Hurricane and Charger Banshee: Can Dodge Truly “Save the Muscle Car”?

The Hurricane inline-six engines are off to a good start in the Jeep Wagoneer, with reviewers comparing it reasonably well to the Expedition Stealth Performance and Cadillac Escalade V.

The high output twin turbo I-6 puts out an incredible 510 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque; the regular version puts out 420 hp/468 lb-ft. That is more than enough power to move a large vehicle with authority. But what is to become of the Dodge muscle cars? Many enthusiasts are worried about Dodge and the potential death of the V8 engine. 

Hurricane Inline-Six Engine

Dodge introduced the Banshee at Speed Week; to the excitement of some and the dismay of others, they paraded the new concept coupe through the crowd, showing an animated presentation with the phrase “we have the right to save the muscle car.“ But can a BEV actually be a muscle car?

The Banshee shows that Dodge will continue to have a bad-boy rebel spirit within the constraints of what the powers-that-be allow. But can even Dodge save the muscle car—and can it save itself?

The Brotherhood of Muscle is a huge part of Dodge’s culture now. From its crazy cool Pennzoil mini-movie advertisements with Demons and Vipers, to the Michael C. Hall “2011 Dodge Charger, leader of the human resistance,” Dodge has grown a following of enthusiasts, becoming known for big cars, fast V8 engines, furious smoky burnouts, and a full symphony orchestra coming from the dual tips.

Dodge Charger SRT Daytona EV Concept

Still, Dodge is no stranger to making big power out of engines without 8-cylinders. While the GLH hearkens back to the mid to late 80s, SRT kicked off with the 2003 Dodge Neon SRT4. At that time, the only V8 Dodges were Durangos and pickups. The Mustang was the only affordable American V8  performance car (the Corvette was V8 powered but not particularly affordable).

Muscle cars are relatively affordable, with “bang for the buck” performance and an edge over conventional vehicles. There are American high performance BEVs, but the pricing rules out all of them (the Bolt does a respectable 6.3 second 0-60, but that’s no longer the price of admission to the muscle group; and the Tesla S isn’t affordable, even compared with a $70,000 Challenger Hellcat.

Dodge EV Day

The Banshee will probably start somewhere between the $89K of the super Stock and the $96K of the Model S, while the top version will be close to the Plaid. It won’t look like a luxury car, but the price will be high. That might not be an issue for the enthusiasts in the brotherhood of muscle that can afford them, and it will Dodge to regain the quarter-mile crown, but the price range is still likely to be high; and some people are not ready to go full electric yet. 

Enter the Hurricane engines.

We can surmise that the next-gen Charger will be a big 2-door with a modern twist on 1968 type styling. A Dodge official said the new design wouldn’t have been possible with a V8 engine, but never commented on a straight six. There have been several official statements saying that the Hurricane would be a staple of the STLA platform; the two versions provide more power than their equivalent Hemi V8s, with less emissions and fuel use. The power is quite impressive, enough to directly compete with the estimated 500hp Mustang Dark Horse.

While the Hurricane may lack the instant torque of a V8 while in a Wagoneer, it’s tuned there for luxury and refinement, not muscle. Tuning and gearing play a major role.  The new eight-speeds are hybrid-ready, so some instant boost may come with electric motors, too.

Mopar twin turbo inline six: Hurricane engine

Dodge made it clear that there will still be internal combustion engines in its future. The fratzog logo will distinguish the electric powertrain, and even the Corvette now has a rubber-melting hybrid version. The base powertrain is likely to be a 4xe setup from Jeep, or something similar.

Mopar knows that its customers are all about customization, and is already working hard on emissions-compliant stage kits for the Hellcats, as they had them for vintage cars back in the day. We are likely to see stage kits, Jailbreak kits, and factory performance packages for the Hurricanes, hybrid or not. There are already hot inline engines—2JZ-GTE, RB26DETT, S55 (BMW), Ford Barra Twin Turbo, even the Australian Hemi-6 engines, which were performance Mopar inline-6 engines exclusive to the Australia-New Zealand market. 

The other part of this equation is the car itself—a large two-door performance car, in line with the 1968 Charger (technically, an intermediate B-body). As with the current Challenger and Charger, the car is much larger than a Mustang. The STLA Large chassis is likely to be more dynamic, with all the advances since the L-platform’s initial creation in the 1990s—updated since then, but not as dramatically as it could have been. There is a genuine promise for a large, agile, American performance vehicle with versatility and capability the Mustang cannot offer.

While it hasn’t been talked about or said, a manual transmission could even be offered in this car (though it seems unlikely), making it the first Charger to have a manual transmission since the 1970s. Even without a V8, a car like this would take sales.

