Drive Type: RWD
Columbia Station, Ohio, United States
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is definitely the performance car of the moment. The fact that in the near future, people will be able to buy a 707-horsepower muscle machine straight from a major automaker for $59,995 and with a factory warranty almost seems absurd. We drove it recently and found the Hellcat to be just as much of a beast as its numbers would suggest. Now, it's a certain comedian's turn behind the wheel in the latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage.
This week's guest is Dodge President and CEO Tim Kuniskis, and he's there to drop all sorts of interesting factoids about the Hellcat. For example, its Pirelli P Zero tires retail at around $300 each, he says. That makes its smoky burnouts a rather expensive proposition. Kuniskis, who recently hinted at a mystery Woodward Dream Cruise debut, also talks about the genesis of the 2015 SRT project with a goal to get over some of the standard Challenger's weight and size disadvantages. The fix is a supercharged V8, massive brakes and other goodies to smooth over the platform's more glaring shortcomings.
Leno appears to get a big kick out of the Hellcat. However, he can't seem to stop bringing up his desire to drive one with a six-speed manual. They obviously exist, but Kuniskis has an eight-speed automatic for the retired Tonight Show host to try out. Of course, as with any Hellcat video, there has to be at least one burnout. Despite the expensive tires, it seems like enthusiast's law at this point - and dear ol' Jay wouldn't want to break any rules, would he?
In other parts of the world, Fiat builds and sells a version of the Dodge Dart called the Viaggio, and it appears that in addition to the current sedan bodystyle, a new hatchback version of the car is also in the works. Autocar says that the general manager for China's Guangzhou-Fiat joint venture, John Burton, has confirmed that a new Viaggio hatchback will be revealed by the end of this year before it goes on sale in early 2014.
The Viaggio will soon be joined by the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, which in China will be called the Liberty Light, at the Guangzhou-Fiat plant. While the idea of a Dodge Dart hatchback might be enough to enable most of us to forget about the Dodge Caliber, a North American variant doesn't appear to be in the cards. We reached out to Chrysler PR boss Rick Deneau, and he offered a succinct: "No plans at this time."
Dodge revived the Scat Pack name back in November at the 2013 SEMA show. At the time, though, we were short of details on forthcoming upgrade packages, which were destined to add some oomph to the Challenger, Charger and Dart. We're still waiting to hear about the upgrades to the Dart's 2.4-liter four-pot, but Dodge has gone ahead and released the details on the upgrades to the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 in the Challenger and Charger R/T.
As we detailed in our original post, three different Scat Packs will be available that will allow customers to upgrade their cars without voiding the warranties. Starting with the $2,195 Stage 1 kit, owners will net an extra 18 horsepower and 18 pound-feet of torque thanks to a Mopar-branded cold-air intake, exhaust and ECU ref lash. Stage 1 is also the only package that could be installed outside of a Chrysler-authorized service center without voiding the warranty (a mechanically competent owner could even do it at home, we're told by Dodge). Stage 2 builds on the entry level Scat Pack, and adds performance camshaft kit, which boosts output over the stock 5.7 by up to 30 hp for $1,895. As with the Stage 1, the ECU is tweaked.
For those that want to go whole hog, they can add the Stage 3 for $4,995. The top-tier gets quite serious, adding CNC-ported cylinder heads, as well as high-flow headers and cats. Output over stock is 58 hp and 47 lb-ft of torque. Each kit comes with a pair of badges, just in case owners want a bit of visual flair.