Chrysler's newly (re)anointed performance brand Dodge has dropped a bomb on the American muscle car segment and it comes in the form of the 2015 Challenger SRT. Dodge has taken the reigns as the in-house tire slayer division again now that SRT is no longer a standalone brand and it comes correct with the highly-anticipated 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8 engine. Dodge didn't disclose how much horsepower this new supercharged V8 will produce but said it's north of 600 ponies. While numbers aren't solid, the Hellcat engine is promised to be Chrysler's most powerful V8 engine ever built. This puts the 2015 Challenger SRT in the same neighborhood as its super car sibling, the Viper, but does so minus two cylinders. The 2014 SRT Viper relies on an 8.4-liter V10 engine that is rated at 640 horsepower but don't be surprised if the Challenger SRT creeps close to that.
This new supercharged Hellcat V8 engine also catapults the Challenger SRT into Mustang GT500 and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 territory. At 661 and 580 horsepower, respectively, the 2015 Challenger SRT is expected to split the difference between its new competition. The 6.4-liter V8 engine that's currently available will live on for 2015 but sees a boost in output, rising from 470 hp to 485 while torque numbers climb from 470 lb-ft to 475 lb-ft. As for transmission options, a six-speed manual or a new eight-speed automatic transmission will be offered. The eight-speed auto is even offered on the Hellcat engine and can handle 30 percent more torque than any other eight-speed that Chrysler offers.
With great power comes great responsibility and Dodge knows that. This is why every 2015 Challenger SRT with a Hellcat V8 under the hood comes with a red and black key fob. The red key fob allows the Hellcat to reach its full potential while the black key fob limits power to 500 horsepower. To engage this so-called "safe mode," you need to enter a four-digit PIN and then put the car in Valet Mode. This will limit the engine from turning more than 4000 rpm while disabling launch control, the paddle shifting function on automatic models, and Drive Mode selections. Besides that, this function ensures that no matter how hard the valet or teenager tries, stability control stays on.
Stopping the most powerful V8 engine ever produced by Chrysler Group takes the biggest brakes ever used by Chrysler Group and these come in the form of 15.4-inch Brembos up front. These can also be added on the regular Challenger SRT Track Package, too. All Challenger SRT models roll along on 20-inch forged wheels and are wrapped in 245/45ZR20 rubber while the Hellcat calls for 275/40ZR20 Pirelli P Zero Nero four-season tires. One last interesting feature on the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT equipped with the Hellcat V8 engine comes in the form of the air intake seen in the driver's side headlight. This was done to help with aerodynamics (the speedometer does go up to 200 mph, for what it's worth) and enable more air to get to the engine.
Dodge hasn't announced pricing for the 2015 Challenger lineup yet but we expect the SRT Hellcat model to sit somewhere near $55,000. Production is set to kick off later this year.
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