“2017 Dodge Challenger GT AWD”
The World’s first and only American AWD Musclecar Coupe
Portland, ME – Looking for year-round performance capability combined with safe, confidence-inspiring all weather driving? The four-door Dodge Charger was the first AWD musclecar from FCA. Now there’s a more stylish two-door performance gem joining the Dodge musclecar stable – it’s the 2017 Dodge Challenger GT that provides the same all-season AWD performance and security.
Both athletic Dodge performers provide an active transfer case and front-axle disconnect with their AWD system. Power for the Challenger Coupe is delivered by a 3.6-liter DOHC, 24-valve Pentastar V6 engine with electronic sequential, multipoint, returnless fuel injection. The healthy V6 delivers 30 horses at 6,350 rpm along with 268 pound feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Redline is hit at an electronically limited 6,400 rpm.
Motive force is geared to the driving wheels through a Torqueflite 845RE 8-speed automatic with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The new Challenger GT AWD operates as a rear-wheel drive vehicle until the need for all four wheels to provide power to the road (or non-road) surface arises.
The Dodge Challenger GT serves up premium goodies for both the exterior and interior including: 19-inch aluminum wheels with Hyper Black finish shod with
Michelin P235/55R19 BSW all-season performance tires, projector fog lamps, a deck-lid rear spoiler, ParkSense rear park assist and ParkView rear backup camera.
Moving to the inside, the Challenger GT’s standard features, include premium Nappa leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats with four-way power driver lumbar adjustment, a heated steering wheel with power tilt and telescoping column, Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, six Alpine speakers with 276-watt amplifier, bright foot pedals, a universal garage door opener and Hectic Mesh aluminum bezels. There’s an optional GT Interior Package that is available to add panache to the new Challenger, with features such as: performance Nappa leather and Alcantara suede seats – available on a V-6 for the first time, nine Alpine speakers, including a subwoofer and a 506-watt amplifier, and the Dodge performance steering wheel.
Visually, the 2017 Dodge Challenger GT AWD continues to display same iconic appeal inspired by the original 1971 version, but delivering it in a more refined manner with heritage muscle car flavor, featuring a split grille, prominent and functional power bulge hood, LED halo headlamps along with LED tail lamps.
Yes Virginia, there are other examples and trim levels of the Dodge Challenger Coupe with differing powertrain and transmission choices in the lineup, but only the V6 propelled GT comes with AWD.
My test 2017 Dodge Challenger GT AWD came with a base price of $33,395 and wearing an exterior coat of Maximum Steel metallic (a dark blue), with the interior executed in Black. It was outfitted with the Technology Group, Driver Convenience Group, GT Interior Package, compact spare tire, and UConnect 8.4 NAV system, which with the Destination and Delivery charge kicked the final total up to $38,765. Connectivity is enhanced by the Challenger GT’s standard Uconnect touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Also standard are six Alpine speakers with a 276-watt amplifier, bright pedals, a universal garage door opener and Hectic Mesh aluminum bezels.
SUMMARY: Where do you go to put a new AWD vehicle through its paces? Somewhere where it’s slippery of course. The Dodge team chose Portland, Maine as the home base for showcasing their 2017 Dodge Challenger GT AWD Coupe. The test drive for automotive journalist teams would take them from Portland’s city center over highways and byways and into Dalton, New Hampshire to Club Motorsports located on State Route 25. The drive route dished out rain, snow, black ice and even dry pavement with lots of twisties along the way. Tires were all-season and not winter or snow tires.
Test venues on the snow-covered course included a long straight, a circular course and an autocross. Along for moral support and to answer technical questions regarding the new AWD system and the car in general, were Kristin Starnes, Head of Dodge and SRT Communications, Alison Rahm, Chief Engineer for the Challenger and Ben Lyon, the Dodge Challenger’s Brand Manager.
Also on site was Sweet Ride Snowmobiles available with all the appropriate gear for riding instructions and to pass the time on adjacent course while waiting to get into the snow track test AWD Challengers.
The new Dodge Challenger GT AWD Coupe provided a comfortable and stable on road ride with positive and confidence building handling attributes. It was equally impressive when maneuvering through heavy snow and ice. The high performance, technologically advanced AWD system, which is also found in the Dodge Charger sedan is excellent for all-season performance and fuel economy with its active transfer case and front-axle disconnect. The Challenger GT transitions seamlessly between RWD and AWD without driver intervention.
Under normal driving conditions, 100 percent of the torque from the engine is directed to the rear wheels only, with the front axle disengaged, allowing for the preservation of the fun factor in driving. When the need for additional traction is indicated via sensors, the system automatically engages the front axle, transitioning the Challenger GT instantly into all-wheel-drive mode.
The system is enhanced with Vehicle Dynamic Control and the Challenger GT AWD delivers impressive handling on all surfaces, especially snow and ice. VDC provides excellent traction on slippery surfaces and also helps the driver maintain directional stability by enhancing the on-road dynamic performance utilizing precise front-to-rear torque control integrated with the Electronic Stability Control system, VDC maintains the Challenger’s fun-to-drive character, regardless of road conditions.
In addition, the new Dodge Challenger GT AWD features paddle shifters and a Sport mode. Gear changes are quicker and revs are held higher for even more performance-oriented gear changes, acceleration and higher shift dynamics with the Sport mode activated, For even more control, drivers may use the die-cast steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and view gear election, displayed in the full-color Electronic Vehicle Information Center, which is centered in the instrument cluster.
The Challenger GT is equipped with a Super Track Pak button that activates Dodge Performance Pages and launch control features embedded in the 8.4-inch touchscreen radio. Visible performance information, such as reaction times, 0-60 times, G-force indicator and lap times, may be monitored, and even mirrored,
in the 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) customizable cluster display. The new Challenger GT model also features three-mode ESC with “full-off” mode, a fun feature for drifting through snowy scenes.
Production began in January 2017 with dealership availability during the first quarter of 2017.
Bottom line, the 2017 Dodge Challenger GT AWD is one fine, affordable performance coupe that’s great fun to drift in the snow.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Dodge Challenger GT AWD
Base Price: $33,395.
Price as Tested: $38,765.
Engine Type and Size: 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, DOHC, with electronic sequential, multipoint, returnless fuel injection. Redline= 6,400 rpm electronically limited.
Horsepower (bhp): 305 @ 6,350 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 268 @ 4,800 rpm
Transmission: Torqueflite 845RE 8-speed automatic with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / High Performance AWD.
Suspension: Performance suspension.
Front – Independent SLA with high upper “A” arm, coil spring over gas-charged monotube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar. Lateral and diagonal lower links with dual ball joint knuckles.
Rear – Five-link independent with coil springs, gas-charged monotube shock absorbers, stabilizer bar and isolated suspension cradle
Brakes: Power-assisted Performance Brake Package (vented front) with four-wheel ABS and Traction Control, three mode ESC (Normal, Sport and Off, BA, Brake Knockback mitigation, and Hill Start Assist.
Tires: Mlchelin Primacy MXM4 235/55 R19 All season performance black walls mounted on 5-“U”-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 116.2 inches
Length Overall: 197.9 inches
Width: 85.8 inches – with mirrors / 75.7” w/o.
Height: 57.5 inches
Curb Weight: 4,108 lbs.
Turning Circle: 37.8 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 18 mpg city / 27 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.337
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
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 and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.