The rumble and gurgle of a V-8 is a glorious thing in itself, but let’s be honest- the Challenger’s stock system doesn’t have much of a growl to it. Sure you can hear it, but it’s like sending a symphony through iPod headphones: it sounds ok, but hearing it through a $4000 Bose 5.1 surround sound set up would sound so much better. The engineers at Borla took issue with this lack of symphonic greatness leaving the rear of our Challengers and designed a system intended for acoustic pleasure and a bump in performance. When Borla created the ATAK (Acoustically Tuned Applied Kinetics) system for the Challenger, they utilized a comprehensive understanding of exhaust engineering and the results are astounding. They offer several different exhausts for the Challenger, but by far the best and most aggressive-sounding is the Dodge Challenger ATAK Exhaust. It has the crisp bite that you’d want from a V-8 exhaust but isn’t overbearing and can be kept quite quiet for the neighborhood.
The ATAK has Borla’s patented multi-core technology, and “the distance from the exhaust manifold to the rear bumper, the shape of the underbody shielding, the amount of ground clearance, all of these factors affect the sound, and they’re different on each vehicle. With ATAK we take all this into account, and the result will blow you away,” says David Borla. With all of the different aftermarket exhausts on the market today, the logical step would be to go with the most well thought out and meticulously engineered one available. Borla has spent hundreds of hours custom tuning their systems to be perfectly suited to their respective, and used that knowledge to perfect the sound that they want out of each system. All of this technology is great, but not only have they spent the time to get it right, they guarantee it.
For a million miles. Seriously. They include their million mile warranty on all of their exhausts, and honestly when was the last time you kept your car for a million miles? This warranty combined with perfectly flowing computer engineered mandrel bends, and their multi-core design creates a near perfect exhaust. The multi-core design works just the same way that a straight through design works, but even better due to a higher rate of flow. What Borla does is group a number of smaller tubes inside the muffler core itself to give it their inimitable sound. Not only does this provide a unique sound, but it actually flows better than a straight through design. Pretty wicked stuff, right? With the ATAK system, they realized it’s possible to go a step further by cutting the inner cores in different ways and using varying sizes, so they could effectively change the sound that was produced on the back side of the muffler/vehicle. So, instead of having just a set of perforated cores, they would still have multiple cores, but cut in varying ways. Things like core length, diameter, and perforation — or lack thereof — all come into play. Some of the cores would be perforated only on one side of the core, others might not be perforated at all, and still others might be perforated in a swirling pattern. By changing these variables specifically to each car, they changed the “shape” of the sound, effectively changing the way it exits the car/exhaust. This new discovery in their systems produces a whole new level of customizing varying sounds from the same system. By crafting these with a specific pattern for each car and engine, they could utilize different combinations of cores to get a completely custom and unique sound. Borla has put out a great video capturing the differences between their exhausts, albeit on a Camaro (Sigh… I know), it is still very informative and gives a rare glimpse into the inside of the system. It also gives a very good audio representation as to the differences between each.
The ATAK system does a fine job of providing a controllable beast of a sound. It gives all of the rough and tough screams and bellows when you’re on the throttle, while still maintaining the purring kitten status while you’re easy on the gas. The cabin drone is not obnoxious either. It is present, but not so overbearing that you can’t hold comfortably hold a conversation at cruising speed. This is truly a great exhaust, and really just goes to show the passionate commitment Borla has for their products. From the video it’s obvious which exhaust has the most bark and bite to it, but the ATAK is by far the truest V-8 sounding out of the three that they test. Why buy a muscle car if you can’t hear all those liters come together to symphonize the world in the most American of ways? So, not unlike the iPod headphones, when you’re ready for the surround sound experience, Borla has something that’s right for our Challengers.