2020 Dodge Charger: The Road to 717 Horsepower
The modern Dodge Charger is the most powerful combustion-powered sedan sold in the world and for the 2020 model year, peak output climbs to 717 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. Even in base form, the 2020 Charger is a solid performer with 292 horsepower, but many people forget that when the modern Dodge sport sedan was introduced for the 2006 model year, power levels were a whole lot lower – ranging from 178 to 425 horsepower.
Dodge Charger Sedan Introduced
The modern Dodge Charger was introduced to the market in late 2005 for the 2006 model year and in that first year, it was offered in five trim levels – SE, SXT, R/T, Daytona and SRT-8.
The engine in the base Charger SE was a 2.7-liter V6 that offered 190 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque, and it was brutally slow with this engine. A friend of mine rented one to drive to a track event and when his track car broke, we stripped as much weight as we could out of the 2.7-liter rental Charger and the best it could run was in the high 17-second range. The Charger SXT came with a 3.5-liter V6 that was slightly more powerful, delivering 250 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque, which doesn’t sound like much, but this engine was far better than the base V6. These engines remained unchanged through the end of the 2010 model year.
Next, we have the first modern Hemi Charger, which was powered by the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, offering 340 horsepower and 390-lb-ft of torque while the R/T Performance Group added 10 extra horsepower. The Daytona R/T was also available in 2006 with the same 350 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque as the R/T Performance Group. These were the power figures for 2006, 2007 and 2008.
In 2009, the 5.7-liter Hemi was updated for the Dodge Charger R/T, lifting the output to 368 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque while the R/T Performance Group package lifted the horsepower rating to 372 and torque remained unchanged.
Finally, the first SRT Charger was powered by the 6.1-liter Hemi that packed 425 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. While these numbers are unimpressive by modern standards, the 6.1 was the first modern “high performance Hemi”, leading to the 392 and the Hellcat. This engine remained unchanged through the end of the 2010 model year.
Second Gen Sedan
In 2011, the Dodge Charger sedan entered its second generation, which included a new exterior look and a couple new engines.
The new base engine, which is still in use in the Charger SXT today, was the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. In 2012, a stronger variant of this V6 was introduced with 300 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque in the Charger GT, SXT AWD and SXT Performance Group.
Next, the 5.7-liter Hemi was the only engine carried over from the first generation of the modern Charger sedan, but it got a pump in power to 370 horsepower while torque remained at 395 lb-ft, which is the same for 2020.
The big news for the second generation Dodge Charger sedan was the arrival of the then-new SRT8 with the 6.4-liter, 392 cubic inch Hemi. This engine offered 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque in 2012 through 2014, jumping up to 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque with the 2015 refresh in the SRT392 and R/T Scat Pack models.
Finally, along with the 485-horsepower Scat Pack model, the 2015 Dodge Charger brought about the SRT Hellcat with the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi. This Mopar mill offered 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque and still does for 2020 in the “standard” Hellcat model.
New for 2020 is the Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition Hellcat with 717 horsepower. The extra power was achieved by introducing a new engine tune with a higher redline, so we would bet that all Hellcat Chargers in 2021 will have the same 717 rating as the 2020 Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition.