It’s a battle of modern muscle as a new Dodge Challenger R/T 392 takes on a current-gen Shelby Mustang GT350.
On paper, this isn’t much of a race. The Shelby Mustang has a 5.2-L supercharged V8 which pumps out 526 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. That’s fifty more horses than the Challenger’s 6.4-L HEMI V8, but 50 less lb-ft of torque.
Zero to sixty in the Challenger is done in 4.3 seconds, while the Mustang can do it in 3.5 seconds. The Mustang also has the weight advantage, clocking in at 3,750 lbs against the Challenger’s 4,440 lbs.
But the Mustang has a 6-speed manual transmission while the Challenger has an 8-speed automatic. In the olden days that might have meant the Mustang has yet one more plus in the win column, but these days automatic transmissions can shift faster and more reliably than a human being ever could. And when you’re focused on winning a race, eliminating just one more thing for the human mind to worry about means more attention focused on winning.
Also, having 8 gears means the Challenger can reach its optimal power curve a little more efficiently than the Mustang. Would that be enough to overcome the massive power and weight advantage of the Mustang?
Even though the Mustang seems to have trouble performing a burnout just before the race, it has no trouble powering away from the Challenger to reach the quarter-mile finish line before its Dodge-made opponent. The Challenger does get a better start than the Mustang, likely owed to the warmer tires and faster-shifting 8-speed, but the Mustang quickly closes the gap and eventually overtakes the Dodge.
The Mustang GT350 completed its run in 12.48 seconds at 117.08 mph, while the Challenger finished in 13 seconds dead at 108.25 mph.
In the upcoming GT500, Ford gave their latest and greatest Mustang a 7-speed dual-clutch to prevent this whole manual shifting nonsense. This should spur the most powerful Mustang ever made to even greater feats of quarter-mile greatness. Makes you wonder just what Dodge will do to keep up.