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Future of the Hemi, updated

by David Zatz on

Two years ago, numerous sources claimed that the 5.7 Hemi V8 engine would be dropped by 2021, but that the big SRT Hemis would probably survive for specialty vehicles.”

First launched in December 2002, the 5.7 was heavily revised for the 2009 cars and trucks, with power and economy boosts; the original truck version did not have cylinder deactivation, which appeared on the first car version (and later became standard on truck versions, too).

Allpar has been told that a new Hemi engine is in progress, to replace the current SRTs, without quite so much bulk or weight.  Keeping a base Hemi V8 is also likely; the Hemi name sells Rams and Dodges, and not everyone wants a turbocharged six. A smaller Hemi could be valuable for sales, especially if fuel-economy standards are dialed back.

Those who want the 5.7 V8 to keep going, unchanged, would do well to consider that the design is around ten years old; technology has been moving quickly. We tested a little 1.6 liter Hyundai that felt like a six-cylinder, and reporters claimed that the four-cylinder Wrangler felt like a big V6 even when moving around two tons of off-road SUV around. If the 5.7 Hemi is frozen in time, it will lose its credibility in the face of ever-more-formidable small-engine-with-turbo-and-batteries options — even if the top of the range is an 840 hp killer.

The code name is still unknown, but the company currently uses military aircraft (Eagle, Apache, Hellcat, Hurricane). AMC’s 5.6-liter V8 was dubbed “Typhoon” — a fine name for a next-generation Hemi engine.

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