Thanks to its extra gear, the new five-speed auto offers better fuel-economy than the outgoing four-speeder

Thanks to its extra gear, the new five-speed auto offers better fuel-economy than the outgoing four-speeder

The Dodge Challenger was one of the most widely anticipated cars of the recent past but while the HEMI-powered V8 models stole most of the thunder, it remains a fact that a large portion of sales is for the entry-level V6 model. Sadly, the base Dodge Challenger SE is a little anaemic when it comes to performance and the car’s standard four-speed auto is really starting to show its age.

Chrysler now plans to remedy the situation with a new gearbox for the entry-level SE V6. Rather than the current version's tired four-speed auto, the new Dodge Challenger SE models will be fitted with the same five-speed auto 'box found in the V8 models, according to Edmunds.

The move should make the Dodge Challenger slightly more palatable against rivals from Ford and Chevrolet, such as the Mustang and Camaro, both of which can come with five-speed automatic transmissions in their base models. With its 250hp (186kW), the base level Dodge Challenger SE falls a little short of the entry level Camaro's 304hp (227kW), but still manages to beat out the Mustang's 210hp (157kW).

The new gearbox for the Challenger SE has already made its debut in a special edition Challenger SE 'Rallye' model. While no performance numbers have been revealed, Chrysler states that the gearbox gives the car a slight improvement in fuel-economy on the highway with a new rating of 25mpg (9.4L/100km).

As for the Rallye, the special edition goes on sale next month priced from $26,490 including destination charges. Unique features include 18in black-accented wheels , a dual hood and deck lid stripes, a body-colored spoiler, and a chrome plated fuel-cap.