By on July 22, 2014

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To some degree, it’s about the number, right? Seven hundred and seven. The Dodge people certainly made the point again and again about how the Hellcat stacks up to everything from the Z06 to the Murcielago. Mine’s bigger than yours. And that other number — 10.9 seconds with drag radials and 11.2 without. That actually isn’t such a big deal; there are people out there who have put stock C6 Z06es with draggies into the tens. Still, they closed the freaking road course after just ninety minutes so the journalists could line up and try their hand at quarter-miles. I didn’t bother to do that. Nor did I get any street time in the Hellcat. What I got was this: four laps, none of them unimpeded. When you come back in the afternoon, I’ll tell you what my TrackMaster data showed about the Hellcat vis-a-vis the 6.4L. But for now let’s talk about what the Hellcat is and what it does.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with the HEMI® Hellcat engine

Here’s how you make a Hellcat: Start with the 2015 Challenger and it’s improved interior. Add Hellcat-specific visual cues, most of them related to increasing the amount of air coming through the nose. Then drop the bore size a bit, redo the motor with “91 percent new” engineering and parts, and supercharge the hell out of the cat.

Here’s the press release, there’s no sense in rewriting it:

The 2,380cc/rev blower features integral charge coolers and an integrated electronic bypass valve to
regulate boost pressure to a maximum of 80 kPa (11.6 psi). Its twin-screw rotors are specially coated
with:

• a proprietary formula of polyimide and other resins
• nanometer-sized, wear-resistant particles
• solid lubricants, such as PTFE (Teflon)

The coating accommodates tighter tolerances between the rotors. This reduces internal air leakage and
helps deliver improved compressor performance and higher efficiencies. The coating not only can
withstand the temperatures generated by compression, it provides a superior corrosion resistance.
The new supercharged V-8, sealed for life with premium synthetic oil, boasts a drive ratio of 2.36:1 and
a maximum speed of 14,600 rpm. The drive system’s one-way clutch de-coupler improves refinement,
while allowing for precisely the kind of auditory feedback SRT customers find alluring.
The supercharger gulps air through an Air Catcher inlet port, which replaces the driver’s-side inboard
marker light and connects to a patented twin-inlet, eight-liter air box. The blower further benefits from a
92-mm throttle body – the largest ever used in a Chrysler Group vehicle.
The fuel system keeps pace with an in-tank pump that accommodates variable pressures, half-inch fuel
lines and eight injectors each capable of delivering a flow rate of 600cc/min – enough to drain the fuel
tank in approximately 13 minutes at full power.

The transmissions were re-engineered; the eight-speed automatic has bigger clutches and more gear surface throughout, allowing it to bang out 120-millisecond shifts that, on the drag strip, sound close to dual-clutch. The Tremec TR6060 has a bigger clutch, a relatively light flywheel, and stronger gears. I believe, although I cannot say for sure, that this transmission, like the Hellcat’s HEMI, is made in Mexico.

To stop the car, there’s a 15.4-inch rotor Brembo brake package with 20×9.5 inch wheels. It would appear that there are now three Brembo brake packages on these cars: the four-piston setup on the Scat Pack 6.4L with Super Track Pack, the six-piston SRT8 14.2-inch package, and this high-power six-piston setup which is optional on the SRT8 and standard on the Hellcat.

Other fun features: an available flat-black hood, a removable lower grille for track use, (“Seven screws,” we were told, “it will take owners five minutes”) deliberately plain “SRT” badging, and a track key/valet key setup that also features a user-selectable “valet PIN” to limit the car to 4000rpm. A sunroof is optional, as are a couple of different color-coordinated seat packages.

It’s good value for money; the Scat Pack with a few options runs $46k so this Hellcat at $59,995 feels like a screaming bargain. And you’re almost certain to get your money back when you go to sell, assuming you don’t take too much of a beating at the hands of your dealer.

Okay. It’s late at night and you want to know how it drives. I’ll put video up later on today, but the short version is this: It is to the GT500 as the old SRT8 was to the Boss 302. The clutch is low effort, as is the shifting. The thrust is plainly massive but there’s enough tire under it to make it controllable on a racetrack. It’s very quick, but it doesn’t feel noticeably quicker than a GT500. There’s a certain viciousness you get with a ZR1 or GT500 that is blunted by the Chally’s weight here. Big motor, pushing a big car, and as a result things feel under control. It never occurred to me not to give it full throttle in a straight line on an eighty-degree Portland day. Change this to a Kentucky backroad with accumulated oil and grit, and drop the temperature to fifty, and we’ll talk about it again.

All the Challenger SRT8 virtues survive intact to the Hellcat. It really is just an SRT8 plus power. That’s what you really need to know about it. It’s not compromised or changed in any significant manner. It’s just faster, and unlike the naturally aspirated 6.4L it’s hellaciously strong everywhere, not just when the tach sweeps past four. At 1200rpm it has as much torque as the old SRT8 did at peak. So yeah — fast, effortlessly so, like a literbike.

But it also feels long-legged through the gears in a way that the GT500 doesn’t. My impression, which I’d need to check through a bunch of a documentation to confirm, is that it’s geared longer than the Shelby or the Boss or the Z/28. There’s more room to run in each gear, which given the fact that the Ford 5.4L revs higher than this 6.2L means that it’s geared higher.

