Damn you, fuel economy statistics!
Not so long ago the auto world was shocked to learn that the Dodge Challenger could be getting all-wheel drive, although that news was technically just a rumor. But said rumor has just become reality thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency. Yes, the EPA just revealed the existence of an AWD Challenger. Allpar was the first to notice the AWD 2017 Challenger GT listed on fueleconomy.gov. The car has an mpg split of 18/27/21. Powering it will be a 3.6-liter V6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
In the current Challenger that engine makes 305 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque. It’s unknown whether power will be increased but we suspect both the RWD and AWD versions will have identical outputs. What we do know is that the Challenger GT will weigh more thanks to having the tech needed to send power to all four wheels. A redesign is said to be coming in 2019, with the next Challenger sitting on a new and lighter platform. The Challenger GT will certainly need to be put on a diet as it could weigh over two tons when all is said and done; the base model SXT already tips the scales at 3,885 pounds. So, what do we make of this move? Well, it could backfire horribly or work really well. There's really no middle ground here.
There’s a chance that American muscle car fans aren’t ready for an AWD Challenger. In that scenario the best case is that the GT is ignored until it dies in obscurity. In the worst case the automaker is ruthlessly mocked by fans, the media and its competitors…and then the GT dies in obscurity. However, Dodge could also be starting a revolution of sorts. There’s a chance the Challenger GT is seen as a revelation, a bold and brash American muscle car that looks cool at stoplights and which can be driven safely when the weather turns south. Another plus is that adding AWD allows Dodge to compete against sports cars from foreign automakers. This could help it finally break out of the No. 2/No. 3 spot in the muscle car sales rankings.
At this point it's too early to assess how a V6 AWD Dodge Challenger will be received by the public and if it will be crap to drive. We're going to reserve judgement until we get behind the wheel. We will say that the Challenger GT certainly seems interesting and that we can't wait to learn more about it. That's as diplomatic a conclusion as we could come to.