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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
While it will take a few laps at the track in stride, it still feels like the big car that it is.
still a huge porky porkster—3958 pounds in this case, about 150 more than a V-6 Camaro and 430 more than a V-6 Mustang—so most of what the chassis has to do is mitigate mass
Car and Driver
delivers its punch without the same harshness or vibration of its Bowtie rival, delivering its reps in a smooth, dangerously encouraging wave
goes like stink and left us begging for more wheel time
agile handling for its size
While you get the same fundamentally retro, eye-catching look no matter which 2013 Challenger model you get, there's quite a performance difference ranging from basic SXT V-6 models up to the high-performance SRT8.
At the most affordable end of the lineup, the 2013 Dodge Challenger SXT has a 305-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 with 305 horsepower, available with a five-speed automatic. Challenger Rallye Redline models add a Sport Mode and steering-wheel paddle-shifters. These models are quite quick, and competitive with the base Mustang and Comaro, but they lack the rocket-like thrust of the V-8 models.
True muscle-car enthusiasts should of course leap for the R/T models, which pack a 375-horsepower Hemi V-8, along with a throaty, gorgeous rumble. But for the full monty of muscle-car goodness you'll need to get the SRT8, with a "392" engine (6.4-liter) that makes 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, with either a manual or an automatic transmission.
The Challenger looks the biggest and stoutest of the muscle cars, and while it's really not much heavier it doesn't drive with the crispness of the Camaro or the leanness of the Mustang. Those with an eye on the drag strip might also note that the Challenger's hefty curb weight and power come up short of the competition.
The combination of a longer wheelbase and somewhat more forgiving suspension tune, especially in V-6 form, give the Challenger more of a 'presence' on the road--and a little less precise. Part of that has to do with the Challenger's steering, which is simply too light. Ride quality is very well damped, and SRT8 models now offer an adaptive suspension with normal and sport shock modes.
No matter what's under the hood, the 2013 Dodge Challenger is satisfying and quick--though some will simply head straight for the 6.4-liter SRT8.