The end of the Dodge Challenger and Charger V8s is just 18 months away, ahead of a new electric car expected in 2024 – but Dodge is saying goodbye to its icons in style.
The last Muscle Cars for Dodge Challenger and Charger – powered by fuel-guzzling V8s, many with superchargers – will roll off the production line at the end of next yearprior to electrical replacements for the following year.
As confirmed by Dodge earlier this month, the current Challenger coupe and Charger sedan will be the last to feature ‘Hemi’ V8 power – but now the American muscle car maker has announced when production will end: December 2023.
They will be replaced by a new electric car, which will be on show tomorrow (August 18, Australian time) in concept form, ahead of the production car’s 2024 US launch.
In the short term, Dodge will introduce its first plug-in hybrid before the end of this year: a small SUV known as the Hornet, based on the Alfa Romeo Tonale.
The current Challenger and Charger launched in 2008 and 2011 respectively – making them one of the oldest new cars on the market – and received increasingly powerful V8 engines over their lifetimes, complemented by the 626 kW supercharged Demon of 2018.
Since the first of the modern Dodge Chargers launched in 2005, the American muscle car brand has claimed to have sold three million Challengers and Chargers, which amounts to “a billion horsepower”.
In celebration of their final model year (2023), Dodge plans to roll out seven new limited editions, each honoring an iconic Dodge muscle car from the 1960s and 1970s – featuring iconic American nameplates such as the ‘Super Bee’.
In a unique process, Dodge will not allow customers to factory-order a Challenger or Charger before 2023 – instead, they will be built and assigned to dealers, and details about which dealer has published what online so customers can get their desired car. to buy.
Dodge says the largest car allocations will be given to “top muscle car dealers.” It’s unclear whether the US automaker will try to avoid excessive dealer “mark-ups” by allocating fewer cars to sell by dealers known for this tactic.
New for last year is a Challenger Convertible, the first of its kind in 50 years – but rather than a factory-built model, as the original 1970 model was, the 2023 versions will be coupes manufactured by a third party. , Drop Top, are converted into convertibles. Customs.
While the new convertibles are not built in-house, they can be ordered through Dodge dealers, where the customer’s cars are shipped directly from the factory to Drop Top Customs for conversion, and returned to the dealer where the customer purchased them. can receive.
The conversion costs $25,999 ($AU37,250) — on top of the base vehicle price — and is covered by a separate Drop Top Customs three-year warranty, rather than Dodge’s own three-year warranty. 57,940 km warranty.
For the 2023 model year, four favorite colors return – B5 Blue, Plum Crazy (purple), Sublime Green and Destroyer Gray – for a total of 14, and each car will carry a numbered ‘Last Call’ plaque in the engine compartment.
Dodge’s Jailbreak program—available on select supercharged Hellcat and Hellcat Redeye variants—will continue to be available, allowing buyers to bypass any color combination restrictions and choose any combination of body, wheel, brake and interior colors.
Other highlights for the 2023 muscle car line-up include an extensive range of factory-provided Direct Connection performance parts, including a full “rolling chassis” – a drag-prepared Challenger, without an engine – intended for drag racing teams.
In addition to its expanded Challenger and Charger lineup, Dodge will revive the Durango SRT Hellcat, the V8-powered supercharger version of its largest seven-seat family SUV.
The 2023 Durango SRT Hellcat is only offered as a special edition for one year in 2021 and uses the same 6.2-litre supercharged ‘Hemi’ V8 as before, with an output of 529 kW and 875 Nm for a sprint time of 3.5 seconds from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph). and a top speed of 290 km/h.
Dodge quotes a quarter-mile (402 m) time of 11.5 seconds, aided by performance features such as 20-inch wheels, six-piston 400mm front and four-piston 350mm rear Brembo performance brakes, and launch control.
Pricing hasn’t been announced, but when it was last offered for the 2021 model year, the Durango SRT Hellcat cost $80,995 ($AU115495) plus delivery charges — just as much as a less powerful, but more luxurious BMW X5 M50i sporty SUV.
None of Dodge’s current models are available in Australia, and the brand hasn’t sold any cars here since the Journey’s much quieter SUV family was discontinued in 2016.
However, the engines are available in cars on the Australian market: the 5.7-litre naturally aspirated V8 from the Challenger/Charger R/T in the Ram 1500 pickup, the 6.4-litre V8 from the Challenger/Charger SRT in the the Chrysler 300 SRT, and the 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8 in the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.
“We are celebrating the end of an era—and the beginning of a bright new electrified future—by staying true to our brand,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge’s chief executive officer, in a media statement.
“At Dodge we never lift, and the brand will mark the last of our iconic Charger and Challenger nameplates in their current form in the same way we came here, with a passion for both our products and our enthusiasts driving us to create as much uniqueness as possible in the muscle car community and in the marketplace.”