click above for high-res gallery of the 2009 Dodge Challenger SE and R/T
Back in April we reported a top Chrysler executive had leaked to The Detroit Free Press that the 2009 Dodge Challenger SE would start at $23,995. Apparently this executive is not very much in the loop, as Dodge officially announced today that the base model Challenger SE would start at just $21,995, which includes $675 for destination charges. Just to refresh your noodle, the Challenger SE is the base model and comes with a 3.5L V6 producing 250 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. And for comparison's sake, a 2008 Ford Mustang V6 starts at $19,650, though that's excluding destination charges. The next best Challenger is the R/T model, which Dodge says can be had with a 370-hp 5.7L HEMI V8 starting at $29,995. Finally, the 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 that's already been on sale for a year will get a hefty $2,000 bump in its starting price from $37,995 to $39,995. The only new items on the SRT8 for 2009 are a standard limited-slip differential, High Performance Red and B5 Blue paint colors with black hood stripes, and a "pistol-grip" shifter with the Track Pak. Otherwise, the 425-hp muscle car remains largely the same. Does the $2,000 jump in price matter much, though, if you'll never be able to buy the car without a big dealer markup? Regardless, all three models will be available this fall and dealers are already taking orders.