Dodge takes performance to a whole new level with 600-plus horsepower Hellcat

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Only a month after its introduction of the new Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Shaker, the consolidated Dodge and SRT brands are taking street performance to a whole new level, rolling out the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. It will feature the most powerful V8 engine ever produced by the Chrysler Group—a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8.

This news might not be so welcome to some. Some wonder why such vehicles are even allowed on the streets of Pittsburgh. Others want cars above a certain horsepower to be confined to the tracks, or are concerned with wasting fuel.

You have to agree with them on some issues, however there will always be those who seek ever-increasing power in street legal vehicles. And many people do take their street legal vehicles out to the track.

“The new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is the ultimate performance muscle car,” said Tim Kuniskis, president and CEO, Dodge Brand, Chrysler Group LLC, in making the introduction. “Dodge is the Mainstream Performance brand, and now combined with SRT, we are able to unleash a true GT car with an all-new driver-focused interior and the TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission combined with the most powerful V8 Chrysler has ever produced. The Challenger Hellcat has been released!”

Production, however, won’t actually begin until later this fall.

The supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 Hellcat is a breakthrough engine featuring a forged-steel crankshaft with induction-hardened bearing surfaces. The result is a crank so well-engineered it can withstand firing pressures of 110 bar (1,595 psi) – the equivalent of five family sedans standing on each piston, every two revolutions. And its unique, specially tuned crank damper has been tested to 13,000 rpm.

High-strength, forged-alloy pistons – developed using advanced telemetry measurement – are coupled to powder-forged connecting rods with high-load-capacity bushings and diamond-like-carbon-coated piston pins.

The new supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 has premium-grade, heat-treated aluminum-alloy cylinder heads that are optimized for superior thermal conductivity. And its die-cast aluminum rocker covers are Hemi Orange.

The all-new V8 engine can be mated with an upgraded six-speed manual transmission or a beefy, new TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic – the first such gearbox ever offered in the Dodge Challenger SRT’s time-honored segment.

For the first time in Chrysler Group history, the all-new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with a Hellcat engine comes standard with two key fobs – red and black. The red key fob is the only key that can unlock the full horsepower and torque potential of the Challenger SRT Hellcat engine; while the black key fob limits the driver to a reduced engine output. This is a great feature if you could actually trust a younger driver behind the wheel, even with the reduced power.

If you’re worried about a parking attendant taking the Hellcat out for a spin, Dodge is also offering a new Valet Mode for the vehicle. When the Valet Mode is activated, the engine is immediately remapped to significantly reduce horsepower and torque. Similarly, the rpm band is limited to be under 4,000 rpm.

The transmission locks out access to first gear and upshifts earlier than normal, and will treat the manual shifter position the same as the drive position. In addition, traction, steering and suspension are all set to the “street” settings. If you opt for the automatic, the paddle shifters are also disabled with the Valet Mode.

The vehicle’s launch control is disabled and electronic stability control is enabled to a “full-on” position, too. Best of all, a driver can activate and deactivate Valet Mode with a four-digit pin number they create.

The Valet Mode is a feature that is well over due. And it’s a feature that will likely gain significantly in popularity.

Certainly, the new Hellcat engine is not for everybody. But for Dodge and SRT fans, it’s simply another technological breakthrough for two brands with a storied performance history.

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