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Saturday, 25 October 2014 11:42

What you missed on 10.24.14

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Dodge Challenger2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

The goodness of the 2015 Dodge Challenger isn't just limited to that 707-horsepower Hellcat model. As associate editor Brandon Turkus explains, there's plenty to love about the Challenger R/T with its Scat Pack kit, complete with a 6.4-liter V8, eight-speed automatic transmission, and more poise than ever before. Read all about it in today's Quick Spin.

Dodge Viper SEMA ConceptFiat-Chrysler SEMA lineup revealed

The annual aftermarket-fest that is SEMA is right around the corner, and today, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles showed us its entire hand. The custom cars, created by the Mopar division, touch on everything from the smallest Fiat 500 and Dodge Dart to super-powerful machines like the Challenger and Viper. Have a look here, to see what's in store for SEMA.

Jason VinesDid Ford bug its former PR chief's car and phone?

The Ford Explorer Firestone tire recall of 2001 was huge news. And in a new report from The Detroit News, Ford's then-head of communications, Jason Vines, is accusing the Blue Oval of bugging his car and company phone during that time. The News received an advanced copy of Vines' upcoming book, which sheds some light on this allegation, and you can read a preview of this whole situation, here.

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What you missed on 10.24.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fiat-Chrysler shows its SEMA lineup

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Dodge Challenger T/A Concept SEMA

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles already previewed its 2014 SEMA show lineup with some slick renders. Now, the automaker has finally showed us the actual cars, and among the group there are definitely some that stand out more than others.

Dodge is really showing off its muscle at this year's show with four concepts that all pump up the power of the brand's models. Perhaps most interesting among them is the Challenger T/A Concept (pictured above) in striking Sublime Green and matte black. It's meant to resemble the classic Trans Am racer from the '70s. Under the hood is a 6.4-liter V8, and to fit the vintage style there's a pistol-grip gearshift inside.

The Charger R/T also gets some attention with the Mopar concept that shows off what FCA's aftermarket performance arm can do. Mods include an updated body kit, cold-air intake for the 5.7-liter V8 and a coil-over suspension kit. Beyond that, the Dart R/T Concept looks a lot meaner with a black hood with duct work that leads straight to the air intake. The rest of the compact sedan is dolled up in O-So-Orange paint and is fitted with upgrades to improve handling like a coil-over suspension and big brake kit from the Mopar catalog.

Dodge Viper ACR ConceptThe last Dodge is the track-focused Viper ACR Concept with a radical body kit that the company claims is wind tunnel-tested to produce more downforce. It also packs 15.4-inch carbon ceramic brakes with six-piston calipers. The interior is mostly stripped out to save weight, with some parts replaced with carbon fiber pieces.

Jeep also has five concepts on display, but three of them are from this year's Easter Jeep Safari. The Renegade Riptide and Frostbite are two new takes of the upcoming compact crossover with a focus on surfing and skiing, respectively. If that doesn't to it for you, the Wrangler MOJO, Maximum Performance and Cherokee Dakar are all going to be on display, as well.

Not to be outdone, the rest of the company's other brands have their own concepts, too. Highlights include the Ram 2500 Outdoorsman with a tent in the back for sleeping, and the Fiat 500 Abarth Scorpion with an interesting, two-tone red and white paint job, a cat-back exhaust and leather interior. Unfortunately, the worst of the lot might also be from Fiat with the 500L Custom in dark red and black. It also has an upgraded exhaust and interior, but the look is just a bit underwhelming. (Hard to make that thing look pretty, are we right?)

You can check out all of the concepts in the gallery, and scroll down to read the press release about everything FCA is showing at SEMA.

Continue reading Fiat-Chrysler shows its SEMA lineup

Fiat-Chrysler shows its SEMA lineup originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

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Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

We all knew That Kid. As a freshman, he was a big kid, overweight but surprisingly strong. Still, he was often picked on for his size. Then, he chatted with the football coach, who convinced him that his true calling was on the team's offensive line. After a season on the freshman squad and a summer of two-a-days, this mild-mannered, husky high schooler returned for his sophomore year as a big, imposing, solid piece of muscle. Needless to say, the same bullies that picked on him were praying he'd forgotten about them as a 10th grader.

That's the V8-powered 2015 Dodge Challenger. It arrived on the scene with a max of 425 horsepower and a bit of a weight problem. It completed its proverbial freshman year with a nice 2011 refresh, where the SRT8 was bumped up to 470 hp, but it still had some work to do.

Enter 2015, and fresh off three months of constant burpees and wind sprints, the newest Challenger is as big and powerful as it's ever been, but it's now got poise and potential, and my goodness, it's fun in a way that Dodge's muscle car has never been.

