Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition has recognized outstanding powertrains for 21 years. This installment of the 2015 Behind the 10 Best Engines series looks at the development of FCA’s 6.2L Hellcat V-8.

It may be an understatement to say WardsAuto editors are impressed by FCA SRT’s awesome 707-hp Hellcat V-8. “This magnificently decadent 6.2L supercharged Hemi V-8 earns a spot on the 2015 Ward’s 10 Best Engines list for reigniting muscle-car passion,” one wrote, “while, at the same time, pulling double duty as a perfectly sedate daily driver that saw 16 mpg (14.7L/100 km) in our testing... It’s the best performance-car engine we’ve seen in years.”

Chris Cowland, FCA’s director of Advanced and SRT Powertrains, led this program and took it to CEO Sergio Marchionne for approval.

“Looking to extend the performance of the Hemi engine,” he says, “we came up with this idea and took it to the product committee. They gave us the go-ahead. Based on the existing 6.4L Apache SRT Hemi V-8, it was done internally by a small team, and 91% of its parts are different.”

Some say the simpler, cheaper, easier-to-build, package and service attributes of cam-in-block engines are “old tech,” but GM and FCA have done wonderful things with them in recent years. This one has a forged-steel crankshaft with induction-hardened bearing surfaces, forged-alloy pistons with carbon-coated rings, powder-forged connecting rods and hollow-stem, sodium-cooled exhaust valves, among other heavy-duty features.

It also boasts dual variable-valve timing with a hydraulic actuator moving the camshaft (both intake and exhaust lobes together) within a 37-degree window. “This is different from the Viper engine which moves both independently,” Cowland says.