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To Hell and Back: Dodge Unleashes 600+ HP Challenger SRT Hellcat

Supercharged Hemi is most powerful V-8 Chrysler has ever produced.

by on May.20, 2014

The Dodge brand will put even more emphasis on performance, going forward, and the Hellcat is the first clear expression of that mandate.

Dodge, it seems, has found a hidden fury inside its already formidable 6.2-liter Hemi, bolting on a supercharger, among other things, to create the new SRT Hellcat, a 2015 addition to its Challenger line that will boast the most powerful V-8 ever offered by one of the Chrysler brands.

While final numbers have yet to be locked down, look for something on the order of 600-plus horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque, suggests SRT Powertrain Director Chris Cowland who suggests the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat will be “bloody fast.”

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As part of the new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles corporate strategy, the Dodge brand will put even more emphasis on performance, going forward, and the Hellcat is the first clear expression of that mandate.

The new Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is expected to produce more than 600 horsepower and 575 foot pounds of torque.

“This is the extreme example of a performance muscle car,” said Detroit Chief Executive Tim Kuniskis.

The Hellcat shares many of the basic components of the already aggressive Dodge Challenger SRT. On the outside, there are some modest body revisions, noted designer Mark Trostle, including a distinctive front fascia and hood, and a unique rear spoiler, as well as 275-width Pirelli P-Zero high-speed tires.

But it’s what’s under that hood that really matters. And while the basic 6.2-liter block may be the same, 91% of the engine’s content has been revised, according to Cowland, including new pistons, conrods, and crankshaft. More precisely, the pistons are forged, high-strength alloy, and the piston pins use diamond-like carbon coating.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat has an active exhaust, the first fully active system ever used on a Chrysler product.

But the critical piece is the screw-type blower from IHI. Asked why Dodge engineers opted for a supercharger instead of a turbocharger, Cowland explained this approach is, “a better match to the whole vehicle characteristics we were targeting, specifically instant throttle response and low-speed torque” than what a turbo could yield.

One of the more interesting features added to the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is the active exhaust, the first fully active system ever used on a Chrysler product.

The Hellcat also gets a new, selectable Driver Mode system, explained Russ Ruedisuelli, head of SRT and Motorsports engineering, which “allows a choice of shock settings, steering assist levels, horsepower, traction setting, auto transmission calibration and shift points. There are over 125 different settings.”

The 2015 Hellcat will be available with either a six-speed manual or a beefed up version of Chrysler’s eight-speed automatic.

What does that yield? That depends upon which of the two keys an owner will choose. The red key unlocks maximum power, according to Ruedisuelli, while the black one will be “limited” to just 500 horsepower.

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Ruedisuelli’s engineering team is still working out final specs but they promise to reach a minimum 600 horsepower and 575 lb-ft once the Hellcat screeches into showrooms later this year. That would put it within clawing distance of the new 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, although the Chevy sports car will be notable lighter.

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The Dodge will be available with either a six-speed manual or a beefed up version of Chrysler’s eight-speed automatic.

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Pricing has yet to be released but look for more details when pre-orders launch over the summer, suggested Dodge chief Kuniskis.

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6 Responses to “To Hell and Back: Dodge Unleashes 600+ HP Challenger SRT Hellcat”

  1. Jorge M. says:

    This would be a fun drag racer but I’m sure the price will make it primarily a “cash cow” for a niche market.

  2. Gary S. says:

    If they want to seriously compete in that market they better put more than 600hp in it. It should compete well with the outgoing CTS-V and should be close to the ZL-1 Camaro but the GT500 Mustang and the new Z06 will crush it. If it doesn’t run 10′s with drag radials and a tune it will also get beat by the regular C7 Corvette. New generation muscle cars are no joke, and many get modded to make ungodly hp and tq. 700rwhp is a minimum on the street if you want to run with the fast cars. I hope the SRT guys figure it out soon or they’ll just be making also-ran cars. I saw a new Viper get destroyed by a bolt on Nissan GTR and a heads/cam C6 Z06 from a 50 mph roll, it wasn’t even close. If you are going to make halo cars, make sure they are really fast.

  3. John says:

    American auto’s are garbage.no quality only crap.
    number 1 is Mercedes and Porsche
    number 2 is Honda and Toyota
    FORD means fix or repair daily.
    GM means government motors.
    Chrysler means I wish I could be a quality auto.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      Curiously, John, your perceptions are outdated. A few examples: ironically, GM topped Toyota in terms of the most recent JD Power & Associates Initial Quality Survey. In fact, Toyota has had the highest number of recalls of any automaker during five of the last six years and is second only to GM for 2014 to date. Ford has slipped in quality, according to JDPA, but the problems are largely: 1) consumer concerns with the convenience of the Sync system, and 2) with the drivability/comfort of Ford’s high-mileage dry-clutch DSG gearbox. While Toyota’s Lexus brand tops almost all quality studies (or battles with Porsche for tops), the Toyota brand itself has been slipping behind several rivals, including some GM brands, and its Scion marque is in the lower 1/3, according to Power. Mercedes, meanwhile, has been strong, but not spectacular in many recent surveys. You should also recognize that there has always been a big gap between luxury brands and mainstream brands.

      Paul A. Eisenstein
      Publisher, TheDetroitBureau.com

  4. Don Hirschberg says:

    An engine while actually developing 600 HP is consuming gasoline at the rate of fify (50) gallons per hour. Mother Nature (and the her Laws of Thermodynamics)don’t allow better.

  5. Chipper Sql says:

    Actually the Chevy SS (formerly Pontiac GXP)is more manageable and drivable than the Chrysler. The Chevy has a nice engine originally used in the Corvette that is a proven product.