By on March 25, 2014

2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8, Exterior, Front 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

For over a year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been working on a Hemi V8 dubbed the Hellcat, which set to debut in a revised Dodge Challenger. However, the Hellcat could prove a challenge to the SRT Viper’s V10, possibly unseating the venerable monster from the throne.

Automotive News reports the rumored V8 has caused an internal debate within FCA, in particular what it would mean for the Viper when the Challenger receives the engine. SRT brand boss Ralph Giles told Hot Rod magazine:

We have a situation where, you know — we may have a situation — where the flagship car is not the most powerful car in our arsenal … how do we explain that to ourselves? So we have an internal horsepower race as well as an external one.

While the Viper’s naturally aspirated V10 pushes 660 horsepower, the SRT variant of the Challenger — pitted against the Ford Mustang GT500 and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 — is rumored to put out as much as 700 horses .

The 2015 Challenger is rumored to debut in New York next month.

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55 Comments on “Chrysler Hellcat V8 Could Unseat Viper V10...”

  • avatar

    700hp. Good. 600 felt like a half-effort. And I need at least as much to safely merge.

  • avatar

    Forget 700hp, what they need is a better dashboard. The current car is just awful in that dept.

  • avatar

    The Viper is all about in-your-face excess. But the competition has moved, even internally, 660 HP just doesn’t seem as absurdly crazy as it used to. Especially when the starting point is a V10. If the Viper doesn’t get more HP soon, it risks becoming irrelevant. To put it back on it’s pedestal it needs to have HP competitive with a Veyron.

  • avatar

    The Hellcat V8 is probably being built in conjunction with Goodyear Tires. I have a feeling that 700hp showroom stock cars will increase tire sales exponentially.

    • 0 avatar

      Could this mean the return of the visor warning that excessive throttle pedal depression will result in accelerated tire wear? I don’t remember the exact wording, but that was clearly one of the cool things about the Hemi’s of old.

  • avatar

    700 would be good except the automatic will only handle about 650. 700 with a manual should be OK.

    (Yes, I know transmissions are rated by how much torque they can handle)

  • avatar

    All that horsepower doesn’t mean squat – at least not as much – if the torque isn’t there to back it up, and if the torque is there, you had better put a beefy transmission behind it to handle it.

    Of course, this car is ‘way out of my league, because dad’s old 1966 Impala 250 Powerglide was sweetness to me back in the day because I’m a cruiser, not a hot-rodder, but it’s cool knowing the OEMs aren’t finished making powerful cars yet.

    Having said that, I’m grateful for my car’s 300 horses out front, as they come in handy once in a while, and it’s a thrill to “exercise” them every so often!

    • 0 avatar

      Horsepower and Torque are related you know.

      How fast you think they’re going to make a pushrod V8 spin?

      • 0 avatar

        Tru’dat chev, horsepower and torque share the same bedroom. I always like to point out its torque that hangs the front wheels in the air when you launch but its horsepower that gets you down the track.

        Anyways better late than never, it will be interesting to see what Ford and GM have for the future. As its shaping up it looks like the next SVT Mustang is going to have a high winding 5.0-5.3 liter coyote based V8 with around 500hp although Ford has already been developing supercharger kits for the 2015 Mustang under its FRPP program. No word on power but the 2015 V8 has received a number of upgrades from better flowing heads to tougher internal materials and even with port injection the coyote effectively leverages its 11:1 compression ratio with pretty decent levels of boost.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    What matters is which car is faster, not the horsepower.

    Besides, with the Viper barely selling, nobody will notice. Many people don’t even know the Viper is back in production.

    Viper sales: 40/month
    Challenger sales: 4200/month

    The Viper won’t win this contest.

  • avatar

    FCA truly offers such interesting and varied product. The competition on the other hand…

  • avatar

    Maybe this is the entrance for the V8 powered Viper that was being discussed earlier. IIRC, the V10 is based on the LA series motors, so I can’t imagine compliance for those are cheap. Ultimately, I believe the Viper will have to move to a different motor, just so it can stay within EPA emissions regulations compliance.

    Maybe FCA can do a twin turbo Hellcat for the Viper with 800? HP (just a WAG). That would mollify the folks who have a need for power… I hope!

    For those of us over 12 years old, who ever thought we’d see 600+ HP cars from the FACTORY?

    I only wish I had the money for one.

    (That Chally is just sweet looking…)

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      geozinger, I suspect that you’re correct that EPA compliance for the V10 could be an issue. Maybe FCA is floating the idea that the Hellcat is more powerful to negate any criticism from enthusiasts when the Viper engine cylinder count is reduced by 2.

      Do Viper owners like the distinctive sound of the Viper V10? It sounds bad to me, but it does sound different. I grew up in a world where the 4/4 time signature of a V8 is the correct sound for an engine.

  • avatar

    The 700-horsepower Challenger will be driven to the ice cream store on Sundays when the weather is nice, and to shows like Chryslers at Carlisle.

    The rest of the time that 700-horsepower baby will be sitting in a nice garage.

  • avatar

    Why does the picture with this post smell like racer blue and roasted VHT?

