Ever since Dodge stuffed the 707-horsepower Hellcat Hemi V8 into the Challenger and Charger, fans have been wondering what other Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) products might get this steroidal dose of horsepower.
The Chrysler 300 could very well be the next Hellcat recipient. According to Automotive News, Chrysler plans to launch a 300 Hellcat next year. The entire 300 lineup will also get a refresh in 2019. A 300 Hellcat could breathe some life into the ailing Chrysler lineup, not to mention give muscle-car fans one more option for tire-smoking performance.
Installing the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 under the hood of a 300 should be pretty straightforward. After all, the 300 is basically a fancier Dodge Charger with different styling. A performance version of the 300 also stays true to the car’s heritage: The 1950s 300C is considered to be one of the progenitors of the American muscle car. Chrysler previously offered a 300 SRT8 performance model with a big Hemi V8, but it was dropped during a recent reorganization of the lineup. So why build another hot rod 300?
One reason is that Chrysler could use a shot in the arm right now. Its lineup has been reduced to the 300 and the Pacifica minivan. It may be a variant of an existing model, but the 300 Hellcat is an exciting prospect that will at least remind people Chrysler exists.
The Hellcat will also distract from the fact that the 300 is an aging model. Automotive News reports that Chrysler scrapped plans for a redesign using the Giorgio platform from the Alfa Romeo Giulia, which sounded like a good idea. Instead, Chrysler will update the current model, which is based on a modified version of the LX platform introduced way back in 2005, and itself derived from the 1997-2004 generation of Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
The 2019 refresh of the 300 will reportedly focus on shedding weight in an effort to improve fuel economy. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine may join the lineup alongside the current V6 and V8 options.
Even if Chrysler doesn’t pull the trigger on a Hellcat-powered 300, horsepower addicts can still choose from the Dodge Challenger and Charger versions, as well as the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk. Last year, FCA’s Ram truck division unveiled the Rebel TRX off-road concept with what appeared to be a detuned Hellcat engine, but it’s unclear whether it will go into production.
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