Well, it wasn’t a surprising fact that Hennessey Performance Engineering of Texas worked its magic on a 2008 Dodge Challenger after its appearance.
Result of that work?
The Hennessey Challenger HPE600 Turbo, a 620-bhp SRT8 that blast down Hennessey’s quarter mile in 11.9 seconds at 121 mph, fitted with Nitto Drag Radials.
We were lucky to have tested exactly this Dodge Challenger Hennessey Edition, which retains the Hemi’s stock displacement, but benefits from 6 psi of boost, courtesy of a single Precision 67HPSH turbo with a 44-millimeter waste gate.
About the cylinder heads, it was pretty aggressively ported and polished until the required metal was reduced in order to reduce compression to 9.6:1. Then Hennessey installed cold-air induction, an air-to-air intercooler, a turbo oil-pump scavenge system, a Corsa exhaust and stainless headers.
As we mentioned, the result is a 620 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 650 pound-feet of torque at 4200 rpm.
The engine package alone was offered for a price of $29,500 installed, although that works out to only $151 per bonus horsey.
The test car was additionally modified so it comes with a KW coil-over suspension, StopTech brakes, anti-roll bars, 20-inch alloy wheels, and a one-inch ride-height reduction. Those bonus underpinnings, plus several other modifications, moved the price to $55,455—a lot to tack onto the SRT8’s original 42-grand sticker.
Something you can notice initially about the 2008 Hennessey Challenger HPE600 Turbo…
…will be a panoply of peculiar but strangely intoxicating noises.
First, we have the turbo’s oil-scavenge pump that sometimes sounds like one of the front tires gently rubbing a fender liner.
Next, the Corsa exhaust emits sound that probably is the deepest elephant yowl this side of Kenya.
Lastly, once you lift at wide-open throttle, the blow-off valve lets fly with a sigh that looks like the whoosh of the doors closing on the starship Enterprise.
Step-off is little unpredictable:
The idle on our tester was surging from 900 to 1200 rpm.
However, in the city, at part throttle, the HPE600 showed satisfactorily smooth & docile.
But, should you allow engine revs to surpass 3100 or so?
…all bets are off.
It is like God reaches down and touches His BiC lighter to the infinite universe’s shortest fuse.
You can spin the Michelin PS2
all the way to the limiter in first gear, and they will continue spinning halfway through second, at which point you will raise for fear of setting something alight… the road, maybe.
When it landed into the track, the HPE600 was able to hit 60 mph in great 3.9 seconds and strike 100 mph in 8.4 seconds, which is 0.9 second and 3.0 seconds faster than the regular 2008 SRT8. It eliminated the quarter-mile in 12.2 seconds at 120 mph, 1.1 seconds and 12 mph in front of an 2008 SRT8. To 150 mph, in fact, the HPE600 will be leading the regular Dodge by an amazing 11.8 seconds and would lag behind, say, a Porsche 911 GT2 by just one second.
We’d have preferred a more linear, even-handed power band:
The explosion at 3100 rpm can catch you off guard, especially in the midst of tight turns.
The suspension and the tire upgrades, which did truly raise skidpad grip from the stock 0.86 to a neck-bending 0.95…
…cost a lot and did minor damage to ride quality.
In the movie Dr. Strangelove, Slim Pickens waves his cowboy hat as he rides a nuclear weapon dropped from a bomber.
Now we know how he felt.
Well, that was our short briefing about this mean Challenger, so after you get through the technical specs on the tested model, check the fine gallery below and enjoy in this…
…we have to say amazingly tuned Challenger.
Dodge Challenger Hennessey Edition Specification
Vehicle Type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe
Engine Type: turbocharged and intercooled pushrod 16-valve V-8, iron block and aluminum heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 370 cu in, 6059cc
Power (mfr’s claim): 620 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Torque (mfr’s claim): 650 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm
Transimission: 5-speed automatic with manumatic shifting
Dimensions: Wheelbase: 116.0 in Length: 197.8 in Width: 75.7 in Height: 56.0 in
Curb weight: 4169 lb
C/D Test Results:
Zero to 60 mph: 3.9 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 8.4 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 19.0 sec
Street start, 5–60 mph: 4.1 sec
Standing Â¼-mile: 12.2 sec @ 120 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 167 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.95 g