Charger R/T Scat Pack vs. SS: Battle Of Four-Door Muscle Cars

  03/16/2015
By Jim Campisano

Can a four-door anything be considered a muscle car? While many enthusiasts argue no, history tells us Dodge and Plymouth made “more-door” Hemi Coronets and Belvederes, and Chevy produced full-size models with 425-horse 427s and a quartet of portals (as did Ford). In its early days, you could buy an Oldsmobile 4-4-2 with an extra set of entry points.

You want to tell me a Hemi Coronet with four doors isn’t a muscle car? What about modern stuff? Are the new Hemi Charger or LS3-powered Chevy SS muscle cars? I have had multiple online battles with those who say these can’t categorized as muscle cars because of the number of doors they possess. Hogwash. With 485-horsepower, an 8-speed automatic transmission and the ability to run mid-12s at 114 mph, the 2015 Dodge Charger Scat Pack is a big slap in the face to traditional performance machines. Maybe that’s why purists have such a problem with it.

At $40,990, the Charger R/T Scat Pack may represent the hot rod value of the new millennium. Yes, that’s a decent amount of cash, but the average new vehicle costs about $34,000, so its price is decidedly middle class. For anything with a 392-inch Hemi V-8, 485-horsepower and 475-lb-ft of torque, it’s a steal.

The SS is about $6,000 extra, but it’s a more refined, luxurious vehicle, not to mention it’s now offered with a six-speed manual gearbox and GM’s fabulous magnetic ride suspension. Not just a rebadged Pontiac G8 GT, it’s got aluminum suspension components, and a 415-horsepower (SAE net) LS3 V-8 (among other revisions). Its production is limited to about 2,500 units a year in the U.S., which is a shame because it may be the best sedan GM’s ever offered—and that includes the Cadillac CTS-V. You have to drive one to appreciate just how good it is. The fact that it’s quicker bone-stock than a ’70 LS-6 Chevelle (12.9 at 111) is than more than some can take.

Where the SS falls short is in the styling department. Where the Charger really looks the part of a street brawler (without being cartoonish), the Chevy has a design only Avis could love. Not unattractive, just antiseptic up front and in the rear. Looks too much like a big Cruze or previous generation Impala for my tastes. But once you’re behind the wheel you wouldn’t care if it resembled an AMC Pacer. It’s that good. No, it’s world class.

Thank to government crash regulations (both for the car and pedestrians), styling will never be as bold as it was up until 1972, but the Charger and SS are both muscle cars in every sense of the term. Just add the word “modern” before “muscle.”
© GM
© GM
© GM
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