Nearly everybody at one time or another has heard a siren and glanced in their rear view mirror only to see it filled with flashing Red and Blue lights, sometimes accompanied by a piercing siren. Such an experience is indeed a dreaded and disheartening one. It’s enough to ruin your day, deplete your bank account and raise your auto insurance rate all in one fell swoop. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to turn the tables and switch places with Officer Friendly and take command of your own police vehicle? Of course it would. Okay, it’s not really possible, and for that matter, even if it were, it’s not legal to play the role of a Law Enforcement official operating sirens or lights or both in a Police vehicle, but it was definitely tempting when I recently had the opportunity to slide behind the wheel of FCA’s (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) 2015 Dodge Charger Police Pursuit vehicle.
The Dodge Charger Police Pursuit vehicles begin as basic Dodge Chargers, with a choice of either a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that produces 292 horsepower along with 260 pound feet of torque, while offering E-85 flex-fuel capability and up to 26 mpg highway, or a 5.7-liter HEMI® V8 that cranks out 370 horses, and also developing 390 pound feet of torque. The latter version is capable of 0-60 mph times in less than 6 seconds, while delivering up to 25 mpg on the highway with its innovative four-cylinder mode Fuel Saver technology. There are heavy duty cooling systems for the engine and transmission, as well as a high-speed engine controller.
Aside from the engine choice, both the stock Charger and the Police Pursuit cars are engineered in parallel. The Police Pursuit’s suspension is however unique, featuring the Chrysler (FCA) Group’s second generation large car RWD architecture with performance tuned suspension and load-leveling NIVOMAT shocks vs. monotube types. Braking is accomplished by a larger pursuit-rated brake package with heavy-duty anti-lock (ABS) vented discs (14.5-in. front and 13.8-in. rear). The suspension also features front and rear stabilizer bars, while rolling on Goodyear RS-A P225/60 R18 99W All-season tires mounted on 5-spoke, black painted steel wheels, and there’s a two-mode Electronic Stability Control. All-Wheel Drive is optionally available.
Design inspiration comes from the iconic second-generation late 1960s Charger. The Charger Police Pursuit displays the easily recognizable Coke-bottle design and scalloped body sides, sinister front crosshairs, aggressive stance and signature LED “racetrack” tail lamps, all of which get a major makeover for 2015 with cleaner lines creating a sleek, chiseled, nimble and lighter weight persona. The exterior redesign includes changes to the hood, fenders, front and rear fascias, headlamps, tail lamps and front doors.
Starting forward, the 2015 Charger Pursuit’s new front styling features an all-new crosshair grille, LED turn signals and daytime running lights and new projector-beam headlamps. The Charger’s all-new forward-leaning front fascia delivers an athletic stance. Slim, elongated DRLs and a full-width grille enhance the width of the sedan, while Dodge logos are echoed in the outside corner of each headlamp for added detail.
In profile, the 2015 Dodge Charger Pursuit emphasizes its muscular Coke-bottle styling, with streamlined side scallops, while headlamps and tail lamps are now wrapped around each corner creating a trimmer, more lightweight look.
Out back, the C-pillar has been moved rearward creating an even more pronounced fastback appearance. Dodge Charger Pursuit’s signature “racetrack” LED tail lamp has been updated with the same continuous glowing light ribbon technology that first debuted on the new Dodge Durango. The center high-mounted stop lamp is relocated from the top of the deck lid to the roofline inside the back glass, allowing for the centering of the backup camera, and is flanked by red and blue package tray lights that are synced with the top mounted light bar.
The interior, which is available with ballistic panels, is laid out as a mobile command center with unique police hardware, complete with radio loudspeaker microphone, siren and light bar controls, as well as control handles for the LED spotlamps that are mounted on each “A” pillar.
