Mercedes M278 engine
Patrick Rall's picture

The Dodge Hellcat Lucifer Video is an April Fool's Joke

A video was released by the folks at Hot Rod Magazine showing what they claimed to be the next generation Dodge Hellcat engine, but this “Lucifer” engine is actually a Mercedes Benz M278 engine from an older AMG model that is being used as part of an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke.
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For as long as I have been covering the auto industry, I have been hearing about how the end of the V8 era is near as electric vehicle technology improves and fuel prices soar – even though EV sales are flat, gas prices have been nice and low for months now and new V8 engines are far more efficient than past versions. With those never-ending rumors of the demise of the big V8, the folks at Hot Rod put together a short video detailing what they claimed was the replacement for the Hellcat Hemi in Dodge Challenger and Charger and many people believed that the video was offering up legitimate information.

In reality, the folks at Hot Rod were simply pranking all of the people who didn’t recognize the engine in the video as the Mercedes Benz M278 twin turbo V8 – or those who didn’t realize that this next gen Hellcat replacement piece was posted early on the morning of April 1st. In the 4 days since that video was posted, I have seen countless people on social media post the video, insisting that we were all getting a first look at the next great Dodge engine, but I am here to let those people down gently.

The Hellcat Lucifer Engine
The engine shown in the video is supposed to be the next generation Dodge performance engine, which would serve as the replacement for the 707hp Hellcat Hemi. Now, if Chrysler had a twin turbo engine set to replace the Hellcat Hemi, do you supposed that it would be kept in what looks to be a stairwell, at a point when the company hadn’t made any announcements about such an engine? Do we really believe that Chrysler would have a new twin turbo, next generation engine with more than 800 horsepower and they wouldn’t talk about it at all – even after a major publication made a video about it?

Well, you shouldn’t believe either of those things, because what we saw in that video wasn’t the next generation Dodge performance engine. It was actually a Mercedes Benz engine from the M278 family. This engine is a twin turbo V8, but it is not a Dodge engine – it is the engine used in the likes of the 2011 Mercedes Benz S550, the 2012 AMG E63 and the 2012 AMG SLK55. It is a high performance engine, with power levels climbing into the 557hp range, but it does not have 800 horsepower, it does not run on a mixture of ethanol and gasoline and it will not power the next Dodge Viper…or the next Dodge anything. They even went so far in the video as to cover the big “AMG” logos with pieces of paper, along with removing some of the air intake system components. The image at the top of this article shows what the M278 engine looks like on display at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show.

While we most certainly could see a high performance twin turbo engine under the hood of various Dodge vehicles in the coming years and that engine could have more than 800hp, that engine is most certainly not going to be a Mercedes Benz engine that was introduced back in 2010.

Click here for a look at the Hot Rod video and the Lucifer engine, and pay close attention to the similarities between this April Fool’s Day video engine and the AMG engine in the images shown above.


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