A replacement for the Dodge Challenger built on an Alfa Romeo platform

Rumors about a modern Barracuda have been flying around since 2007. That’s 13 years as of 2020 and many of us have lost hope that a revival of the iconic Cuda will happen.

However, it seems that the Barracuda may indeed return for the 2021 model years as a replacement for the Dodge Challenger. And it will do so under the Dodge brand since the Plymouth marque was discontinued back in 2001. Official details about the 2021 Barracuda are still scant, but we gathered all the information there is about the modern incarnation of this muscle car legend.

What the 2021 Dodge Barracuda Will Look Like?

The actual design of the Barracuda is a mystery right now. Dodge hasn’t even confirmed this car, so we can’t talk about official renderings at this point. However, there have been numerous design attempts floating around over the last decade and they all seem to point into the same direction. That the modern Barracuda will resemble the original car.

This means that much like the Challenger, this modern muscle car will have a neo-retro design that will pay tribute to the iconic Plymouth Barracuda.

Dodge probably picked the third-generation model, built in 1970 and 1971 as inspiration, since it’s the most recognizable version. So expect it to have that macho, muscle car look, just like the Challenger, but with slightly more aerodynamic lines. But it won’t be related to the Challenger design-wise. Dodge is reportedly gunning for brand-new styling, one that may spark a new design language that will inspire the next-generation Charger.

1970 - 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda High Resolution Exterior
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I love me some HEMI Cuda, but is it actually worth more than a LaFerrari?

The Barracuda will also be a tad smaller than the Challenger. The latter is a bit bigger than its competitors, the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro, so Dodge is aiming for a similarly-sized vehicle. It could be a bit wider though, which will translate into a more aggressive stance. Expect the wheelbase to be shorter on the Barracuda. The Challenger comes in at 116 inches, so the Barracuda’s wheelbase will be somewhere between 105 and 110 inches.

The new size will be closer to the Ford Mustang (107.1 inches) and the Chevrolet Camaro (110.7 inches}.

Just like its classic predecessor and the modern Challenger, the Barracuda will be offered with a wide range of graphics packages that pay tribute to the past. Expect full-length stripes on the hood and the roof, upper stripes on the rear fenders, and black roofs. Also look for different hood vents on different trims and aggressive bumpers and diffusers, as well as wings on the sportier, more expensive versions.

The really big question here though is whether Dodge will offer a convertible version of the Barracuda.

The Challenger is infamous for being sold as a coupe only, and that’s a big disadvantage compared to the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro, both offered in drop-top configurations. Things will hopefully change this time around, especially since the original Cuda was also available as a convertible.

What Technologies Will The 2021 Dodge Barracuda Offer On The Interior?

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat High Resolution Interior
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The interior of the Barracuda is an even bigger mystery. But we can definitely expect the usual standard coupe layout with two comfortable seats in the front and a three-person bench in the rear. However, the rear compartment will actually provide comfortable seating for only two people, as is the case in most sports coupes nowadays.

Since it will go against the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro, expect a similar degree of tech and features.

Look for slightly more upscale materials, with soft fabrics in the base model and leather and Alcantara in the more expensive trims.

The basic metal trim will be replaced by aluminum and maybe even carbon fiber in the range-topping model.
2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Interior
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Tech-wise, look for a big infotainment display in the dashboard. The screen could be at least 10 inches, but this feature could be optional in the less expensive models. As it happens with other FCA vehicles, the base version could have a smaller display of around seven to eight inches.

Likewise, the affordable trims will come with a small display between the instrument cluster clocks, while the more expensive variants will feature a fully digital cluster.

Needless to say, the Barracuda will be way above the Challenger in terms of materials and technology. It will also have one of the most advanced infotainment systems in the Dodge and Chrysler lineups.

Passenger and luggage room will probably be comparable to the competition. Since the Barracuda is smaller than the Challenger, it might offer less of everything than the outgoing muscle car, but smarter packaging and new technology could keep it on par with the old coupe.

What Engine Will The 2021 Dodge Barracuda Have?

2015 Dodge Challenger High Resolution Drivetrain
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As a replacement for the Dodge Challenger, the Barracuda will offer at least a couple of engine options. Word has it that the 3.6-liter V-6 engine from the Challenger will live on as an entry-level unit. The Pentastar packs 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque in the Challenger and it could have a similar output in the Barracuda. Since the latter will be a tad smaller and lighter, there’s no use for Dodge to push horsepower much higher.

However, word has it Dodge could also introduce a turbocharged, four-cylinder engine.

