Head-to-Head Comparison: 2008 Ford Mustang GT vs. 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8

Base Mustang vs. Performance Challenger - Mustang Holds its Own

2008 Ford Mustang GT vs. 2008 Challenger SRT8. Photos Courtesy of Ford Motor Company and Chrysler

Well folks, the muscle car wars have returned. It seems like ages since the Mustang faced a solid contender. Pretty soon it will have two: the existing 2008 Dodge Challenger as well as the upcoming 2009 Chevrolet Camaro. For now, let’s focus on the recently introduced 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8. It’s sleek, it’s fast, and it’s coming to a dealership near you.

In compiling this comparison, we’ll be looking at the new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 and the 2008 Mustang GT.

In evaluating the Mustang, we’re leaving Shelby models out of the mix for now. We’ll definitely evaluate those later (Next up: Challenger SRT8 vs. Shelby GT500). Yes, these Mustangs are the bread and butter of Mustang performance. For this article, however, we’ll focus solely on Ford’s most readily available V8 Mustang, which is the GT. Let's see if the base GT can hold it's own.

We will also evaluate only one Challenger model in this article, the SRT8. In 2009 Dodge plans to offer three models. This will include a 3.5L, 250 hp, V6 version with a 4-speed automatic transmission, as well as an R/T model with a 5.7L, 370 hp, V8 and the choice of five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. The SRT8 model will return with its 6.1L V8, as well as the option of either a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. The current SRT8 is only available with an automatic transmission. For now we’ll include information pertaining to the SRT8, as it is the only model currently being built for 2008.

 

Powertrain: The Challenger is More Powerful...and Heavier

If a car is going to complete with the Ford Mustang it should have a solid engine. The 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 features a 6.1-Liter SRT HEMI beast under its hood. Okay, that’s pretty “solid.” As for output, Dodge says the vehicle can produce 425 hp and 420 lb.-ft.

of torque.

The Challenger features a 5-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. Unfortunately it’s only available with an automatic option. This is somewhat of a downer for those seeking to feel out their shifts via a manual transmission setup. The Challenger won’t see a manual option until next year. The car also features 20-inch wheels with size 245/45 all-season tires. Braking power comes courtesy of 14-inch Brembo brakes fitted with four-piston calipers.

Ford’s most powerful standard lineup Mustang is the Mustang GT. This vehicle features a 4.6L V8 engine which is capable of producing 300 hp and 320 lb.-ft. of torque. The car offers both a manual and an automatic 5-speed transmission with overdrive. It comes standard with 17-inch aluminum wheels and P235/55ZR17 tires. Its braking power is controlled by 12.4-inch ventilated front brake discs with 11.8 inch brake rotors in the back.

 

POWERTRAIN

2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8

 

  • 6.1-Liter SRT HEMI V8 Engine
  • 5-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • 425 hp and 420 lb.-ft of torque

 

2008 Ford Mustang GT

  • 4.6-Liter V8 Engine
  • 5-speed Manual Transmission or Automatic with overdrive
  • 300 hp and 320 lb.-ft of torque

Sure, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 has a more powerful engine than the 4.6L V8 featured in the Mustang GT.

With 425 hp at its disposal, the Challenger can really tear it up. It should also be noted, however, that the Challenger is also bigger than the Mustang GT, which results in its overall curb weight of 4,140 lbs. Bottom line, it’s heavy. The Mustang GT has a curb weight of 3,540 lbs. In all, the Challenger has a wheelbase of 116 inches, overall length of 197.7 inches, and overall width of 75.7 inches. To top it off, the Challenger is 57 inches in height. In comparison, the Mustang has a wheelbase of 107.1 inches, an overall length of 187.6 inches, and an overall width of 73.9 inches. The Mustang GT is 55.7 inches in height.

On the track, Car and Driver magazine (January 2005) clocked the fifth generation Mustang GT in the range of 0-60 in 5.1 seconds, with a quarter mile time of 13.8 seconds at 103 mph.

