Spied: Dodge Challenger Hellcat Mule

Challenger mule may have Hellcat V-8.

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.

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