Challengers and Chargers at Bondurant
Patrick Rall's picture

Could the Dodge Challenger and Charger Soon Lose Their V8?

The internet is ripe with talk of how the V8 engines in the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger will soon be replaced by a twin turbocharged V6 and while I believe that we could see a twin turbo V6 in the Dodge muscle cars in the future – I don’t believe for a second that the next generation Challenger or Charger will be without a V8 engine option.
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Across the many automotive enthusiast forums and automotive-themed Facebook pages, there is a popular rumor that the next generation Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger will do away with the Hemi V8. Rather than the Hemi engines which make the Challenger and Charger the most powerful in their segments, this rumor insists that the next gen Dodge muscle cars will have a twin turbocharged V6 as the premium engine option.

These rumors also claim that this twin turbocharged V6 will have an output of at least 500 horsepower, so if this rumor proves to be true, the twin turbocharged Challenger and Charger will still be plenty of fun to drive – especially if the next generation models are smaller and lighter (which is expected). However, even with the idea of 500+ horsepower, there are plenty of people who hate the idea of a twin turbo V6 replacing the mighty Hemi and I completely understand their angle. At the same time, I don’t believe that the next generation Challenger or Charger will be devoid of at least one Hemi engine option – even if “only” some iteration of the current Hellcat Hemi.

The TTV6 Challenger, Charger
There are two main versions of this rumor and both of them involve the next generation Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger shifting to heavier use of a V6 engine. In one form of the rumor, a twin turbo V6 will become the premium engine option with around 500 horsepower and there will be no V8 engine options. In the other form, the twin turbo V6 will replace the mid-level Hemi V8, but there will still be premium V8 engine options. It should be noted that insiders suggest that the latter option is more likely, with the idea of a twin turbo V6 replacing the current 5.7L Hemi making good sense.

The current 5.7L Hemi has been around since the modern Hemi architecture was introduced in the early 2000s for the Dodge Ram and the Chrysler 300, followed by the Dodge Charger and the Dodge Challenger. While there have been revisions over the years, this engine has gotten kind of old, as modern engines go, so it seems likely that it would be replaced for the next generation Challenger and Charger. Also, with the advancements in engine technology, it seems very likely that FCA could engineer a twin turbo V6 that easily offers comparable power to the 375hp and 410lb-ft of torque from the 5.7L Hemi. Even though the 5.7L Hemi is one of the more fuel-friendly V8 engines on the market, a small twin turbo V6 would almost certainly offer better fuel economy numbers in addition to comparable (if not more) power.

If Dodge replaced the 375hp 5.7L Hemi with a 400+ horsepower twin turbo V6 in the next generation Challenger or Charger, I believe that it would be a great engine option – although it would lack the “V8 allure” of the Hemi engine. Hardcore Mopar muscle fans would complain about it, but they would be able to still (in theory) buy the future versions of the 392 Hemi and the Hellcat Hemi with this version of the rumor.

The other version of the rumor - that the next generation Dodge Challenger and Charger will not have any V8 engine options – is something that I do not consider an option at this point. With Dodge selling a massive number of Challengers and Chargers (one third this year) with the 392 or Hellcat Hemi, it would be a massive hit to the brand to lose their high performance V8 engines. Without some massive change in EPA requirements or some massive change in the industry, I do not believe for one second that FCA has plans to kill off the Hemi engines in the Challenger and Charger in the foreseeable future.

So, the answer to the initial question “could the Dodge Challenger and Charger soon lose their V8” – that is a big, fat No as far as I am concerned. We might see a twin turbo V6 with the next generation models, but I believe very strongly that there will still be some ultra-high performance V8 engines atop the lineups.


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Comments

We may see the R/T swap the V8 for a TTV6. But the good news is that the Trump Administration is likely to knock down CAFE standards, so the V8 could easily trickle back in - especially is sales stall. I suspect we'll see an R/T TTV6 alongside (later) a Scat Pack V8, and the V8 will move downward on the lineup as CAFE frees up (assuming it does). The problem is FCA has to sell these cars in CARB (California emissions) states, and they certainly will stick with pre-Trump MPG requirements. This could even (potentially) create a scenario where V8 engines are available in some states - and not in others.