My test 2015 Dodge Charger Pursuit, as already mentioned, began its life as a stock Dodge Charger, with all of the same equipment and amenities priced at $31,070. The exterior was finished in a traditional Pitch Black and Bright White police themed pattern with bold police-like graphics all around. The interior was executed in a heavy duty, durable Black cloth. It was in the rear-wheel drive configuration and powered by the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with MDS and VVT. The transmission was a five-speed automatic with a column shifter and thumb operated manual shift switch. Optional equipment included: the customer Preferred Package Street Appearance Group; Power heated mirrors with manual fold-away; Convenience Group 1; Fleet Park Assist Group; Base Prep Police Package; Steel front seat back panel inserts; Mini console replacement; the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with 220mm rear axle and performance exhaust; Entire fleet alike key; Black right and left Spot Lamps; LED Spot lamps; Security alarm; Tire service kit in place of full size spare tire; Driver and Passenger side Ballistic Door panels; and Destination charge. The final price tag came to $42,975. Alas, there was no shotgun in my unit, nor was there a front push bar, but they are available.
SUMMARY: Development of the 2015 Dodge Charger Police Pursuit was accomplished through input from law enforcement officials and the Dodge brand’s 22 member Police Advisory Board, whose focus was to add improvements to meet the high expectations and performance needs of the hero law enforcement officials who serve and protect. Improvements for 2015 include:a new Dodge steering wheel with remappable auxiliary buttons programmed to operate aftermarket police equipment; Fleet Park Assist Group (includes rear backup camera and Park Sense for enhanced rear-view visibility); the larger pursuit-rated brake package; improved fuel economy with expertly tuned steering performance from the new all electric power steering system on RWD vehicles; additional front suspension bushing durability improvement for RWD; uniquely designed fascia brake cooling ducts; Wig Wag prepared LEDs in front headlamp assembly for seamless look; enhanced Vehicle System Integration Model with additional input/output: New radio mute input, Pulse Width Modulation vehicle speed output, “Reverse” position output and “Drive” position output.
Driving the Dodge Charger Police Pursuit vehicle is just like driving a regular Dodge Charger, except that it offers a completely different perspective on the rest of the driving populace. Many drivers, most in fact, are oblivious to the presence of a “Black and White” Police Cruiser. They still speed, talk on cell phones and text. Some drivers on the other hand are cognizant of what can happen when violating the law in the presence of law enforcement – they put away cell phones, slow down to posted seed limits and seem to be more courteous to other drivers sharing the road. The ride quality is also somewhat stiffer to provide the added stability required in high-speed pursuit activities.
I have to admit that the temptation to use the lights and siren in certain scenarios was difficult to overcome. Okay, I admit to testing all of them, but only in isolated areas where there would be no impact or suggestion that I was attempting to pose as a Police officer. There are no less than four different siren signals including: Wail, Yelp, Pierce, and Manual as well as an air horn. And there a myriad of lighting combinations that include Red, Blue, Amber and bright white lights for front, rear and side light signals that are synced with grill and rear window lights – they include: Left alley, Take Down, Right Alley and Cruise. The roof mounted light bar unit is slim and aerodynamic, which may be why some motorists didn’t identify the Black and White Dodge Pursuit vehicle as an actual police unit.
There’s a regular radio and the usual connectivity for normal entertainment during long stakeouts or for “Out of Service” operation.
Factory-installed Mopar upfit equipment includes three-year/36,000-mile warranty and one-stop shopping for law enforcement customers.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Dodge Charger Police Pursuit
|Price as Tested:||$42,975|
|Engine Type and Size:||5.7-liter HEMI® OHV, 16-valve V8, with MDS, VVT, sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless fuel injection and performance exhaust.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||370 @ rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||390 @ rpm|
|Transmission:||Five-speed automatic – column shift with manual up/down switch.|
|Drive Train:||Longitudinally mounted front engine / RWD or AWD|
Front -Independent SLA with high upper “A” arm, performance tuned suspension with load-leveling NIVOMAT shocks vs. monotube types and 32 mm hollow stabilizer bar. Lateral and diagonal lower links with dual ball joints.
Rear – Five-link independent with coil springs, load-leveling NIVOMAT shocks vs. monotube types, and stabilizer bar.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs – a larger police pursuit-rated brake package with heavy-duty anti-lock (ABS) vented discs (14.5-in. front and 13.8-in. rear)|
|Tires:||Goodyear RS-A P225/60 R18 99W All-season mounted on 5-spoke, black painted steel wheels.|
|Length Overall:||198.4 inches|
|Curb Weight:||4,050 lbs. * est.|
|Fuel Capacity:||18.5 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||15 mpg city / 25 mpg highway|
|Drag Coefficient:||0.32 *est.|
|0 – 60 mph:||Under 6 seconds.|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.