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710-hp Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is new most powerful SUV

Move over, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk (707 hp) and Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid (670 hp), there's a new most powerful SUV in town. Featuring a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8, the 710-hp Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat was born from a long muscle car lineage. It's a mountain lion, a toughened alley cat with street smarts, and a cheetah on the racetrack all in one.

With three rows of seats, it can make the daily family rounds too.

The Durango SRT Hellcat does 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 sec, has a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) -certified quarter-mile elapsed time of 11.5 sec, and a top speed of 180 mph. It even runs 1.5 sec faster than the Dodge SRT 392 on a 2.1-mile road course -- equal to 9 car lengths after one lap. This is an SUV we're talking about -- a pretty big one -- and to top it all off it features a best-in-class towing capability of 8,700 lb.

And it's a limited edition. Dodge says it will build the Durango SRT Hellcat for the 2021 model year only.

The 710-hp HEMI V-8 delivers 645 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a standard TorqueFlite 8HP95 eight-speed automatic transmission. SRT powertrain engineers tailored the powerplant to the Durango by creating a dedicated cooling circuit for the charge air coolers integrated in the supercharger housing. This cooling circuit includes a pump, coolant reservoir, and heat exchanger, and is designed to keep the air flowing into the engine cooler than 140 F. The twin-screw rotors in the supercharger are set close to minimize air leakage and ensure maximum performance. A proprietary coating on the rotors enables the tight fit, minimizes wear, and provides corrosion resistance.

An integrated electronic bypass valve regulates boost pressure to a maximum of 11.6 psi (80 kPa). The 2.38-liter supercharger uses a drive ratio of 2.36:1 and has a maximum speed of 14,600 rpm. It is sealed for life with a premium synthetic oil.

Key components of the Hellcat engine include:

  • Cast-iron engine block with water jackets between the cylinders for optimal cooling;
  • Forged-steel crankshaft with induction-hardened bearing surfaces;
  • Specially tuned crankshaft damper, burst tested to 13,000 rpm;
  • High-strength, forged-alloy pistons;
  • Powder-forged connecting rods with high-load-capacity bushings and diamond-like, carbon-coated piston pins;
  • Piston-cooling oil jets;
  • Heat-treated aluminum-alloy cylinder heads; and
  • Sodium-cooled exhaust valves, hollow-stem intake valves, and steel-alloy heads that stand up to temperatures as high as 1,652 F (900 C).

A cold-air scoop in the lower front fascia helps feed the supercharger and the Hellcat engine's 92-mm throttle body, while two high-flow variable pressure fuel pumps feed the engine's high-performance demands. Noticeably, the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat's exhaust system has been tuned to deliver a throaty, aggressive sound.

VIDEO: 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat B-roll footage. Sound starts at 56 sec. Full screen really looks great. Vroom. Vroom.

The Durango SRT Hellcat comes standard with electric power steering (EPS) with selectable steering tuning to better manage increased grip. With EPS and standard SRT drive modes accessed via the new 10.1-in. touchscreen, drivers can tailor their driving experience by controlling transmission shift speeds, steering, paddle shifters, traction, all-wheel drive (AWD), and suspension settings.

SRT Drive modes offer selectable settings for Street (Auto), Sport, and Track, while the Custom setting allows the driver to select individual preferences. Race-inspired technologies include Launch Control, which manages tire slip while launching the vehicle to allow the driver to achieve consistent straight-line acceleration, and Launch Assist, which uses wheel speed sensors to watch for driveline-damaging wheel hop at launch and, in milliseconds, modifies the engine torque to regain full grip.

The Durango SRT Hellcat also delivers excellent braking performance, requiring 116 ft to come to a full stop from 60 mph. The credit belongs to the massive standard Brembo high-performance six-piston, two-piece (front) and four-piston (rear) calipers, and vented rotors at all four corners measuring 15.75 in. (front) and 13.8 in. (rear).

The forward-leaning profile captures some design cues from the latest Charger Widebody with the new front fascia, LED low/high headlamps, signature LED daytime running lamps (DRL), sculpted hood, grille, rear spoiler, and a variety of wheel options.

A newly designed front end with integrated chin splitter creates a wide cross-car read with the upper grille, both of which flow into the new slimmer headlamp shape. The new LED headlamps are slimmer, creating a more modern shape and making Durango look more sinister than ever before. The Durango also features unique Dodge signature LED DRLs. SRT Hellcat takes advantage of where the fog lamps usually are to create openings for more airflow to cool the high-performance Hellcat engine. All Durango models feature LED race track lighting and new spoilers. As for wheel options, 20-in. x 10-in. machined faced with Mid-gloss Black pockets is standard on SRT Hellcat, as are Pirelli Scorpion Zero 295/45ZR20 all-season performance tires.

Inside, the new interior feels wider than the outgoing Durango model and features a redesigned driver-centric cockpit, instrument panel, center console, and front door uppers. The Challenger-inspired driver-oriented cockpit is refined, upscale, and high-tech throughout. It features an available, largest-in-class 10.1-in. touchscreen and is equipped with the Uconnect 5 system. A slimmer, redesigned integrated center stack (ICS) switch bank mounted below the screen is equipped with chrome-accented toggles and dedicated buttons for heated and cooled seats, making comfort controls easier to access.

A fully electronic, performance-inspired shifter controls the standard TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission and gives the driver the look and feel of a traditional linkage shifter.

Interior colors and finish options include Forged Carbon Fiber to complete that racetrack look. Unique to the SRT Hellcat are red-accented gauges and standard heated and ventilated Nappa leather with suede front seats with an embroidered Hellcat logo. An available Laguna leather interior comes in black/Demonic Red and includes an embossed Hellcat logo.

Family entertainment is available through Durango's Blu-ray video rear-seat entertainment system with two high-res 9-in. screens, one on each front seat back.

There are 11 exterior colors available. Dual-center exterior stripes are also available covering the front and rear fascias, hood, portions of the roof, spoiler, and the tailgate. Stripes are offered in five colors.

Pricing for the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat was not released, but it should start around $80,000.

Source: Dodge/FCA US

Published July 2020

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