The current Dodge Challenger is undeniably cool, but it’s also a fairly old design that’s losing ground to its two main rivals, the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. So with a full redesign still a long way off, Dodge is giving the Challenger something the Mustang and Camaro don’t have.
A 2017 Challenger model with all-wheel drive could debut as early as this fall, according to Automotive News. It would reportedly borrow the GT AWD name from an all-wheel drive Challenger concept that appeared at SEMA last year. Dodge is also reportedly planning a wide-body version of the 707-horsepower SRT Hellcat model called the Challenger ADR. Both variants would help maintain interest in the Challenger until a redesigned model launches in 2018.
The original GT AWD concept used a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine. While Dodge also offers 6.4-liter and the 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat Hemi engines, the smaller Hemi was used due to limits on how much torque the all-wheel drive system could handle. The system itself was adapted from the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans, both of which share a platform with the Challenger and have offered all-wheel drive for years.
Muscle cars like the Challenger are known for rear-wheel drive and the burnouts that it enables, but an all-wheel drive model could have some appeal with consumers. It would certainly be a plus in snowy climates, where a Challenger isn’t exactly well suited to being a daily driver. Having a feature that Ford and Chevy lack might also give the Dodge a boost, and help it stay competitive against the much newer Mustang and Camaro.
While it has been updated over the years, the current Challenger rides on the same platform that was introduced for the 2008 model year. A completely redesigned model is expected to arrive in 2018, using the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan.
The new model may shed 500 pounds, and may get a convertible variant as well. It’s rumored that Dodge may drop the Challenger name and go with Barracuda, the name of the original Challenger’s twin, which was sold under the now-defunct Plymouth brand.