The 2023 Dodge Barracuda Might Be The Challenger-Giulia Love Child We Never Got

Despite often being compared to the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang, the Dodge Challenger is in a league of its own. It’s safe to say that, of the big three, Dodge remained the most loyal to the classic Muscle car formula. That said, major revisions were being considered for the 2015 model year of the Challenger. Those revisions related to the Giorgio platform underlying the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio models. Said revisions never happened, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t get a MOPAR that’s more athletic and feels like a sports car. Here’s what the Challenger could have been and what could be next cleverness sports car.


A challenger to rival BMW M3 or Porsche 911

Whether it’s the 1969 original or the modern interpretation, the Dodge Challenger is all about power, straight-line performance and turning rubber into smoke. That said, around 2015—when the Hellcat was introduced—Dodge considered prematurely retiring the old Chrysler LC platform. The platform dates back to the Daimler-Chrysler merger and has been in operation for nearly 20 years.

In a recent Autoline Network podcast, Dodge boss Tim Kunuskis talked about the pros and cons of having a Challenger backed by Alfa Romeo’s rear-wheel-drive Giorgio platform. “On the Giorgio platform, we would have had a car that, frankly, would have been lighter and drove better.” This seems like a valid argument and would have made a big improvement for the current generation Challenger. Kuniskis went on to explain that the new platform would have brought the Challenger closer to its biggest competitors in the muscle car niche, the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. And Dodge didn’t think that was a good choice. “Those are great cars […]why would we want to fight them? […] ? Let’s stay in our sandbox and be totally different […].”

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This would also have brought the Challenger close to Porsche’s 911 and BMW M3, which are strong competitors in their segment. While a lighter, sportier Challenger would have provided better cornering performance, it would have meant adapting the platform to Chrysler’s V-8 engines, and Dodge would not have allowed the Challenger to simply be a redesigned Alfa. Romeo became Giulia. In addition, this would have meant a low-slung silhouette, which would have robbed the Challenger of its practicality and to some extent its Muscle car credentials.

Surely we could see a Dodge model supported by the Giorgio platform

One thing Dodge is keeping quiet about is the return of another iconic nameplate, which we wrote about a while back: the Barracuda. In the MOPAR hierarchy, the Plymouth brand sat below Dodge, as a more budget-friendly alternative. Unfortunately, Chrysler’s financial situation in the 1970s was turbulent, leading to the demise of the sub-brand. Chrysler Corporation still has the trademarks of the model names and apparently a new Barracuda is planned under the Dodge brand.

Unlike the Challenger, the Barracuda has been gone for a while, and since Dodge’s first EV Muscle car is on a very different platform than what we’ve seen on a MOPAR so far, a Dodge Barracuda, backed by the Giorgio platform, more easily accepted by the enthusiasts, especially considering the performance advantages.

A V-8 could still be an option

Supposedly unveiled at a dealer-only event, behind closed doors, the Dodge Barracuda is smaller and lighter than the outgoing Challenger. A few engine options were mentioned when we first heard about a new Barracuda and a powerful V-8 variant was one of them, coinciding with information about Dodge not retiring the big V-8 just yet.

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A V-6 Mile hybrid was mentioned, although the introduction of Chrysler’s Hurricane, twin-turbo, inline six engine automatically precludes this together. That said, should Dodge decide to release it soon, the Barracuda would be the brand’s first sports car to feature the new straight-six. We sense a plot to destroy the GR Supra with a more affordable alternative, powered by a powerful inline-six. Since many enthusiasts are not yet sold on the idea of ​​electric drive, a Barracuda with a sportier chassis like the Giorgio platform would make more sense now than ever.

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