Challenger R/T vs e92 M3
Not a comparison in terms of performance really (I don't think there's any doubt the M3 is in a different class), but some subjective thoughts I posted on Edmund's after having test driven a Challenger R/T last night (My g/f really wants one):
Given that I currently drive a 2008 e92 M3 (close enough to the e90 M3 currently in the Edmund's long term test fleet) and test drove the Challenger R/T last night, thought I'd offer a few subjective observations about the Challenger. I'll say on the whole I was quite impressed.
Few basic areas:
* The car is gorgeous. One of the best looking exteriors I've seen at any price. I love my M3, but the Dodge has a presence that the M3 just cannot match. It is huge though. I wouldn't want to have to parallel park the thing.
* I've read some negative comments about the interior, but I was actually quite impressed with it. Obviously, it's not at the level of the 70K BMW M3, but the fit and finish was quite good, generally good materials, comfortable seats (these were optinal leather), no panel gaps, I didn't notice any rattles. Having also recently sat in a base Camaro (V6 without leather), I thought the Challenger significantly better than that car in terms of interior quality. C-pillar was a bit of a problem in terms of rearward visibability.
* Drove a 6MT. Comfortable stick and reasonably precise shifts (I think its actually a bit better than the M3; the long throws on that car are my only complaint). It did throw me off that in neutral the shifter is off to the left a bit (I kept thinking I was in 1st when I was in neutral)
* Moderate body lean on tight turning. Certainly gave far less confidence and feedback than the M3 on tight turns (the m3 hunkers down and has fairly amazing grip at speed), but was actually much better than expected given the size and weight of the car. Steering feel was also heavier/better than expected.
* v8 rumble at speed was great. The M3 at 8000rpm is unbeatable IMO, but has more of an F1 sound. At low speeds, the Challenger make a far more appealing, classic V8 rumble.
* Given the even, but relative paltry torque of the M3 (295 ft lbs), the torque of the Challenger was quite fun. Responsiveness was good and it picked up speed quite well. Again, can't really match the M3 at higher RPMs but was completely adequate and the car never felt "slow" to me (as some have complained)
Having driven a C6 Corvette (with which I was quite underwhelmed) prior to getting my M3, i have to say I was very impressed with the Challenger. It's a very different car compared with the M3, but it put a similarly huge smile on my face and at less than half the price. I'll be interested to try the Camaro SS, but for now I'm a fan of the Dodge and if you're a fan of American muscle, I'd recommend checking it out.