NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Preview

By: Jeff Youngs, 8/15/2014

Fast Facts:
  • 707 horsepower
  • 204-mph top speed
  • Unique lights and body panels
  • Heavy-duty rev-matching automatic transmission
  • Multiple drive mode settings
  • Largest brakes ever used on a Dodge
  • New interior colors
  • Wi-Fi hotspot capability
  • Standard 900-watt sound system
  • Customizable gauge cluster
  • Heated front and rear seats

Introduction
Fresh on the heels of Dodge's debut of a 707-horsepower monster it calls the Challenger SRT Hellcat comes news that Chrysler's repositioned performance brand is giving its full-size rear-wheel-drive (RWD) sedan the same treatment. The result is the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, a fairly intimidating--yet undeniably fitting--name for a family-friendly 4-door that packs the kind of muscle that's sure to stuff the coffers of ticket-writing authorities and affix permanent Joker-like grins to the faces of any enthusiast who slides in behind the Hellcat's thick, flat-bottom steering wheel.

Exterior Features
Picking the 2015 SRT Hellcat out of a Charger lineup shouldn't be a difficult task, as Dodge has made sure its "quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan ever" stands apart from your relatively plebeian SXTs and R/Ts, an effort evidenced by all-new fascia designs, aluminum hood featuring pronounced air intakes and extractors, lower front splitter, 20-in. alloy wheels painted in Matte Black or Brass Monkey (dark bronze) and wrapped in Pirelli P Zero 275/40 tires, massive 4-in. exhaust tips, and a more sloped C-pillar that provides a silhouette closer to coupe than sedan. Behind it all are LED taillights that are illuminated in a band across the width of the car.

Interior Features
Updated styling is more than skin deep in the case of the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, as evidenced by the unique flat-bottom, power tilt-and-telescoping heated steering wheel with paddle shifters, heated front seats redesigned to improve comfort, revised selection of interior colors, and the availability of high-grade leather and suede upholstery. Also found inside the 2015 Hellcat sedan is a customizable 7-in. gauge cluster, 900-watt premium sound system, abundance of soft-touch surfaces, and heated rear seats.

Optional Features
While Dodge has announced intelligent cruise control will be offered on the 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat, further details regarding optional equipment are not available as this preview is written.

Under the Hood
Looking like it does, and with a name like Hellcat, the latest addition to the Charger family has to deliver some serious grunt. And, indeed it does, thanks to a supercharged, 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 engine boasting upgraded internal components and, paying homage to Hemis of old, orange valve covers. Output measures 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque, enough to push the Hellcat through the quarter-mile marker in a Dodge-estimated 11 seconds and to a top speed of 204 mph.

To keep all of that muscle under the control, engineers have employed a new heavy-duty 8-speed automatic transmission featuring downshift rev-matching, paddle shifters, and multiple modes: default, sport, track, and eco. As one might expect, default offers an everyday-driver blend of performance and comfort, eco restrains things a bit in the name of efficiency by starting off in second gear and keeping revs down, sport dials up responsiveness, and track loosens the reigns even more to allow Hellcat pilots to explore the car's true capabilities in a safe and controlled environment.

Complementing the Hemi-based powertrain is an adaptive 3-mode suspension that, along with elements such as horsepower and gearshift frequency, can be adjusted via SRT performance pages accessed within the gauge cluster.

Fuel Economy
As this preview is written, neither the EPA nor Dodge has announced fuel-economy estimates for the 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat.

Safety
Crash-test results are not available for the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. Chargers built for model years 2012-2014 earned 5 (out of 5) stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). New tests will be conducted to determine if the 2015 Charger performs as well in safety tests. Working in the Hellcat's favor--or, more to the point, the Hellcat driver's favor--are what Dodge describes as "the largest brakes ever offered in a Chrysler Group vehicle," which include 15.4-in., 2-piece discs accompanied by 6-piston calipers.

Technology
From its supercharged engine to different driving modes and reconfigurable dash displays, the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat doesn't suffer from a shortage of technology. That said, among the more notable highlights is the latest iteration of the company's UConnect infotainment system, boasting Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity, 3-D navigation, text-message capability, and more. Another cool bit of tech is valet mode, activated by a 4-digit number. Admittedly, this feature is hardly uncommon, though the Hellcat's version goes so far as to reduce engine output, disables launch control and first gear, prevents selection of various drive modes, and essentially detunes the car before handing it off to a potentially lead-footed lot attendant. Aiding in that effort is also a selection of two color-coded key fobs; red ensures access to everything the 707-horsepower Hellcat has to offer, whereas black allows far fewer of those ponies out of the paddock.

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