No, There Wasn't an AWD Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Caught on Film
So, the fast-moving rumor of an AWD Hellcat Charger caught testing in Colorado was started by a site based on Colorado, which happened upon a pair of new Dodge Chargers with manufacturer’s plates sitting in a local parking lot. Although there was absolutely nothing about these cars which suggested that they were equipped with all-wheel drive, the guys who caught these cars on film believe that there is no reason for Dodge to be testing these cars other than the implementation of a new all-wheel drive system for the 2018 model year.
Of course, an all-wheel drive Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat sounds like a nice idea, as those who haven’t driven one insist that it can’t use all of the power and that led to this rumor becoming very popular in a hurry. I was skeptical, so I watched their video and that made me even more skeptical. From there, I spoke with a few engineers from Chrysler who have also seen the video in question and they were all quick to insist that the Hellcat Charger shown is most certainly not an all-wheel drive model.
Why Isn’t This Hellcat AWD?
There are two key factors with the mysterious Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat test car that prove that this isn’t an all-wheel drive test car. First, the black Hellcat car in the video doesn’t have wheel centers and we can see that there is nothing but a black hole in the middle of the Hellcat wheels. All-wheel drive cars have halfshafts which extend out through the hub assembly with a large nut on the end. This nut fills the hole in the middle of the front wheel and without the large nut on the end, there is nothing to hold the halfshaft in place. Without a halfshaft, there can be no AWD system.
However, some people could insist that perhaps the halfshaft end and the large nut have been disguised, so I spoke to a few Chrysler Group engineers who are familiar with the design of the Dodge Charger. Company folks will never discuss future vehicles so they only spoke with me under the promise of anonymity, but they all reassured me that the car shown didn’t have an obvious feature of all-wheel drive Chargers. They wouldn’t say whether or not the Chrysler Group was working on an all-wheel drive Hellcat Charger, but they all insisted that this car was missing vital cues of an AWD Charger.
They didn’t go into any in-depth detail, but they all pointed out that AWD Chargers have a hub and wheel lug setup that causes the wheels to fit differently, but more importantly, they have wheel lugs that extend out much further than the rear-drive models. The Hellcat Charger in question has the factory wheels, which appear to be positioned normally in the wheel wells, and the lugnuts are correctly sunken into the wheels. Again, this information comes from engineers who are very familiar with the vehicle.
So, unless this Charger Hellcat employs some super high tech AWD system that doesn’t use front halfshafts and the rear hub assembly has been completely redesigned compared to every other AWD Charger without the knowledge of several Chrysler engineers, this car simply cannot be an all-wheel drive test mule.
There are a myriad of reasons for the Chrysler Group to be testing this Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in Colorado within a few years of the expected demise of this generation car, but according the engineers willing to talk off the record – this car isn’t fitted with an AWD system.
While I am generally hesitant to share a video with questionable information, the video below shows the car in question and you can see the points brought up by the engineers at multiple points in the video.