Why the Charger Hellcat can't be ordered with a manual transmissionSun, 16 Nov 2014 15:02:00 EST
Fans of truly irreverent amounts of horsepower will find lots to love in the form of the 2015 Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat models. Both of them send 707 ridiculous horsepower to the rear wheels; the only question is whether you want your absurdity delivered with two or four doors. Oh, and whether or not you want the option of a manual transmission.
If you prefer rowing your own gears, the choice is made for you; there is no manual gearbox option available on the Charger Hellcat, or any Charger model at all, for that matter. Wonder why? Well, besides the fact that almost nobody – sorry, clutch fans, but it's true – would choose to buy a Charger with a manual transmission, that is? The answer, according to an industry insider in a post written on Jalopnik's Opposite Lock forum, is the floorpan.
It's probably not a surprise to most of our readers that the Dodge Challenger and Charger share a large portion of their chassis structure, which is codenamed LX at Chrysler, but there are still some significant differences under the skin due to the shorter wheelbase and two-door coupe bodyshell of the Challenger, as opposed to the sedan shape of the Charger. One of the differences is the floorpan, the huge chunk of sheetmetal that makes up the floor of the car and props up such essential items as the car's seats.
According to user doodon2whls, the Dodge Challenger was crash tested way back in 2008 when it first hit the market with a floorpan stamping that can accommodate a manual transmission. The Charger, though, was crash tested and approved by the government two years earlier with the automatic-transmission floorpan stamping only, which means it would need to be completely recertified for sale in the US, with new crash tests included, if Dodge decided to offer it with a six-speed manual. That's an expensive proposition, especially considering how few manual models Dodge would ever sell.
Good thing, then, that the eight-speed automatic transmission that Dodge pairs with pretty much all of its rear-wheel-drive vehicles is such a good unit. Having tested numerous Charger and Challenger models in all states of tune and with every available transmission option, we're here to tell you that you'll be plenty pleased with the Hellcat's 707 horsepower, whether it's being channeled through an automatic or manual transmission.
By Jeremy Korzeniewski
See also: 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat en route to dealers, Chrysler almost smothered the Hellcat before it lived, Mopar maneuvers into SEMA with a multitude of modified models.