Friday, November 25, 2016

First Drive: 2016 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

My personal car is a 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Plus. It is powered by a 5.7L Hemi V8 that produces 372 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. There is also the Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack and the Dodge Challenger SRT 392 that are powered by a 6.4L V8 that produces 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. When Dodge came out with a refresh for the Challenger for the 2015 model year, Dodge and SRT decided to up the horsepower and torque even more. Dodge put its first ever supercharged Hemi V8 engine in the Challenger, calling it the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. The car comes with two different key fobs for two power outputs. When the red key fob is used, the Hellcat engine puts out 707 hp. When the black key fob is used, the Hellcat engine puts out 500 hp. I got to get behind the wheel of the Challenger SRT Hellcat, but with the black key fob. I have been in the passenger seat when the red key was in use.

The SRT Hellcat looks like most Challengers, but there are a few things that make the Hellcat stand out. First, the hood has two side openings in addition to the opening in the middle of the hood. The Challenger SRT 392 has only the opening in the middle of the hood. The Hellcat I drove had the optional black satin hood. The Hellcat front inner light bulb on the driver side has been removed and replaced with an air intake. The Hellcat also does not have fog lights. It does have a unique front diffuser. The Hellcat does come with 20" matte black forged wheels as standard. The one I drove has 20" brass monkey forged wheels. The Hellcat comes with a black spoiler in the rear. This car looks fast. The Hellcat I drove comes with black leather seats that are heated and ventilated in the front. It has an 8.4 inch touchscreen with navigation.

The Challenger SRT Hellcat is powered by a supercharged 6.2L V8 engine that produces 707 hp with the red key fob and 500 hp with the black key fob. There is also a valet mode that limits the hp to 350. The Challenger SRT Hellcat also get 650 lb-ft of torque from its engine. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission, but the one I drove came with the eight-speed automatic transmission. 0 to 60 mph time for the Hellcat is 3.6 seconds and has a top speed between 199 mph. I was only able to drive the Hellcat with the black key fob, but I have been in the passenger seat when the red key fob was active. This car is fast. It is the most powerful car I have ever been in. Even with all that power, it is quite comfortable to drive. It is smooth on the roads. It is hard to hear anything with the high performance engine and exhaust. This is a car you need to be careful with this car because the rear likes to get out from under you. The car will fishtail if you floor the gas pedal from a dead stop. I have been in the Hellcat when it has fishtailed. But once it took off, I was pinned to the back of my seat. Prices for the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat start at $65,290 which includes a $1,700 gas guzzler tax. The version I drove has a listed price of $73,765. Compare to other vehicles with over 600 hp, the Challenger SRT Hellcat is a bargain.

Overall, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is one fast muscle car. It is scary fast. It gets up and goes. Its performance rivals many supercars, but at a fraction of the price. It is a bargain compared to Ferraris, McLarens, and Lamborghinis. I have driven supercharged vehicles and non of them were as powerful as the Hellcat. One problem the Hellcat has is getting all that power to the ground. The rear tires are not wide enough to handle all the power and it will fishtail if the power is not managed properly.

Photo was taken by a camera phone.
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