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.”
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.
“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.
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.”
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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