With the end near, Dodge Challenger SRT raises bar with 807 HP

By Paul Borden

(January 29, 2023) With electric cars the wave of the future, it comes as no surprise that the Muscle Car era that hit its peak in the 1960s and early 1970s and was revived in the early 2000s seems to be coming to a close. Dodge last August announced production of its gas-powered Challenger coupes and Charger sedans will cease after the 2023 models and though there has been few other formal announcements, other manufacturers are likely to begin following suit. GM, of course, already has pledged to be all-electric by 2035.

Oh the names may survive — Dodge may want to take advantage of the Challenger name to take advantage of its status as the top-selling Muscle Car of the last two years — but to get a Challenger with the big, loud, gas-guzzling V8 HEMI engine starting next year you’re going be shopping at vintage car auctions put on by the likes of Mecum and Barrett-Jackson.

Can an electrified Challenger or Charger still be a Muscle Car is a question for future debate, though by strict definition the answer would be a resounding no.

A V8 engine has been the one constant when defining the class, though some prefer to go by performance and throttle response instead of engine size and certainly an EV is not lacking in getaway punch. The torque from an electric motor will match or surpass that offered in the original Muscle Cars and their successors of recent years.

But you don’t get the rumble from an electric motor that a throaty V8 delivers, and that’s a big part of the Muscle Car appeal, too.

With the production halt coming, Dodge has announced several special editions for 2023 Challenger and Charger models and is taking orders in a campaign dubbed “Last Call.”  But if you can’t wait, the 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Jailbreak has everything you expect in a Muscle Car.

And, yes, it has a HEMI. Also available with a V6 engine and a couple of smaller V8s, the 2022 Dodge Challenge SRT Jailbreak trim comes with a 6.2-liter, supercharged V8 that tops out at 807 horsepower. No, that’s not a typo. That’s a leap of 100 hp over the 707 hp offered on the original Hellcat version in 2015.

That horsepower gets to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. No manual transmission is offered, though you’re not likely to miss it.

In addition to the High Output supercharged V8 engine, the Challenger comes with other V8s rated at 717 hp and 797 hp. Whichever of the three you go for, you get a vehicle with sub 4-second zero-to-60 mph times.

Early Muscle Cars features somewhat spartan styling, but that isn’t the case with modern versions. Though short of luxury standards, the roomy cabin is filled with plenty of user-friendly infotainment systems and trunk space is a generous 16.4 cubic feet.

The Challenger cruises comfortably enough on expressways, though its sports-tuned suspension is on the firm side when it comes to handling bumps in the road.

The starting MSRP of $66,045 covers the usual items like keyless entry and push-button start, dual zone climate control, leather-wrapped, flat-bottom steering wheel, tire-pressure monitoring, launch control and launch assist, and Brembo brakes.

It is the options that really add to the appeal of the 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Jailbreak, allowing you to “personalize” your vehicle with styling tweaks. The available Jailbreak 27D package gives you the choice of up to 20 different features,

Extras and packages on on my test Challenger included ventilated Laguna leather front seats with the SRT Hellcat logo, premium stitched door panels, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Widebody fender flares, Harmon Kardon premium audio system, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic detection, orange brake calipers and Dodge’s UConnect4 tech features with navigation and an 8.4-inch touchscreen,.

With an engine that gulps fuel at the rate of 13 mpg city, 21 highway, and 15 combined, the 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Jailbreak has been tagged with a gas guzzler tax of $2,100. That plus the $1,595 destination and deliver fee ran the final bottom line to $104,480. No, that’s not a typo either.

What I liked about the 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Jailbreak: Obviously, the power gives you a real adrenaline surge. There’s much more here than you would reasonably expect to use in a non-competitive situation. Tech features are user friendly. The interior overall is pretty refined for a traditional Muscle Car and despite a sometimes bumpy ride is comfortable as well. The engine roar at acceleration is not overwhelming when cruising. The tire monitor indicates pressure in each of the four wheels, not just a blanket warning that you have a low tire somewhere among the four wheels.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Jailbreak: Fuel consumption is an issue, of course, so it isn’t very practical for every day use. The backseat while fairly simply to get to is very snug. Rear vision is somewhat restricted. The overall size — the hood looks to be half-an-acre — detracts from its agility and handling. Blind-spot warning is in a package of options.

Would I buy the 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Jailbreak? Once upon a time I would have loved to have this (though six-figure cars have never been in my budget) to take to the track. That’s past me now, but if that’s something that appeals to you, I say go for it! And hurry up!