A Stellantis official said that the next car needed to look like a Dodge, drive like a Dodge, and sound like a Dodge. The BEV E-Rupt makes the EV drive like a Dodge, but the Banshee’s Fratzonic doesn’t have the sound. There is no way to make a 6-cylinder sound like an 8-cylinder but inline cars have a fine, real sound of their own.

Dodge BEV Muscle Car

Can Dodge can save the muscle car with a Hurricane Charger? Dodge can continue making amazing high performance vehicles that buck trends and keep its image intact. This would not be the first time a six-cylinder became the pinnacle of American performance. The Buick Grand National had the slogan “We brake for Corvettes!” (We don’t even have to get to the Hudson Hornet, which dominated NASCAR for a time—or even the original Plymouth Six, which whomped V8 Fords in stock car tests.) In the 1980s, four-cylinder Dodges embarrassed quite a few V8-powered cars.

Will we see a variant of this new Charger with a Daytona wing on the back, not seen since the days of the 2005 Ram Daytona pickup, along with cool retro colors, a manual transmission option, crazy emissions-legal stage kits, ACR packages, Jailbreaks, cool retro style graphics, factory vehicle wraps, and all of the stuff that made the original SRT cars what they were and more? We don’t know—but perhaps Dodge could still say “yes” to the question, “Can you have a muscle car without a V8?”

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The electric muscle car is a complete and udder failure, as is electric pickup trucks. All one needs to verify this is read the comments related to the Banshee or whatever you call it. These negative comments come from a key demographic, they ones that can afford to actually purchase a 50K+ vehicle. Dodge had so much street cred, the V8 “L’ cars were the benchmark. Challenger outsells the mustang and Camaro and you’re going to scrap it? The L platform was a total cashcow for Dodge, and the only police car left standing. The R&D costs were recouped 10 years ago, Challenger and Charger were pure profit. Who’s the genius that thought that was a great idea? Any red, white, and blue muscle car person scoffs at the idea of a 6 cylinder, no matter the output. The NVA on an inline 6 cyl is awful and they sound like crap. And don’t try and give me the “emissions” story either. You’re telling me Chrysler engineers are too stupid to come up with a solution? GM just announced 870 Million be invested in a Gen 6 V8 engine platform, and this is your next move? Better dust off those resumes, Stellantis employees…..

This is the price of survival and being overseen by “ Eurothink”. Best outcome, myHemi Challenger is an investment not transportation. American car culture is not only misunderstood, it’s ignored. I get your frustration fellow dinosaur.

Though I’ve always been a v8 guy, (currently 68 gtx 440, 70 cuda 340, and 2020 hellcat redeye challenger widebody). I remember that 90s scene very well also. Of those 90s tuner cars tho, on one hand I laid waste to a quite a few “it” tuner cars (late 90s big turbos rotary rx7 for ex) w a 68 GTX 440 back then. On the other hand, I still regret not buying the one I wanted a few years back (94 RT/Twin turbo stealth…basically a rebadged vr4 3000gt), 6spd, built motor/forged internals, big internals, etc, made 498whp to wheels awd) for A STEAL but I had JUST bought my 2020 challenger redeye widebody….timing basically). I’ve been hoping all along actually that dodge is sandbagging and that an awd hybrid variant of the muscle cars w be unveiled featuring a hotter than wagoneer version of the hurricane 6 ong w a pair of electric motors (i know, wishful thinking). Lol. And I say let bmw’s m division, Alpina, etc get ahold of that hurricane motor!

Hey Stellantis boys…take the new inline 6 TT engine and give it to a major import tuner and have them run the engine in a JDM car and keep the engine a secret and race others. Imagine a 94 Supra powered by the Hurricane…..yeah !

Honestly I’d love to see aem, hks, GReddy, etc offer aftermarket upgrades for the new hurricane engines! Don’t get me wrong I’d love for Holley and alot of the American performance brands to get on board as well but I remember the late 90s and early 2k years when 2jzgte and rb26tt powered cars were doing big things. I love v8s but I also love i-6 turbo cars. Even if these brands were to make “direct connection” parts and kits so that things would be emissions compliant that would still be absolutely wonderful!

Though I’ve always been a v8 guy, (currently 68 gtx 440, 70 cuda 340, and 2020 hellcat redeye challenger widebody). I remember that 90s scene very well also. Of those 90s tuner cars tho, on one hand I laid waste to a quite a few “it” tuner cars (late 90s big turbos rotary rx7 for ex) On the other hand, I still regret not buying the one I wanted a few years back (94 RT/Twin turbo stealth…basically a rebadged vr4 3000gt), 6spd, built motor/forged internals, big internals, etc, made 498whp to wheels awd) for A STEAL but I had JUST bought my 2020 challenger redeye widebody….timing basically). I’ve been hoping all along actually that dodge is sandbagging and that an awd hybrid variant of the muscle cars w be unveiled featuring a hotter than wagoneer version of the hurricane 6 ong w a pair of electric motors (i know, wishful thinking). Lol. And I say let bmw’s m division, Alpina, etc get ahold of that hurricane motor!