On the track, the brakes and tires proved sufficient to the task, as I’ll explain later today with numbers. Unlike the Shelby, it’s far from underbraked, for a ponycar. Don’t expect Corvette-level braking performance here. There ain’t a disc brake big enough for that unless it’s on a triple-seven Boeing. This is a big car with good solid damping and big brakes, but it’s not a Corvette.

Neither is it a Z/28, not that you expected it. The Z/28 has better brakes and a lot more tire compound and it’s a bit smaller. I wouldn’t expect the Hellcat to see the nose of a Z/28 on a track, unless you’re on Road America and it’s the first lap.

I realize it’s a disappointment to say that the Hellcat is merely a faster SRT8, but that’s a hell of an accomplishment. Power like this has never been this accessible and the fact that it’s delivered in this big, comfy package is a technical knockout. You literally give up nothing by taking the high-power option, except perhaps your home equity. The Hellcat has no drawbacks except fuel economy and price. It is fully, thoroughly, completely recommended to anyone who wants a faster Challenger. Drivers who want the on-track aplomb of a Mustang or Camaro need not apply.

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135 Comments on “Review: 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT “Hellcat” 6MT...”


  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Definitely better looking than the Z28. Nice car, I like very much the exterior treatment.

    uConnect looks really damn slick with all of the config options available. Did the car “Kickstart your heart” Mr. Baruth?

    Does the car have noticeable supercharger whine?

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    It’s encouraging to see a car like this in an era of increasing CAFE standards. To the extent that it annoys lefties and environmentalists, it’s great. But I wouldn’t buy one; it’s just not my cup of tea.

  • avatar
    smokingclutch

    This should probably say that the supercharger is sealed for life, not the engine itself:

    “The new supercharged V-8, sealed for life with premium synthetic oil, boasts a drive ratio of 2.36:1 and
    a maximum speed of 14,600 rpm.”

    In case you want even more Challenger content, I submitted a three-year, 37,000 mile ownership report of my 2010 R/T Classic.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Man, I’d be surprised if it’s geared taller than the GT500. That thing has stratospheric gearing…..even taller than a non ZR1 Vette in 6th….100 mph @ 2000 rpm, 60 mph in first. What’s the Hellcat’s redline?

  • avatar
    05lgt

    I don’t think I should be trusted with this much capacity to be stupid just yet. Soon enough, but right now I’d kill myself in it.

  • avatar
    johnny_5.0

    Nice quickie review and comparisons. The Scat Pack was my pick, but I feel that desire slowly dying. It would be more “kid friendly” than my Mustang (absurdity of that statement aside), but from what I’ve cobbled together so far about the options in other post-embargo articles, I’m starting to think I’d be better off in a rental styled SS. No leather which makes sense as a replacement to the Core model. But that interior was gorgeous (for what it is) in red leather…or impractical white. If I’m going to have to drop $40K+, maybe I’ll just get something truly practical. Or pick up a 2015 GT Performance Pack for dealer invoice once they are plentiful and continue punishing the wife and kiddo with the dearth of legroom.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Did the PR people offer a prediction on what percentage of sales will be locked in garages as “investments”?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I predict these will sell at a very high dealer markup initially, but the premium will quickly fade as the realization concretely & resolutely sets in that there’s little to nothing that can be done in terms of mods, even with 707 horsepower under the hood from the factory, to get this to hang with a C7 on the track.

    I am not saying it’s not a remarkable car just by virtue of the fact that it appears to be a solidly comfortable boulevard cruiser with tremendous horsepower/torque at a reasonable MSRP (given the spec sheet).

    I am saying that if I’m correct that it can’t be made into something that can hang with vehicles that CAN be modded (or already exist in stock form such as the Z06) to aggressively dominate the track, what it really amounts to is nothing more than a gratuitous Challenger SRT.

    And that begs the question of what’s the point in that?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m with you on that. Kind of a shame the car didn’t get any suspension upgrades to make it more capable. Going fast in a straight line sort of becomes ethereal at above 400, at above 500, well the 707 seems pretty gimmicky. To use the rhetoric of a previous discussion another day, this sort of sounds like a big old gourmet hamburger. All spruced up and damn tasty, but in the end just a hamburger. Lacks some sophistication if it is to be “eaten” everyday.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      It astonishes me how many ‘enthusiasts’ don’t seem to get the point of this car (as compared to the Ford or the Chevy…)

      The other 2 are factory race-cars in the spirit of the old Can-Am specials. This is simply a drag car that can drive to and from the strip, with a warranty.

      And anyone who is cross-shopping this with a Z06 needs to have their head examined – simply 2 completely different classes of car. I have the sneaking suspicion the Hellcat is much more forgiving after driving for more than 30 mins that the bone-jarring ride that comes with the Z06.

      • 0 avatar

        Good point, but then the appeal is limited. It doesn’t have to run with the Z06, I also think it’s not it’s mission. But so much power just to go in a straight line? Some improvement in the curves would’ve been welcome, without having to resort a too hard suspension.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          “Some improvement in the curves would’ve been welcome, without having to resort a too hard suspension.”

          I’m pretty sure the weight makes that impossible. I don’t know why every car needs to be a canyon carver or track rat anyway.

          • 0 avatar

            I agree. But not taking the opportunity to improving just a bit would’ve made it a beter and more memorable car.

