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 st