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Dodge

New Gas-Powered Charger Platform Rumored; Dodge Says No

The rumors of the V8's undeath may be greatly exaggerated. Or maybe not.

  • MotorTrend reported that Dodge is creating a fresh generation of internal combustion muscle cars on a new platform.
  • The brand’s current 392 V8 kicks out 485 horsepower and the top-level supercharged 6.2-liter engine roars with 807 horses.
  • Dodge is leaning into making 50% battery-powered vehicles by 2030, and a spokesperson asserted the V8 replacement will be electric.

Contrary to previous reports, MotorTrend says that Dodge isn't done with gas-burning Chargers and Challengers just yet. Citing unnamed sources, the publication claims a new large, non-EV rear-drive platform is in the works and will replace the current platform — the bones of which date back well over a decade.

However, a Dodge spokesperson says that's not happening.

Alarm bells range for Charger, Challenger die-hards

During a Stellantis EV-centric presentation last year, the Dodge division laid out its plans for electrifying the lineup. Among the announcements was the reveal of an electric muscle car expected in 2024, along with Stellantis' vision to have 40% of its sales be fully electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2030. These statements pointed the way toward an electric Charger and Challenger, which would naturally supplant the aging gas-powered models.

Not so fast, said MotorTrend. MT reported, "Our sources tell us that a brand-new generation of [V8]-powered, rear-wheel-drive muscle machines are coming, and coming soon. … A new, large Stellantis rear-drive platform is coming and can fit a [V8]. This platform will be separate and unrelated to the EV skateboard chassis that will underpin other large Stellantis EVs. This vehicle architecture will underpin a new Charger, a new Challenger, as well as possibly a new Chrysler 300, and the next-generation Maserati Quattroporte."

This is interesting. Despite a flurry of electrification plans making headlines across the industry, many Dodge fans remain steadfastly internal combustion-focused. Some of Stellantis' brands are going full-speed ahead toward electrification; Maserati, for one, is deep into testing for its upcoming GranTurismo Folgore, which is the EV version of the sport coupe. Dodge, which has built a legacy on its thirsty V8s, has committed to making 50% of its vehicles battery powered by 2030.

Dodge's response

However, Dodge is refuting MT's claims. “We have said on the record: The Hemi in that platform goes away after 2023, as does that platform,” David Elshoff from Dodge told Edmunds via email. “The unnamed replacement will be a BEV [battery electric vehicle].”

We may be reading between the lines here, but both sides may be correct. After all, MT is saying that a next-gen gas-powered Charger and Challenger will be based on a new platform, which lines up with Elshoff's statement. And then there's the issue of powerplants. The Hemi may be gone, but Stellantis has a new 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six engine that could be used instead. Engineered for reduced tailpipe emissions and better fuel efficiency, the so-called Hurricane engine comes in two flavors: one tuned for reduced consumption (400 horsepower) and one tuned for performance (500 hp).

Even if the V8 does not return for a next-gen gas-powered Charger or Challenger, we might still have a smorgasbord of power with the rumored inline-six powerplant and the already confirmed torque-on-tap electric versions. Stellantis is covering the bases with the Hurricane, which the company says will be integrated into future electrified models.

What does this mean for fans of the classic muscle car?

2021 Dodge Challenger

J.D. Power's 2022 U.S. Automotive Performance Execution and Layout (APEAL) study, which surveyed 84,165 owners of new 2022 model-year vehicles, found that Dodge ranked highest among mass-market brands for emotional attachment and excitement. That is no surprise to us, considering the elevated heartrates and ginormous grins a Hellcat elicits from muscle-car enthusiasts.

As long as Fast & Furious keeps cranking out movies (bury the hatchet, Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, would ya?), a steady stream of muscle-car fans are sure to follow. The wonderfully obnoxious sounds of the Hellcat engine may be fresh off the line no more; however, a new platform isn't out of the realm of possibility.

Edmunds says

Everybody's talking about the new kid in town, EVs. But there is great appeal and emotional connection to the sound of a revving V8 in a Challenger or Charger, and we'll be watching the market to see the uptake on electric-powered muscle.

2021 Dodge Challenger