2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Review

2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Coupe, 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Review

After you press the start button in the 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack coupe for the first time you will be able to feel the earth shaking…

…literally.

The 6.4-liter Hemi V8 snarls to life so angrily it shakes the car on its suspension…

…sending a warning to the driver that, even though this is not a Hellcat:

Still has more than enough power to make them quake in their boots.

This warning would be apt:

My week with 2015 Challenger R/T Scat Pack had more excitement and thrills than I have experienced in any other car under $100,000.

To put it simply, in this Challenger you might find some flaws — and you will – but, in the form I drove it, probably would be almost impossible to have more fun while spending less money.

Enough with the introduction chit-chat, here is the 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Coupe Review:

1. Welcome to the jungle

2015 dodge challenger r/t scat pack review, 2015 dodge challenger r/t coupe

You can find plenty of beasts in the Challenger jungle.

In 2015, Challenger offer eight different trim levels, and four different engine alternatives starting with the demure Pentastar V6 and all the way up to the Hellcat’s supercharged 6.2-liter V8 with its pavement-rending, amazing 707 horsepower.

This wide variety can make hard to pick a definitive Challenger.

For my money, however, the R/T with the 6.4-liter V8 is the defining model.

Also, this model happens to be what I drove for a week.

Providing a 485 horsepower coming from the 6.4-liter engine, uprated suspension and Brembo brakes, the Scat Pack Challenger can be crazy enough to be enjoyable and fun under any conditions, without being totally terrifying.

Even it delivers “only” 485 horsepower, the Challenger is savage.

2015 Dodge Challenger RT Scat Pack Coupe, 2015 Dodge Challenger RT Scat Pack Review

When compared with the turbocharged cars I am used to, the no-replacement-for-displacement Hemi is a startling revelation.

I used my first few days in the car making accidental burnouts, because of the twitchy throttle.

Enough torque to break the wheels loose all the way up to highway speeds complemented this instant acceleration at low rpms.

A skilled driver can reportedly manage the 0-to-60 sprint in 4.4 seconds and achieve top speed of 176 mph.

For me, I wouldn’t know.

I would discover something regarding the sound and the experience.

From start up to the last time I tapped the throttle just before turning off the car…

…the Hemi offered quite simply something that I would call the best soundtrack I have ever experienced in a car.

When I go hard on the throttle, the Challenger roars just like Thor on a bender.

When cruising, though, it settles to a pleasantly angry thrum.

And with this magical melody comes and one of the best acceleration experiences a car enthusiast can find. I have found myself even in quicker cars, but few that provide an equivalent sense of unending power. Still, there is far more to the car than just muscle-car quickness.

2. Big as a gorilla, agile as a monkey

2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Coupe, 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Review

Probably you will see Challenger as a big car.

But actually, that is an understatement…

…this car is enormous.

This 2015 model is 16 and a half feet long, and six and a half wide.

And when fitted with the 6.4-liter V8 and an automatic transmission, it tips the scales at around 4,200 pounds.

This should be a part of the reason drivers should consider lucky to get 15 mpg.

It feels every bit of its size, in part because it is damn difficult to see out of.

But, as soon as it gets moving, the Challenger is capable of some really stunning feats of handling.

The engineers from Dodge have done an amazing job with the suspension, making the car planted and firm .

The Scat Pack rides on a lowered suspension, beefed up with Bilstein dampers.

After accidentally breaking the rear wheels loose at 40 mph, any sensible person will drive the Challenger with a healthy nimbus of fear.

But, then again, the Challenger is easy to throw through corners with confidence.

The sticky big rear tires might not be up to reining in 485 hp…

2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Coupe, 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Review

…but still they are in a position to hold the car to the pavement with the force of a terrified monkey.

The person who designed the steering is the person who really deserves the most credit.

American muscle cars have a bad history of float-y, imprecise steering.

But this is not a case with this Challenger.

When set in sport mode, the steering is heavy, but fast and remarkably precise.

In one word:

Impressive.

Backing all of this up is the second best reason to get the Scat Pack after the 6.4-liter motor:

Brembo brakes.

The regular R/T has fine brakes, but they fade badly after a few uses.

The big, four-piston Brembos are not here just to offer excellent fade free braking, but also and excellent feel through the pedals.

Don’t mistake the Challenger, even in Scat Pack form, for a sports car

…it is not that precise and it’s just too darn big.

Driving the Challenger quickly can be compared to watching a gorilla do ballet:

In case you are paying attention to the footwork, you are missing the point.

3. The coupiest coupe to ever coupe

2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Coupe, 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Review

This 2015 Challenger comes with updated styling including a new rear end and a split front grille that are inspired by the 1970-71 Challenger.

It also gets a hugely improved interior, which includes a large Uconnect infotainment screen packed with performance apps and a stylish, retro gauge cluster.

The new interior also features big seats, which are comfortable, what makes Challenger pretty comfy for long journeys.

However, there are some issues.

For example:

The visibility is terrible.

So, we have a short windshield, the pillars are huge, and it is almost impossible to tell where the car ends.

Even the rear view camera leaves a lot to be desired.

At times, driving the Challenger feels like maneuvering a mailbox.

Also, there is the problem of the rear seats. You will find them large enough for actual humans, but extremely difficult to get to for people who possess bones.

If this sounds like criticism, it is not.

The Challenger was never going to be a practical car…

By making the sacrifices they did, though, the designers ensured it would be fun and incredibly good looking.

For every car, being a coupe is the least practical car design.

There are sacrifices with the interior room, cargo capacity, exterior size, and – often – visibility…

…all for the sake of style and fun.

By that measure, the Challenger is the ultimate coupe.

It is like Dodge’s designers sat down and consciously decided to compromise practicality for pleasure at every turn.

And, to be truthful, I am really glad they did.

Often, a car that tries to do too many things does none well.

4. Conclusion

This Challenger Scat Pack will cost you only $47,000.

A stripped down version with a manual transmission begins at $39,890.

That is madly value for money to have a car that provides the sort of fun I normally associate with super cars.

Driving the car to the store and back is an occasion.

To that end, driving the car quickly is a joy.

But, before I get too carried away, I do have one word of caution:

Build quality.

The interior seems well-crafted.

But, when you are looking closely at the car, though, some worrying details begin to appear.

My demonstrator had several disturbingly large gaps in its weather-stripping. And large panel gaps throughout the interior and exterior. This was reflected by a shocking amount of wind noise at high speeds. I am leery of drawing too many conclusions from this, but, however, there is certainly such a thing as a free lunch.

Even so, if I had around $40,000 and I am planing to spend on a car, I know exactly what I would be getting…

…and it would be a 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack coupe with a manual.

5. Pros

  • Low price
  • Jaw-dropping engine
  • Excellent Brembo brakes
  • Fun-loving handling

 

6. Cons

  • Terrible visibility
  • Even worse fuel economy

 

Image Credit: Peter Braun

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