Dodge has long been synonymous with high levels of horsepower. Modern-day marketing materials practically scream it into your ear, acknowledging the company’s historic penchant for providing ludicrous amounts of power for hysterically low prices. The reality is a bit more complicated, however. While Mopar brands were indeed offering some of the best bang-for-your-buck muscle cars, back when they were a tad more novel, some of the fastest machines actually came from General Motors and Ford.
Today’s situation is very much the same. When the rest of the industry started downsizing powertrains, Dodge was still trying to squeeze even more juice from its colossal V8 engines — installing them anywhere they might fit. Rivals quickly got wise to its attempt to corner a segment just about everyone else had abandoned, resulting in gems like the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 or Ford Shelby GT500. But with everyone now back on board with the concept of displacement meaning power, Dodge has decided to change tactics.
What if it manufactured the V8 offering the smallest amount of horsepower imaginable?
Since seventy-second drag races are unlikely to catch on, Dodge’s depowering is obviously a security feature akin to the valet key that keeps some of its vehicles from unleashing their maximum might when handed off to parking attendants, children, or your less-than-trustworthy friends. Available via a no-charge software update, Dodge will outfit your (2015 model year or later) Charger or Challenger with a four-digit security code that’s designed to keep thieves from enjoying themselves.
Drivers can input their code — most of which will probably be 6969 if I know my Mopar fans — and immediately attempt to break the sound barrier. But thieves and naughty teens will find the engine has been limited to idle speeds (675 rpm), meaning they’ll get about 2.8 horsepower out of it when they mash the accelerator. We suppose this might also make a handy learning tool for brand-new drivers, especially if their first automotive experience has to come by way of a V8-equipped monster. Of course, they’ll also be in for a gigantic surprise when mom or dad inputs the code and asks them to pull out.
“More than 150 cars are stolen every day in the United States,” Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said in the release. “For any car owner, it’s terrible, it’s a hassle and it’s a personal violation. Though statistically rare, car thieves have targeted the high-horsepower Dodge muscle cars, and we want the Dodge ‘Brotherhood’ to know we’re taking quick action and covering their backs.”
The double verification is designed specifically to counter the growing number of car thieves that can spoof the code used by your key fob by adding an extra layer of encryption using the Uconnect 4C infotainment system. It seems like an interesting offer and is apparently totally free, though Dodge does recommend calling your dealer to schedule an appointment. Availability should come late in 2021.