6 of the Best 2020 Muscle Cars
Here’s the Best of the Pure American Muscle Scene
Updated October 19, 2018
The bygone golden era of muscle cars is a distant memory now. One of those sweet memories that send shivers down our spines and warm our gearhead hearts at the same time. The muscle cars today aren’t nearly as widespread as their distant predecessors, but at least they’re still around. Not only straight line performers nowadays, the majority of contemporary muscle cars have evolved into more than capable sports cars while boasting horsepower ratings greater than ever at the same time. Of all the hallmark muscle brands, however, only a few have remained. A trio of pony cars from the “Big Three” and the Charger sedan. Of course, a few cars that could classify as a muscle car have appeared over the years too, and we’ll take these into consideration as well because – let’s face it – even the newest models that are marketed as muscle cars don’t necessarily fit in the old school definition of muscle vehicles. So, without further ado, here are what we consider to be the best 2020 muscle cars we can expect to see.
06. 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The long-awaited king Mustang, the Shelby GT500 is set to arrive sometime in 2019 as a 2020-year model. Long has the Blue Oval let their opponent run rampant with the Challenger Hellcat and Camaro ZL1, but enough’s enough. Still part of the sixth-generation lineup due to Ford delaying the next-gen to 2021, the all-new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 will be a much more contemporary car than its previous iteration which last appeared in 2013. Not only will it be the most powerful production Mustang ever, but one of the most advanced ones as well. That doesn’t just go for the infotainment and other convenience and safety measures, either. It should also sport a highly-advanced suspension like that of its soon-to-be baby brother, the GT350. That means MagneRide dampers which will be put to work together with a strengthened chassis and likely the biggest brakes ever fitted into a Mustang. All this should have a detrimental impact on the GT500’s price tag as well since Ford’s answer to the Hellcat and ZL1 will likely be priced in the same region as its arch rivals.
The biggest hype about the upcoming Mustang GT500 is related to the muscle car’s powertrain. Nothing official has come out of Dearborn yet, but between a twin-turbocharged and supercharged V8, the latter seems more likely. The GT500 will likely sport the GT500’s 5.2L V8, but with a traditional cross-plane crank instead of a flat-plane unit. What the Blue Oval brass did confirm, however, is the engine’s numbers. At least to some extent. We do know it’ll have north of 700 horsepower, but not exactly how much. In any case, that’s enough to know it’ll definitely eclipse the ZL1’s 650 ponies and likely even the Challenger Hellcat’s 717 horsepower. Whether or not that is enough for more than 200 mph remains to be seen. What’s also nice to know is that the GT500 will offer a choice in transmissions. A 6-speed stick will definitely be a welcome option, while most cars will likely be fitted with the new 10-speed automatic. The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is expected to make its first official appearance in Detroit in early 2019.
05. 2020 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
The iconic Z/28 badge last appeared on a Camaro back in 2014 when the GM pony car was still in its fifth-generation. The sixth-gen models have received a mid-cycle update for MY 2019, but the Z/28 is still nowhere to be found. The ultimate expression of the Camaro SS is coming, though, and most likely at some point during 2020. The all-new 2020 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 should share a lot of its parts with the current ultimate Camaro, the ZL1. This goes for suspension and chassis, mostly, but the upcoming Z/28 could raise that to a whole new level if the rumors turn up to be true. But we’ll come to that later. The all-new Z/28 should also boast a number of improvements in the tech field which might place its price tag north of $80,000. The previous-generation Z/28 used to cost around $75,000 if you remember.
The all-new Z/28’s centerpiece will be its new naturally-aspirated engine that stems from the next generation of the small-block V8 family currently in the works. These new aluminum block beasts should sport a 5.5L displacement and well north of 700 horsepower in order to give the Z/28 a competitive edge over its rivals. Aside from that, the new small-blocks should also get a flat-plane crank, four-valve combustion chambers, and both direct and port fuel injection. There’s also a possibility for the Corvette ZR1’s supercharged V8 to find its way into the new Z/28, but that possibility is slightly more distant in our opinion. Chevrolet should come out with more accurate details soon enough, though. Maybe as soon as in Detroit, in early 2019. We’ll have to bide our time and see.
04. 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye
Despite running on the same platform since 2008, the Dodge Challenger is still going strong without showing any signs of stopping. Since FCA is inclined to keep it virtually unchanged since at least MY 2021, it would seem we’ll be stuck with yet another familiar Challenger lineup in 2020. However, familiarity only goes that far. Although the hype over the Demon has all but quieted down, FCA already has a replacement. The next most-hyped Challenger model will be sold with familiar Hellcat branding and everything else that comes with it. Unlike the conventional SRT Hellcat models (if the 717-horsepower muscle car and conventional can be put in the same sentence), the all-new for 2019 SRT Hellcat Redeye will max out at a whopping 797 horsepower while offering a number of very distinctive details so everyone else knows what they have to deal with if they accidentally pit themselves against one.
