The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is offered with the buyer’s choice of a 6-speed manual transmission that was borrowed from the Dodge Viper and a newly designed 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic. While most people expected that the self-shifting transmission would be the more popular of the two gearboxes – early sales have told a different story as the manual transmission has outsold the automatic by a ratio of about 55/45.
The New TorqueFlite Arrives
Since the information on the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat began trickling out, the majority of marketing attention has included the new 8-speed automatic and there are plenty of good reasons for that. First and foremost, the TorqueFlite automatic was the transmission used for the NHRA certified quarter mile times of 11.2 with stock tires and 10.8 with drag radials. Those are smoking fast times and they can be achieved with less experience than a comparable Challenger with the 6-speed manual so for those looking to go fast, the TorqueFlite is the way to go.
Next, there is the fact that the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with the 8-speed automatic offers an impressive EPA rating of 22 miles per gallon on the highway. This fuel economy level doesn’t allow buyers to avoid a Gas Guzzler Tax, but it is still a mighty impressive figure for the 6th most powerful production car in the world.
So the 8-speed automatic transmission makes the Hellcat Challenger quicker (in theory), easier to drive and more efficient than the manually shifted models – why are people buying the manual model 10% more often? Because for the first buyers, the manual transmission is just plain more fun to drive.
The Manual Transmission Still Rocks
I have had the extreme pleasure of driving the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with each of the transmissions and were I ordering a 707hp Challenger right now, it would have the 6-speed manual transmission. The automatic transmission might make for the quicker stock drag racer, but that doesn’t replace the added fun to drive factor that you can only get with a proper manual transmission. I love driving a manual transmission and I believe that banging my own gears is worth what little compromise comes with the third pedal. Obviously, the majority of the first buyers of the Hellcat Challenger feel the same way, with 55% of them opting for the 6-speed manual.
The TorqueFlite Should Even the Score
While the majority of first buyers of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat are opting for the 6-speed manual transmission, it is expected that the figures could even out as times goes on. These hardcore first-run buyers are more likely to opt for the more traditional manual transmission, but as time goes on, expect those folks who are focused more on going fast to buy their Hellcat with an automatic and even the numbers out.