Driving Notes
  • What you see here is not actually a Challenger SRT - it's the R/T Scat Pack. While the SRT does add wider rubber, six-piston Brembo brakes, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and standard leather, the meat and potatoes of the Scat Pack is the same. Under that long hood sits the same SRT-spec 6.4-liter V8, thundering out an extra 15 hp over last year's car. With peak horsepower arriving at 6,000 rpm, all 475 pound-feet of torque showing up at 4,200 rpm and a 6,400-rpm redline, the 6.4 remains an engine that's happiest being run hard.
  • That's not to say there's a lack of oomph anywhere in its rev range, though. The Challenger Scat Pack would happily annihilate the pair of Goodyear Eagle F1s that call the rear wheels their home, were it not for the electrical super-ego that is the three-mode traction control system. There's a ton of torque, but it's so surprisingly simple to manage, thanks to the predictable throttle response. Sport Mode sharpens that a bit, although the throttle is still easy to modulate, particularly on tip-in.
  • The engine's goodness isn't surprising - the 6.4-liter Hemi has always been a charmer. What's made it better for 2015 is the inclusion of a modern automatic transmission. In place of the antiquated five-speed automatic of the 2014 Challenger SRT and R/T is ZF's exceptional eight-speed unit.
  • As it was in the Jaguar F-Type V6 S I reviewed a few months back, the ZF autobox is a beauty. In automatic mode, it's level-headed and unobtrusive. Switch to manual (and set the transmission to Sport) and the Challenger's aluminum, wheel-mounted paddles become an intuitive and hilariously entertaining way of channeling the engine's power. Upshifts are very quick - 250 milliseconds in Sport versus 400 milliseconds normally - and are accompanied with a sharp bark from the engine on upshifts.
  • For 2015, Dodge has finally paid some attention to the Challenger's suspension, fitting the R/T Scat Pack (and all Super Track Pak-equipped models) with Bilstein shocks, a ride height that's been dropped by half an inch and brawnier sway bars. Also new is a three-mode electric power-assisted steering system, as well as four-piston Brembo brakes.
  • The result of these upgrades is the best-driving generation of Challenger there's ever been. The handling is sharper and more responsive, with less roll through the corners and less squat and dive under hard pedal inputs. Moreover, Dodge has managed to eke out additional feedback through the chassis, making it easier to judge grip levels from the sticky Goodyears. The ultimate handling threshold feels higher, too, like you can really go further before it gives up.
  • The new electric power steering is an improvement over the utterly lifeless rack of the old Challenger, largely because of the way it builds weight. From a small on-center dead spot, heft builds nicely and progressively. Feedback is still limited, but when you turn the wheel, it actually feels like you're helming a 4,000-pound vehicle (that's a good thing). Sport adds even more weight, but it still feels sharp and manageable.
  • Normally, I'd touch on the aesthetics and massively overhauled interior of the 2015 Challenger. But, before testing the Scat Pack, I spent a week with the Challenger SXT. Look for a full and thorough recap on the tech, interior and exterior changes when I review that car in the coming weeks.
  • Pricing for the R/T Scat Pack start at $37,495, which isn't terrible, considering that everything I mentioned above - aside from the eight-speed auto - is a standard item. My tester added the $995 Technology Group (adaptive cruise, forward collision warning), $1,500 Leather Interior Group (heated and vented leather/suede seats, powered tilt/telescopic steering), $495 Driver Convenience Group (blind-spot monitoring, remote start), $1,995 Scat Pack Appearance Pack (HID headlamps, 20-inch black alloy wheels and assorted matching trim bits) and the $695 8.4-inch, nav-equipped touchscreen. Combined with the $1,400 ZF transmission and $995 destination charge, the total price rang up at $45,570.
Before 2015, the Dodge Challenger was the most loyal to the original idea of a muscle car, being both big and very quick in a straight line. While that was fine, it meant Dodge's entry to the reborn segment simply couldn't stand up to more focused competition. This refresh, though, is so comprehensive and so much more finely tuned that you forget about the car's past.

The Challenger still has a bit of a weight problem, and if ultimate performance is your number one priority, both the new Ford Mustang GT and Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE will provide a far better muscle car driving experience. But finally, Dodge has built a Challenger that you'll not only want to drive, but that wants to be driven. That's the kind of yearly change we can get used to.

2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Graveyard Carz - Mopar Reality TV Show

Graveyard Carz is now on Velocity! All new reality TV show...All Mopar! For more details visit the Graveyard Carz website.


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