Durango unchained: 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat revealed with 700bhp

Chrysler’s Hellcat supercharged V8 gets yet another new application, in a three-row SUV…

We’ve come to expect American car maker Dodge’s increasingly unusual uses for its now famed 710bhp supercharged V8 HEMI engine in Challenger and Chargers for a few years now, but this might just be its most puzzling application yet. It’s decided to go ahead and fit this monster petrol V8 to its family friendly Durango SUV, creating a 700bhp seven-seater.

The Durango itself is no longer the crude body-on-frame SUV it was in the ’90s, but this third-generation car can still trace its roots right back to 2010, when it was revealed on a more road-biased monocell chassis. The Durango shares its underpinnings with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, a model that’s also available with the supercharged HEMI engine, but while the Jeep is a quasi-premium brand SUV with just two rows of seating, the Durango’s always had a more family first approach.

Specifications of the V8 are familiar from its use in other Hellcat models, with that aforementioned 700bhp power figure joined by a peak torque output of 645lb ft. Power is then transferred to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, which again is shared with other Hellcat models.

As you’d hope, the chassis has also picked up a round of performance upgrades, including a set of Brembo brakes, recalibrated electric steering, and a specific suspension tune. However, any word on the sort of elements common to European high-performance SUVs such as active anti-roll systems, carbon-ceramic brakes and torque-shuffling differentials is notably absent from the spec sheet.

Instead, Dodge has given the Durango Hellcat a launch mode, and selectable driver modes that Dodge claims makes the Durango track ready. The performance figures do look impressive though, with the 0-60mph sprint taking 3.5sec, a standing quarter-mile being passed in 11.5sec and top speed arriving at 180mph.

Visually the Durango has a spread of bespoke design elements, mostly dedicated to either keeping the engine cool or attempting to keep the car on the ground. Bespoke bumpers front and rear, a pitched rear wing, bolstered sports seats, full-length racing stripes, and a set of 20-inch wheels wrapped in 295-section Pirelli all-season tyres all feature.

While high-performance SUVs are not unusual in 2020, the notion of a family oriented seven-seater with such performance is something much rarer. You might even say the Dodge Durango channels some of the eccentric energy first seen in the Mercedes R63 AMG from way back in 2007 – Merc’s bizarre six-seater executive people carrier that had a 6.2-litre AMG V8 wedged underneath its dashboard. Ironically, this Durango actually shares more than a few elements, including its underlying chassis, with the long-dead Mercedes, making it a model with perhaps more substance than we might give it credit for. If you’re after a Durango Hellcat in the UK through official channels though, things are looking unlikely, if for no other reason than its inability to pass any of the EU emissions regulations, ever.

Recommended

Jaguar F-Pace SVR SV Bespoke Edition 1988 debuts
Jaguar F Pace SVR 1988 - front quarter
Jaguar F-Pace

Jaguar F-Pace SVR SV Bespoke Edition 1988 debuts

Jaguar’s excellent F Pace SVR to reference the marque’s 1988 Le Mans win with new SV Bespoke Edition
31 May 2022
New Lamborghini Urus spied – preparing for the Ferrari Purosangue’s arrival
Lamborghini Urus
Lamborghini Urus

New Lamborghini Urus spied – preparing for the Ferrari Purosangue’s arrival

The Lamborghini Urus doesn’t have the super SUV class to itself any more, so is sharpening up to prepare
24 May 2022
2022 Ford Ranger Raptor priced from £57,340 in the UK
Ford Ranger Raptor
Ford Ranger

2022 Ford Ranger Raptor priced from £57,340 in the UK

Ford Performance's incoming petrol-powered Ranger Raptor costs the same as a Porsche Boxster T
23 May 2022
BMW XM prototype 2022 review – M's bespoke Urus rival is on its way
BMW XM prototype drive – front cornering header
BMW X5 M

BMW XM prototype 2022 review – M's bespoke Urus rival is on its way

An abundance of new BMW models will arrive in M Division’s 50th anniversary year. We drive a camo’d version of the most controversial
15 May 2022

Most Popular

McMurtry Spéirling fan car claims Goodwood FoS hillclimb record
McMurtry Spéirling
Electric cars

McMurtry Spéirling fan car claims Goodwood FoS hillclimb record

The McMurtry Spéirling has dethroned the Volkswagen ID R as the fastest car to complete Goodwood hillclimb
26 Jun 2022
2022 BMW M3 Touring revealed – the Audi RS4 rival we've been waiting for is here!
FOS M3 Touring
BMW M3 Touring

2022 BMW M3 Touring revealed – the Audi RS4 rival we've been waiting for is here!

Wagon lovers rejoice, the new BMW M3 Touring is here exclusively in xDrive Competition specification
21 Jun 2022
Goodwood Festival of Speed 2022
FOS Header
Goodwood Festival of Speed

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2022

The UK’s biggest automotive event is back for another year. Here's our show guide
27 Jun 2022