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By Mark Kleis

Chrysler’s 2011 Challenger muscle coupe in due for a freshening, and it appears as if the changes have been upgraded S1 status – indicating it is nearing production.

A source speaking with Allpar said that the new Challenger’s exterior styling will remain virtually indistinguishable from the current model, aside from a few minor tweaks. For one, the lower opening looks as if it were flipped upside down, and made slightly taller. Of course, the Ram branding has been removed according to Chrysler’s plans to re-brand the Dodge lineup of cars. Also noted was an apparent switch from the current door handles to those found on the Dodge Charger.

For the interior the entire lineup is expected to receive a reworking, like the Charger, which will include a new Garmin-sourced navigation system, standard improved electronics, an improved cosmetic appeal and higher quality materials as well.

2011 Dodge Challenger SE

The 2011 Dodge Challenger will benefit from the addition of the highly touted Pentastar V6, good for somewhere between 280 and 300 horsepower, depending in final fitment and tuning, according to Allpar’s sources. Fuel economy is also expected to increase over the current model’s 18 city, 25 highway rating, to as high as 20 city, 26 highway with the Pentastar V6.

2011 Dodge Challenger R/T

Changes for the R/T appear to be sparse, with the engine rating expected to remain the same. Although Allpar did not provide details behind the suggested changes, they did list an increase in the highway rating from 23 to 24 with the automatic, and 24 to 25 with the manual. It is expected that Dodge will be switching in new transmissions, possibly even seven or eight-speed versions in the relatively near future, but 2011 is too soon for either of those options.

2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8

This range-topper is expected to receive and upgrade in a big way, in the form of 6.4-liters of Hemi engine goodness. The SRT8, complete with the engine swap, is expected to arrive in late 2011 and will provide the SRT8 with a bump from 425 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque to a monstrous 480+ horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Because the 6.4-liter engine will come with cylinder deactivation, the new SRT8 is expected to retain, or even enjoy a slight bump from its current 13 city, 19 highway fuel economy ratings.

The SRT8 is expected to continue use of the Mercedes-Benz-sourced five-speed automatic at launch, but an eight-speed ZF-sourced Chrysler transmission, as previously reported by Leftlane, will be added in 1-2 years.



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