With the V-6 equipped 2011 Ford Mustang making 305 horsepower and the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro LS and LT rerated at 312 horsepower, the 2011 Dodge Challenger finally has a chance to challenge its competitors in the horsepower department.
The 3.6-liter V-6 in the Challenger bumps horsepower by 55 over the 2010 car and also leads to mildly improved fuel economy figures. With the old 3.5-liter V-6, the 2010 Challenger SE achieved 17/25 mpg city/highway. The 2011 Challenger SE is expected to get 18/26 mpg.
Using the new engine in the Challenger may actually make it more reliable or, at least, easier to work on. The Pentastar V-6 reduces major engine components from 189 to 32. That’s an improvement that will benefit not only the Challenger, but also the 12 other Chrysler family models that will receive the engine by 2013. Chrysler also says the engine went through more than 45,000 hours of computer analysis to optimize its design.
Torque is up for 2011, too, though at a higher rpm. A 2011 Challenger SE has 268 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm compared to the 2010 model’s 250 lb-ft @ 3800 rpm. As the muscle car of Chrysler’s family of brands, the Challenger will be the only vehicle to boast the 305-horsepower Pentastar for 2011, with other models bearing lesser output.
By using variations of the same engine across various model lines instead of seven different engines, Chrysler finds it will save serious money. Fuel economy, the company claims, is also said to increase up to seven percent across the model range.