It’s a well-mannered hooligan, a bad boy that can haul people and butt with style
and smoke, blogs Dan Scanlan.
Just take a drive in my neighborhood – any street will do. You’ll see a lot of Hellcat traces left behind – twin rubber stripes departing from many stop signs. Sorry Dodge – the Hellcat with 707 Hemi horsepower generating 650 pound/feet of ground-pounding torque made me do it. And, according to Dodge, it has a top end of 204 mph!
Dodge says the Hellcat’s SRT Hemi has the highest output of any passenger-car engine it’s ever produced, and they made sure we could test all 707 of its horses by handing me the red keyless remote that delivers insures max power. And I used it every day, waking up the neighbors as I fired it up, a Hellcat image welcoming me on the gauge screen before I let its rubber claw the road.
The Hellcat offers multiple driving modes. “Valet,” drops power down so you can feel safe handing it off. “Eco” drops output down to 500 horsepower and sets the transmission/suspension/traction control in its mildest mode and disables paddle shifters. “Sport” give 700-plus, dialed back traction control, paddle shifters and firmer shocks, plus full snarl from the dual exhaust. “Track” lets the Hellcat really snarl and spits on overrun, with the firmest suspension, quickest shifts and almost no traction control.
Our last Charger R/T had a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with 370 horsepower and 395 pound/feet of torque, hitting 60-mph in a quick 4.7 seconds. Set the Hellcat in “Sport,” and we left twin stripes as we hit 60-mph in 4.3 seconds and 100-mph in 8. In “Track,” each of the 160-millisecond shifts slammed home as power came on with a roar and even more rubber – 100-mph in 7.9 seconds with rear tires fighting for traction and smoking.
Either way, you get wheelspin on shifts before the Pirellis grip again, including second-to-third. Use launch control –tap a button after you’ve preset your launch rpm - then gas and brake: 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and 100 in 8.8 seconds with slamming quick shifts, a wild supercharger scream and wheelspin after each shift.
The Hellcat’s five-drive mode also change the steering and the adaptive ADS Bilstein shock absorbers, coupled to an independent short/long arm front suspension with five-link independent rear with stabilizer bars. Eco and street mode delivers sporty, firm-yet compliant. Sport is firmer, but still livable on urban and suburban roads. Track is very firm, with a hard-edged rebound over potholes, yet surprisingly forgiving.Track and Sport make this two-ton sedan handle like the rest of the Charger line should. The sedan felt lighter and tighter, with more precision in the steering feel and eager to tackle a turn.
The G-Force meter claimed 1.03 lateral Gs on the skidpad. Peak acceleration was a seat-pinning 1.05 gs. The power steering gets more feel as you toggle more serious driving modes, a bit heavy at parking lot speeds, but well weighted and precise on the road. And those brakes – precise pedal feel, great initial bite and solid stopping power. We felt no fade after some very serious use at speed. With 15.4-inch Brembo two-piece rotors up front and six-piston calipers, we averaged about .68 Gs in deceleration.
As for the package this power comes in, the current shape was born from a 2011-redesign and a 2015-facelift with new hood, fenders and slimmer front and rear fascias, including the loss of the crosshair grille. The lightweight aluminum hood has a low, wide center hood scoop flanked by sunken vents.
Inside, there’s a padded black dashtop and sculpted red suede heated and ventilated bucket seats with black leather outers, contrasting stitching. They could use a bit more side bolstering especially when the Hellcat starts roaring. The red-faced gauges live in an engine-turned metal-like surround, a 200-mph speedometer and 7,000-rpm (6,000-rpm redline) tach framing a 7-inch color screen that displays a digital speedometer, fuel economy, engine power and torque and tire pressure gauges. There is turbo boost, turbocharger/intercooler/coolant/oil/transmission displays, plus voltage and g-forces. Plus 0 to 60 mph and 0 to 100 mph timer, plus quarter and eighth-mile, lap speeds and top speed.
For more information on the latest and hottest Chargers from Dodge, please visit http://www.dodge.com/en/charger/
Link to Dan Scanlan's Hellcat video