With the new Challenger being shown in production form on the show circuit I have been concerned with the expected performance. I have heard that the SRT8 version of the Challenger will reach 60 mph “in the low 5 second range.” This sounds disappointing. With 425 hp I would expect a $38,000 Challenger SRT8 to kick ass over a $25,000 Mustang GT with 300 hp. Road tests of the Mustang have put the GT at 5.1-5.3 seconds in the sprint to 60. For the extra 10-15 grand I would want 4.5 second performance. And if the 425 hp version is only good for low 5 seconds, what will the standard Hemi version do with “only” 340 hp.
I know the problem. The Challenger is based on the 300 and Charger which each weight over 4,000 lbs. The production Challenger is going to have to weight about the same. The Mustang is far closer to 3,500 pounds. This gives it a significant advantage over the Challenger.
Next we will have to see what Chevrolet has up its sleeve. The Challenger will succeed in lower sales numbers than the Mustang and Camaro because it is based on other cars, and the legendary Hemi name will have all the old Hemi collectors buying them. Chevrolet will make sure it can beat the Mustang in performance… I suspect to the point that it will sell in fewer numbers for it. I predict the new Camaro to be a “bad boy racer” type of car that will turn off all but the enthusiasts. Lots of Mustangs get sold to non-enthusiasts. That will not happen anywhere near as much with the Challenger and Camaro. Chevrolet will miss a big opportunity if it doesn’t make the Camaro appeal to a large buying public.