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2015 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack review: '60s muscle-car reboot shows off tire-screeching torque, hides its tech

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The Good The 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack shows true muscle-car heart with the steady rumble of its 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 and tire-screeching torque. Performance settings let you fine-tune steering and throttle, and launch control optimizes drag-strip starts. UConnect brings easy-to-use connected navigation and digital audio to the dashboard.

The Bad The big V-8 sucks down the gasoline like it was 1969, making frequent fill-ups a requirement. Performance settings aren't readily apparent in the infotainment system.

The Bottom Line The 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack and its sibling variants maintain Dodge's muscle-car legacy through historical reference and raw power, yet contain enough tech features for modern practicality, if not good fuel economy.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.0 Overall
  • Performance 8
  • Features 8
  • Design 8
  • Media 8

Review Sections

Press the start button and the engine fires up like a gunshot. Hammer the gas and the rear tires smoke. It's the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack and it is pure muscle madness, with a little tech twist.

Muscle cars aren't known for their handling, so with the Charger R/T Scat Pack I was expecting a lot of tire-screeching, hard-accelerating, engine-burbling fun instead of finessing the curves on a mountain road. The car did little to change that perception, but it gave me a new appreciation for its barking power.

This Charger also endeared me to its design, partly due to the gorgeous B5 Blue paint job. I've been a fan of Dodge's Challenger design, old and new, over its muscle-car coupe competitors, the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro . But the Charger won me over with its roofline, creating big expanses of glass all around, the deeply scalloped sides, and the bumped up aluminum hood, vented to feed the big V-8 underneath.

2015 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack
The Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack draws its design influence from Chargers of the 1960s. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

As a full-size sedan with a roomy rear seat, the Charger boasts a little more practicality than the coupe muscle cars of today.

Displacement rules

Dodge offers the Charger in nine variations, climbing the power ladder from a 292-horsepower V-6 all the way up to the 707-horsepower supercharged V-8 in the Hellcat. The Charger R/T Scat Pack sits on the high side of the scale, with a 6.4-liter naturally aspirated V-8 under the hood making 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque.

Earlier this year, CNET editor Antuan Goodwin reviewed the Charger R/T , which comes with a 5.7-liter V-8 putting out 370 horsepower. The addition of Scat Pack to the model name ups the engine size to the same V-8 as in the Charger SRT 392. That "392", shown on the Scat Pack's fenders, is Dodge's call-out to old-school cubic inches.

Base price for the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack comes in at $40,990, delivered. The model I drove added the UConnect navigation system and Nappa leather interior package, bumping the total to $43,280. You won't find the Charger R/T Scat Pack in the UK, because it would drink all the petrol, and although Australians would love it, Dodge doesn't make it available down under.

2015 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack
Whether you call it 392 cubic inches or 6.4 liters, this big V-8 makes a lot of power. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

What sets the Scat Pack apart from lesser trim-level Chargers is that 392 Hemi V-8 engine, a performance tune on its fixed suspension, Brembo brakes with four-piston calipers and Goodyear RS-A tires wrapped around 20-inch wheels.

The muscle is apparent when you first start up the Charger R/T Scat Pack. The instrument cluster flashes, the engine barks, and you feel the engine's torque -- even sitting still. Sensitive throttle tuning had me screeching the tires frequently, although I found it easy enough to modulate an easy cruise.

Whenever I wanted a thrill, I slammed the gas and the Charger R/T Scat Pack unleashed its power, sounding off from its exhaust, ripping the tires, and bulleting down the road. Even cruising at 30 mph, punching the gas produced wheel spin.

Keeping all that power under control isn't easy. Under full acceleration the Charger R/T Scat Pack tends to slew sideways a little. A hard manual downshift under power makes the rear jump out. This Charger is not well-mannered, but it can be fun.

2015 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack
The fixed suspension's performance tuning gives the Charger R/T Scat Pack a firm ride. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The suspension creates a firm ride quality, not too harsh for longer trips and mostly tuned to keep the body flat in the turns. An electronic limited slip differential helps handling, letting the rear end float out a bit in the turns. Given the weight of the Charger R/T Scat Pack, I never felt it was truly nimble enough for hairpin mountain turns.

For the turns, I made good use of the Brembo brakes' comfortable stopping power.

Dodge gives the Charger R/T Scat Pack an eight-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. Its overdrive gears help bring the highway fuel economy to 25 mpg, but the city number is down at 15 mpg. This is one thirsty engine, and the antics it encourages won't help. My average came in at 16.6 mpg, which means limited overall range from the 18.5 gallon tank.

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