With 2015 being the first year of the Scat Pack package as well as the first year of a styling refresh for the entire Challenger line, we don’t expect much to change for 2016. It would, however, be nice to see a corresponding level of excitement in the color palette next year—currently there’s not a single warm color available in the entire Challenger line-up, with the exception of TorRed.
Our Scat Pack was a base model with just the extra eight-speed TorqueFlite, so you can order one with a lot more gear, including a variety of seating, technology, convenience, and entertainment options. (See the sidebar.) You can even step up to the Scat Pack Shaker package, which adds the inspired legacy hood scoop with a functional cold-air intake.
While the drag racing launch can be violent (we’ve all seen racers dump the clutch and blast off the line), street tires require a smooth, controlled application of power to stay hooked. Your best times will come from getting off the line clean. Finesse is key. Believe it or not, we recommend novice drivers launch as if they were driving away from a traffic light, but with more rpm and slightly quicker clutch release. We would say 2,500 is a great place to start. Using this rpm, you’ll probably bog the engine a bit. No problem—add rpm, or get the clutch out quicker.
We tend to preload the shifter just a bit, then stab the clutch and rip the shifter. We repositioned our hand from a side grip to a top grip to ram the shifter forward for the Two-to-Three exchange. In the new GT you’re shoving it almost directly forward—aim too much to the right and you’ll find Fifth, which happened to us twice. Then, get ready to pull straight back for Fourth. For Fourth, put your elbow away from your body to prevent yanking the shifter into Second gear.
We noticed a slight amount of wheelhop when doing a burnout in the 2015 Mustang. This seems to be common, but it can be reduced with stiffer rear bushing. In the name of proper reporting, we tried doing burnouts both ways and found both methods to be effective.
But Scat Pack isn’t only about power and performance. Dodge has done a great job enhancing the interior with comfortable and supportive seating, quality materials, attractive instrumentation, and lots of standard features, including 6-way power seating, 4-way power lumbar, 8.4-inch uConnect infotainment system, Bluetooth, decklid spoiler with backup camera, keyless entry, power windows, dual-zone climate control, media hub, six-speaker stereo, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever, electric power steering, paddle shifters, and lots more.
Start by remaining focused on the tach and listen to the engine—most times we have a specific rpm in mind, but generally we shift by feel. Naturally, you want to shift before the engine hits the rev limiter, but with the Coyote engine you want to get close to redline. In the 2015 we were shooting for 7,000 rpm.
The all-new 3.6L V-6 is optional in the LT and is rated at 335 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque. It features direct injection, variable valve timing and, for the first time, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), which disables two cylinders. The 2.0L turbo and 3.6L engines are offered with a standard six-speed manual transmission or GM’s all-new 8L45 paddle-shift eight-speed automatic transmission, which is based on the eight-speed design introduced in the Corvette and fullsize trucks.
Next-generation Camaros don’t come along very often the 2016 model is only the sixth in the nearly 50 years since the car went into production so when one does appear, it’s an understandably big deal.
Standard lighting includes halogen projector beam headlamps and taillamps. RS and SS models add HID projector-beam headlamps and LED “signature lighting” daytime running lights including a sweeping LED light pipe integrated in the headlamp and an LED light pipe integrated into the front fascia. RS and SS models also feature LED lighting for the rear taillamps, including auxiliary LED light guides that mirror the shape of the front signature lighting.
Never has this much power been available to performance enthusiasts for so little money. The Hellcat is nice, but if we face facts, very few of us can afford the price of entry at $60K (plus dealer markup). The 392 Scat Pack is available for $20 grand less, and is sold at every Dodge dealership, not just the SRT-approved stores. The Scat Pack name itself is a blast from the past, and along with the Super Bee logo and Scat Pack specific styling elements, evokes the famous four-year run of Scat Pack products put out by Dodge beginning in 1967.
Chevy was apparently listening to all that feedback at tuner events, because there’s also a new LED ambient lighting system with 24 different colors that can be switched to a car show mode when the car is parked. It creates a theatrical light show that we can only assume will be hacked to strobe in rhythm to bands like, well… we’re too old-school to hazard a guess. Kids today and their music. Let’s just move on to the engines.
In short, it was kind of like a chunky guy buying an off-the-rack sport coat because the party was tonight. The Gen 6 Camaro, on the other hand, appears to be precisely tailored and draped over the chest of somebody who’s been taking pilates classes. It’s leaner in both appearance and substance, and it’s one of the few vehicles these days that can boast it’s lighter and more powerful than the previous model. Chevrolet says the overall weight loss is more than 200 pounds. That’s a pretty significant and welcome reduction that will pay dividends in everything from agility to fuel economy.