By Steve Magnante
Excitement ran high among the 300-plus automotive journalists gathered in a darkened presentation hall at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Each was there to witness and chronicle the first public showing of the restyled 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger, presented on the morning of Thursday, April 17, 2014, at the New York International Auto Show.
After a brilliantly irreverent two-minute opening video featuring a montage of lovable centenarians urging viewers to live life to the fullest — while reminding us that Dodge celebrates its 100th Anniversary (1914–2014) this year — Dodge brand President and C.E.O. Tim Kuniskis took the stage amid applause, asking, “Is there any other brand that could do that video?”
Like the video, the 2015 Dodge Challenger remains fresh, unique and bold. The most obvious updates are seen at the front and rear of the body, where 1971-inspired treatments have been subtly melded into the grille and tail lamp panels. Standard LED halo headlamps and LED tail lamps further accentuate the heritage styling — with a modern twist.
Hoods are also new; the standard power bulge is more defined and its scoops moved forward, while the optional Shaker captures the spirit of the original 1970/71 item perfectly. Inside, an all-new interior revisits the original 1971 E-body Challenger theme with trapezoidal shapes dominating the instrument cluster, door panels and center console. There are also 14 interior color and trim options including a new Houndstooth premium cloth offering.
And while there’s plenty of excitement over the 485 horsepower 392 HEMI® engine powering the Challenger 6.4-liter Scat Pack and 392 HEMI® Scat Pack Shaker, let’s not forget Challenger’s many class-exclusive features, including an eight-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission*.
With all the attention given to Challenger’s two available HEMI V-8 engines, buyers of Pentastar® 3.6-liter V-6 powered models haven’t been forgotten. New for 2015, the Super Track Pack (0.5-inch lower ride height, Bilstein shocks, high-performance brakes, digital 0-60 acceleration timer, G-force indicator and more) is now optional on Challenger SXT and SXT Plus models powered by the 305 hp Pentastar V-6. And new for all Challengers is electric power steering (EPS), offering drivers a choice of three steering modes, Normal, Comfort and Sport.
So here it is, the 2015 Dodge Challenger. The wizened old-timers in the opening video said it best, “Live for now. Be strong. Put the pedal to the metal. Be a bad boy!” Watch your Dodge dealer; the new Challenger is coming soon!
*Based on the latest available competitive information and Ward’s Middle Specialty Vehicle Segmentation.