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By Patrick Rall, LXForums Editorial Staff
Earlier this week, FCA introduced a new Dodge Challenger that we all knew was coming – the 2017 GT package with standard all-wheel drive. The first ever all-wheel drive, 2-door muscle car is fitted with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 305 horsepower and 268lb-ft of torque being channeled through the 8-speed TorqueFlite transmission, while an advanced transfer case system moderates power to the front and rear wheels.After Mopar rolled out the Dodge Challenger GT AWD Concept at the 2015 SEMA Show with the 5.7L Hemi and a similar all-wheel drive system, many Mopar fans expected that the production version would also pack Hemi power. However, we know now that the only available engine for the AWD Challenger is the 3.6L Pentastar V6 and that has left many people wondering why the only AWD American performance coupe doesn’t have a bigger engine?
It all comes down to money. While it is easy for lots of people to say “I would buy an all-wheel drive Challenger with the 5.7L Hemi”, automakers know that the actual take rate would be significantly lower.How do they know that? By looking at the sales figures for the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 with a Hemi V8 and all-wheel drive. While the sales numbers for all of the all-wheel drive LX sedans were low, they were so low for the Hemi models (Charger R/T, 300C) that the company was hardly making their money back on developing the combination. I believe that the last generation of the Hemi/AWD Chrysler 300C accounted for something like 1% of sales in a given model year.Keep in mind that when Dodge adds all-wheel drive to a vehicle, they are required to go through a full complement of fuel economy tests and crash tests, and all of those procedures cost money. When the cost is high and the take rate as incredibly low, it doesn’t make financial sense to offer that drivetrain, so the company killed off the AWD/Hemi package for the Charger and Challenger.
Of course, FCA knew that people would complain about the lack of performance in a V6-powered Challenger GT, but the company isn’t building this car for the horsepower junkies. When you look at the fact that the AWD/V6 Charger and 300 sell much better than the AWD/Hemi models, and the vast majority of these cars are sold in areas with heavy snowfall, it is clear that these AWD Dodge cars are not being purchased with high performance in mind.Sure, the 305hp V6 will make the 2017 Challenger GT plenty quick, but more importantly, this all-wheel drive muscle car will be able to handle just about any driving condition. This will allow those folks who want a V6 Challenger, but who want to be able to drive it year-round in an area that gets heavy snowfall. When you figure that the people buying a V6 Challenger aren’t that concerned with high performance to begin with, so if those buyers live in an area where drivers face ice and snow on the roads – having a car that is more capable year-round is far more attractive to new car shoppers.
The 2017 Dodge Challenger GT is an all-wheel drive, V6, 2-door muscle car that will allow those Mopar fans who want to drive their car through heavy winter snow without any concern of getting stuck – not those folks who want the best possible traction with a combination of a Hemi engine and the advanced all-wheel drive system.This new all-wheel drive Challenger GT is all about real world functionality in every possible on-road condition – not putting power to the ground on the track – and that is why it is only available with a V6.That being said, Dodge has still gone to great lengths to see to it that this new Challenger GT is just as much fun to drive as a RWD V6 Challenger. Under normal driving conditions, 100% of the power is sent to the rear wheels, protecting the rear-drive feel that makes American muscle cars so popular. This ability to disconnect the front axle also improves fuel economy, which may be another concern of V6 buyers, but when the new Challenger GT hits snow, mud or any road conditions in which traction becomes an issue – the... [Read More]
The driver of the world's quickest manual transmission Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat was back at the track this weekend and while there, he reset two of his own records while setting a new one - with a best pass of 9.64 at almost 152 miles per hour. Reprinted with permission from TorqueNews.com and written by Patrick Rall.
Bill Gamble took his record-setting Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat back to the track this past weekend and thanks to a combination of seat time and good air, Gamble’s supercharged Mopar muscle car was able to reset two of his own world records while claiming a new record – the quickest modern Hemi-powered car with a manual transmission.
Back in September, we brought you the news that a new quarter mile record had been set for the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with the 6-speed manual transmission, as owner and driver Bill Gamble was the first to make a 9-second pass with a manual transmission Hellcat Challenger. Gamble’s record of 9.79 from earlier this year has gone unchallenged since being set, but this past weekend, Bill was back at Great Lakes Dragway looking to make some record runs – and he succeeded.
Record Run After Record Run
When Bill Gamble hit the track this past weekend, he hadn’t made any changes to his Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat from when he set the record of 9.79 earlier this year. However, with some tuning tweaks, better air and added seat time leading to a better launch, Gamble was able to beat his 9.79 record with a pair of new 9.7X runs – a 9.76 at 150.75 and a 9.73 at 149.47.
That 9.73 became the new quarter mile ET record for a manual transmission Hellcat Challenger, but Gamble’s trap speed on the 9.76 run marks the first time a Hellcat car has surpassed the 150 mile per hour mark in the quarter mile. In short, that was the quickest ever quarter mile ET for a Hellcat Challenger with a manual transmission and the fastest trap speed in the quarter mile by any Hellcat car, but Gamble wasn’t done.
Later in the day, Bill Gamble made his best run to date, laying down an incredible 9.647 at 151.97 miles per hour – comfortably resetting the Hellcat/manual transmission ET record and the overall Hellcat quarter mile MPH record. However, on that run, Gamble’s Challenger laid down a quicker quarter mile run than any other modern car with a Hemi V8 and a manual transmission.
By Patrick Rall, LXForums Editorial Staff
WOW - 775 HP Supercharged Ram Hell Fire!!
There were a great many trucks at the 2016 SEMA Show, but few (if any) could go toe-to-toe with the Hellfire Ram from the Dallas Speed Shop. As you can see in the images here, the Hellfire Ram has a menacing look, but as you might have guessed from the name – the real story of this Ram 1500 is under the hood, as it packs a modified Hellcat Hemi.
This Ram 1500 began its life as an R/T model with the regular cab, the short bed, rear wheel drive and the 5.7L Hemi, but the crew at the Dallas Speed Shop replaced that 390hp Hemi with the 707hp Hellcat Hemi. However, since 707hp just wasn’t enough, DSS added a few of Kooks headers, a full exhaust system and an engine tune, lifting the output to 775 horsepower.
Next, DSS added a lowered suspension setup that helps bolster the aggressive stance while also improving handling and to help this big, bad pickup get stopped from the extreme speeds that come with a 775hp Hellcat Hemi, the team added a Rotora carbon ceramic brake package with 8-piston front calipers and 4-piston rear calipers. Finally, to help get traction while cornering, braking and (sometimes) accelerating, the Dallas Speed Shop added a set of 22 inch Forgeline wheels wrapped in Continental tires.
Once the high performance attributes of the Hellfire Ram were handled, DSS turned their attention to the exterior of the truck, adding the carbon fiber splitter, the carbon fiber canards, the wheel flares and the satin black paint finish with an offset red stripe that matches the red mirror caps.
If you saw this Ram 1500 sitting with the hood down at the local track, you would guess that it is probably a pretty quick pickup, but thanks to the tuned Hellcat Hemi, this Ram truck was surely one of the fastest at SEMA. Sure, it is only a show truck built by a performance shop, but there is no question that something like the Hellfire would make a perfect follow-up to the old Dodge Ram SRT10.
With any luck, FCA and Ram will see the demand for an on-road performance truck and build their own Hellcat-powered Ram R/T, but in the meantime, we have this beautiful SEMA show truck to dream about.
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