Spied: Dodge Challenger Hellcat Mule

Adding more credence to rumors that Chrysler's SRT brand is developing a more-powerful, supercharged engine called "Hellcat" are these spy photos. Our shooter caught a Dodge Challenger SRT8 that appears to be a test mule for a new engine.

Rumors suggest that the Dodge Challenger will receive a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine, with power ranging anywhere from 560 hp to 640 hp. It would sit above the existing Challenger SRT8, which has a 6.4-liter V-8 with 470 hp. The idea is to compete, at least in terms of raw horsepower, with rival muscle cars from the Motor City. The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500's supercharged 5.8-liter V-8 makes 662 hp, while the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1's supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 offers 580 hp -- both of which make the Challenger SRT8'S 470-hp figure look comparatively wimpy. One source hints the new Dodge Challenger engine could be backed by a version of the eight-speed automatic transmission that is already spreading throughout all Chrysler Group vehicles.

These spy photos appear to show a development mule packing the Hellcat V-8. The first clue comes from the enlarged brakes, which appear to have enlarged calipers and cross-drilled front discs for increased stopping power. Out back, the pair of round exhausts appears different and larger than those on a standard Dodge Challenger SRT8, and our spy photographer says the produced a sound "nothing short of thunder."The 20-inch chrome wheels are unique, too. The biggest clue of all, however, is that the test car is missing its driver's-side headlights. That could mean engineers are experimenting with new air intake systems, potentially drawing cool air from where the headlights normally sit.

The rumored engine would likely debut by 2014 in the 2015 Dodge Challenger. So far, however, Chrysler officials have declined to comment on the possibility of the Hellcat V-8 engine.

Why can't Chrysler build innovative/futuristic models?  We are stuck with these "retro" vehicles (when the "retro" era is long gone...) that look is just plain ugly!  I mean, look at Hyundai, a fairly new company, and yet, it is building nice looking cars (and of presumably high quality)  that people are going crazy about!  In an era when horse power is not the main trait that car buyers are looking for, that's exactly the main feature of Chrysler and GM.Thank God Ford is sticking out for America!   With new and beautiful models to choose from and awesome technology!GO FORD!JP

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