Road tests show the Challenger can achieve 0-60 in 4.8 seconds with a quarter mile under 13.3 seconds. In all, there doesn’t appear to be a huge difference in performance numbers despite the larger engine in the Challenger.

2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8

  • Vehicle Curb Weight: 4,140 lbs.
  • 0 to 60 mph: 4.8 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile Time: 13.3 seconds

2008 Ford Mustang GT

  • Vehicle Curb Weight: 3,540 lbs.
  • 0 to 60 mph: 5.1 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile Time: 13.8 seconds

Pricing and Efficiency: Mustang Owners Save Money at the Pump

Nothing in life is free. If it’s performance you seek, prepare to pay the price. According to the Official Dodge Website, the 2008 Challenger SRT8 has a retail price of $40,095 (MSRP was originally said to be $37,320) and a base invoice price of $34,803. Don’t forget the destination charge which will add $675 to the retail price.

In terms of gas mileage, Challenger owners can expect to get 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway.

The EPA estimates an annual gasoline cost of $3,212 for the Challenger, which is based on 15,000 miles a year and regular gas at a price of $2.98 per gallon or premium gas as a price of $3.21 per gallon. Oh, and don’t forget the $2,100 gas-guzzler tax associated with a Challenger SRT8 purchase.

The 2008 Mustang GT has a retail price of $27,260 and a base invoice price of $25,104. Ford’s destination fee for this pony car is $745. Mustang GT owners, with automatic transmission, can expect to get 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway with an EPA estimated fuel cost of $2,485. Once again, this is based on 15,000 miles a year and regular gas at a price of $2.98 per gallon or premium gas as a price of $3.21 per gallon. The EPA says it costs $5.35 to drive the 2008 Dodge Challenger SR-8 25 miles, while the cost to drive the Mustang GT 25 miles is $4.14.

PRICE AND EFFICIENCY

2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8
  • Base Invoice Price: $34,803/Retail Price: $40,095
  • Destination Charge: $675
  • 13 mpg city/18 mpg
  • $3,212 EPA Estimated Yearly Fuel Cost
  • EPA Estimates $5.35 cost per 25 miles driven

2008 Ford Mustang GT

  • Base Invoice Price: $25,104/Retail Price: $27,260
  • Destination Charge: $745
  • 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway
  • $2,485 EPA Estimated Yearly Fuel Cost
  • EPA Estimates $4.14 cost per 25 miles driven

    Interior Showdown

    Performance is important. So is driver comfort. What does Dodge have in store for 2008 Challenger owners? Let’s take a look.

    On the entertainment front, every Challenger SRT8 comes with a 13-speaker Kicker High Performance audio system which features a 322-watt amplifier with a 200-watt subwoofer as well as a SIRIUS Satellite Radio. A MyGIG infotainment system, with navigation, is available at an additional cost.

    The Ford Mustang GT comes with a more basic setup. For starters, you get an AM/FM audio system and a single CD player. Mustang buyers pay extra if they plan to add Sirius radio, a Shaker 500 audio system with six-disc CD player, or a Shaker 1000 premium audio system. The Mustang also offers a DVD-based touch-screen navigation system as an optional add-on accessory.

    Other standard interior features on the 2008 Challenger SRT8 include heated leather front-sport seats, air-conditioning, full power accessories, cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated side mirrors, and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat. A sunroof is optional.

    If you plan to add heated leather seats to a new Mustang GT, prepare to pay an extra fee, as these items are not standard equipment.

    The same can be said for the auto-dimming rearview mirror. Heated side mirrors are not offered on the Mustang, nor is a sunroof option.