          • 0 avatar
            ellomdian

            Again, you believe that ‘improvement’ is whatever you like to drive. Show a car with 700+ HP that accomplishes this mission statement (go fast in a straight line) that also handles acceptably in the ‘curves’ without sacrificing ride quality and has an interior you could live with for more than 30 mins of driving that also costs less than 75k.

            Also, show me the ‘curves’ that this doesn’t handle on your daily commute. I don’t think I’ve ever personally heard a Challenger owner complain about the car’s heftiness outside of trying to take a residential corner too fast…

          • 0 avatar

            I get your point, but maybe you are not getting mine. It’s a special car that shares much with its less special brothers. If it had some extra capabilities besides the extra hp, it would be that much more. It is what it is and is very good at it, but people are talking collectible. That maybe too much, unless it offers more than extra hp. That is too me who doesn’t think 700 hp is that much over 400 or 500. Other people think different. That’s all fine.

      • 0 avatar
        Crabspirits

        This car is geared to the “Hey, watch this!” crowd, and delusional folks that will wipe it with a diaper in the garage, thinking it will be a nice “investment” before realizing they’ve entered a world where nobody has any retirement savings.

        “Hmm, one of the last of the Hellcats. Would be a shame to sell it for scrap.”

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          2Crabspirits…”delusional folks that wipe it with a diaper in the garage”?????.

          Your sooo right. Yeah, I’d been one of those. I figured I’d be pushing a 104, before my 426 hp Camaro would be worth what I paid for it.

          If a younger guy wants a car like this, just wait a couple of years. Some other stupid old fool, like myself, will relize it was a mistake and trade it in.

          Somewhere here in Ontario theres a guy driving a mint 2011 2SS Camaro. Thanking the old guy that wiped it with a diaper.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I bromance you CS, & it’s good to see you back.

          +1 to everything you said.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Great to see you CS. Hope all is well.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        Trans-Am. Can-Am was a whole ‘nother ballgame.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Why does it need to hang with anything on a track? As for the point, why does it need one? What’s the point of an RX-8 with traffic and traffic laws, or any of the cars it’s compared to with a mere 500 or 600 horsepower? If the Hellcat is a gratuitous SRT, then the SRT is a gratuitous RT, which in turn is a gratuitous SXT.

      Why drive anything but a Prius or a pickup truck sized appropriately for an intended workload?

      • 0 avatar

        Hey burgersandbeer, again I agree. However what you say is sort of it. The way it is it seems to be an improved, stronger SRT. A missed ut it does make it less special.out being a stronger SRT, bopportunity for something really special. Nothing wrong ab

    • 0 avatar

      You were seriously expecting that somehow there would be “mods” that could make a 4500 lb five-passenger GT car hang with a 650-horsepower track-day-special Corvette on a road-racing course?

      Are there such mods for, say, a BMW M6? If not, then I guess that car is also pointless, eh?

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      It strikes me as a sort of very retro-American Bentley.

      I don’t know that I’d want one, but it is a very, very impressive achievement.

      • 0 avatar

        Years ago (before they got stupid-expensive) I had a 1977 Aston Martin V8 Vantage, with the full-Euro 408 hp motor. It was… a big heavy muscle car, quieter and more solid and much plusher inside than something like a Cuda, with significantly better handling (for a 4000 lb car) and much better brakes. And for the time, it was stupidly fast, faster than anything else that had a real back seat. It was okay on the track (though I never really pushed it), but it was best suited to fast road driving, the ultimate weekend-getaway car.

        The Hellcat’s “Laguna” leather isn’t as nice as the Connolly in that Aston, but otherwise it’s not all that far off, except that it’ll break a lot less often and the parts will be far cheaper when it does.

    • 0 avatar

      #1 There is NOTHING about a Dodge Challenger that can “hang with” a C7 on the track.

      This car, just like the Viper is about being able to TAKE DOWN as many sub-$100,000 cars with 12 – 13 second quarter miles as possible.

      This car is for people who don’t want to compromise between getting a “toy” and having to cart their family around.

      This is the new HALO car of Chrysler and its simple Youtube presence will transcend all car reviews and all word-of-mouth.

      This car is going to make EVERYONE know just exactly what “S.R.T” stands for.

      Having the fastest, most powerful, street-legal, production car on your block – in your neighborhood – in your general area…

      …it’s like having 18 inches.

  • avatar
    sightline

    So would it be fair to characterize this as the CL65 of the Challenger line? The engine is turned up to 11 but beyond the increased power, not a radical departure from the platform upon which it’s based?

    Don’t get me wrong, I have all of the obligatory amazement that a car with 700+ hp can be made tractable, and drivable and warrantee-able and all the other -ables. This is targeted at a fairly specific demographic and the people who are buying this know what they’re getting. I doubt there will be any disappointment that it’s not quite as good around a track as some of the other cars out there.

  • avatar
    wileecoyote

    Short, sweet, and all too rare honest journalism.

    This will be the only Hellcat article not written by someone hyped by a number. Well done.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I view this car as a Harley Davidson V-Rod with a sh!tload of mods. It will go like stink in a straight line but don’t expect it to stop or turn very well.
    Any dude on a litre bike with moderate skills will leave it in a different time zone.
    In the case of the HellCat one can substitute Corvette, Boss 302, GT350, and most BMW’s with an “M” badge and a host of other cars that can bent around a corner for the words “litre bike”.

