock and springs offer a comfortable and well-damped ride for most road conditions. 

DISAPPOINTING INTERIOR

I must say that the interior was somewhat of a disappointment. It is entirely functional, and straightforward, with four large dials centered for easy view from the driver’s seat, and the radio and heating controls in the center stack are easy to see and use. The seats are quite comfortable and very well bolstered to hold the driver in place under spirited driving. The rear has seat belts for three, but only two people will be at all comfortable, as head and legroom are a bit cramped. But I was looking for something a bit more stylish and striking. The gray and black tones are just too bland for my tastes. The red striping on the seatback and contrasting stitching on the seats are really the only contrasting color in the cockpit. A car with this exterior styling, the racy brilliance of the Hemi engine, and the performance personality begs for an interior that matches that attitude. Instead the Challenger’s interior can be mistaken for any well appointed 4-door sedan. 

THE VERDICT

Even if you’re too young to remember the exhilaration of the original Challenger that inspired the current model, this car will give you a unique and thrilling driving experience. And those older cars certainly didn’t have the respectable gas mileage figures of 14 city and 22 highway. At an MSRP of $42,245 you can find other cars that have similar performance numbers and more refined manners, but you won’t find any other car that can give you the same American Iron jazz that you’ll get from this Challenger SRT8.  And trust me, that’s a good thing.

POSITVE

Neck snapping power
Outstanding brakes
Incomparable engine song

NEGATIVE

Bland interior
Pricy
Poor gas mileage

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked