2015 DODGE CHALLENGER SRT HELLCAT

words by samuel cuthbert with PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF DODGE

 

Over six hundred horsepower from the Chrysler Group's supercharged 6.2 liter Hemi V8. That's the headline hitting the automotive press on the unveiling of this new Hellcat. It's worth shouting about I suppose, as it's the most powerful V8 the group has ever built. What a time to be alive as a car enthusiast, having access to power like this alongside a factory warranty, at what people are speculating might be around $70,000 (no official word on pricing as of yet). Then there's the small fact that it sounds absolutely incredible.

The Hellcat adopts the new fashion of offering the driver a number of driving modes (Default, Sport, and Track) then adds the Custom mode to let you fiddle to your heart's desire with shift speeds for the new 8-speed automatic, steering weight, and the traction control and suspension settings. It rides on 20" eight-spoke wheels wrapped in Pirelli PZero Nero rubber with 15.4 inch Brembos tasked with reigning in all that power. The hood scoop, flanked by functional air extractors, and a vertical-split grille (a nod to the '71 Challenger) with some supercharged badges are the notable exterior highlights for the Hellcat.

They also went with Ford's idea of a valet key along side the main red key, with the black valet key limiting the power output of the car, while the red key gives you the full beans. Eric Mayne, a spokesperson for Chrysler Group, noted that they expect a fairly even split on transmission choice for the new Hemi-powered  Challengers, with around 60 percent of buyers predicted to opt for the automatic. Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis reckons it's a big step up from the previous model:

"The new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is the ultimate performance muscle car. A true GT car with an all new driver-focused interior"

Well, really, what do you expect him to say? I certainly seems like there is substance to the prideful description of the interior, with the new 7-inch TFT screen displaying some potentially interesting information to the driver, as illustrated in the album. That functionality alongside the new driver modes, and general leap forward in cabin quality makes me feel like Tim isn't exaggerating too much here. As for the performance, we'll only be able to judge that later in the year as it will head up endless comparison tests against it's rivals new offerings from Ford and Chevrolet. The first cars will roll out of the Ontario plant in Q3 this year, so we don't have too long to wait.