    The only reason I like it is because it is as politically incorrect as it comes.

    I can see seal pups dying of fright.

  • avatar

    So, it’s still “just” a Challenger. Both good and bad in that statement. Beautiful colors in those seats. Loved the reds and tans. Makes me think who would buy all black. From the pics too, the instrument binnacle looks beautiful as do the gages. The exterior also looks tastefully done. Good job and seems to be enough to satisfy Challenger fans. Don’t know if it has enough to lure buyers of the other ponies.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Top comment of this thread so far…

    • 0 avatar
      Luke

      I could not agree more. Yep, still “just” a Challenger. Still “just” a big, comfortable American muscle car that will eat up miles and put an effortless 707 hp smile on your face. It’s not a Z06 or GT3 or anything else, nor should it even try to be.

      It’s the ultimate Challenger, there’s no need for it to be anything else…the modern iteration of the dual quad, 426 Hemi or 440 Six pack B-Body Charger…a big muscle car turned up to 11 with more power than you could ever use on the street. Perfect!

      I love the small changes they made to the exterior styling. It’s a very pure and beautiful expression of the form. I’m going to wait a year and see how badly dealers treat people on these. If I can get one without a mark up I’d very much like to have one as a driver/keeper. I don’t believe that it will be possible for companies to make cars like this in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I found that red suede ghastly. Suede ruins interiors in my opinion, unless it’s relegated to the headliner where it belongs.

      But I’m okay with red leather.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    There is really nothing new about this car, it is only a faster Challenger with all of the model’s credits and debits. Lingenfelter already did this(supercharging) some time ago with the Challenger and Charger, and for a lot less money($8,995.00) without the chassis/brake pieces that most potential owners won’t care about. It has less Hp(590Hp) in the old supercharger pkg, but I’m sure Ligenfelter can address that for you.

    And, yes, as noted in in JB’s solid review, the Hellcat has a lot of upgrades over a Challenger RT or SRT, but if you just want Hp and bragging rights, there are cheaper ways to get it, though, the cachet attributable to ‘Hellcat’ will be missing, as will the collect-ability.

    http://www.lingenfelter.com/engine-packages/dodge-challenger-charger-2008-2012/dodge-challenger-charger-tvs2300-supercharger

    590 BHP As Tested On 2009 SRT8 Hemi 6.1 L
    500 RWHP / 450 RW LBS FT of Torque

    Package includes:

    - TVS2300 intercooled supercharger system
    - Black powder coated finish
    - Properly sized fuel injectors
    - 160 Degree thermostat
    - Lingenfelter High Flow air intake
    - Professional installation, testing and calibration
    - Chassis dyno report before & after installation
    - Excellent drivability, highway mileage not adversely affected
    - Magnuson 3/36 warranty on supercharger assembly
    - Lingenfelter fender badges
    - Lingenfelter certificate of authenticity

    Installed package price $8,995.00

    For something in a similar vein, but far superior in every metric, you have the Ligenfelter and Hennessy Camaros

    Camaro ZL1 378 CID Supercharger System Upgrade – 630 HP
    Camaro ZL1 378 CID Supercharger System Upgrade – 650 HP
    Camaro ZL1 378 CID Supercharged Engine Package – 700+ HP
    Camaro Z28 427 CID LS7 Twin Turbo 800 HP
    Camaro ZL1 378 CID LS9 TVS2300 Supercharged Engine Package – 835 HP

    Hennessy HPE_800/1000 ………………….
    http://www.hennesseyperformance.com/hpe800camaro.html
    http://www.hennesseyperformance.com/hpe1000camaro.html

    Having recently driven the HPE800, It is amazingly docile for the street, and on the track(Thunderhill), a very capable monster with its brake/ wheel/tires/suspension upgrades.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “For something in a similar vein, but far superior in every metric, you have the Ligenfelter and Hennessy Camaros”

      Well, every metric except carrying people and stuff. But then, that’s why the Challenger exists: it’s a relaxed-fit chino option.

      By the measure, the Mustang is Levi 501s; the Camaro is red PVC skinny-pants.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Definitely a collectible. A good chunk will get destroyed, some will just be driven around and miles and wear and tear put on and then a small amount will disappear only to reappear 25-30 years later and sell for an obscene amount of money, because rare and 700 plus horsepower. Having a cool name does not hurt either.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Doubtful, the boomers that are currently paying stupid money for the cool cars of their youth will all be dead, the survivors won’t have the same strong nostalgia (and likely those with the means won’t willingly ‘invest’ in a 25 yo car) for days gone by. I hope every one of these cars is driven into the ground.

      Anyone counting on these being collectible and therefore a good investment has a lot more faith in the stability of our world in the coming decades than I do. The trend of more change at ever greater rates isn’t likely to reverse itself and this is a fundamental factor in the nostalgia-driven absurdly priced market for post WW2 American autos.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        To paraphrase Woody Harrelson in True Detective: Old men have been saying the world is going to hell in handbasket forever, yet somehow the world keeps spinning.

        The fact that you can buy a 700+hp car from the factory, with a warranty, from Dodge (not Ferrari, Dodge!), in 2014 is a vote of confidence in the future.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          “The fact that you can buy a 700+hp car from the factory, with a warranty, from Dodge (not Ferrari, Dodge!), in 2014 is a vote of confidence in the future.”

