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Auto blogTue, 20 May 2014 10:45:00 EST
Dodge has officially unveiled the most powerful vehicle to ever wear the Challenger name - the SRT Hellcat - complete with over 600 horsepower courtesy of a supercharged, 6.2-liter Hemi V8. It will be offered alongside the 485-hp Challenger SRT.
The new, force-induced V8 isn't just the most powerful ever fitted to the Challenger, it's the most powerful eight-cylinder Chrysler Group has ever built. Power figures aren't finalized, so expect to see "over 600 hp" bandied about quite a lot. That fury will be channeled through either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. Yes, over 600 ponies through an eight-speed auto. So far, the only vehicle we know of that delivers more output through that many gears is the as-yet untested Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Sadly, we don't have performance metrics just yet, although if this thing can't crack four seconds to 60 miles per hour, we'll be pretty surprised.
As is the theme nowadays, the 2015 Challenger SRT features a number of driving modes, governing power output, shift speeds for the 8AT, steering effort, traction control settings and suspension settings. There are three pre-programmed options - Default, Sport and Track - and a Custom mode that allows drivers to mix and match to their heart's content.
We love a good deal on high performance. It's what traditionally makes muscle cars so appealing - you get lots of speed, for not a lot of money. For 2015, Dodge has taken this to its logical extreme, offering its new 707-horsepower, supercharged, V8-powered Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat for just $59,900. For those wondering, that works out to just about $85 per horsepower, which when compared with a typical budget performance car, like the $24,995, 210-hp Volkswagen GTI ($119 per hp), demonstrates the Hellcat's astonishing value.
The information was revealed by a photo (click on the inset image to expand) taken at this week's Portland launch event (our man Seyth Miersma is just now on the ground and will have a full report on the madness that is the Hellcat soon) for the entire 2015 Challenger range, and reveals the Hellcat's price alongside its high-powered competitors from Ford and Chevrolet.
The discontinued 662-hp Mustang GT500 started at $56,000, while the 580-hp Camaro ZL1 starts off at $58K. Indeed, the only muscle car that outprices the Hellcat is the track-focused Camaro Z/28, a car that we're guessing could still wallop the Hellcat on the right piece of track, despite being down over 200 hp.
Say what you want about the Dodge Durango, but ever since it came on the scene in 1998, it has occupied its own niche in the SUV market - not too small, not too big, tough, able, not always the best on the road and not always the best off-road. If it were a football player, it would be a tight-end that can block and catch. If it were a hamburger - a double burger with cheese and bacon, but not the Whopper.
As part of a mid-cycle upgrade for what was already a very capable SUV that Chrysler introduced in 2011, and built on the same platform as the Mercedes GL-Class and Jeep Grand Cherokee, the 2014 Durango has gotten some refinements worth noting that have cleaned up its tailoring and toned up its body and powerplant. The result is an SUV that shows itself to be a very good value in a category full of sticker prices that can run away faster than a kid who's been told he has to take ballroom dancing lessons.
Chrysler executives showing us the new Durango made a special point to reiterate that the Dodge brand is not going away, as has been rumored after the company took the Ram and Viper - the cream of the brand - out from under the Dodge umbrella. Turns out Dodge has been the brand attracting the most young people (who knew?) and has a younger average age buyer than Honda. The Dodge brand historically has also attracted buyers who aren't exactly Phi-Beta Cappa, which some companies worry about. Chrysler not so much. Dodge buyers tend to be more the working, high-school-educated, community-college-educated backbone of the work force in America. If they keep coming to Dodge, the Durango is a pretty good piece of hardware to save up for.