According to the Chrysler Group gurus at Allpar, the company has been hard at work developing a new 6.2L Hemi V8 that will call upon a supercharger to create vastly more power than has ever been offered in the Dodge Challenger. Early on, the rumors of the new Hellcat Hemi indicated that this new 6.2L mill would pack somewhere in the area of 500 to 550 horsepower to allow the next generation Challenger to compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the pre-2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang but since the modern Cobra Mustang has been injected with 662 horsepower – the rumors surrounding the Hellcat powered Hemi Challenger have intensified. Current information suggests that the new 6.2L Hemi could offer anywhere from 580 to 640 horsepower with the majority of those rumors leaning towards the 600hp range.
The next generation Dodge Challenger is expected to make its formal debut at the 2014 New York International Auto Show next spring as a 2015 model year vehicle. It is also believed that the Chrysler Group’s high performance Street and Racing Technology (SRT) group will introduce a unique ultra high performance version of the Challenger named the SRT Cuda around the same time and should the rumors about the Cuda and the Hellcat be true – we would fully expect that the Cuda would pack this powerful new Hemi in addition to the next generation Challenger.
One possibility that has been discussed around the automotive water cooler is that the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT will pack the new 6.2L supercharged Hellcat Hemi V8 with somewhere in the area of 580 to 600 horsepower while the SRT Cuda would offer more power from the same engine. While the SRT version of the Challenger is a trimline, the Cuda is expected to be an SRT branded vehicle just like the current SRT Viper. The new Viper offers 640 horsepower and if the SRT Cuda packed 640 horsepower of its own but in a larger vehicle with seating for four, the supercharged Cuda would appeal to a very different type of buyer. The 640 horsepower Cuda (or Challenger) would better compete with the highest performance models from Ford and Chevy while offering a bit of a gap between itself and Viper much in the same way that General Motors has kept a gap in performance between the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the Corvette ZR1 although Chrysler may have their two SRT branded sports cars offering similar power from very different engines.
It is widely believed that when the Hellcat Hemi debuts in the next generation Dodge Challenger or the SRT Cuda, it will be backed by a beefed up 8-speed automatic transmission but considering the outcry from enthusiasts and prospective buyers when Dodge introduced the modern Challenger SRT8 with no manual transmission option – hopefully there will be a proper manual transmission offered as well. Considering that the Viper is only available with a manual transmission that easily handles 640 horsepower, the company already has a competent gearbox in their arsenal.
In addition to being equipped in the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT and perhaps the future SRT Cuda, the supercharged Hellcat Hemi could also be fitted in other Street and Racing Technology models shortly after. The SRT variants of the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 are expected to get a refresh within the next few years and since those models have always shared a drivetrain we would expect that the same would be true of the next generation of the 8-cylinder powered SRT models.
Ralph Gilles confirmed at the 2013 New York International Auto Show that we would see the next generation Dodge Challenger including the SRT variant at the 2014 Big Apple show so come next spring – we should have a very good look at the future of the high performance Mopar lineup.