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It's one of the worst-kept secrets around Detroit; that Dodge was tinkering with a new version of its Challenger muscle car that would leapfrog the power not just of the competition but of any other car Chrysler builds. And today, Dodge made it official, announcing it would offer a supercharged V-8 in the Challenger SRT good for more than 600 hp. The question it didn't answer was: Just how much more?

Powered by the first supercharged version of the current generation of Hemi V-8s, the 6.2-liter engine will be the most powerful V-8 ever sold by Chrysler. The regular 392 Hemi sold as the base engine of the Challenger SRT also gets a power boost to 485 hp, up from 470.

Along with the new power comes the expected set of more complicated electronic controls — four drive modes, along with a "valet" command to keep the SRT from being Ferris Bueller-ed. The Hellcat can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a new eight-speed automatic. Most other parts of the Challenger receive some kind of upgrade as well, from the front fascia to a taller rear spoiler to the brakes and tires, which go all the way up to Pirelli P-Zero spec for the Hellcat.

The current Challenger runs behind the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang in sales and go-fast variants; where the previous SRT8 tops out at 470 hp, Ford and Chevy offer editions with more than 500 hp that can run $10,000 more than Dodge's offering. Dodge didn't disclose prices on the Hellcat option nor its actual top output — which may outchurn that of the V-10 Viper — but when it hits dealers in the third quarter, the Hemi faithful will likely not keep their excitement so secret.
 
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