This would be a first for FCA’s muscle car. The Challenger is the only pony that has yet to feature a four-banger, with both the Ford Mustang and the Chevy Camaro offering one for quite a few years now. If this happens, expect the four-cylinder to deliver around 300 horsepower, if not a bit more. Or Dodge could choose to keep it below the 300-horsepower mark like Chevy did for the Camaro. The engine is still a mystery at this point, as FCA doesn’t have four-cylinders that crank out more than 200 horsepower. The 2.4-liter Tigershark in the Jeep Cherokee and Renegade comes close at 184 horsepower, but Dodge will need something notably more powerful.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat High Resolution Drivetrain
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Of course, the Barracuda will also come with a selection of V-8 engines.

The Challenger is available with two naturally aspirated mills, a 5.7-liter Hemi and a 6.4-liter Hemi. Assuming Dodge will keep both running, expect them to deliver similar power in the Barracuda. The 5.7-liter V-8 is now rated at 375 horsepower and 410 pound-feet, while the 6.4-liter cranks out 485 horses and 475 pound-feet of twist. Of course, these engines will have revised internals and output will vary. But again, because the Barracuda will be lighter and more dynamic, power enhancements will be marginal.

Finally, Dodge will offer a beefed-up version similar to the Hellcat, or even the Demon.

This variant will be powered by an updated, supercharged 6.2-liter V-8. Some say that displacement could increase to 6.4 liters with a larger bore for a longer stroke. This mill will probably generate around 800 horsepower. This would be around 80 horses more than the Challenger SRT Hellcat and about on par with the SRT Hellcat Redeye. Rumors are also talking about E85 capability for this engine, so the supercharged Cuda could deliver more than the SRT Demon, rated at 808 horsepower.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon High Resolution Drivetrain
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There’s no word on whether Dodge will still use the Hellcat and Demon names.

Needless to say, the Barracuda will be a bit quicker than the Challenger.

Expect all trims to shave at least two tenths off their respective Challenger equivalents, as well as a range-topping model that hits 60 mph in less than three seconds.

The Barracuda’s top speed is said to be highest of any Challenger built to date. That’s 200 mph for the Demon, so expect the range-topping Barracuda to go beyond that. Some say it will even surpass the Viper’s 203-mph benchmark.

What Platform Will Dodge Use For The 2021 Barracuda?

Everything We Know About The 2021 Dodge Barracuda
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Dodge will obviously ditch the old Chrysler LA platform, which is based on the LX, in turn based on a very old Daimler platform.

Now having access to European platforms from Fiat, Dodge is building the Barracuda around the Giorgio platform, which underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio.

This platform will also be featured in the next-generation Grand Cherokee.

While some of you will view this Italian platform as a dilution of the muscle car heritage, it’s actually tremendous news for the Barracuda.

The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a very dynamic sedan, so using its platform in a coupe will come with solid benefits.

What’s more, Alfa Romeo has already developed high-performance versions of the Giulia and Dodge is probably already borrowing ideas.

How About The Chassis And Suspension In The New 2021 Barracuda?

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat High Resolution Emblems and Logo Exterior
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Specific details are scant, but rumors say Dodge developed various setups with in-house and third-party specialists. And these include an independent rear suspension, like on the Mustang and Camaro, as well as magnetic dampening. The latter will be optional though. The range-topping version will feature a more aggressive setup with stiffer springs and a lower ride height. It’s safe to say that Dodge won’t borrow too much from Alfa Romeo in this department. It’s more likely that the Barracuda’s suspension is being developed by the SRT team, including people that used to work on the Viper. The important thing here is that the Barracuda will ditch the solid rear axle design and will be a dramatic improvement over the Challenger.

How Much Will The 2021 Barracuda Cost?

Everything We Know About The 2021 Dodge Barracuda Exclusive Renderings
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Pricing of the Barracuda should be similar to the Challenger since it’s a direct replacement. Dodge also needs to keep the sticker as low as possible in order to handle stiff competition from Ford and Chevrolet.

My best guess is that the entry-level model will retail from around $28,000, while the supercharged variant will come in at around $70,000 before options.

When Will The 2021 Barracuda Go Into Production?

Rumors of a modern Barracuda surfaced back in 2007, when a production model was announced for 2009. Obviously it didn’t happen. The Barracuda resurfaced in 2012 and we were supposed to have it in dealerships in 2014. But that didn’t happen either. So is the Barracuda happening now or is it yet another rumor that won’t see the light of day?

Well, it seems that the Barracuda is as real as they get now and the new muscle car could go into production in 2021

. This means that we may see a concept or a preview toward the end of 2020.

Will The 2021 Dodge Barracuda Replace The Legendary Viper?

2014 SRT Viper High Resolution Exterior
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Some people seem really hyped up about the Barracuda and claim that it could be a replacement for the Viper.

Unless Dodge decides to turn the Barracuda into a full-blown sports car, the Viper will remain without a spiritual successor for the time being

. All hints point toward a muscle car-style Barracuda that will replace the Challenger instead of a two-seat sports car with a front-engined layout. This doesn’t mean that Dodge won’t develop a successor for the Viper at some point, it’s just that it won’t be the Barracuda.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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