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Will the Manual Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody Make You Forget About the Hellcat?

The Hellcat engine has evolved quite a bit since it first debuted in the Dodge Challenger. But even as it gained horsepower in Redeye and Super Stock form, it’s always lacked something: a manual transmission. That’s not necessarily unusual amongst high-power modern muscle cars: the Shelby GT500, for example, is also automatic-only. However, if you’re willing to give up a few horses, the Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody lets you spec the stick. But that’s not the only thing that sets it apart from the Hellcat-engine Challengers.

2020 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody specs and features

A purple 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody goes around a racetrack corner
2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody | FCA

The 2020 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody does have a V8, just not the 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8. Instead, it has a 6.4-liter V8, rated at 485 hp and 475 lb-ft, Motor1 reports. That’s sent to the rear wheels via either an 8-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual. But that’s still good for a 4.5-second 0-60-time, Motor Trend reports. It helps that the Scat Pack Widebody weighs about 160 pounds less than the Hellcat model, Cars.com reports.

Getting the Challenger Scat Pack Widebody gets you more than just a manual, though. The Widebody fender flares mean the coupe has wider tires than the Hellcat, Roadshow reports. Reportedly, the extra rubber cuts 0.2 seconds from the ¼-mile time and shortens the 60-0 braking distance. Also, the car has an upgraded cooling system, and a dedicated oil cooler, MT reports. And the hood has functional heat extractors.

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The Dodge Challenger Scat Pack already comes with Brembo brakes and a limited-slip differential, MT reports. But the Widebody’s Brembos are larger, as well as vented and slotted, with dedicated cooling ducts. Also, the muscle car features stiffer springs and anti-roll bars, Autoblog reports. Plus, it has the same Bilstein adjustable dampers as the Dodge Challenger Hellcat.

The interior of a 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, showing the 6-speed manual
2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody interior | FCA

Being an old-school-style muscle car, the Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Widebody doesn’t offer standard ADAS features. Blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams are optional extras, Car and Driver reports. However, the Scat Pack Widebody does come standard with an 8.4” infotainment touchscreen, heated front seats and steering wheel, and WiFi.

It’s about more than just burnouts

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YouTube team Throttle House recently spent some time behind the wheel of a manual 2020 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Widebody. And the hosts came away impressed.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE | Chevrolet

Admittedly, the Challenger Scat Pack Widebody isn’t exactly light; the automatic model weighs 4266 pounds, Motor1 reports. And despite the upgraded suspension, brakes, and tires, it’s not as sharp as something like a Camaro ZL1 1LE. Even in the stiffest suspension setting, the Challenger wallows a bit in the corners. The steering is also somewhat heavy, and the seating position is a bit too high.

That being said, there’s a lot to like about the Challenger Scat Pack Widebody. It handles better than the Hellcat, Cars.com reports. In part, that’s due to those dampers, springs, sway bars, and tires. But it’s also because the engine is lighter, bringing the weight distribution slightly closer to 50:50, and less powerful. The car can better manage its power, MT reports, which lets the driver be more aggressive with their steering and acceleration.

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 As a result, despite being 222 hp down, the Scat Pack Widebody matches the Hellcat’s time around Michigan’s GingerMan Raceway. And all that power is perfectly usable on normal roads, Roadshow reports. As Throttle House explains, it’s not an insane amount of power—it’s the ideal amount. Plus, that soft suspension means it’s comfortable on normal roads.

Then there’s the manual. It won’t be mistaken for a short shifter, and the pedals are a bit too widely-spaced for heel-toeing, Roadshow reports. But its long, mechanical-feeling throws match the Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Widebody’s character perfectly. And it’s geared in a way that you can enjoy shifting at road-legal speeds.

Is it a better choice than the Hellcat?

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The 6-speed manual is standard with the 2020 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody. With the gas-guzzler tax, you’re looking at a base price of $45,995. That’s $14,700 cheaper than a base Dodge Challenger Hellcat. And the Hellcat Widebody is another $6000 on top of that.

2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody and SRT
2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody and SRT | Dodge

Throttle House does note the Dodge Charger sedan is more spacious than the Challenger and has slightly better handling. However, if you’re going for the classic muscle car experience, it’s tough to argue with the Challenger Scat Pack Widebody. True, the Hellcat has significantly more power, which for some is worth the price of entry. But as an overall usable package, the less-powerful model has the edge. Plus, it has a stick.

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