I Think I Heard a Hellcat Hemi Challenger - and It Sounded Awesome
Living in the Metro Detroit area affords me the luxury of seeing a great many test “mules” from both the Detroit automaker and foreign competitors who operate in the area and among those many mules spotted over the past year are the Dodge Challengers with their front and rear black camo. These are the cars which many people assume are the next generation models with a slightly revised front and rear end, but more importantly – many people believe that quite a few of these test cars are powered by the new Hellcat Hemi.
When I first saw the Challenger test mule last night, I was looking at it through an older VW van from the high riding vantage point of my Dodge Ram. The Challenger was two lanes over with a barrier of slower moving cars in the closer lane preventing me from getting a picture of the car, but when that lane of traffic began to move, it let out a grumble that makes me almost certain that this is a Hellcat Hemi test car. I have driven the Challenger R/T and Challenger SRT8 extensively and I can see without any question that this test car was significantly louder and raspier than any Challenger I’ve ever driven. It had a deep, low grumble at idle that you don’t get with either of the current Challenger V8 engines and as it accelerated at normal traffic speeds, it was most certainly louder than any production Challenger driving through traffic. In fact, if almost seemed louder at medium speeds and what I would presume was no better than mid throttle than the current production Challengers are at wide open throttle. This Challenger mule sounded nasty and with a collection of basic economy cars grouped around it, there was no question that this sound was coming from the camouflaged Challenger.
I love the modern Dodge Challenger, but I’ve never been particularly happy with the exhaust volume of this brawny muscle car. The current Challenger SRT is powered by a 470 horsepower, 6.4L V8 that sounds great under hard throttle, but it is still quieter than the less powerful Boss 302 Mustang. This is due in part to the fact that the Challenger has cylinder deactivation so if the exhaust is super loud, the Challenger SRT would sound like a loud 4-cylinder car when the MDS kicks in and we all know that no one wants their muscle car to sound like a boyracer Honda Civic.
I would be surprised if the next generation Dodge Challenger or SRT Cuda with the 6.2L supercharged Hellcat Hemi has cylinder deactivation so there is no concern about that 4-cylinder nasal drone through loud exhaust. If that is the case, the SRT team should be able to equip the Hellcat Hemi powered Challenger and Cuda with an exhaust system that allows these muscle cars to sound like a proper 600 horsepower beast. Should the car I heard last night be a next gen Dodge Challenger with the Hellcat Hemi with factory exhaust, the Chrysler Group will soon be selling the best sounding muscle car in America. Here’s hoping.
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