          Agreed

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that the market for classic American cars today will not be the same as it will be 20 years from now. The probability that personal transportation will be very different 20 years from now is much higher than it was 20 or more years ago.

          There is much more risk today in buying a Hellcat as an investment than there was in buying any investment car at any time previous to now.

          The future may be wonderful or it may be hell, it’s difficult to predict and – in my opinion – becoming more difficult to predict. Therefore, I recommend that anyone who buys a Hellcat (or any other enthusiast vehicle) drive the wheels off the damn thing and enjoy it rather than hoard it away hoping that it pays off in the distant, unpredictable future.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          Toad: “The fact that you can buy a 700+hp car from the factory, with a warranty, from Dodge (not Ferrari, Dodge!), in 2014 is a vote of confidence in the future.”

          I disagree. It’s more of a short-term bet on the wallets of some aging boomers.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        Right on the money. This is not a collectible because it will create no nostalgia. It is out of reach of the crowd of “millenials” and Generation-Y types who might like the Challenger, and is competing with wall poster material which is much more desirable.

        The customer base for this car are baby boomers and possible generation-x types who want one right now, or who want an original 1980 Hemi Cuda, but don’t want the compromises.

        This is not collector material, because it does not have a youth audience to get all nostalgic over it.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Boomer nostalgia isn’t necessary to make a collectible. These cars will retain siginificant value in the future because:

          1. They are desirable to anyone who wants big factory power
          2. There will be relatively few produced constraining supply.

          Relative to other cars in the future, they will be “collectibles”. There will always be enough interest in stupid fast cars like these to keep values high.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            Kind of like Mitsubishi Lancer Evos? They provide big factory power and the supply is constrained, especially given that they’re not going to keep making them.

            The fault in that argument is that in the future, these won’t be new cars with factory warranties. They will be either:

            a. A car that someone drove as intended and therefore thrashed.

            b. A car that hasn’t been driven and therefore requires extensive reconditioning to drive or someone stupid enough to pay for the privilege of continuing to let an automobile slowly rot away in the name of “collecting”.

            If you’re gonna buy it, drive it. If you think it’s an investment, good luck.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I agree, drive it. Anyone buying one as an investment will be waiting a long long time to see any kind of return.

            Most Evo’s haven’t really hit their stride of collectibility, but it could easily happen for the more desirable models down the road.

            If anything has the potential for collectibility, it’s cars like the Hellcat. Warranty hasn’t got anything to do with the value down the road. If interest completely falls off for high horsepower factory cars over the next 30 years, then their values will drop, but I don’t predict that happening.

            As long as there are car guys with money, these cars will have value.

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            I disagree, but it may be semantics. What you are talking about would be a way to keep residual values high, but not something that guarantees status as a “collectible” in the sense of being a rare object which is both widely liked and subject to very high demand leading to rapidly inflating values.

            This car is interesting, but the customer demographics, and likely future of the car, lead me to think that it will not have a particular collectible appeal due to changing tastes and opportunity for use.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            It’s really, really hard to predict which cars will become collectable. (I’m looking at you, 1980′s Ferrari Testarossa). From what I can tell, there are basically two types of old car buyers, nostalgia buyers, and collectors. Nostalgia buyers are usually looking for a particular car from their youth, and will pay a moderate price. Collectors spend the real money, but they’re fickle and thus hard to predict.

            The problem with a current production Challenger as a collector car is that it is riffing on the original Challenger. It’s already a nostalgiamobile, and I don’t think today’s youth think of it as being of their generation. The few young men who I know that are car enthusiasts are interested in the exotics, not in cars like this. No doubt there are some who like it, but I wonder how many. With a big V8 and rear drive, this is a backwards looking car.

            Realistically, you have to go back to the 60′s and early 70′s to find expensive Detroit collector cars. That’s 40 years, not 20 or 30. I can’t think of any 1980′s American machinery that would fetch more than what a new version of that car would sell for today.

            I also get the impression that there are a lot of us who think cars like this won’t be available in the future. I don’t think that is the case. Big rear drive muscle cars may go out of production again, but if they do, it will be because cars like the BMW i8 will make them unsellable.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Realistically, you have to go back to the 60′s and early 70′s to find expensive Detroit collector cars. That’s 40 years, not 20 or 30. I can’t think of any 1980′s American machinery that would fetch more than what a new version of that car would sell for today.”

            That’s because the malaise era didn’t produce many cars to be enthusiastic about. It’s not just about nostalgia, it’s about coveting the car as a particularly special machine.

            As the 80′s progressed and better machinery was made available, some collectible type cars emerged. Cars like the Buick GNX come to mind, which very much used a similar formula to the Hellcat.

        • 0 avatar

          No one wants a “1980″ Hemi Cuda.

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            I know, ’twas a typo.

          • 0 avatar
            Numbers_Matching

            No one wants a “1980″ Hemi Cuda.
            But if there was one…it would have certainly been based off the 1980 Mirada – sporting a smoggerly 360 V8/727 combo and some wicked blacked-out trim…oh yah baby!

