Photography by ©2016 Toni Avery

Leading up to the 11th Annual Spring Festival of LXs, FCA (Fiat Chrysler automobiles) held an intimate media day consisting of product talks, drives and lunch. Having only ever had the opportunity to drive a Challenger with a manual transmission on track for a very brief period of time, I wanted to get behind the wheel of one with more driving opportunity. Knowing my strong affinity to manuals, the folks at FCA brought out a manual Challenger SRT 392 just for me.

Pressing the start button awoke the 6.4 L V8 beast. It’s a sound that never gets old. Driving to lunch I mostly concentrated on the accuracy and ease of the transmission. It’s a very accurate box with no missed shifts on my drive over. The transmission feels quite heavy simply because the car weighs about 4,200 lbs. It’s less clunky than the Camaro trans in the 2015 SS 1LE I had last year and not nearly as butter smooth as the 2015 Mustang GTtrans I also tested last year.

Each and ever blip downshift sounded so good to the point that I hoped for a red light. As much as I loved my time in the 2015 Scat Pack, I’d love to spend a full week with one of these with a standard.

Acceleration is quick, as you might expect thanks to 485 HP and 475 lb-ft of torque, while brakes are touchy and do take some getting used to. Interior quality hasn’t wavered from the last Challenger I had and is still just as comfortable as the last.

I so enjoyed my drive that we got lost on the way to our waterside lunch. I’ll miss this B5 Blue Pearl Challenger…hopefully this is only the beginning of my manual FCA product encounters.