A Hybrid Challenger is on the way to battle the Mustang Hybrid but it’ll be a while before we see it

Introduced in 2008 on an already old platform borrowed from Mercedes-Benz, the current Dodge Challenger is more than just a little long in the tooth. However, thanks to high-performance versions like the Hellcat and the Demon, the Challenger remained relevant and even became the second best-selling sports coupe in the U.S., behind the Ford Mustang but ahead of the much newer Chevrolet Camaro. A redesign is underway, and FCA is preparing big changes for the nameplate.

Dodge Challenger Electrification

How the 2022 Dodge Challenger Will Evolve to Tackle the 2021 Ford Mustang Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
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There have been rumors that the Challenger might get an electric motor in the past, but Chrysler was mum on the details.

Come 2019, and FCA CEO, Mike Manley, confirms that Dodge is considering electrifying the iconic model.

However, this doesn’t mean that the Challenger will become an EV. FCA is actually thinking about a hybrid drivetrain.

"The reality is those platforms, and that technology we used does need to move on. They can’t exist as you get into the middle-2020s," Manley said at the Detroit auto show, according to The Detroit News. "New technology is going to drive a load of weight out, so we can think of the powertrains in a different way. And we can use electrification to really supplement those vehicles."

What’s more, Manley hints that electrification may be applied initially to high-performance versions of the Challenger.

"I think that electrification will certainly be part of the formula that says what is American muscle in the future," he added. "What it isn’t going to be is a V-8, supercharged, 700-horsepower engine."

The Dodge Challenger’s Gas-Only Generation is Dying

How the 2022 Dodge Challenger Will Evolve to Tackle the 2021 Ford Mustang Hybrid High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Unlike the Mustang and the Camaro, the Challenger is not available with a four-cylinder engine

The current Challenger is available with a selection of four gasoline engines. The base model comes with FCA’s familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and delivers 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. Power increases when you select the 5.7-liter V-8, which generates 375 horses and 410 pound-feet.

Move up on the trim ladder, and the Challenger becomes available with a bigger, 6.4-liter Hemi V-8. This is the most powerful naturally aspirated offering at 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of twist. Finally, there’s the supercharged, 6.2-liter, Hemi, V-8 that pumps a whopping 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque in the SRT Hellcat model. Then there’s the beefed-up setup of the same engine for the SRT Demon, in which the 6.2-liter unit cranks out 840 horsepower and 770 pound-feet. The Demon isn’t street-legal though.

One thing to note here is that, unlike the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro, the Dodge Challenger is not available with a four-cylinder engine.

What to Expect from the Next Generation, 2022 Dodge Challenger

How the 2022 Dodge Challenger Will Evolve to Tackle the 2021 Ford Mustang Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
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FCA will drop the ancient Daimler-Benz platform for a modern, lighter architecture

While we have no idea how the next-gen Challenger will look like, I will definitely be lighter. That’s mostly because FCA will drop the ancient Daimler-Benz platform that makes almost all versions of the Challenger tip the scales at more than 4,000 pounds. Apart from the base model, which comes in at a little over 3,800 pounds, the V-8 models weigh up to 4,469 pounds, with the heavier model being the Hellcat.

And this figure is rather painful when compared to the competition. While the current Mustang goes up to 3,800 pounds, the heaviest Camaro tips the scales at 3,760 pounds. The really worrying thing is that the Challenger is actually just as heavy as the regular wheelbase BMW 7 Series. We’re talking about a full-size sedan packed with technology here!

In order to remain competitive, the Challenger needs to go on a big diet and go below 3,500 pounds in base form. Higher performance models also need to weigh less than 4,000 pounds. Actually, in order to add electric motors and a battery, FCA needs to push the benchmark well below 3,800 pounds, as hybrid systems are usually heavier than gas-only drivetrains.

How the 2022 Dodge Challenger Will Evolve to Tackle the 2021 Ford Mustang Hybrid
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The Challenger needs to go through a big diet and go below 3,500 pounds

On top of the new, lighter platform, Dodge also needs to adopt lighter materials for the body and suspension. While carbon-fiber may be too expensive for an affordable sports coupe, carbon-reinforced plastic isn’t. BMW has been using it with great success for years, and I don’t see any reasons why FCA wouldn’t.

It’s safe to say that Dodge will add a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to the lineup. The turbocharged unit could be a mild-hybrid if paired with the 48-volt eTorque system that FCA already offers in the Ram 1500 truck. The system is already paired to the Pentastar V-6 in the same truck and Dodge could use that as well.

As for the higher-performance versions, Dodge will most likely drop the V-8 in favor of a twin-turbo V-6. Force-fed V-6 mills are known to deliver in excess of 400 horsepower and adding a potent electric motor to the mix could push total output close to 600 horsepower. Sure, Dodge might keep a V-8 for a range-topping model, but it will be sold in very limited numbers.

A twin-turbo V-8 isn’t completely out of the question, but the incoming emission restrictions makes it that much more difficult to implement.