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Ruling out that this may be collectable because today’s youth isn’t into it assumes that FCA marketing can’t get any product placement done with a stock 10 second car. I suppose it’s possible this car won’t end up in a dozen movies and games. Any thing is possible. It would be grounds for shareholders suing management, but it’s possible.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        If any of the youth I’ve talked to are any indication, there’s plenty of interest in this car. Anyone who says the kids of today don’t like fast cars is out of touch.

        • 0 avatar
          juicy sushi

          Not saying they don’t, but the wide-spread appeal is not really there anymore, it’s a smaller group. Also, how many kids will go gaga over this rather than a Ferrari or Lambo, or at the same price point, a Jag F-Type.

          To me the Hellcat seems neither fish not fowl on this one.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Also, how many kids will go gaga over this rather than a Ferrari or Lambo, or at the same price point, a Jag F-Type.”

            It’s not really an either or proposition. The existence of the Ferrari Daytona doesn’t reduce the desirability of the Hemi Cuda, nor does the E-type for a Superbird.

        • 0 avatar
          nrd515

          You’re right, I am asked about my car constantly, by pre teens, teens, young people, old people, it’s universal. My friends who have Camaros don’t get anything like the reaction my car gets. When I’m check ing out at the grocery store, I like to watch people walk past my car. Some of them look like they are seeing an alien spaceship landing, others just stare and some smile and talk about it with whoever they are with. Almost nobody just ignores it, even old ladies stare at it. Maybe it’s the orange paint, I don’t know, but it’s not a car you buy if you want to blend into a crowd, because you can’t. The receptionist at my dentist’s office wants a Challenger so bad she can hardly stand it, but her husband is a Mustang freak, so she will probably get a new GT instead.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    The simple fact that that this car is being produced brings me joy. It is 2014 and we are having a performance/muscle contest between Ford, GM and Chrysler. Track times be damned. This car does nothing but burn hydrocarbons in the service of adrenaline and testosterone. Happy days.

  • avatar

    HELLCAT has most likely been down-tuned in numerous ways to meet regulations. I’m anxious to see what Hennessey can do for one.

    My 6.1-Hemi easily made over 700 HP with turbo or supercharging. I’m anxious to see what I can get in my 6.4, but I know I’ll need wider staggered rears.
    The real story is all the cash about to be spent on mods by SRT owners.

    You think the subprime loan bubble is re-inflating?

    Just watch for when Magnuson and Vortec start offering payment plans.

    I know at least 20 people who’d drop $10,000 on their cars – that are already underwater on the balance- maxing out those credit cards- to have 700-plus horses.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Come on guys “just a Challenger with more power”. I will disagree with that and also add that reviewers will say “handled better than expected”. I am sure FCA did a lot more than just shove 700 plus horsepower under the hood without addressing the suspension. I also wouldn’t be surprised if (with the right driver and a suspension tweak/mod) it did see the nose of a Vette/Camaro in the rearview.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    It is nice to see that there are red and tan interiors available (looking at the gallery) but this is definitely a “silly” car. But I’m glad that silly cars with ungodly hp that 90% of the population hasn’t got the foggiest idea of how to use that power still exist.

  • avatar
    shaker

    For those who find pressing an accelerator pedal to the floor to be too much effort, do we have the car for you!
    If you have enough strength in your right foot to flatten a ball of hot bubble gum, you can turn $800 worth of radial tires into a black fog, and be the pride of the neighborhood!

    Meet: THE HELLCAT!

    With looks that radiate the strength of your wallet (that will eclipse your weakness of mind) – GO FOR IT!

    Available at the same dealer that will sell you a Fiat 500. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      koshchei

      You just described nearly every car produced in the last 3 years, the only difference being the price of the black fog.

      I get that you’re trying to poo-poo the Hellcat as an unsophisticated brute with nothing but straight-line acceleration, but you’re mistaken — this isn’t the early 70s anymore, and while it’s a pig, it’s still certainly trackable. See the article where, despite Jack’s annoyance with cheap tires and inadequate brakes, he still managed to grease a Miata in a lowly RT.

      As far as cachet goes, what’s your point? You have to buy an S-Klasse from the same place that’s selling an uncouth AMG C-series to Russian cocaine dealers. In the end, it’a all der Narzißmus der kleinen Differenzen.

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Foley

        Yes, Jack “greased” a Miata with a “lowly” R/T. He took a $30,000 ponycar with 375 crank hp and “greased” a $4000 1.6 Miata with 116 crank hp – at Summit Point. Is this praise for the Challenger…or for the Miata?

        • 0 avatar
          doctorv8

          Or, you could say Jack greased a 2400 lb lithe corner carver with a 4200 lb pig. You do realize it’s not the HP on a road course, right Matt?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Horsepower helps a lot on a track with generous straight sections. As I found out when I tracked my 2013 Charger R/T, I could stick with Solstices, but only because I’d pull away in the straights. They’d catch right up in the tight sections.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            Acceleration counts more than anything on a road course. HP is less important on an autocross course.

            Take a look at a Summit Point track map, there’s lots of straight after a number of turns.

          • 0 avatar
            JuniperBug

            If you take a look at track comparos at real tracks – not auto-X or glorified go-cart tracks – the Miata is dog slow. In stock form, it’s very rarely the fastest way around a track. Horsepower matters for track times, and it matters a lot.

