Will the Dodge Challenger Gain a Straight Six?

We’ve been following the developments of the Dodge brand with added interest ever since Stellantis was formed earlier this year. The automaker, representing the merger of Fiat Chrysler with Peugeot Citroen, is a 14-brand powerhouse headquartered in the Netherlands. Despite its euro-centric approach, the company is keenly aware of the importance of its North American brands – Jeep, Ram, Dodge, and Chrysler.

All four brands have a future with Stellantis and that’s something we like to hear. What has been difficult to swallow, especially for Dodge enthusiasts, is the Charger sedan and Challenger coupe may be replaced by electric vehicles. Yes, your favorite HEMI is set to depart and take with it all its Hellcat goodness. Fortunately, those rumors may not be entirely accurate.

Dodge Challenger Hellcat
The Dodge Challenger as we know it is going away.

New Models Planned

What is certain is that the Charger and Challenger cars as we know them are going away. No, that doesn’t mean the replacements won’t include gas models. At least that’s what we’re hearing from a few sources, including Autoblog. Certainly, the sources quote other sources as well, so some of what we’re hearing may be wishful thinking. Then again, we’re inclined to believe that Stellantis understands the cash cow and enthusiast backing that the Dodge brand has. Notably, they said so earlier this year when the company articulated that the two weakest North American brands, Dodge and Chrysler, would survive.

What we’re hearing about the Challenger (and assuming the Charger will do likewise) is that a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine is headed its way. Dubbed GME-T6 internally, the new engine should have been introduced by now. However, vibration and noise issues slowed the process. Instead of appearing first in a Jeep model, the engine will most likely be ready for the 2024 Challenger when it debuts in late 2023.

New Architecture

The next-generation Challenger will also ride on a new rear-wheel-drive platform (with available all-wheel drive). Or at least one new to this model. Likely, the vehicle will sit on a platform already in use, perhaps the same one underpinning the Alpha Romeo Giulia. That platform is shorter, narrower, and lighter than the Challenger, but could be a wonderful fit especially with a twin-turbo six-cylinder under the hood. Of course, that leaves open the possibility the Changer would follow or it might be replaced by the planned electric sedan arriving around 2024.

If Dodge seems eager to dump the V8, especially the Hellcat, it has a regulatory issue to deal with. Namely, the higher pollution controls coming. Where some engines might do well with the changes, the Hellcat’s supercharged 6.2-liter V8 will not. Further, we think the same pollution concerns will follow the two other HEMI V8s that displace 5.7 and 6.4 liters respectively.

The inline-six may fall just shy of the horsepower numbers of the 5.7-liter V8, but beat it in torque thanks to turbo power. With a lightweight frame surrounding the powertrain, it’ll be a faster coupe than the current model.

Challenger Hellcat Chances

As for a future Hellcat, don’t expect any other engine choices to accompany this model, including the 3.6-liter V6 currently serving as the base engine. Instead, a hybrid variant should follow, giving the Challenger an expected electrified boost. That boost, though, may not just help efficiency but add performance.

Autoblog theorizes it could crank out as much power as the Hellcat, but that would mean changing the hybrid’s mission. Still, if the Toyota Tundra Hybrid is any indication, achieving class-leading power through a performance-oriented hybrid drivetrain is a delicious thought. That’s a thought we’re none too eager to dismiss.

All in all, the Challenger in its current iteration has had a fantastic run. Introduced in 2008, updated in 2011, and with Hellcats following a few years later, Dodge’s coupe has exceeded expectations. It is also senescent, thus a replacement of some sort is needed. And keeping a gas engine under the hood should please fans.

Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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