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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Frank Washington | 9/10/2014, 11:35 p.m.
We came out of Turn 9 into a long arc that seemed more like a straight-away at the Portland International ...

We came out of Turn 9 into a long arc that seemed more like a straight-away at the Portland International Raceway and hit 105 mph before braking to enter Turn 10. We were driving the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat; well we were actually riding with a professional driver to get a feel for what this Dodge Challenger SRT could do in expert hands.

One thing was clear, this 1.9 mile, 12 turn asphalt and concrete road racing track really wasn’t configured for the likes of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. That is the official name for this muscle car but look for it to be condensed to Hellcat which is a perfect fit for its personality. The car will go on sale toward the end of 2014.

The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat had a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that made 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. It could be mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a bulked up eight-speed automatic gear-box capable of funneling the massive torque that the engine made to the rear wheels and onto the pavement.

At the track, we had the eight-speed automatic. The gear box didn’t matter though; the performance of this car rivaled that of some supercars which cost 10 to 20 times more than its $60,990 base price. Some numbers have not been finalized like the SRT Hellcat’s zero to 60 mph time but that is expected to be in the low three seconds.

Top speed is 199 mph, the supercharger can pump 30,000 liters of air into the engine in one minute and wide open that engine will gulp 1.5 gallons of gasoline every 60 seconds, draining the 19.1 gallon fuel tank in 13 minutes. But driven normally, it has been reported that the Hellcat could get 20 mpg on the highway though official EPA numbers had not been released at the time of the test drive.

The Hellcat engine is not simply a bump up of the last Challenger SRT powerplant, 91 percent of its parts are new. A deep-skirt cast-iron block with cross-bolted main bearing caps, unique aluminum alloy heads with hemispherical combustion chambers and a screw-type IHI supercharger are at its core.

Dodge has managed to corral the Challenger Hellcat’s power when needed. First the car will come with a pair of key FOBs, one red the other black. The red one releases all of the car’s oomph but the black one will hold output to 500 horsepower.

Then there will be valet mode that holds rpms to 4,000, limiting horsepower and torque output, it locks out first gear and it prohibits upshifts earlier than normal. What’s more, traction, steering and suspension controls are set to their street settings; paddle shifters, drive modes and launch control are disabled and ESC is enabled to full-on. It takes a four digit code to activate valet mode as well turn it off.

This safeguards your Hellcat from free-spirted valets or from anybody else taking it for an unauthorized full-power joy ride.