            The Miata’s worth comes from the fact that it’s fun, engaging, communicative and nimble in the curves, while offering just enough power to make revving it out feel satisfying. I love it for what it is, but a Nurburgerkingring champ it ain’t.

        • 0 avatar
          koshchei

          Neither. The point is that the driver did the driving, not the car. A person driving a Challenger may not hang with the lighter cars in the corners, but will make up for it on the straightaways.

          The implication was that the Challenger Hellcat is nothing more than a wheelbarrow with a huge engine. I was refuting that, not trying to score points against track-rats.

  • avatar
    Toad

    Just out of curiosity, what are the insurance rates for a 700hp car? The horsepower wars and muscle cars of the late 1960′s were eventually killed off by skyrocketing insurance rates, not the government.

    All these new Hi Po cars are great, but in untrained hands that kind of power is awfully dangerous. How many guilty divorced dads will give something like this as a high school graduation present to an 18 year old that will wrap it around a tree within a week? How many are ticketed or totaled within a month, and what will that do to the insurance actuarial tables?

    We’ve seen this movie before, just wondering if the ending will be different.

    Again, I love the cars, just wondering what the second order effects will be down the road.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The insurance rates will be reasonable because the accessability of these cars to the highest risk drivers is relatively low. Sure, there will be the odd one wrapped around a tree, but most will be a 3rd or 4th vehicle to men who are 40+ and they likely won’t be daily driven. For the same reason, insurance rates on Corvettes aren’t unreasonably high.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Right. Insurance isn’t a big deal for older guys. I’m 60 years old. When I traded a 2SS Camaro for a 4cyl Impala my annual insurance premium dropped 12 dollars.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      “How many guilty divorced dads will give something like this as a high school graduation present to an 18 year old that will wrap it around a tree within a week?”

      Natural selection at work…

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        That is not natural selection: I’m reasonably bright but if you had given me a 700hp car when I was 18 there would have been a high probability of a bad outcome. Hell, you might as well have thrown whiskey and a handgun in the glove box for a trifecta of temptation.

        (In my divorced dad example the father is the stupid one, not the kid, but the kid ends up with the consequences.)

        We will see, but I’m not sure anybody at any age will be able to resist the temptations 700hp will provide.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          Natural selection one generation removed. If an adult is stupid enough to put an 18 year old in this car and said 18 year old kills himself, the genetic trail vanishes as well…unless there are other kids and Dad learns his lesson from Johnny’s smokey, hyperfast demise. I’m playing it a little loose, here…

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    32 pictures of the infotainment system and zero pictures of the actual engine. In a car that is all engine.
    Is that still a secret? Why wouldn’t they include them?

  • avatar
    JohnAZ

    The Hellcat will be important if it temps any other OEM to tweak their HP to beat 707, provide a suitable warranty, and deliver a car only capable of cruising down a straight boulevard with 5 people, or of burning up lots of stock rubber. I doubt anyone will follow, and the Hellcat will go down in history as interesting but irrelevant to all but a certain few, not dissimilar to the SuperBird.

    Nice try, but no cigar!

    Now try making something leading edge that others will be obliged to follow.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      They will follow HP wise. Both GM and Ford already have their pony cars close to 700 HP. I would expect both the next generation Mustang and Camaro to top this.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnAZ

        I don’t doubt that they can, I just don’t think that they will. The new Camaro if it is on the smaller Alpha platform will be less capable/willing to follow and GM will leave it to the Vette to slap the Hellcat around, and the Mustang is heading off in a new direction that like always the other two will be obliged to follow. That direction is not one of an over-powered boulevard cruiser.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The Mustang isn’t a boulevard cruiser. However, if reports that the Trinity 5.8L supercharged engine will make a return in a GT500, it would be fair to say that they can make it from 662 to 707.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnAZ

            The Trinity production line is shut down. It does not seem like it will be coming back ever.

            Think Flat Plane Crank, Turbos, and DI as the future of Mustang and the OEMs that follow instead of lead.

            Think of big power supercharged 6L motors as last gasps to distract buyers to the old ways.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It’s confirmed that the Trinity engine is done?

            I always prefered the Boss over the GT500. Even if a 6L (5.8L) supercharged engine made it into the new Mustang, it would only be a temporary product. Like you said, the future is in direct injecting the Coyote or a V6, the 5.2L with a flat plane crank, and turbos.

            I want to buy a Mustang, but I won’t purchase a 2015. At Ford, engines are often subject to revision after the first model year.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        I don’t see the need. These cars are sold in such tiny numbers they can’t have much effect on the bottom line, and they all have more power than you can realistically use on the street.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    Dodge will no doubt try to profit with accessories and fashions. I’d skip “Hellcat” belt buckles as the typical owner’s gut will hang over it so it can’t be seen.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    So very happy to see that a 6 Speed manual transmission was available for evaluation (something Porsche and BMW won’t do). It would appear that Dodge, “gets it”.

    I only hope that Ralph Gilles can keep their dealership network from gouging customers.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    I’m glad such a pornographic car exists. I’ll never even consider one, but I appreciate that one could get such a beast for all the excitement it will generate at filling stations, McDonald’s drive-throughs, and Cars and Coffee. I seriously doubt many of these will be dragged or raced. True racers run much more cost-efficient ways of getting their ya-yas out.

    But for sheer automotive excitement among enthusiasts: more power to you, FCA!