  • avatar

    I remember when the engines from the NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars were dyno’ed at 600hp. 350/351 c.i., single 4bbl (Holley) carb, and capable of topping 200mph when suited up in a sufficiently aerodynamic body (’83 Ford Thunderbird) on a high-banked track (Daytona/Talladega). That was in the early ’80’s, when the last of the C3 Corvettes were rated at 200hp.

    For someone raised on the idea of the benchmark of factory power being 425hp for a ChryCo 426 c.i. hemi, this is completely mind-blowing.

    Of course, the sticker for a car with power like this is in the $70k’s…which is itself somewhat indicative of where we’ve come from, when a Lamborghini Countach (“S” if you must) was just at $100k in 1980’s dollars.

    Again, simply mind-blowing.

  • avatar

    What the Challenger really needs is to lose 300 lbs not gain 300 hp.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I thought the Challenger was on its way out. Why would Fiat-Chrysler waste this engine on a “revised Dodge Challenger”, when it could be a much more-interesting conversation and interest piece for the next-gen musclecar, which was supposed to be SRT-branded?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m guessing they’re dropping it into Challengers to run them as test-grounds, with this next-gen muscle car it’ll probably launch with the Hellcat, only to be offered the “Hellcat V2” for the next year with 20 more hp!

      Don’t look at me, thats just how they sell cars these days.

    • 0 avatar

      A replacement model for the Challenger is several years away, if at all. This model clearly has some life left in it after record sales last year, and the other LX/LD cars are getting the upgrades too. It makes sense to align the Challenger with them.

      • 0 avatar

        Sir You are correct. Every year since the Challenger went into production; its sales have increased from the year before. I can tell you two compelling reasons why I purchased my 2012 RT Classic, its good looks and quite smooth ride; for a price starting around 30K, you get a Hemi V-8. Where else can you get that? A V-6 starts at 25K and comes in an automatic, another good deal. I will also mention the suspension is derived from a MB E class and the 5 speed auto is sourced from MB as well. As I recall, the automatic can handle 760 foot pounds of torque. (I realize the 5 speed is dated.)

        • 0 avatar

          2012 Challenger RT (bare bones, 20″ wheels the only option, and manual trans): $26K. 45,000 miles so far and loving this car.

          I thought that was the cheapest V-8 I could buy, then found an RC Ram 1500 Express: 23K. Also sporty, but in a different way :-).

          The Challenger is the only muscle car for normal-sized (6’+) drivers. I rented a Mustang a while ago: felt like an 8/10 model.

          • 0 avatar

            I never felt cramped in any of my E30’s or E36’s. I think all three so-called pony cars are now grossly overweight. Are people just big/tall/fat now? Don’t go all “side impact standards” on me in your response, I know the reasons why (LX/LD platform sharing for FCA being one of them, and same thing for Camaro).

  • avatar

    A supercharged 6.1 automatically becomes an easy 600HP or more. Natural Aspirated V8’s are going away in favor of lower displacement engines with blowers.

    The Viper is no match for a tuned Charger/300/Jeep

    • 0 avatar

      Tuned vipers easily pull 900-1100 HP. The factory has to hold them back for compliance as a street legal motor. Until hemi gets alu block, direct inj, and cam in cam, its not gonna approach what the viper is cabable of.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s kind of silly to even compare the two engines anywhere but on paper. The Viper V10 is an 8.4L! engine and makes gobs of power everywhere in the powerband. Once it’s forced inducted, it’s virtually intouchable by anything within $100,000.

        Mr. Gilles’ concern is valid, as the only numbers many people care about are peak power numbers, but the two engines are very different beasts.

        • 0 avatar

          A tuned Viper would definitely be a monster. I’m just saying that building yourself an 8 or 9 second Charger would be easier and less expensive.

          I’m not as worried about Torque/HP numbers as I am with 0-60 and 0-quarter.

          The Viper is too small, too expensive and too manual for me. I’d rather buy a GT-R and eat people alive all day long.

  • avatar

    Lawyers are freaking out – Hellcat being tuned down. Hitting 770 on dynos.

    • 0 avatar

      Naw, there are so many electronic nannies in today’s vehicles in combination with a high entry price its pretty much a non-issue.

      Todays 700 horsepower Challenger is nothing compared to the high strung carbureted or even cable operated throttle body cars of yesteryear. You’ll probably find people complaining about this being the “slowest” 700hp car they’ve seen.

      And again it all depends on how FCA sets the engine and power adder up.

      My own daily driver puts down more power at the rear wheels than this car probably will (even at 700 crank horsepower and a fairly efficient drivetrain offering around a 10-12% loss in absorption it should be making around 615-630 rear wheel power) and its entirely manageable in a variety of conditions driven with some sanity.

  • avatar

    This article appeared in a rather timely way for me. There seems to be lots of prototypes up here in the Colorado mountains undergoing testing. Today I spotted one, the front and the backend were entirely obscured, but the side was exposed and was clearly a Challenger. This would seem to raise the question of what were they hiding? Is there a facelift for the Challenger in the works?

  • avatar

    working on a Hemi V8 dubbed the Hellcat

    Am I the only one who wishes that a V8 named Hellcat was being installed in a new BUICK muscle car called Wildcat?

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