The most distinctive of the above-mentioned details are the Redeye’s massive air intakes. You can find them at the front wheel and at the driver’s side headlight opening, but the most menacing of all are the new dual-snorkel hood intakes. All three air sources combined increase the flow rate by 18 percent over the regular Hellcats. Although the regular Hellcats themselves have already received a power bump, the Redeye models follow suit with an additional 80 ponies and 51 lb-ft of torque, bringing the total to the already stated 797 ponies and 717 pound-feet of twist. The increase in power is, in no small part, a result of an updated fuel-injection system and strengthened engine innards. Needless to say, the 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye also gets a number of advanced systems all over the place like the After-Run Chiller which keeps the engine fan running after the engine shutdown. The pleasure of owning one of these babies is measured by around 73,000 units of George Washington-adorned dollar bills, but a number of available options can put the final price tag past the $90k mark. The most expensive of them is the $6,000 wide body kit which, aside from flared wheel arches and beefier tires, sadly, doesn’t offer much.
03. 2020 Equus Bass 770
The ultimate expression of muscle car luxury and handcrafted art is arguably the best example of how quickly hype can disappear in the muscle car world. After all, how many of you still remember the Equus Bass – a 1970’s inspired luxury hand-crafted muscle car built by the Detroit-based Equus Automotive? Well, the unique $250,000 expression of the muscle car spirit is still here. Considering it takes at least 5,000 man hours to complete one, the price can easily soar to around $300,000. Despite being perceived as an over exaggeration in pretty much every single field, the Equus Bass 770 is still one of the best 2020 muscle cars you can lay your hands on. Especially considering it’s entirely built in the U.S. using domestic parts.
That domestic parts bit translates to the powertrain as well. As its name would suggest, 770 refers to displacement per cylinder in cc’s. This also means that the company is owned by someone hailing from different parts – Europe to be more precise. At least officially. Bassam Abdallah is actually a Nigerian financier living in Paris. Moreover, his name reveals where the term Bass comes from. Back to the powertrain, though – the Bass sports a 6.4L LS9 V8 capable of producing a whopping 640 horses. Although this doesn’t sound like much compared to 2018-2020 figures, don’t forget the Bass was actually conceived back in 2014 when very few production cars could boast such figures. A proper 6-speed manual routes all that power to the rear axle, and since both the chassis and body are made mostly of aluminum and some carbon fiber, the Bass 770 is capable of maxing out at around 200 mph and hitting 60 mph from a standing start in just 3.4 seconds.
02. 2020 Cadillac CT6-V
Alongside discontinuing the CTS, Cadillac will also retire the CTS-V which served as company’s only vehicle that actually qualified as a muscle car. At least to some extent, as the modern day muscle car definition is much laxer than that from the golden era. Fear not, though, as the current flagship CT6 sedan is all set to take over the CTS’s duties – particularly those involving a large V8 under the hood. The CT6-V was already announced for MY 2019 at the 2018 New York Auto Show, but now the company’s decided to name it according to current standards instead of CT6 V-Sport as first intended. Like the rest of the CT6 lineup, the V-models will boast a long list of both standard and optional safety and convenience gear which, in turn, will dictate its price range.
The V8 under the CT6-V’s hood will sport a “hot V” setup with turbos nesting directly on the block, thus saving space and reducing the turbo lag considerably. The new engine, nicknamed “Blackwing”, will develop 550 horses and 627 pound-feet of twist. A contemporary 10-speed automatic gearbox and mandatory all-wheel drive will be there to keep it company. Needless to say, such a strong performer also requires a beefier chassis, which it gets. It also gets specific suspension tuning, recalibrated magnetic dampers, and a mechanical limited-slip differential. Other than that and some visual details, the V version of the CT6 won’t differ that much from the current regular models which, by the way, only recently got updated themselves.
01. 2020 Dodge Charger
The late-seventh-generation Charger rounds out our list of the best 2020 muscle cars. Like its 2-door cousin, the Challenger, the 2020 Dodge Charger, too, will simply carry over virtually unchanged despite the fact it received its last major overhaul way back in 2011. FCA decided to prolong their suffering at least until 2021 when they’ll either switch to the new Giorgio platform or receive a substantial update to the current one stemming from the DaimlerChrysler era. But, is it really a suffering two of the most powerful Mopars at the moment are experiencing? Their design is timeless, their tech and convenience features are on-par with those of their competitors, and above all else, their sales are fine. That being considered, FCA shouldn’t have too many issues keeping the interest levels in their muscles high, even in their advanced years.
A large number of different trim choices is one way to keep things interesting, and with that often comes a large selection of powertrains. The entry-level SXT models get a 3.6L V6 with either 292 ponies or 300 horsepower with the optional Rallye Group. Most Chargers, however, offer a good old-fashioned V8 power, beginning with the R/T trim. Their 5.7L Hemis churn out 370 horses, while the R/T Scat Pack’s and SRT 392’s 6.4L V8s crank up 485 horsepower. Finally, the range-topping SRT Hellcat and its 6.2L supercharged V8 make as much as 717 hp and 656 lb-ft of torque. There probably is no gearhead that would undermine any of the aforementioned figures in 2020, hence the outdated platform is just a mandatory trade-off at the moment.