2017 Dodge Challenger T/A 392 Review: Who Needs A Demon?

– Detroit, Michigan

The Challenger may be a perennial third-place finisher in the U.S. Pony Car wars, but it doesn’t lack for personality. Some of that verve is down to the car itself: a big, old-school muscle car that’s just as happy lub-lub-lubbing its way down Main Street on a Sunday drive as it is takin’ slips and pickin’ up chicks at the local drag strip (a sports car it is not). And some of my interest in the car regards the high-volume of variety in how it can be ordered.

After the recent New York Auto Show, there’s a new top dog in the world of Mopar, the 840-horsepower Demon (illegal or not). But don’t forget about the new-for-2017 Challenger T/A 392. (The “T/A” pays homage to the brand’s 1970s racers in the Trans Am series, if you were wondering.) The T/A 392 seems to slot into the lineup two rungs down from the ultimate firebreather, and one from the Hellcat, but I’m willing to argue that it might be a better car to own than either.

 

 

Pros

If you think 485 horsepower is too light… You’re either wrong, or I’m not fit to carry your helmet. The 392 Hemi V8 – that’s 6.4 liters of naturally aspirated glory – puts nearly 500 hp and 475 pound-feet of torque to the Challenger’s rear tires, and it does so in a hurry. Floor the throttle from a standstill, and you’ll see the tach needle swing right a lot faster than the 275-section Pirelli tires can fully adhere to the pavement. Using the timer app baked into the Uconnect software, I saw easy 4.9-second pulls to 60 miles pe...