2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat readies for launch

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

When you’re packing 600 horsepower, naming your engine after the U.S. Navy’s iconic carrier-based World War II fighter is a good place to start. Dodge is calling the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 the Hellcat and stuffing it under the hood, appropriately enough, of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat tops the previous top cat in the Challenger line, the  Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, by 130 horsepower—though raised to 485 horsepower for the 2015 Challenger SRT—and lags behind the V-10-powered Dodge Viper by only a mere 40 horses.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat engine

There’s no plastic shroud over the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat engine.

The Hellcat V-8 is Dodge/SRT’s first foray into supercharging, and the engine is made to take it, built around a forged-steel crankshaft with induction-hardened bearing surfaces. Dodge claims the crank can stand the “equivalent of five family sedans standing on each piston, every two revolutions,” as if that’s something it will be called upon to do.

The Hellcat also has high-strength, forged-alloy pistons with powder-forged connecting rods with high-load-capacity bushings and diamond-like-carbon-coated piston pins…all of which should be up to handling those five family sedans, or what’s the point?

The supercharger used on the Hellcat engine,380cc/rev blower, includes integral charge coolers with an integrated electronic bypass valve limiting boost pressure to 11.6 psi. Special coatings allow tighter tolerances between the rotors, reducing internal air leakage for improved compressor performance.

Air enters intake system via an “Air Catcher” inlet port which replaces the driver’s-side inboard marker light, going into a twin-inlet, eight-liter air box. A 92-mm throttle body is the largest ever used in a Chrysler Group vehicle.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat intake

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat intake port replaces a decorative lamp in the grille. (click to enlarge)

Fuel lines to feed the beast are a full half inch in diameter. At full throttle the fuel tank can be sucked dry in a mere 13 minutes. The engine has massive lubricating requirements, met with a large-nosed crank driving a high-flow gerotor oil pump with a lubrication circuit that includes eight high-flow jets bathing the bottom of the pistons with oil. A high-capacity oil/air heat exchanger keeps oil temperature down, for example, when driving on a road course. Dodge claims that engine cooling is adequate for “20 laps of a grueling 3.1-mile road course at an ambient temperature of 100 degrees.” They know because they’ve done it. Some people’s jobs are more fun than yours.

Quashing any suspicion that the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmissions might not be up to more rigorous applications is that Dodge is using it behind the Hellcat V-8. Take that, skeptic. Actually, the eight-speed auto has been beefed up by “adding pinion gears, one each in the 1st and 3rd gear sets, and five more clutch-pack disks – two in clutch E and one each in clutches A, C and D.”

For those who’d rather stir their own, however, the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat will also be available with a six-speed manual transmission.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat 8.4 inch U-Connect Performance display

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat 8.4 inch U-Connect Performance display

Also new for SRT models is a Drive Mode system with three modes, Default, Sport and Track. The functions affected include controlling horsepower, transmission shift speeds, steering, automatic transmission paddle shifters, traction control and suspension settings.

All the power in the world wouldn’t help if it blew out the rear end every time it was put to the ground. The new rear axle includes welded ring gears, shot-peened gear material, hardened shims, four-pinion differential and a four-point mounting system.

The rear axle isn’t just for straight line application. An asymmetric limited-slip differential allows for unique bias-ratio tuning for on- and off-throttle behavior for improved grip, stability and steering response for hard acceleration coming out of corners with the differential tightening for stability and discouraging oversteer.

An asymmetric limited-slip differential allows for unique bias-ratio tuning for on- and off-throttle behavior. This serves to enhance grip, stability and steering response, enabling smooth power delivery for hard acceleration on corner exits. When trail-braking, the differential further tightens to stabilize the car and prevent oversteer.

The last link in getting power to the ground is wheels and tires, so the SRT Hellcat equipment list also includes 20 x 9.0-inch forged-aluminum wheels with a choice of 245/45ZR20 all-season or three-season Goodyear tires. Optional on the Challenger SRT Hellcat are 20 x 9.5-inch, lightweight forged-aluminum wheels with a Brass Monkey/dark bronze finish. Yes, you read that right. The anti-lock braking system, stability control and traction control systems are tuned for the SRT/Hellcat applications and can be reconfigured for specific tire and powertrain applications.

More go power requires more stop power, and Dodge/SRT gives the Hellcat engine the largest front-brake package ever offered on any SRT vehicle, with all-new 15.4-inch Brembo two-piece rotors with six-piston calipers.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Naturally, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat driver wants to be seen, and that they will with an aluminum hood with a larger power bulge with a dedicated cold air patterned after that of first Viper coupe. The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat also has dual air extractors to reduce underhood heat and reduced air turbulence in the engine compartment.

The hood is body color unless it’s in the optional Satin Black. The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat gets a larger front splitter for maximum front end downforce. The Challenger SRT Hellcat is differentiated from the rest of the Challenger lineup by “SUPERCHARGED” fender badges.

Not very many naval aviators got to fly the F4F Hellcat, and the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. Anyone, however, can visit the official SRT Hellcat website. Like the car itself, we recommend it. In the meantime, prepare for launch.