Hellcat Inbound!

The News Hot stuff coming soon

by DANIEL DEGASPERI

SEPTEMBER 2016

Road Demon: Dodge’s 527kW muscle car hits local soil

THINK 3.6-second 0-100km/h performance is only available with European coupes? Think again, because the two-door Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is now available in right-hook for Australia, bringing its AMG GT R-matching speed claim from the good ol’ US of A and all for less than $200K – half the expected pricetag of that plucky German (see page 10).

Given that locals love a muscle car and the Dodge brand is withering Down Under, Fiat Chrysler Australia (FCA) desperately wants to formally introduce the big, bad SRT Hellcat.

But while the Ontario plant won’t stick a steering wheel on the right, at least until the nextgen Challenger arrives in 2018, Melbourne-based Crossover Car Conversions (CCC) will.

For around $190,000 and around five months from order, the reardriven 6.2-litre supercharged V8 will land with its 527kW and 880Nm outputs, humbling the most powerful Aussie-built car of the same blown capacity, the 430kW/740Nm HSV GTS.

The construction of the mighty Hemi appears more Klaus than Cletus, with a forged steel crankshaft, forged-alloy pistons with powder-forged connecting rods and carbon-coated piston pins bolstering an engine that will land here next year in a Jeep SRT8 (see sidebar).

The Challenger SRT Hellcat is available overseas with a sixspeed manual or eight-speed auto, but the latter tranny was chosen for the first conversion.

Stateside specification is mostly retained for the 2027kg, 5020mm-long coupe which claims a 10.8sec quarter mile and 320km/h top speed. It’s fitted with 20-inch forged alloy wheels with 275/40 Pirelli P Zero Nero rubber, three drive modes (Sport, Track, Default) and front 390mm sixpiston two-piece Brembo brakes.

The importer – which also ships in Shelby Mustang, Viper, F-Series, Camaro and Corvette – then creates mirror-imaged componentry including new dashboard, console and firewall.

However, the steering rack and exhaust system are pinched from a Chrysler 300 SRT.

“The American exhaust is too loud,” CCC’s Craig Dean told MOTOR. “The car we’re working

on at the moment, it has basically a modified local 300 SRT ADRcompliant exhaust.”

Although four SRT Hellcats are arriving – one buyer has already requested a performance modification to beyond 600kW (800hp) – Dean said currently there are no plans to import the four-door Charger. Its 481kW V10- engined Dodge Viper GTS cousin is, however, available for $285K.

While the Challenger SRT Hellcat will be a fine pick for the impatient, FCA reminds us it has picketed Detroit to secure a factory-official right-hook version of the next-gen Hemi V8 coupe due inside two years, sadly following the demise of Commodore and Falcon.

“FCA is working closely with the US [and] we’re pushing hard with a number of business cases to bring next-generation Dodge models to Australia,” spokesperson Lucy McLellan said. M

527KW JEEP?

JEEP’S ‘Trackhawk’ Grand Cherokee SRT is set to go next year with a 527kW/880Nm 6.2-litre supercharged V8 that should crush the current atmo 6.4-litre’s 334kW/624Nm.

The 2336kg SUV’s 4.8sec 0-100km/h should tumble, while spy photos show larger air intakes and beefier Brembo brakes for the future X5 M rival. Jeep CEO Mike Many confirmed its arrival to US writer crush 624Nm. writer Brian Makse: “Not only can I put a Hellcat motor in one of those [Grand Cherokee SRT] … I’m going to bring that to market before the end of 2017.”

Given the Chekka is built in right-hook, Jeep’s local spokesperson Lucy McLellan wasn’t shy about Aussie interest: “If the vehicle was produced and available for Australia, we’d have both hands up.” - DD