2018 Dodge Challenger
The 2018 Dodge Challenger remains the penultimate five-seat coupe muscle car. The SRT Demon joins the fray in 2018 and has quickly earned praise for being the most potent muscle car ever made. Equipped with a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 motor, the Challenger SRT Demon makes up to 840 horsepower on racing fuel and 770 pound-feet of torque, enough to trash the quarter-mile in 9.54-seconds at 120mph. The base Challenger SXT has a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. The most affordable V8 Challenger is the R/T and its 5.7-liter V8 mill and standard six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic gearbox. Dodge’s larger 6.4-liter V8 with 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque is standard in Challenger R/T 392. Of course, the SRT Hellcat is also worth mentioning with its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 with 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque.
The 2018 Dodge Challenger responds nicely to subtle performance mods in any configuration. All Challenger Hemi variants are prone to heat soak, a phenomenon that raises intake temperatures due to trapped hot air under the hood. As the temperatures rise, your Hemi will pump out less horsepower, and the problem gets worst during the summer or when burning rubber on the dragstrip. The easiest and most affordable way to prevent heat soak is to upgrade the engine thermostat. Installing a 180-degree (Challenger V8 Hemi) or 203-degree (Challenger 3.6L V6) thermostat coupled with a basic engine tune to lower the switch-on point of the fan speeds will get rid of heat soak, and you can do it using simple hand tools and without spending big money on pricey cooling mods. If you happen to have a tuner in hand, installing a larger-diameter throttle body is an easy DIY upgrade that yields moderate power gains. The stock 80mm throttle body is good enough for stock applications, but upgrading to an 85mm to 90mm throttle body improves air flow into the manifold and will help with performance at high RPM.
The Dodge Challenger has the heart of a champion. But it’s a huge car, and you feel it when going around corners at speed. In addition, the stock ride height may be too high for some, and nothing beats the look of a Challenger riding on a set of aftermarket lowering springs. Although installing a new set of lowering springs requires special tools and an advanced skill set, it will make your Challenger handle better while giving it a more aggressive stance. Dropping your Challenger gets rid of the gap between the top of the tire and bottom of the fender, in addition to have the rocker panels closer to the ground. The end result is a highly menacing look that may handle the corners with reduced body roll thanks to the lowered center of gravity.
Let’s Get Loud
What good is a Mopar V8 muscle car without some noise? Your V6 or V8 Challenger will benefit from a cat-back exhaust upgrade. The stock exhaust system in all Challenger SRT variants is worthy of praise. But if you have the Challenger SXT, GT, R/T, or R/T 392, installing a cat-back exhaust upgrade will significantly reduce or eliminate backpressure by improving the exhaust flow. High flow mufflers create booming, deep sound when mashing the throttle. The result is better low-end torque and a more aggressive exhaust sound typical of a genuine muscle car. And since most cat-backs feature a high-grade T-409 and T-304 stainless steel construction, it is lighter than stock and is capable of lasting the life of your muscle car under most circumstances.