2018 Dodge Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Is More Modern Muscle

The Dodge Challenger coupe has graced our test driveway numerous times over the past decade and truth be told I love seeing it every single time. Our last visit was with the (then) ultimate Hellcat version and all of its 707hp. The 2018 tester arrives just under that car in the form of the R/T 392 Scat Pack.

GearDiary 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Is More Modern Muscle

2018 Dodge Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack/Images by David Goodspeed

On arrival, the very first thing I did with this Challenger was count the foot pedals. One, two,…wait, where is the third pedal? I was sadly disappointed to find out the car came with the automatic transmission as I have so enjoyed the manual gearbox in these modern-day muscle cars. I quickly discovered the car is nearly as much fun to drive with the automatic as the manual and spent the week enjoying all of the other aspects that make the Dodge Challenger a great car.

GearDiary 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Is More Modern Muscle

The “392” signifies cubic inches of engine cylinder displacement and translates in metric to 6.4-liters. It is a V-8 HEMI motor and produces some 485hp and 475 lb. ft. of torque in this application. The motor pulls strong all the way through the powerband and these new big HEMI engines have relatively low redlines so just as it seems you are getting to max power the gearbox shifts to the next cog (and there are eight forward gears in this heavy-duty TorqueFlite transmission complete with manual shift mode and steering wheel shift paddles). The rear tires, as beefy as they are, will break free relatively quickly when caution is not heeded on accelerator pedal pressure. (That means this car can burn rubber.)

GearDiary 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Is More Modern Muscle

In addition to the big motor, the R/T 392 also rolls in with Bilstein high-performance sport suspension system for improved handling as well as Brembo black brake calipers for truly excellent stopping power. Romp, stomp, stop, repeat. Romp, stomp, stop, repeat…you get the idea. The active exhaust system allows for quiet idling and low rpm operation of the car but gets loud and proud when pushed to the (rpm) limits. It purrs like a kitten and then roars like a lion…did I say I really like the Dodge Challenger?

GearDiary 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Is More Modern Muscle

Inside is a driver’s cockpit with nearly everything in its place. My one gripe is that while there are manual buttons for most of the infotainment and climate controls, some of the functions are hidden behind a couple of pages of touchscreen information and while driving that makes for a bit added distraction (like merely changing from floor vents to dash vents). I know, use the voice recognition technology but you know, I just don’t like talking to my car and I don’t want VR to misinterpret something I may be yelling at a stupid driver on the road.

GearDiary 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Is More Modern Muscle

At the heart of that infotainment system I mentioned is the Uconnect 4C Nav system with 8.4-inch touchscreen display. All the usual suspects are here in addition to the premium Alpine 506-watt audio system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Dodge performance pages for additional driving fun. The Challenger 392 features Keyless Enter ‘n Go, push-button start, embroidered sport bucket front seats with heat, Parkview rear back up camera, parksense rear park assist system, all-speed traction control, tire inflator kit, rear-mounted battery for weight distribution, and is finished with LED split tail lamps, satin black rear spoiler, and dual rear exhaust with bright tips.

GearDiary 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Is More Modern Muscle

Pricing for the 2018 Dodge Challenger begins at $27,295 and there are some 16 models to choose from including an AWD version. Our R/T 392 Scat Pack tester arrived with a final window sticker of $43,280. Fuel economy is rated at 15 mpg city and 25 mpg highway for the 6.4L HEMI (which, by the way, sports MDS cylinder deactivation technology).

GearDiary 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Is More Modern Muscle

Folks always ask me which modern “muscle car” I would buy and I always answer that I am not in the market for a coupe. I prefer sedans and you can get them – for the most part – with just as much power and performance as a two-door, especially at Dodge. I love the Challenger but am not in the market for it. I have driven the “original” Charger with 426 and dual carburetors back in the day along with a few other muscle cars and I think I like these new ones even better. Dodge is doing its best to keep the dreams alive with its powerful lineup and I always give them a nod for doing so. And this R/T 392 Scat Pack is a blast to drive, manual transmission or not.


About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.