We make the case the Dodge Challenger GT should be named the official sports car of New England.
It’s April 6th. The first day of spring was three weeks ago. The Red Sox have already played (and won) four games. The forsythia are beginning to bloom. And its snowing like crazy in southern New England. We don’t care. We are driving the world’s best full-size all-season sports coupe. The all-wheel-drive 2018 Dodge Challenger GT.
The Challenger is the “plus-sized” sports coupe everyone now associates with the Hellcat. As a percentage of overall sales, almost none of the Challengers Dodge builds are Hellcats. The majority are other trims. At just $38,265, our Challenger GT test car costs about half of what a loaded Hellcat does, but frankly, where we live the GT makes a lot more sense. You see, we get snow here six months out of the year. During many of the late winter months, you’re lucky if you can escape your neighborhood without pulling one of the tires off in a massive pothole. Hellcats are great on sunny Sundays and track days, but for most of the routine driving we do in our neck of the woods, AWD and tires with a sensible sidewall are more than just a luxury.
When Dodge decided to add AWD to the Challenger the natural reaction from fans was, “Cool, a Hellcat with 4-wheel drive!” Not quite. The Challenger GT has a 3.6-liter Pentastar engine which develops 305 hp. Back before the internet, 305 hp was considered a lot, but with two models in the Challenger line with engines that have 707 hp and 840 hp, the GT’s 305 sounds quaint. Let us tell you, on normal roads, the GT is a very quick car. And it is quick all the time. Sunny days, rainy days and snowy days. Always quick. Always ready to go.
Our Challenger GT wasn’t just good in the white stuff because of its drivetrain. It came with super cozy suede microfiber seats that were both heated and cooled (we only use those on the 4rth of July). The steering wheel is also heated. This may well be the coziest coupe you can buy. It may also be the toughest. When the Challenger GT was launched, Dodge invited the New England Motor Press to a racetrack in the ski country of New Hampshire and let us pound on a dozen of these cars in deep snow. There was drifting, there were brake stands, and more than one Challenger was stuffed into a snow bank and had to be shoveled out. None of them broke.
In addition to the all-wheel-drive system and interior comfort goodies, Dodge heats the exterior mirrors and fits the Challenger GT with performance all-season tires. We always suggest dedicated winter tires to our readers, but we have to say we were impressed with the way the GT handled all sorts of bad conditions on the standard rubber. Check out our full review and track report for more details on how the Challenger GT performs.