Dodge Challenger SRT 392: Last hurray for authentic muscle car tradition

Introduced in 2015 as part of a revised Dodge Challenger coupe range, the SRT 392 is an evolution of the model line’s previous high-performance variant.

Positioned above the 5.7-litre Challenger R/T, the SRT 392 may have been more powerful than its predecessor, but it was overshadowed by the even bolder supercharged Challenger Hellcat, introduced the same year.

If the Hellcat stole the SRT 392’s thunder, however, the latter proved to be the more focused, agile, accessible, affordable and ultimately more rewarding driver’s car.

Sinister style

With even more powerful supercharged Challenger variants such as the now-retired Demon and current Hellcat Redeye introduced under the SRT performance badge, the SRT 392 nameplate was renamed and relegated to non-SRT status as the Challenger R/ T Scat Pack, with its naturally aspirated 6.4 liter V8 beast lives on for now. With the long-serving Challenger nearing the end of the road and possibly being replaced by a less soulful electrified successor, the big and muscular SRT 392 and its renamed successor could well be a final hurray for the authentic muscle car tradition from Dodge.

As dramatic and charismatic as when the low, long and wide retro-injected Challenger reborn first appeared in 2008 with its Mercedes-Benz-derived architecture, recessed quadruple headlamps and low roofline, the SRT 392 is one of the most aggressively styled versions with its protruding lower lip and protruding bonnet scoop. With 2023 being the final year of Challenger production, updated and renamed 392 variants are now offered in optional widebody styling, and are all the better for the extended wheel arches and more sinister attitude they impart.

Spicy and progressive

Dodge’s most powerful non-supercharged V8 engine, the SRT 392’s 6.4-liter V8 is huge in displacement, but compact in size, with its 16-valve OHV design. The naturally aspirated SRT 392’s output may pale next to the supercharged 6.2-litre 717BHP Hellcat and 797BHP Hellcat Redeye Challengers, but it’s anything but modest with its massive, brazen and bass-laden output. A welcome slice of traditional charm alongside modern forced-induction, high-horsepower engines, the SRT 392’s gargantuan naturally aspirated V8 is increasingly eager and responsive to throttle input and takeoff.

Brutal yet linear in delivery, the SRT 392 draws from a massively rumbling torque reservoir, unleashed incrementally, endorsing power accumulation with effortless muscle agility. The SRT 392 develops a punchy 485 horsepower as it reaches its crescendo at 6,000 rpm, while producing 475 lb/ft of torque at 4,200 rpm and is capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in approximately 4.5 seconds. The progressive delivery and precise throttle response of the SRT 392 allow you to feed the driven rear wheels with greater confidence and precision when exiting corners.

Fast and controlled

The SRT 392’s progressive naturally aspirated engine allows power to be reduced more easily than more powerful Hellcat sister models, and without the sudden interruption of rear traction, and electronic stability control suppresses when power is reapplied from corners. Meanwhile, the slick 8-speed automatic gearbox features a wide and close range of ratios, for quick acceleration, mid-range versatility and refinement and efficiency when cruising. That said, the six-speed manual transmission version of the SRT 392 promises a more engaging and rewarding driving experience.

More connected and composed – with neater reflexes – than the 5.7-litre Challenger R/T, the sharp responses and progressive delivery of the SRT 392 meanwhile make it easier to drive and more accessible and engaging than the mighty Hellcat. With fast, precise and meaty 2.56 turns lock-to-lock electrically assisted steering and balanced 55:45 front-to-rear weight distribution, the SRT 392 turns in eagerly and feels more nimble and agile than its considerable weight and size would suggest . Meanwhile, an electronic limited-slip rear differential distributes power where needed for added stability and agility.

Composite comfort

Riding on a double wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension with adaptive dampers, the visceral SRT 392 delivers firm and committed body control through corners, yet is supple and forgiving in a straight line. Reassuringly stable and refined at high speed, the SRT 392, meanwhile, was settled and controlled in its vertical movement. Its wide 275/40ZR20 tires provide plenty of grip, while massive ventilated, cross-drilled disc brakes with 6-piston calipers at the front and 4-piston calipers at the rear bring its colossal 1,945kg mass to a reassuring halt.

The SRT 392 is well insulated inside and has supportive seats and a well adjustable driving position. With sporty styling, solid materials and a driver-focused console, the Challenger has a distinctly crouched vibe. Visibility to the front is fine, even over the long bonnet, but the limited visibility to the rear and over the shoulders is well compensated for by cameras and other assistive devices. Room in the front is good and the back is better than most coupes, but not exactly roomy. Boot space, meanwhile, is generous at 459 litres, as is the SRT 392’s infotainment, convenience, assistance, safety and technical equipment.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Engine: 6.4 litre, cast iron block/aluminium head, V8 in-line cylinders
  • Bore x Stroke: 103.9 x 94.5mm
  • Compression ratio: 10.9:1
  • Valve train: 16 valves, OHV, variable valve timing
  • Gearbox: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive, electronic differential lock
  • Gear ratios: 1st 4.7 2nd 3.13 3rd 2.10 4th 1.67 5th 1.28 6th 1.0 7th 0.84 8th 0.67
  • Reverse/Final Drive Gear Ratio: 3.53/3.09
  • Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 485 (492) [362] @6,000 rpm
  • Specific power: 75.8 hp/litre
  • Power-weight: 249.3 hp/ton
  • Torque lb/ft (Nm): 475 (644) at 4,200 rpm
  • Specific torque: 100.35 Nm/litre
  • Torque weight: 331 Nm/ton
  • Speed ‚Äč‚Äčlimit: 6,400 rpm
  • 0-100 km/h: about 4.5 seconds (estimate)
  • Fuel consumption city/highway/combined: 15.7/9.4/13 litres/100 km*
  • Track, front/rear: 1,611/1,620 mm
  • Weight distribution, front/rear: 55 percent/45 percent
  • Aerodynamic drag coefficient: 0.356
  • Luggage volume: 459 litres
  • Steering: Electrically assisted rack and pinion
  • Turning radius: 11.43 meters
  • Suspension front/rear: unequal double wishbones/multi-link, adaptive dampers
  • Brakes, front/rear: vented perforated discs 390 x 34 mm/350 x 28 mm
  • Calipers, front/rear: 6/4 pistons
  • Tyres: 275/40ZR20
  • *Est. US EPA

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