I seriously considered the Dodge Stealth back in ‘91, it was a beautiful car, but dealers were overpricing them and it lacked straight line performance. The Eagle Talon though was also a striking car, was less expensive, but was much faster than the Stealth for drag racing, my thing. These two Mitsubishi inspired sports cars could have been the direction Dodge could have taken decades ago on a small and mid-size sports car, but both they and Mitsubishi blew it on these cars and today we have nothing comparable. Point I made was if these four and six cylinder sports cars could excite, Dodge can survive and flourish on the Hurricane, if the execution of Charger and Challenger are right. Rumors of the Charger sedan going away and perhaps the Challenger too, really instills doubt and fear over Dodges future for me. Hey they blew it before.

I broke a lot of V8 hearts in turbo 4 Mopars and I loved it. If I can blow the doors off a GT Mustang in a turbo 6, that’s muscle to me.

Jake, I get it. I owned. a 1985 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z and a 1991 Eagle Talon TSI/ AWD Turbo 4 that was my daily driver and when the thought of drag racing a four, or an Eagle was not generally a good idea, but I was a drag racer and missed doing it after getting married. I started by drag race my Dodge Daytona Turbo Z with a factory controller upgrade and turbo bleed off for couple of years. At the time my efforts to boost my Eagle’s power were little modest by today’s standards but included an imported from Japan large turbo that was extrude honed, HKS engine and turbo boost controller, larger hi flow exhaust system, air intake and an inter cooler chiller. This produced low 13 second times that blew off many muscle cars at the track. I won heavy eliminator at the Mopars at Maple Grove and runner up eliminator at the Atlantic Nationals on street tires.
Blowing off Roadrunners and V-8 Chevys was a blast. That Talon was a real sleeper on the street and a sure bet for in the know spectators at the local White Castle. I get it Jake

I think my genuine hope is that Dodge can recreate not only a bit of that original SRT4 magic, but also that these next-gen cars can become legendary like the MKIV Supra TT and the R33 & R34 Skylines of the mid-late 90s. These next-gen cars have the potential to be monsters just like the ones of today and maybe even better. A lighter and maybe slightly smaller Challenger, a Charger 4-door coupe that blends the look of the Banshee and the ’99 Charger Concept, a “Magnum” performance crossover (if the Durango goes to the STLA-Frame) and whatever the STLA-Large chassis pickup is going to be with GLH/Jailbreak/Direct Connection performance options would still keep Dodge at the forefront of performance. Not to mention Inline-6 turbo engines can actually sound pretty good.

Briefly: Yes Hurricane variants will keep Dodge viable. Hybrid option likely.
I believe the Charger will be a four door sedan.
The Challenger on shorter wheelbase and length, wider track coupe and convertible
Banshee a hatchback coupe is only Electric from Dodge. Rear door gone roofing change.
Charger and Challenger have AWD option.
Base models four cylinder, AWD option in GT
Opinion: The Charger concept (Banshee) is too bland and to succeed it need much more dynamic
styling and aggressive looks.
Challenger will be evolutionary but greatly updated. Lots of niche models per current.
Dodge must make six sound aggressive and distinctly Dodge.

I do agree that the Banshee concept it lacking in the styling department a bit. Hopefully it will be a 4-door and incorporate some of the ’99 Charger Concept into the production version.

I so want to be captivated by the new Charger concept, but it falls flat in its intended purpose, an affordable “performance” sedan. The current concept approaches elegance in its design, but that is not its niche. Indeed the concept exceeds the current Charger in flowing, smooth, attractive lines, but it lacks aggressive and frankly, cutting edge styling cues that pushes it into current performance territory. The gimmickry front spoiler, though innovative, just looks odd and the throwback ‘68 Charger front lacks an aerodynamic face for a 2023 car in spite of that spoiler, something I doubt will be part of a production sedan. That presents the question “then what”?
Hopefully this Banshee is just a concept, Dodge stylists will go to work on something more aggressive with four doors and featuring what most Dodge folks want, a performance gasoline engine. All the marketing, false bravado and hype will not trump reality and an all electric Dodge future is DOA. Let’s get to work on that Charger, this concept misses the mark big time.

When will the Hurricane engines become available in the Ram 1500 and 2500’s ?

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