Stellantis quietly dropped the manual Challenger Hellcat from their configurator page.
It may be just about old enough to get its own driver’s license, but Dodge has kept its long-running coupe fresh through a fairly robust options list. Powertrain options have been stellar, for example, ranging from your average 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 all the way up to an absolutely berserk 840 horsepower, 6.2-liter Supercharged Hemi V8. With ten different models and four different engines at present you can probably find a version that suits your needs — with one interesting exception. As Road & Track discovered, you can no longer get a 6-speed manual transmission with the 717 horsepower SRT Hellcat.
Granted, I know that’s not a huge omission for 99.9% of folks out there, even including Challenger buyers. In fact (as R&T‘s Bob Sorokanich also found out), enthusiasts have been talking about this for a few months now. Nevertheless, for all the folks who’d like to row their own gears with more than 700 horsepower, it’s sad to see Dodge remove it from the configurator.
It’s only temporary, though, according to a company spokesperson. The issue evidently boils down to recalibrating the manual, and Dodge will get around to once again offering a manual Hellcat, though there’s no exact date on when that will happen. In the meantime, you can still get the 6-speed on the 5.7-liter R/T, as well as the Scat Pack with the big 6.4-liter Hemi.
If you’re really hankering for a manual transmission Hellcat, it sounds like you won’t have much longer to wait. You may want to cross your fingers in the interim, because — and I am editorializing here — it’s almost certainly not going to hang around long.
Here’s the thing: The Dodge Challenger we’ve known for years and years now is going away. Tightening emissions regulations will see to that. Besides, the company’s touting an electric muscle car revolution in the next two years. By 2024, the current Challenger and Charger sedan will be gone…and that will be that. So why put the effort into recalibrating the manual?
I know I harp on the cars that still have a three-pedal option because that connection is important to me, as a driver. Most folks driving Challengers prefer the 8-speed automatic, and it is quicker when you want to make the most out of all that power (the Redeye being a classic case in point). Still, perhaps Dodge is just throwing a bone to the manual die-hards who are still out there, and I definitely won’t complain about that.