When it comes to vehicles we've owned, the new Challenger R/T has to be among the best in terms of all-around performance, comfort, and safety. And while the new Dodge Hemi-powered vehicles are no slouches at accelerating, braking, and handling, we have a hard time leaving anything stock, so we're taking advantage of some great aftermarket products to improve our car in each of these areas. This month, we'll be modifying our Dodge Challenger's suspension with new suspension components from Summit Racing Equipment to improve our car's looks and handling.

For a production car, Dodge really nailed the look of the new Challenger, while also building a well-rounded performance automobile. Like most production cars, however, the new Challenger is a compromise between performance and economy, handling and ride quality. Though the Challenger is built with an independent rear suspension, they handle very well for their size. But we felt the car would benefit in a couple of ways from a suspension upgrade.

First, we knew we could significantly improve the handling of our Challenger by adding stiffer springs and installing performance shocks and struts along with larger diameter sway bars. What we didn't want to do, however, was compromise ride quality when we are driving normally. Additionally, we wanted to lower our Challenger about an inch and a half, improving the car aesthetically, while also lowering the center of gravity to further improve handling. Checking Summit Racing's website, we researched what options were available for our Challenger and were pleasantly surprised to learn that even though the Challenger is a new model, Summit already offers an Eibach Pro-System-Plus kit for our car.

While improving handling and reducing body roll typically causes a stiffer ride, the Eibach suspension kit for the new Challenger barely compromises ride quality at all. They accomplish this by using dual-rate coil springs for a soft ride while cruising, with a stiffer rate once the car is put into a corner. These springs combined with Eibach's performance struts up front, and shocks out back, offer better handling, but we didn't notice any discernable change in ride comfort while cruising normally. Also included in the Eibach sport suspension kit are larger diameter sway bars which greatly reduce the big Challenger's tendency toward body roll.

Though technically this project involves bolt-on components, it does require dropping the entire rear suspension to change the rear sway bar so a certain level of mechanical skill is required. The only real specialty tool you'll need is a coil-spring compressor to change the springs. Since the B-3 project was occupying our lift, we enlisted Inline Performance to help us with the suspension upgrade at their new facility. In reality, this project could be accomplished on the driveway with a jack and jackstands, but we really appreciated having the lift to make the job easier. With the assistance of Garret at Inline Performance, we spent about half a day installing our new components and checking wheel alignment. If you're doing this without a lift, however, you should probably give yourself a full day or weekend to accomplish the work.