There cannot be a bigger irony than a muscle car with a hybrid powertrain. Yet, it seems like the Dodge Challenger is going down this very road in the near future.
It is not Dodge who is to blame. The firm is simply toeing the line its owner has drawn. Mike Manley, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, was quoted at the recent Detroit Auto Show saying that the next-gen Dodge Challenger will not have a supercharged V8. Dodge is one of the brands in FCAâ€™s portfolio.
â€śThe reality is those (Hellcat) platforms and that technology we used does need to move on. They canâ€™t exist as you get into the mid-2020s. New technology is going to drive a load of weight out, so we can think of powertrains in a different way. And we can use electrification to really supplement those vehicles. I think that electrification will certainly be a part of the formula that says what American muscle is in the future. What it isnâ€™t going to be is a supercharged V8.â€ť
Dodge brought back the long-dormant nameplate back to life in 2006 with the launch of the new-gen (back then) Dodge Challenger in 2006. People seemed to have written it off already as just another attempt at making a muscle car that was bound to wither away. The mighty Challenger proved everyone wrong, leaping from strength to strength every year. Today, it masquerades as the Dodge Demon with a massive 840hp output from its supercharged V8.
The day is inevitable when gas-guzzling big-capacity engines will be banned from production. If carmakers like Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge gave up their muscle cars in the face of government regulations, the world would have lost three of the most famous cars on the planet. Of course, the firms donâ€™t want that, taking the necessary steps to keep these cars alive.
Part of the reason for wanting to own a muscle car is to listen to the deep rumble of a high-displacement, turning into a raucous roar when given the beans. Another part is the absolute indifference a muscle car has towards its tyres, shredding them whenever an opportunity presents itself. So much torque, it could twist your insides.
While a hybrid Dodge Challenger would sound nowhere close to the current Hellcatâ€™s barrel-chested roar, it would definitely be able to shred tyres with equal aplomb. More torque in exchange for a quieter exhaust? Itâ€™s a deal I can live with.