    INTERIOR FEATURES AND STANDARD EQUIPMENT

    2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8
    • Standard: 13-speaker Kicker High Performance audio system (w/322-watt amplifier and 200-watt subwoofer)
    • Standard: Heated leather front-sport seats
    • Standard: Full Power Accessories
    • Standard: Auto-dimming rearview mirror
    • Optional: Sunroof

    2008 Ford Mustang GT

    • Standard: AM/FM audio system with single CD
    • Optional: Shaker 1000 premium audio system
    • Optional: DVD-based touch-screen navigation system
    • Optional: Leather seats
    • Optional: Heated seats

    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    In all, the new Dodge Challenger SRT8 and the existing Ford Mustang GT are closely matched in regard to performance. Although the Challenger has a more powerful engine, it’s heavier, which means it will need the extra power just to keep up with the lighter Mustang. The Challenger also loses in the gas mileage area, as the Mustang GT achieves more mileage in both city and highway driving. You also don’t have to pay the gas guzzler tax to buy a Mustang GT.

    In terms of interior comfort and standard options, the Challenger wins out. First off, the Challenger seats 5, while the Ford only seats 4. It also has more interior room throughout. The Challenger also offers many features, such as leather seats, heated seats, and a 13-speaker sound system, as standard equipment. Mustang GT buyers will have to pay extra for these perks. The Challenger also comes with a sunroof option. The Mustang does not offer a sunroof, but it does make up for this by offering a convertible GT model.

    In the end, both cars offer unique features that the true enthusiast will find appealing. The Dodge Challenger and the Ford Mustang are two historic cars that have been reborn to a new generation of buyers. Which is better? I’ll let you be the judge. Of course, this biased Mustang guy has his own preference.

    I’d happily settle for a 2008 Ford Mustang GT any day.

    Complete Side-By-Side Comparison

    2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 (Automatic) / 2008 Ford Mustang GT (Automatic)
    • PRICE

    • Retail: $40,095/$27,260
    • Destination Charge: $675/$745
    • Base: $34,803/$25,104

      PERFORMANCE DATA

    • Base Number of Cylinders: 8/8
    • Base Engine Size: 6.1 liters/ 4.6 liters
    • Base Engine Type: V8/ V8
    • Transmission: 5-speed Automatic/5-speed Manual or 5-speed Automatic with overdrive
    • Horsepower: 425 hp/ 300 hp
    • Max Horsepower: 6200 rpm/ 5,750 rpm
    • Torque: 420 ft-lbs./ 320 ft-lbs.
    • Max Torque: 4800 rpm/ 4,500 rpm
    • 0-60 MPH: 4.8 seconds/ 5.1 seconds
    • ¼ Mile:13.3 seconds/ 13.8 seconds
    • Drive Type: RWD/ RWD
    • Turning Circle: 38.9 ft./ 37.7 ft.

      FUEL

    • Fuel Tank Capacity: 19 gal./ 16 gal.
    • EPA Mileage Estimates: 13 mpg -18 mpg/ 15 mpg – 22 mpg

      WHEELS AND TIRES

    • Standard: 20-inch wheels with 245/45 all-season tires/17-inch wheels with P235/55ZR17 Performance A/S tires
    • Optional: 20-inch wheels with 245/45 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires front and 255-45 rear/18-inch polished aluminum wheels with P235/50ZR18 tires

      EXTERIOR

    • Length: 197.7 in./ 187.6 in.
    • Width: 75.7 in./ 73.9 in.
    • Height: 57 in./ 55.7 in.
    • Wheel Base: 116 in./ 107.1 in.
    • Curb Weight: 4,140 lbs./ 3,540 lbs.

      INTERIOR

    • Front Head Room: 39.5 in./ 38.6 in.
    • Front Hip Room: 54.7 in./ 53.6 in.
    • Front Shoulder Room: 58.2 in./ 55.4 in.
    • Rear Head Room: 37.4 in./ 34.7 in.
    • Rear Shoulder Room: 53.9 in./ 53.4 in.
    • Rear Hip Room: 51.4 in./ 46.8 in.
    • Front Leg Room: 42 in./ 42.7 in.
    • Rear Leg Room: 32.6 in./ 30.3 in.
    • Maximum Cargo Capacity: 16 cu. ft./ 13.1 cu. ft.
    • Maximum Seating: 5/4