The R/T, powered by an updated version of the 5.7 liter Hemi V8 also found in platform-mates Charger R/T and 300C, is the first modern Hemi car available with a manual transmission: a six-speed unit — borrowed from the Viper — with a pistol grip shifter reminiscent of the original Challengers from 35 years ago. Dodge officially announced the range-topping SRT8 will also have the stick option.
All 5.7-liter HEMIs get a bump in power for 2009 that amounts to 30 more ponies along with an extra 8 pound-feet of torque, for totals of 370 horsepower and 398 pound-feet. This is accomplished via variable valve timing as well as a higher compression ratio, now 10.5 instead of 9.6. Opting for the Tremec six-speed in place of the five-speed auto on the R/T bumps those numbers further, to 375 and 404, respectively, though requires premium fuel to do so. Dodge estimates that fuel economy is 5 percent better as well, now rated by the EPA at 15 mpg in the city and 23 mph on the highway, with the stick burning one more mpg in the city. Acceleration to the 60 mph benchmark is under six seconds, Dodge says.