- Chrysler Group is expected to introduce a supercharged Hemi V8 that will pack around 550 horsepower and be offered in the redesigned 2015 Dodge Challenger.
- The engine will make the Challenger more competitive against the Cadillac CTS-V, Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
- The engine is code-named "Hellcat," according to media reports.
AUBURN HILLS, Michigan — Chrysler Group is expected to introduce a supercharged Hemi V8 that will pack around 550 horsepower and be offered in the redesigned 2015 Dodge Challenger.
The engine will make the Challenger more competitive against the Cadillac CTS-V, Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
The engine is code-named "Hellcat," according to media reports.
The optional supercharged Hemi engine and the new Challenger are expected to debut in fall of 2014.
Michael Omotoso, senior manager of global powertrains at LMC Automotive, told Edmunds that Chrysler is working on "something in the 550 horsepower range to compete with the Cadillac CTS-V, Shelby Mustang and ZL1 Camaro."
"Even though there is a lot of talk about fuel economy, at the same time, at the end of the scale you have the horsepower race in the muscle-car segment," Omotoso said.
The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang produces 662 hp, followed by the Camaro ZL1 with 580 hp, and the CTS-V's 556 hp.
Asked about the engine, Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne said the automaker "does not comment on speculation."
Omotoso also expects the supercharged Hemi V8 to be available in the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and possibly the SRT Barracuda, a rear-drive performance car that the automaker is considering for production later this decade.
The highest-horsepower V8 in the Chrysler Group's 2013 model line is the 470-hp 6.4-liter Hemi. The automaker's most powerful engine is standard in the SRT Viper, a 10-cyclinder 8.4-liter engine producing 640 hp.
Omotoso estimated that a 2015 Challenger equipped with the supercharged Hemi V8 likely would carry a sticker price in the $55,000 to $65,000 range.
"People who don't want to spend $100,000 on a Viper will want something more than 470 hp," he said. You would think that would be enough for most people, but apparently it is not. Some people want 500 plus horsepower and so Chrysler needs to have an offering in that segment."
Omotoso expects sales volume of 2,000 to 3,000 for each of the Chrysler Group models offering the supercharged Hemi engine.
"Even though it is a small segment, it is still significant, and it has a halo effect for a brand," he noted.
Edmunds says: Chrysler gets ready to blast a major volley in the muscle-car wars.