2016 Dodge Charger Hellcat – Get In, Sit Down, Strap In and Hold On!
The audacity of a mainstream car company to offer a road-going sedan with 707 Horsepower is, well – awesome. When you get behind the wheel of the Hellcat and let the snarling 6.2-Liter Supercharged Hemi warm up enough so you can stand on the gas, you get a tinge of nerves. What is it going to be like when I put my foot down? How easily will the tires spin? Will I spin out like one of those clowns leaving a car show and trying to show off? Once it’s warmed up, you take a gulp and press down on the gas. And start to giggle. This is really fast!
As long as you leave the traction control engaged, things are managed quite nicely. Once you turn it off, however, you better be paying attention. It will go up through the gears spinning the tires until you lift off. Once in 2nd and 3rd gear, it starts getting really tail happy. The rear tires are quite narrow for the power output, and it means this car does long, smoky, glorious burnouts. The kind that you just want to keep doing over and over again. I would have to have stacks of rear tires if I owned one of these!
The whine of the supercharger is nothing short of intoxicating, and the quarter-mile time we managed at Great Lakes Dragaway was impressive. On just our second pass, we recorded an 11.5 seconds at 124mph, with a fairly conservative launch to keep the tires from spinning. The acceleration is just brutal, especially in the upper gears once the tires gain traction. It feels like it would keep going to 300mph if you just kept your foot down. The actual top speed has been set by the SRT gang at 204mph, and that is easy to believe.
You may be thinking that with all that acceleration there would be no handling? Quite the opposite, the Charger’s long wheelbase leads to serious stability and sure-footed handling. It is very capable in the corners, and the huge Brembo brakes are up to the task of reigning in all 4500lb hurtling along. The long wheelbase also helps the car drift very confidently and easily, showing that it’s at home making smoke from the rear tires in both straight and curved lines.
The styling is very subtle compared to other performance Charger models. Just the Hellcat badges and logos tell you the best that lies within. I’ve always preferred the Charger styling to the stubby Challenger, and with the subtle exterior modifications this one is the best of the bunch. The interior is all business, and has a familiar feel to all the other SRT muscle cars. The center touchscreen display is best used with the Mopar Performance suite, where you can tailor the performance in different modes, and look at real-time and historical-best performance times.
The seats are very supportive and they need to be, given the forces this car can generate in any direction. You just can’t help but blast from stoplight to stoplight in the Hellcat, and you get the feeling that without some sort of intervention you’d be adding points to your license and growing a pile of worn-out rear tires behind your garage.
This is the culmination of the muscle-car revival. It shows us once again that we are living in an era of exciting automotive feats. The fact that you can buy this car is proof that Dodge really wants us to be happy. We just wonder how the heck they are going to top this one!
Special thanks to FCA Group &
Great Lakes Dragaway