It’s your last chance to pick up a manual Dodge Challenger Hellcat, or any Challenger really.
Last year, Dodge made the unfortunate decision (for die-hard enthusiasts, at least) to temporarily drop the 6-speed manual option from the Challenger SRT Hellcat. Just in time for Christmas, though, there’s good news! As Ezra Dyer over at Car and Driver points out, the Tremec ‘box is back for folks who want to row their own gears while corralling 717 supercharged, rampaging horsepower. Technically, Dodge snuck in that little nugget of information with all the other changes for the final 2023 model year, but it’s a crazy world out there and subtle notes like that can get lost in the white noise.
All that aside, only two words are appropriate to mark the occasion: Hell yes!
It was inevitable that Dodge would bring back the manual option, for a couple reasons. The first (albeit weaker) reason is that they said they would. The company cited powertrain calibration concerns for dropping it in the first place, though they could just as well make the decision to quietly drop it forever from there.
It wouldn’t really have been that shocking had they done that, frankly, and 2023 is the last year for the Challenger after all. The second reason is more important: Dodge says around 35% of Challenger Hellcat buyers opt for the three-pedal option. So, the demand is there, and it makes good business sense for the brand to follow through on its promise to revive the manual. Well, that and they score some brownie points with the enthusiast community.
To borrow a phrase, just do it. Seriously.
What we’re looking at here is the culmination of everything the Dodge Challenger’s become over the past decade-and-a-half. This supercharged V8 beast with its manual gearbox will no longer exist after the next year or so. What we’ll have instead, like it or not, is an electric muscle car based on the Charger Daytona SRT Concept. That car’s been making the rounds since the Detroit Auto Show as a promise on Dodge’s part that performance won’t die in the EV era.
Nevertheless, it’s no supercharged V8 monster. And a manual transmission? That ain’t happening either. So, here’s your last chance to get one, at least if you’re jonesing to buy a new Challenger Hellcat. The 6-speed version is slightly slower than the 8-speed automatic that’s been available all along. But seriously, who gives a damn about any of that? Spinning up the rears and enjoying the ride (while not crashing into other motorists, of course) is what this experience is about.
If your budget can’t stretch to a Challenger SRT Hellcat — I feel your pain — you can also get a 6-speed with the 5.7-liter R/T and the 6.4-liter R/T Scat Pack. Ditching the 8-speed auto should save you a decent chunk of change, too ($1,595 for the lesser versions, or $2,995 on the Hellcat).