Dodge's Insane Muscle Cars Will Live On, No Matter What the Future Brings

But the Hemi V8-powered "bachelor party" won't last forever, Dodge says.

the dodge charger scat pack widebody is powered by the 392 cubic inch hemi® v 8 engine with the best in class naturally aspirated 485 horsepower mated to the torqueflite 8hp70 eight speed transmission
FCA US LLC

Much as we may not want to face the facts, internal combustion bans, heightened emissions regulations and electric cars are the future. Most manufacturers have been going full bore to convert, but the entity formerly known as Fiat Chrysler has been perhaps the biggest laggard. (Their green strategy has largely revolved around paying billions to pool their vehicles with Tesla in the EPA's eyes.)

The FCA brand that seems to prepping the least for a zero-emissions future would be Dodge, which has kept right on selling high-polluting, Hemi V8-powered, more-or-less-2000s-era muscle cars with the Charger and Challenger (and their SUV equivalent, the Durango). Sooner or later, that'll have to change – but Dodge fans shouldn't fret. The brand has plans to keep the muscle cars alive, albeit in a more modern form.

Head of Dodge sales operations Matt McAlear recently told Muscle Cars&Trucks that it acknowledges this is "the last hurrah" (or "bachelor party") for the pure Hemi V8-powered muscle car. Dodge knows "electrification is coming," McAlear said, and will "reinvent the muscle car" — though Dodge does not have a date drawn for that conversion yet.

From a pure performance perspective, manufacturers will be able to improve muscle cars. The current Challenger Hellcat Redeye tops out at 797 horsepower, but potential hybrid and electric muscle cars could top 1,000 horsepower easily — and deliver instant torque from electric motors. Besides, manufacturers already enhance car engine noise; for any EVs, Dodge could replicate the current V8 roar, make them sound like a V12 era Formula 1 car, come up with a new ungodly racket — or give customers the option to choose from all of the above.

That said, much of the appeal of the muscle car is the visceral thrill of the gas engine. People buy (and steal) Chargers and Challengers because they are simple, relatively affordable speed machines. Having the latest and greatest performance technology isn't the point. We've seen new vehicles like the Ford F-150 Lightning and Jeep Wrangler 4xe where electrification, counter to what many anticipated, will enhance the features people enjoy about those cars. But it's hard to see the electrified and electric Chargers and Challengers of the future perform quite the same trick...even if they can accelerate quickly in a straight line so fast as to be painful.

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