What Is Dodge's Hellcat Engine and Is It Going Away?
Since 2015, this noteworthy 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 has been fortifying cars, trucks, and SUVs with sometimes record-breaking performance.
When the Hellcat engine debuted in the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT coupe, you knew this supercharged 6.2-liter V8 was something special. After all, Dodge not so humbly touted the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat as "the most powerful muscle car ever."
That's right, Mustang and Camaro owners, a mean new dog with a demonic feline-inspired name was in town. Hellcat was originally an internal code name for this mega engine, in homage to the World War II Grumman F6F fighter plane.
With a total of 707 horsepower, performance of the 2015 SRT Challenger Hellcat was spellbinding. The car's zero-to-60-mph time was clocked by Car and Driver at 3.6 seconds and Dodge pegged the Hellcat's top speed at 199 mph.
Hellcat Engine's Stupendous Stats
A muscle-car engine is an impressive piece of machinery, though some of Dodge's statistics for this motor border on being ghoulish. To start, the Hellcat engine has never been kind to fuel budgets. Dodge claimed the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat burns through 1.5 gallons of gasoline per minute when running at full throttle. Prius owners, please look away.
But Dodge went one step beyond muscle-car norms with its estimate that a Hellcat at full throttle needs only one minute to suck all the air out of a 1040-cubic-foot room. So if you somehow find yourself locked in the house with a Hellcat-powered vehicle, you might want to crack a window.
Hoard of Hellcats
Over time, Hellcat power plants have found their way into the engine bays of the Dodge Charger sedan, along with SUVs including the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, as well as the full-size Ram 1500 truck. If you crave speed at the other side of 200, but need room for a few friends, it's worth noting the five-seat Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is capable of scorching its way to 203 mph.
Since it was first introduced in 2015, Dodge has kept updating and improving its supercharged Hemi V8 and, in doing so, power has marched upward. From its original output of 707 hp, the 2023 Hellcat family now produces anywhere from 702 hp in the Ram TRX, to 1,025 hp (on E85 fuel) in the Challenger SRT Demon 170.
Legendary Last Call
But time marches on, even for the most powerful muscle car and its wickedly fast sedan, pickup, and SUV siblings. Dodge has confirmed 2023 will be the final year for the Hellcat engine and has already exhibited a battery-powered electric concept called the Charger Daytona SRT. A production version of this electric muscle car is expected in 2024.
For its gas-powered swan song, the Hellcat is offered in the Dodge Challenger and Charger, the Ram TRX and, after a two-year hiatus, the Dodge Durango SUV. For bargain hunters and anyone looking to cash in on a future collectible, the least expensive of the 2023 lineup is the Challenger SRT Hellcat, which starts at approximately $71,000.
If you're in the market for a Hellcat, but prefer something more affordable, a 2015 original could be yours for around $60,000 — don't expect those prices to drop anytime soon.
Special Last Call plaques will be mounted under the hoods of every Hellcat-equipped 2023 Challenger and Charger.