Everyone talks about Dodge’s transition to the electric era as we are waiting for the automaker to unveil three electrified concepts at Speed Week this August. However, a new report claims that the days of the Hemi V8 are not over yet, with the next generation of the Charger and Challenger allegedly staying true to old-school ICE power. While Dodge representatives made it clear that they are focused on EVs and the Hellcat is nearing the end of its life, here is what the new rumors suggest.
The latest report comes from Motortrend, stating that “a brand-new generation of V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive muscle machines are coming”. The publication is citing unnamed sources, similar to earlier reports from last year which claimed the models would get turbocharged inline-sixes. Motortrend thinks that the V8 will be reserved for the top-of-the-range Hellcat variant, with versions of the Hurricane six-cylinder to be used in the rest of the range. According to them, the V8 will be mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox sending power to the rear axle, with optional AWD.
Also Read: Why You Shouldn’t Fall For The Rumors About Dodge Replacing Challenger, Charger Hemi V8 With New Inline-Six Turbo In 2024
No one claims that the new generation of the Charger and the Challenger will use an updated version of the current underpinnings. This architecture dates back to the early ’00s, so it is expected to die in 2023, alongside the then 12-year-old Charger and 15-year-old Challenger.
The new generation of Dodge models will most likely move to the modular STLA Large architecture, which will underpin eight new models by 2026. Supporting that claim, it has been confirmed that Stellantis’ Windsor and Brampton plants in Ontario, Canada will produce electrified vehicles based on the STLA Large architecture after a retooling investment.
Could The Term Electrified Not Exclude ICE?
Last year we spoke to a Dodge spokesperson who said: “The Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger vehicle platforms as you know them today, along with the Hellcat powertrain, will continue production through 2023. In 2024, Dodge will transition to new platforms, new electrified muscle cars”. When we asked him about the possibility of BEV and ICE variants, he responded: “The brand has only said BEV”. Also, in late 2021, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis confirmed to Motor Authority that the Hellcat V8 will die in late 2023.
Both of those statements leave little room for speculation. However, while all of the STLA platforms were initially announced for EVs, some Stellantis brands will use them for ICE-powered vehicles featuring some sort of electrification, which means that the architectures are compatible with both types of powertrains. The problem is that if Dodge wanted to roll out more plug-in hybrids next to the already confirmed Hornet SUV, they would have little chance of a cross-brand collaboration since most Stellantis brands are going EV-only by 2030 in Europe.
The truth is that you can never be sure when writing about the future of Stellantis. At the moment, the scenario about a life extension plan for the V8 seems unlikely, even in electrified form. What could happen though, is the rumored Demon-beating Challenger running on E85. This special edition could be a proper send-off for the mighty V8, before electric motors bring even more power and torque to the Dodge range, alongside a new kind of “shocking” sound.