In case you somehow missed it, Dodge let a big, loud and very red cat out of the bag yesterday when they announced the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat. The Hellcat is the epitome of what the Challenger can be, with more power, more grip, an all-new transmission and multi-mode suspension, among other things. There is no doubt it will appease the Mopar fans, but is it also enough to dethrone the Camaro as the performance king of the pony car segment?
The Hellcat is much like the standard 2015 Challenger, save for some performance pieces and of course, the new supercharged 6.2-liter engine. Dodge says this force-fed V8 is the most powerful eight-cylinder engine the brand has ever produced, churning out “over 600 hp” (SRT hasn’t confirmed exact power figures). Power will be sent through either a six-speed manual transmission or, interestingly, a brand new eight-speed automatic unit.
The latest Challenger also features a variety of driving modes which change the car’s shift speeds, power output, steering feel, traction control and suspension settings. Drivers can choose between three pre-set modes, Default, Sport and Track or a fourth mode with their own custom settings. It also gets wide 20-inch lightweight alloy wheels wrapped in Pirelli PZero tires and 15.4 inch- two-piece Brembo brakes.
As far as power goes, the Hellcat has the Camaro beat. However the Challenger is rather hefty at about 4,160 lbs, and that’s just for the standard car, Dodge has yet to release the official curb weight of the presumably heavier Hellcat. The Camaro ZL1 weighs 4,120 lbs, while the standard V8 SS weighs 3,908 lbs and the athletic Z/28 tips the scales at 3,837 lbs. So the Challenger, no matter how you slice it, is the heavier machine.
At the drag strip, the Hellcat might be able to clean up when pitted against the somewhat less powerful ZL1. However through the turns, we think this would end up being an interesting match up. The Hellcat has the bigger brakes and more power, but the ZL1 has GM’s trick Magnetic Ride suspension, which could be worth a second or two on the circuit.
We don’t think it would be much of a race if the Hellcat lined up against the Z/28 at the start line of a proper road course, but that isn’t quite apples-to-apples. A comparison test between one of the Chevys and the Mopar is bound to come out eventually, but in the meantime, let us know what you think about this latest offering from Dodge in the comments.