Our rash prediction: In the decade hence when the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat appears on the collector car market, they’ll all have “low mileage” in their descriptions. And that will be true in 20 years, and 30 years and likely as long as private ownership of the automobile is still allowed.
And that’s not because there’s anything wrong with the car. In fact, we’re will to bet that 707-horsepower Challenger Hellcat will be a helluva ride, which is about as close to an absolute sure thing as you can get.
How could it not? When first we heard about the Hellcat, the SRT-developed Challenger was said to make “more than” 600 horsepower. Talk about selling short. Now they’re saying 707. The Hellcat V-8 takes the 6.2-liter Hemi and supercharges it, the first time a supercharged Hemi has been available from the factory.
We’ll parenthetically note that the second-generation 426 (or larger) Hemi has been seen with a tall Roots-type supercharger in everything from top fuel dragsters to flame and candy-painted custom cars, but those were aftermarket modifications. But as early as 2002, you could buy a Hemi crate engine, bolt on a Weiand 8-71 supercharger and make 750 horsepower with no internal modifications to the engine. However that’s another story.
Not that new Hellcat Hemi will be poking out of anyone’s hood, particularly that of the redesigned 2015 Dodge Challenger. The supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 is actually rather compact. Check out the underhood images in the Dodge SRT video. Well, that and the copious tire smoke that you can make with 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft or torque.
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with the Hellcat engine also comes standard with a sense of humor in the form of a pair of two key fobs, one red and one black. Start the engine with the red key fob and you get the full 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. Using the black key fob limits the engine to a mere 500 horsepower. That will increase the amount of time it will take for the valet parking kid to melt the rear tires down to slicks: Tred is dead.
And that’s the problem. No one—at least anyone with any sense of vehicular preservation—will turn either key fob over to a valet. That’s probably unfair to the great majority of responsible valet parkers, but it is what it is. We don’t see very many Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcats being used as daily drivers, and we also don’t expect very many to be rolling up the miles faster than 1230 feet at a time.
The problem is that there are not very many times that the full fury* of the Hellcat can be unleashed, if for no other reason than that it will attract too much attention to itself. When we spent a week with the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, we rarely put the hammer down. It was too loud and too fast. Hold the right pedal down for four seconds and it’s 60 miles per hour, and the sounds will set off every red and blue light bar within a half mile. And that was with only 580 horsepower.
Which brings up another point: Dodge/SRT brags the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is the The Most Powerful Muscle Car Ever. Take that, Camaro ZL1, with those 580 horses and just 556 lb-ft of torque. Ford’s 2015 Shelby GT500 weighs in at only 662 horsepower and 631 lb.-ft. of torque from its 5.8-liter supercharged V8. That’s not 707 horses.
Still, no matter how much things measure up in the locker room, there’s still little opportunity take it out and play with it, really use it, on any stretch of pavement that doesn’t come with a Christmas tree where it starts, or perhaps guys dressed in white holding a rainbow of flags at every turn in the road.
So we see the ad now: “low miles, garage kept, never driven in the rain.” On the other hand, you can hand us the red key fob any time you like. We’re willing to put miles on your 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. You know, just to prove ourselves wrong.
*Fury was a Plymouth.