If you are a MOPAR muscle car fan then you know the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is over the top wild. With a real 707 factory horsepower and a quarter-mile time of just 11.2 seconds, it’s the most powerful, fastest muscle car ever built.
The reason, of course, is a monster of an engine: a 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V-8. By the way, the decision to use a supercharger instead of a turbocharger is because the engineers at Dodge didn’t want any turbo-lag issues, plus it sounds real cool – honestly.
A key change to this latest Challenger, besides the Hellcat’s uber-powerful engine, is an optional new 8-speed automatic transmission. The shorter first few gear ratios allow for a 0.5 second drop in 0-60 mph times, and on a racetrack, it’s highly intuitive when selecting the correct gear for a specific corner.
OK, its not exactly cheap. Crosstown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram tells us The SRT Hellcat starts at $59,995 – and that includes gas-guzzler tax. And its not very fuel efficient. Reviewers have commented that the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat gets some 9.5 mpg real world gas mileage. Nevertheless it’s an absolute riot, and very drivable when not being driven heavy footed. Some of this drivability can be attributed to the power steering is a touch overboosted and light (despite the Hellcat receiving hydraulic rather than electric steering) so there is a minimum of road feel.
Braking for the SRT Hellcat is accomplished by 36mm six-piston Brembo aluminum calipers. The shocks are well tuned so that there’s not a lot of pitch and dive front to back, meaning the body stays relatively flat. As you turn the vehicle, you do begin to notice the weight and a bit of inherent roll but it does so evenly front to back giving you a sense of being under control. As you’d expect with any front engine car, the limiting factor is understeer and it requires a little patience to allow the car to rotate around sufficiently before getting back on the gas. Speaking of gas, for those that want to let someone else drive the car, such as “one of the kids”, it arrives with two keys – a black one that limits power to a pitiful 500 hp and a red one that unleashes all 707hp.
In summary, the new Challenger is exactly what a muscle car should be. But is it the new king of the hill? Well, that’s a subjective call but you can say one thing; It’s probably the most authentic muscle car on the market today. Here’s your chance. If you missed the first muscle car era, here’s your opportunity to get in on this one in a major way.