How’s the Dodge Challenger’s Competition Doing?

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Ford promised a drivetrain with V-8-like power, more low-end torque, and increased efficiency

While Chevrolet has yet to talk about a hybrid Camaro, Ford already confirmed that a hybrid Mustang is coming in 2020. There isn’t much information to run by as of this writing, but Ford promised a drivetrain with V-8-like power, more low-end torque, and increased efficiency. The company will probably pair the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder to an electric motor. Ford is already using a mild hybrid system in the Focus RS, but that’s not powerful enough to deliver V-8-like power. A full hybrid system remains the only choice here, one that would also add all-wheel-drive capability to the Mustang.

With the 2.3-liter EcoBoost already capable of more than 300 horsepower, the Mustang Hybrid will probably benefit from at least 400 horsepower, which will place it right under the GT. Like any modern hybrid, the Mustang will feature regenerative braking to recharge its battery, an Eco mode, and a charging socket.

Chevrolet Camaro 2.0T Chevrolet Camaro V6 Chevrolet Camaro SS Dodge Challenger Dodge Challenger Dodge Challenger Ford Mustang EcoBoost Ford Mustang GT
Engine 2.0-liter I-4 DOHC VVT DI Turbocharged 3.6-liter V-6 DOHC VVT DI 6.2-liter V-8 3.6-Liter Pentastar V-6 5.7-Liter HEMI® V-8 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 2.3-liter V-8 5.0-liter V-8
Horsepower 275 HP @ 5,600 RPM 335 HP @ 6,800 RPM 455 HP @ 6,000 RPM 305 HP @ 6,350 RPM 375 HP @ 5,200 RPM 485 HP @ 6,100 RPM 310 HP @ 5,500 RPM 460 HP @ 7,000 RPM
Torque 295 LB-FT @ 3,000-4,500 RPM 284 LB-FT @ 5,300 RPM 455 LB-FT @ 4,400 RPM 268 LB-FT @ 4,800 RPM 410 LB-FT @ 4,300 RPM 475 LB-FT @ 4,100 RPM 350 LB-FT @ 3,000 RPM 420 LB-FT @ 4,600 RPM
Transmission six-speed manual six-speed manual 8-speed automatic six-speed manual 8-speed automatic six-speed manual 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
Curb weight 3,354 Lbs 3,463 Lbs 3,685 Lbs 3,894 Lbs 4,175 Lbs 4,286 Lbs 3,531 lbs 3,743 lbs
0 to 60 mph 5.5 seconds 5.1 seconds 3.9 seconds 6.2 seconds 5.1 seconds 4.4 seconds 5.3 seconds 4.5 seconds
Top Speed 130 mph 155 mph 165 mph 120 mph 155 mph 182 mph 149 mph 164 mph

When’s the Next-Gen Dodge Challenger coming?

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It seems that Dodge wants to milk the current Challenger a bit more, so don’t expect a redesign too soon. Mike Manley already mentioned that this platform "can’t exist as you get into the middle-2020s," so it’s safe to assume that the next-gen Challenger won’t arrive until arrive sooner than 2022. We will probably see some sort of concept car in 2020 and a production model by the end of 2021.

2018 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Demon Drivetrain and Performance Specifications

ENGINE SUPERCHARGED 6.2-LITER HEMI DEMON V-8
Availability Standard on Challenger SRT Demon
Type and Description 90-degree V-type, liquid-cooled
Displacement 370 cu. in. (6,166 cu.cm)
Bore x Stroke 4.09 x 3.58 (103.9 x 90.9)
Valve System Pushrod-operated overhead valve, 16 valves with sodium-filled exhausts and hollow stem intakes, 16 hydraulic roller lifters
Fuel Injection Sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless
Construction Deep-skirt cast-iron block with cross-bolted main bearing caps, aluminum alloy heads with hemispherical combustion chambers
Compression Ratio 9.5:1
Power (estimated SAE net) 840 HP @ 6,300 RPM (Direct Connection Performance Engine Controller and high-octane unleaded fuel)
808 HP @ 6,300 RPM
Torque (estimated SAE net) 770 LB-FT @ 4,500 RPM (Direct Connection Performance Engine Controller and high-octane unleaded fuel)
717 LB-FT @ 4,500 RPM
Max. Engine Speed 6,500 RPM
TRANSMISSION TORQUEFLITE 8HP90 EIGHT-SPEED AUTOMATIC
Availability Standard
Description Adaptive electronic control with full manual control via gear selector or paddle shifters, with three SRT-unique selectable modes: Street, Sport and Drag (features TransBrake™, rev-matching, performance shifting and gear holding feature)
Torque converter 151k
0 to 60 mph 2.3 seconds
Quarter mile 9.65 seconds @ 140 mph

Further reading

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.

How the 2022 Dodge Challenger Will Evolve to Tackle the 2021 Ford Mustang Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Dodge Challenger.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Is Now The Most Powerful Muscle Car In Production Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye.

Source: The Detroit News

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