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I think the naysayers are the ones who don’t get it. I sat in the same cars they made available for the press, as the event was two blocks from my morning coffee hangout. I begged, cajoled and pleaded for a quick drive, but I think the Oregon governor wouldn’t have been granted that privilege. Press cars, or not, these were outstanding examples of what can be done by an OEM when they’re really trying. The dark gray car was absolutely beautiful. GT500 – 3850 with 662 for $56k. Challenger Hellcat – 4180 with 707 for $59k. Neither can be considered svelte. The big deal, to me, is that FCA is announcing to the world they’re here to play in the big kids game, no matter what segment you’re talking. Good for them.

  • avatar
    Featherston

    Color me unimpressed. By my math, this is down on power by about 64% compared to the previous Hellcat. ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      #COTD

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      lmao @ Featherston. Stats for comparison

      number of cylinders
      old: 18
      new: 8

      displacement
      old: 46L
      new: 6.2L

      horsepower
      old: 2000
      new: 707

      top speed
      old: 370+ mph
      new: 199 mph

      1/4 mile and 0-60 times are not available for the old Hellcat. Jack, I highly encourage you to rectify this. for science of course.

      Brand snob appeal:
      old: Grumman
      new: Dodge

      OTOH, they managed to reverse one bad trend – the new Hellcat is significantly lighter than the old.

      old: 15,400 lbs
      new: 4,500 lbs

      Price is harder to compare. Adjusted for inflation, the one does almost certainly come out ahead. The only price for the old one I could find was on wikipedia.
      old: $35k (1940s)
      new: $59k

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Now this is what America does right. Take a relatively cheap car and put a massive engine in it.

    Muscle car done right, even the interior is upgraded.

    Its amazing to think a $60k Challenger is taking on $300k Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I don’t know what all the meh comments are about. This is a muscle car not a track car. As a matter of fact, it may be the last real muscle car that you can buy. The Mustang and Camaro are morphing into sports cars but the Challenger is staying the course.

    The only thing wrong with the original SRT was that it was too little power for so much weight. SRT seems to have solved that with the kind of extreme engine choice that makes muscle cars so uniquely American and so much fun.

    And that main article picture is pure car porn.

  • avatar
    matador

    This is a car that exists so I can play the riff to Enter Sandman at full volume, while doing a burnout (in slow motion) with a cougar in the shotgun seat.

    The five year old in me approves.

    My wallet does not approve.

  • avatar
    Preludacris

    This thing has 5.2x the power of my car.

  • avatar

    The HELLCAT comes with 2 keys: one Black,one Red.

    The Black key gives you 500 HP.

    the red Key unlocks the other 207 HP.

    Put the Black key on your key rack in the house and have the red key surgically implanted next to your Vena Cava.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    “The fuel system [is] enough to drain the fuel tank in approximately 13 minutes at full power.”

    So what? My 1974 Buick Century could do this at half throttle.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    What I think many of the B&B consistently forget is that the great majority of car buyers are not enthusiasts at all. And even of the “enthusiasts”, most of them do not care one bit about how well a car performs on a track. My company has like 200 employees… maybe 10 of them are really into cars. And 2 of them have ever gone a track event of any kind. I do IT consulting for dozens of companies in our area, and the percentages are about the same everywhere. People are gonna love this car because of the pure brute force it has. Not a lot of people will buy it, but the people that do will not care about whether or not it performs well on a track. They care that it can stomp on most every other car on the road. It comes with bragging rights, and it appears to work very well on a day to day basis… real driving that we all do all the time.

    Oh, and when I go to an autocross its rare I see even a couple dozen drivers. When I go to the dragstrip there are hundreds of participants. And they do the drags 2-3 times a week, and our strip isn’t even the good one, there is a much bigger one an hour south that I hear gets crazy busy. I’d definitely say that nationwide, drag racing is MUCH more popular than autocross or HPDE track events. I wouldn’t discount the marketing appeal of a 707hp car that appears perfect for that sport.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I never could figure out why Drag Racing is considered a sport.

      I used to volunteer as a paramedic at a local drag strip. It got boring real fast.
      Became a real drag…………

      I did try drag racing. I put street tires on my Yamaha YZ490 and went and slaughtered a bunch of Harleys.

      Now that was fun.

  • avatar
    SOneThreeCoupe

    Not my thing, but I’m fairly certain my wife wants one. If I’m being nice, the visual mods make it look mean and masculine, and the interior doesn’t look like a completely bloody awful place to be. It still looks like a caricature of an actual car, like something that belongs on a car show podium in the late ’80s. It also weighs 300lbs more than an E39 M5, and lacks that car’s aesthetic balance front to rear as well as top to bottom.

    Kinda bugs me that this exists in America but a Ford Fiesta ST three-door does not.

    We’re still a country that gobbles up straight-liners with too much power rather than small, sporty cars that emphasize skill and road knowledge, and we pay the price for that every time it rains or snows.

    To those of you commenting with incredulity that some of us still think this car is a Yank tank, you have not been through the small grove feeder roads in Southern California- they make my 240SX seem gigantic. Though Chrysler may have done its homework with the damping of the Hellcat, there’s simply no combating physics.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Kudos to the folks at Auburn Hills and Brampton for bringing us something simultaneously ridiculous and epic.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    I know it would be crazy and impractical, but I really, really want one!


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