3 Ways Dodge could Improve the Hellcat Challenger, Charger for 2018
The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat are both relatively unrivaled in terms of real world performance capabilities, with only the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 posing a real challenge for the coupe while the 707hp Mopar sedan continues to be unrivaled by anything with four doors. The Hellcat Challenger and Charger are incredible performance machines from the factory and they have proven to be even more impressive with relatively minor aftermarket modifications, so those Hellcat owners who demand better performance can gain that extra power through a variety of channels.
However, even without any real competition for the Hellcat Challenger or Hellcat Charger, it is likely that Dodge will want to continue to improve the performance attributes of these two Mopar machines. There has been no word from FCA about changes coming to the 707hp Challenger or Charger for 2018, but based on some other 2018 model year vehicles, there are a few simple features which could go a long way in making the Hellcat cars even more impressive without adding more power.
A Wide Body Package
The new drag race-ready Dodge Demon will come with a factory wide body package, but there have been plenty of spy shots showing what appears to be a Hellcat Challenger with similar flared wheel openings. It has long been rumored that the Hellcat Challenger would get a wide body package and since the company has spent the time and money developing the composite flares and the unique sheet metal for the new quarter mile machine, it would make sense for Dodge to offer a similar wide body package for the 707hp Hellcat Challenger.
Going to a wide body package would allow Dodge to equip the Hellcat Challenger with much wider tires from the factory. The 275-wide Pirelli tires are one of the few components which owners do not love, so going to a wider tire would do away with some of the most common complaints. These wider tires would help the Challenger Hellcat put power to the wheels more efficiently, but they would also allow the car to handle and brake better.
The problem with this idea is that so far, Dodge has seemingly only developed the wide body components for the Challenger, so they would need to come up with a similar design for the Charger – but an optional wide body package would improve the Hellcat cars simply by making space for much wider tires.
The Torque Reserve System
The new Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is powered by the supercharge 6.2L Hemi from the Hellcat cars and, like the new Demon, the Trackhawk features the Torque Reserve system. This system improves power levels at launch by adjusting the spark timing, the fuel delivery and the supercharger bypass valve to allow the driver to “brake boost” the vehicle.
For example, when a current Hellcat Challenger or Charger launches at the drag strip, the engine is producing roughly no boost prior to launching and when the car does launch, the engine is making around 100lb-ft of torque. When you hold the Challenger or Charger Hellcat in place and ease into the throttle, it will not build boost and when you let off of the brakes to launch, that is the point at which it begins to add boost pressure to the engine. The time between the launch and the point at which the Hellcat Hemi is making enough boost to build big power is commonly known as boost lag, but the Torque Reserve system reduces that by a great deal. On the other hand, the Challenger Demon leaves the line around 8.3 pounds of boost which results in a launch torque level of roughly 534lb-ft. Since the Hellcat Challenger has less power, those torque and boost levels with the Torque Reserve system would likely be lower, but even with “only” 400lb-ft of torque on launch – it would make a Hellcat car with the Torque Reserve system considerably quicker than one without it.
With this technology in use in the 2018 Challenger Demon and the 2018 Jeep Trackhawk, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for the company to not include it for the 2018 model year Hellcat Challenger and Charger – unless they want to keep that feature exclusive to the other two models for the 2018 model year.
One of the key advantages of the drag-ready Challenger Demon is that is has a lightened up interior with manual adjusted seats devoid of heated or cooled surfaces and a minimal sound system with as few speakers as possible. While plenty of Hellcat owners love the loaded interior of their Mopar muscle cars, there are Hellcat owners who could do without things like leather/power/heated/cooled front seats or a premium sound system. For someone who daily drives their car, those are great features of a 700+ horsepower vehicle, but for someone who is focused solely on performance, the fancy seats and sound system of the 2015-2017 Hellcat cars just add weight and expense.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any idea if Dodge will make these changes for 2018, but there have long been rumors that the 707hp Hellcat Challenger would get a wide body kit with bigger tires and with the other supercharged 2018 models coming with the Torque Reserve system, it seems like a no-brainer to add it to the Hellcat cars. However, it seems less likely that Dodge will offer a stripped out interior for the Hellcat Challenger and Charger, but it seems like there is most certainly a market for a package similar to the older SRT Core package for the Challenger, Charger and Chrysler 300.