Chevrolet has the supercharged Camaro ZL1, which boasts 580-hp, and Ford has the Shelby GT500 Mustang that wrings 662-hp and 631 lb.-ft. of torque from a supercharged 5.8-liter V8 (let’s leave the Z06 ‘Vette out of it in the spirit of fairness). I am sorry to say that I have had the pleasure of driving neither of these cars. I have driven various highly modified late model Camaros and Mustangs but never one of these high-priced (approximately $75k) pavement pounders. However, I have had the distinct pleasure of getting behind the wheel of several SRT-8 and modified R/T Challengers and I have to say that I was moderately impressed. Having said that, let me say that Chrysler plans to go even farther with a 640+hp supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi powered 2015 Challenger Hellcat.
The Chrysler executive speed branch, known as the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) division, has worked diligently to create a Challenger that overpowers even the feared Viper, which has flirted with supercar status for over a decade.
In an interview published in the May 2014 issue of Hot Rod Magazine, SRT chief executive officer Ralph Giles said, “We could have a situation where, you know — we may have a situation — where the flagship car is not then most powerful car in our arsenal … how do we explain that to ourselves? So, we have an internal horsepower race as well as an external one.”
This statement, combined with spy photos and some leaked technical data have led industry experts to believe that the Hellcat will be offered as a special performance package in addition to the standard 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT-8. The Hellcat will feature a smaller (by .2-liters) 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi that would need to generate at least 640-hp and 600 lb.-ft. of torque in order to best the current 8.3-liter V10 Viper model. The spy photos indicate that the Hellcat will be equipped with a redesigned grille area with larger air intakes to accommodate the supercharged air induction system and its increased temperatures. A rear-differential upgrade is also planned for the Hellcat package, which is expected to come with a sticker price of around $75k (comparable to a Camaro ZL1, Z28, or Ford Mustang Shelby GT500).
With the introduction of the supercharged Hellcat looming in the not too distant future, Dodge sports car enthusiasts are looking for the SRT group to step up to the plate in offering a supercharged version of the Viper. Aftermarket production facilities, such as Hennessey Performance Engineering, already perform enhancements on individually owned Vipers, specializing in supercharged and multi-turbocharged packages that exceed 1,000-hp. A factory built Viper that resembles the GTS-R competition version could enable the Viper to gain ground on the ever elusive and ultra-powerful Chevrolet Corvette Z06 supercar.
The 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat was rumored to debut during the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit back in January but it didn’t happen. With the end of the spring auto show season drawing to a close with the New York International Auto Show (April 16 through 27) the rumor mill is again beginning to turn. Could we see the official debut of the Hellcat in the Big Apple? Information is closely guarded — at any rate, look for the introduction of the potent Detroit built Hellcat soon. They are expected to hit the streets in the fall of 2014.