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Car & Driver: Dodge Releasing AWD, Widebody Challenger Hellcat and AWD Non-Hellfeline Challenger

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat


When future product timelines are pushed back, fall back to Hellcatting all of the things. That’s exactly what Dodge is doing, according to Automotive News, as it moves to introduce yet another 707-hp Hellcat-V-8–powered model to its lineup next year: a wide-body, all-wheel-drive Challenger Hellcat dubbed the Challenger ADR. Dodge also will introduce, for the first time, an all-wheel-drive non-SRT Challenger. These should pique consumer interest until the automaker’s delayed next-generation vehicles, including the replacements for the Charger sedan and Challenger coupe, arrive around 2018.


Challenger ADR


What is significant about the all-wheel-drive Challenger ADR is that both the Challenger and Charger Hellcat models have been rear-drive-only since their introduction in 2014. The ADR will not, however, be the first Hellcat-powered product to be gifted with all-wheel drive; the forthcoming, long-anticipated Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has been guaranteed to have the feature since we started reporting on it years ago.


Needless to say, all-wheel-drive should help the Challenger ADR use its powerful engine to better effect when launching from a standstill, and we anticipate it will be slightly quicker to 60 mph and through the quarter-mile than a rear-drive Hellcat as a result. The ADR’s wider bodywork should allow Dodge’s engineers to fit the Challenger with wider tires for some extra grip through corners, a sore spot in the regular Hellcat’s dynamic envelope traceable to its narrow 275-section tires dictated by the Challenger’s limited wheel-well space. As for what the ADR might look like, we’d look no further than the GT AWD concept Dodge debuted at the 2015 SEMA aftermarket show in Las Vegas. We assume the Challenger ADR will share beefed-up all-wheel-drive components with the Jeep Grand Cherokee Hellcat, since all-wheel-drive systems optimized for 707-hp engines aren’t terribly common.


Challenger GT AWD


But wait, there’s more! Dodge will also spread the all-wheel-drive love to its non-SRT Challenger for the first time, with a new GT AWD model. If adding all-wheel-drive to the Challenger so late in its life cycle—it and the Charger will be replaced with new models that share platforms with Alfa Romeo’s new Giulia in 2018—seems like a lot of work for only a short period, it probably isn’t that big a deal. Neither all-wheel-drive Challenger model seems to pose much in the way of technical hurdles for Dodge’s engineers, since the Challenger shares its platform with the Charger sedan that has offered all-wheel-drive on its non-SRT models since it was introduced in 2006. All-wheel drive also plays a large role in sales of the Charger Pursuit police package, too.


Given how popular Dodge’s 707-hp Hellcat twins have been, spreading some of the magic to an additional model, not to mention one that might find equal appeal for its enhanced traction and spicier performance, seems worth doing, even if only for a year or two. (And there’s no telling if the Challenger and Chargers’ replacements might be delayed even further, extending this run of all-wheel-drive cars.) There’s no mention of whether Dodge has any plans to spin off an all-wheel-drive Charger Hellcat, which surely would appeal to more practical-minded buyers of 707-hp muscle sedans, but it seems feasible. Dodge limited all-wheel-drive availability to V-6 models in 2015, dropping it from the option list for V-8 models because so few customers wanted to pay the extra cost of both the engine upgrade and the AWD system. The 707-hp mill, though, makes its own argument for using all four wheels to put power to the ground. Hellcat all of the things, indeed.


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