History of the Dodge Charger Hellcat
The Dodge Charger was first introduced to the world in 1966 by Dodge as an effort to create a more luxurious pony car, a concept that had been popularized by Ford’s Mustang. The 7th generation of the Dodge Charger focused on improving the sedan’s performance through innovative designs and considerable upgrades to the vehicle’s engine. The 7th generation experienced a notable point that saw significant development in the form of the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, a model that made use of a supercharged V8 engine.
History of the Dodge Charger (7th Gen)
The creation of the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat came as a great leap from the 2014 model, mainly in mechanical upgrades and exterior design with minor changes to the car’s interior. Exterior changes came in the form of a narrower grille and headlights for a greater intimidation factor. The same treatment was given to the turn signals and taillights.
As previously mentioned, the interior changes were subtle in comparison to other changes but still relevant to the improvement of the Charger. Minor redesigns were performed to the car’s dashboard, a new screen gauge cluster was added, and materials were changed for more luxurious counterparts. Despite the changes, Dodge Charger fans should be able to acclimate to these differences with relative ease.
The major changes that the Dodge Charger enjoyed from the Hellcat came from the mechanical interior upgrades, and most notably the upgrade of the V6 engine to a supercharged V8. According to Chris Cowland, Director of Advanced and SRT Powertrain for Fiat Chrysler, the 6.2-liter Hellcat V8 is a completely new design that shares hardly any architecture with previous versions. The forged-aluminum pistons used in the engine are capable of handling over 21,000 lbs of pressure, and the wrist pins have been redesigned to massively reduce friction. Naturally, the new engine also sports bigger coolant passages to make up for the significant increase in both power output and torque.
Understandably, this new engine uses a considerable amount of fuel, and to support this thirst the Hellcat’s V8, so the fuel lines have been given a 0.5 in diameter while the air-fuel ratio is managed through load control calculations. The eight fuel injectors can deliver 630 ccs of fuel per minute, and these upgrades are responsible for supporting the impressive 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque that the Hellcat offers. Tests have shown the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to reach its 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, perform its quarter-mile in 11.7 seconds at 126 mph, and achieve a top speed of 199 mph.
Technology upgrades came to the Hellcat with the addition of both lane-departure warning and a lane-keeping assist system, which was not available to previous models. Additionally, the new model improved the forward-collision alert system’s ability to perform automatic braking.
Evolution and Changes Year-by-Year
The Dodge Charger line saw upgrades in both design and performance through the release of new models and packages such as the Widebody Package and eventually developed the Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye, a tremendous step forward for the Charger.
2015 Charger SRT 392
The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT 392 was the result of Dodge looking to turn the older SRT8 into a more elegant vehicle with a focus on performance. The SRT 392 features a 6.4-liter Hemi that is capable of outputting 485 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 475 lb-ft of torque, 15 more hp than the SRT8. To achieve this, Dodge took the chassis of the 2014 model, its interior, and the model’s materials into a direction that focused on upscaling.
The exterior design for the Dodge Charger was given a prominent style for the first time since 2006 by reducing the size of the Charger’s body. The change is immediately noticeable when compared to the much larger 2014 Charger, and all panels, except the roof and rear door skins, were replaced with tighter versions. Furthermore, the corners of the bumper were trimmed, and the height of the nose was reduced with the same goal in mind.
The car had a visual improvement through the combination of a hood scoop and a power bulge, which was successful in giving the SRT 392 a rather mean look. The rear was given several visual upgrades but, notably, it also featured functional vents in the rear bumper.
The interior gives the feeling of a luxury car due to its leather seats with SRT stitching in the headrests, the Dodge Brothers logo, and a redesigned center console. Though it should be mentioned that Dodge faced a lawsuit for the usage of a foam composite that was very receptible to heat damage. Unfortunately, this material was used extensively and can easily result in unsightly warping and deformations.
2019 Charger R/T Scat Pack
The 2019 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack shows off a new redesigned Charger, which even shares the same performance grille with the infamous Hellcat, that offers great performance that is difficult to match for the total price of $46,075 MSRP.
The R/T Scat Pack is powered by a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine that generates 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque and includes driver modes that change the vehicle’s transmission, suspension, and steering to fit most situations. Performance is not notably enhanced though the R/T Pack does try to improve by using Pirelli P-Zero performance tires for increased acceleration and grip.
Lastly, the 2020 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack was given the option of upgrading to a Widebody Package that came standard for the 2020 Hellcat. This package widens the model by 3.5 inches and includes special front and rear bumpers for an enhanced mean look. The car’s suspension is also upgraded, and sturdier anti-roll bars are added.
2021 Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye
The Dodge Hellcat is subjectively the most powerful production sedan in the market, so naturally, there was much excitement when Dodge announced a Redeye variant for the Hellcat. This new updated version of the SRT Hellcat was a massive upgrade that allowed the model to stand on top even over the original Hellcat.
To make this possible Dodge had to modify the already powerful supercharged 6.2-liter V8 by upgrading the 2.4-liter IHI supercharger into a 2.7-liter, which would allow for an extra 2.9 psi. This extra boost in air intake had to be equalized with extra usage of fuel so the dual-stage fuel pump was given support in the form of an additional pump. The engine also enjoyed improved pistons, oiling capability, and a sturdier valvetrain. Additionally, to increase the car’s airflow, a performance hood, a new grille, and a cold-air intake were added. These changes to the Hellcat’s engine resulted in an output of 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque.
To ensure that the extra power generated is sent directly to the streets, 20x11 summer tires are an optional upgrade that works double duty by adding to the mean look that the original Hellcat was already well-known for. Torque capacity was worked on using a reinforced driveshaft and stronger axles.
Dodge has stated that the 2021 SRT Hellcat Redeye should be able to do a quarter-mile in 10.6 seconds at 129 mph, though street testing showed a slightly different result of a quarter-mile at 11.8 seconds at 125 mph.
Dodge Charger (7th Gen) Fast FActs
- Dodge Charger sold 94,725 units in 2015.
- The 2021 Charger received a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA due to receiving high scores in the crash tests.
- The Highway Loss Data Institute reported that USA’s most wanted car by thieves was the Dodge Charger as it was several times likelier to be stolen than the national average.
Legacy of the 7th Gen Dodge Charger
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of the Hellcat’s introduction to the world on August 13, 2014, as this car was the turning point for the 7th generation’s future success. With the development of the SRT Hellcat Redeye, the legacy of this generation will likely be the foundation it has given future models a strong base to build off from.