Dodge Challenger R/T vs. BMW M4 Coupé: More smoke for less ash?
Well, the Dodge Challenger with its 6.4-litre V8 isn't exactly cheap. however, adjusted to compensate for differences in equipment level, a BMW M4 is 25,000 Euros more expensive. Does it drive that much better?
Before we get going, a quick look at the materials used. On the one hand: an almost balanced weight distribution, the eight-speed qutomatic transmission with handy steering wheel paddles, a chassis with delicate aluminimum connecting rods, umpteen adjustment options for the steering, Launch Control and drive system. And on the other hand: the BMW M4.
Oops, caught with preconceptions? So much for the muscle car with American rigid axle-nostalgia. The Dodge Challenger R/T may draw attention on the street like an Elvis impersonator in the tax office canteen – the majority of its technology is state of the art. And even if the Americans have until recently ma aged to degrade every equally spectacular car with hard plastic cockpits on a par with the Dacia Docker, the Challenger interior impresses with a very respectable quantity of plastic, precisely latching switches and razor-sharp displays. So does this mean there may be a surprise in the comparison with the BMW M4? Ultimately, this duel belongs within the popular "Cheap vs. Expensive" series, which is why the roles are clearly assigned. The BMW must first justify its higher price: inspite of a base price of 76,400 Euros, minor additions such as heated seats or a parking sensor cost extra.
On the other hand, Munich-based importer Geiger delivers the Challenger for 57,900 Euros, with an almost exhaustive selection of equipment, ranging from vehicle-interval radar to a host of infotainment features and a sunroof. Also included free of charge is the endless engine capacity. From its 6.4 litres, its free air intake eight-cylinder produces 485 HP and 644 Nm of torque, which requires a sensitive accelerator foot even when cornering in the city, so that the rear of the car doesn't pay a visit to the oncoming lane. It gets really fun once you pass the place name sign: when, with your foot to the floor, the automatic transmission shifts down several gears, the V8 in the Challenger pulls through cleanly, flying to a speed of 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds. It would preferably continue to accelerate to just under 280 km/h. And first of all there is the sound: with huge bass, penetrating and honestly, the two-valve engine trumpets with its central, though now adjustable camshaft, through the rev range – a fantastic Detroit sound from the gallon-guzzling era. However, anyone who takes the grey cast iron lump for a top-heavy cornering reject is in for a surprise. As such, the 1.9-tonner steers with astonishing courtesy, barely tilting to the side, and remains neutral for a long time in quickly taken bends.
But regardless of how dedicated the Challenger is in setting about its task, it cannot shake off the white BMW M4 in its rear view mirror. Although its turbocharged six-cylinder produces 60 HP less, the M4 easily keeps up. It's no wonder, as at the end of the day, the three-litre car has around 300 kilos less than its American colleague to haul around with it. A carbon roof ensures that the centre of gravity is shifted downwards and also helps in the weigh-in, as do the aluminium bumper and bonnet.Dodge Challenger R/T at over five metres long
In the M-engine, there are two relatively small and therefore quickly acting pick-me-ups. The full torque of 550 Newton metres is available from just 1,850 rpm, and in addition to this the M4 accepts acceleration almost seamlessly in the mid rev range, turns light on its feet, but with an angry scream climbing to well over 7,000 rpm, the ultra-fast seven-speed transmission passing through the gears – and knocks a few tenths of the Challenger's times in all acceleration disciplines.
The differences are even more striking when it comes to handling: where the Dodge steering wheel acts a little less decisively around the central position, the BMW M4 with its unfiltered and direct steering is begging for corners, can be directed with pinpoint accuracy and pushes lightly with the rear when the accelerator is pressed. As soon as the LED by the rev counter reports that operating temperature has been reached, the M4 is electrified, longing to shift up through the gears and crack lap times. This is in keeping with the image that, in spite of the 19-inch wheels, it has more scraggy suspension than the Dodge Challenger R/T on its 20-inchers. With its optional carbon brakes, the M4 also decelerates with greater force, and offers more assistance and infotainment options. However, for its cornering talent the BMW also has its more compact dimensions to thank, which alongside the Dodge make it seem almost delicate. At over five metres long and 1.92 metres wide, the Challenger aspires more towards the BMW 7 Series. Narrow, winding country roads are therefore less suited to running riot, and more to relaxed cruising in a high gear.
You probably suspected: the Dodge doesn't manage to gain any ground when it comes to consumption. While, with an extremely disciplined accelerator foot, the BMW can be driven with a consumption of less than eight litres per 100 kilometres, the Challenger is always in second place and indulges, on average, in almost five litres more in the test. Its pony colleague, the Ford Mustang, is therefore, as of recently, offered with a four-cylinder turbo engine, and for the 2015 Challenger has also introduced a turbocharged engine. A 6.2-litre V8 with 707 HP and 881 Nm. Its name: the Hellcat.
Date5 June 2015