There are rumours swirling about that Chrysler is building a new 6.2-litre supercharged V8, one that rivals the 8.4-litre V10 that's in their SRT Viper. The new V8, known as the Hellcat, is destined for the next version of the Dodge Challenger SRT, effectively nudging it into supercar territory.
The Challenger is due for a refresh, it hasn't experienced any major changes during it's 7 or so years in Chrysler's line-up.
Chrysler seems to love giving cool names to their engines, which instantly leads to hype, and the perception of almost magical powers. A few years ago they released a fuel efficient four-cylinder called the Hurricane, but the Hellcat is way at the other end of the spectrum.
Of course, Chrysler is staying mum, not even confirming the Hellcat's existence, but there have been plenty of leaks. Most notably, SRT president and CEO Ralph Gilles had this to say during an interview with Hot Rod magazine: “We have a situation where, you know – we may have a situation – where the flagship car is not the most powerful car in our arsenal; how do we explain that to ourselves?” He then added that there is an “internal horsepower race” going on at Chrysler and that the SRT will focus on “usable horsepower” and improving the vehicle's power-to-weight ratio.
Rumour has it that the Hellcat's output will be in the range of 580 to 640 horsepower, with as much as 640 lb-ft of torque, comparable to the Viper and possibly outshining it, and definitely supercar material. This 6.2-litre V8 might even break records, as the most powerful V8 ever factory produced. It's expected that it would be paired to an eight-speed automatic, though a manual transmission may offer even more torque.
Of course, there's already a car in Detroit with an engine that rivals that of the Viper, the 662 hp Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, which has a 5.8-litre supercharged V8. It's on it's way out though, leaving no natural local competitor to a souped-up Challenger with a Hellcat engine, except maybe the Camaro ZL1/Z28. If it's priced accordingly, it should run around $75,000, and offer more power than it's $100,000 Viper sibling. Now that's a deal!
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca