Drive Type: Automatic
Model: Ram 1500
Number of Cylinders: 8
Warranty: No warranty
Los Angeles, California, United States
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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.
Striving for improved fuel economy, we already knew that Chrysler will begin using a nine-speed automatic transmission in some of its new products this year, but what we haven't known is that volume at which this gearbox will be used. According to Bloomberg, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been quoted as saying that the automaker expects to sell close to 200,000 units equipped with this new transmission in 2013. Those gear-rich trannies will be spread out across three models, consisting of the redesigned Chrysler 200, the still-unnamed Jeep Liberty replacement and the Dodge Dart.
This transmission should play a pivotal role in making Chrysler vehicles more competitive in their respective segments. Just for comparison, one of the Dart's key competitors, the Toyota Corolla, still uses a four-speed automatic, and a previous report indicates that the next-generation 200 could get up to 38 miles per gallon on the highway, which is better than most non-hybrid midsize sedans on the market. Marchionne says that the new Jeep model is expected during the second quarter of this year, but there is no word as to when the new 200 or nine-speed Dart will debut, but clearly Dodge would like to have the transmission in its compact yesterday. As for that volume figure, it definitely doesn't seem out of reach since the Dart, Liberty and 200 combined for a total of more than 225,000 units in 2012.
How many more gears can we expect in future cars? Probably not many more, since the CEO of transmission-builder ZF, Stefan Sommer, previously stated that nine speeds was the "natural limit" for transmissions.
Early last month, we reported on Chrysler issuing a preemptive, proactive recall for about 25,000 units of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. The issue revolved around a brake system that wasn't causing any actual problems, but delivered an unsatisfactory brake feel, so Auburn Hills called in a good 25,000 of SUVs around the world, including 18,700 in the United States.
Now Chrysler, having apparently determined that the brake problem on its sport utes is actually much bigger than it initially realized, has drastically broadened the scope of the recall. As a result, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall for precisely 655,354 examples of the Grand Cherokee and Durango, covering the 2011 through 2014 model years. In addition, Chrysler is recalling 42,380 units in Canada, 21,376 in Mexico and 159,685 overseas.
The problem which Chrysler found revolves around the brake booster, whose center shell has been found to be subject to corrosion, allowing water to get into the brake system. That water in turn could freeze, preventing the brakes from working as well as expected.