The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat blew the automotive world away when it first appeared in 2014, but even this 707-horsepower muscle car seems a bit tame next to Dodge’s own 840-hp, quarter-mile-scorching Challenger SRT Demon. Ford is also preparing a new Shelby GT500 Mustang with at least 700 hp. It’s time for the Hellcat to get an update.
So far, though, we don’t know how extensive of an update it will be. Teaser photos for the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat show a new “dual-snorkel” hood, but that’s all Dodge is willing to reveal at this time. The automaker says more information will be released this summer. Dodge loves to dribble out information about new models one teaser at a time, so expect more tidbits between now and then.
The new hood is actually an old design that references the first-generation Challenger from the early 1970s. The current Hellcat hood has a more modern look derived from the now-defunct Dodge Viper sports car. Going retro makes sense, since everything else about the current-generation Challenger is meant to evoke the iconic first-gen model. The scoops aren’t just for show: Dodge said they are functional, and will feed air into the Hellcat’s 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8.
It’s unclear if that Hemi will get a bump in power. Not that 707 hp is anything to sneer at, but much of the Hellcat’s appeal has been predicated upon its unrivaled spec sheet. Dodge can rationalize the more powerful Demon because it’s a more track-focused car than the Hellcat, and thus aimed at a somewhat different market. But the next Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang may give the Challenger Hellcat a run for its money in the bragging-rights game.
Regardless of what the future holds for the Hellcat, it’s still remarkable that the car exists in the first place. In an age where electrification and autonomous driving are major buzzwords, no one expected Dodge to double down on horsepower with an old-school muscle car. The age of the current-generation Challenger platform (the first Chrysler models based on this platform debuted in 2005, and elements of it come from even older Mercedes-Benz models), also means the car is living on borrowed time.