I had driven it before for a few days on the official press launch, but now I get to sample it at home in daily driving mode. The 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat is in my driveway for a real world test this week.
The Hellcat Challengers and Chargers have been huge hits for FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) . When the decision was made to build this vehicle, there was no corporate hocus-pocus research that indicated that there was going to be a huge demand. Dodge President Tim Kuniskis has openly said building a 707 HP muscle car was not the result of focus groups or corporate planning. It was a statement and testimony to what the Dodge engineers could build.
Rejoice… you can order your 2016 Hellcats now. No more 2015 backorders or delays. Yes, there have some dealer markups, something which sickens me and is part of being in the automotive dealer business. I congratulate all dealers who delivered the car at MSRP or even below because they understand this is a value machine for true regular car guys and gals like you and me.
My sublime green Hellcat was equipped with the 6-speed manual. I prefer the wonderful 8 speeds Torque-Flite automatic. The interior also did not have a have beautiful Laguna Leather package – another “must have”.
But for now who cares. I got Hellcat to drive to the grocery store. The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 is capable of an incredible 707 horsepower. That not only out-muscles the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang, it makes the Hellcat the most powerful American production car ever. That word again is ever.
Forget your Barrett Jackson 6 figure dollar relics from the 60’s and early 70’s. The modern Hellcat blows the doors off all them.
While the Challenger has always been a great place to pass the time, the interior has been at best boring, and at worst cheap feeling. The new one incorporates all the modern screens and gadgets we see in other Dodge products, with a style unique to the Challenger.
Exterior changes to the 2015 Dodge Challenger aren’t quite as radical as those inside, but they’re enough to draw a bright line between this year’s model and its predecessor. The new headlights are nestled in a revised vertically split grille, reminiscent of the classic 1971 Challenger. The taillights are now LEDs, and are also styled after that 1971 classic. SRT models get a cold-air intake on the hood, and the SRT Hellcat actually loses two headlights, with the driver’s side high beam replaced with a ram-air intake. Through all the changes, the classic profile and proportions remain intact, to my delight.
Inside a standard Harmon Kardon Audio systems delights audiophiles.. The system uses great new Green energy saving technology with 19 speakers and a 900 watt amp. A touch more bass from the sub-woofer, audio engineers please… would be appreciated.
These include new option packages, such as a Technology Group that adds forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control. There’s also a Driver Convenience Group that includes HID headlights, backup sensors, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-path detection, helpful considering the Challenger’s rear view is,at times a little tough.
What is like to drive around town doing errands? Driving on the highway and on back road twisties?. The Hellcat drives gentle as pussycat when you want to as well as like a full out drag racing machine when you want to blow off a Porsche or two.
This big car has a real usable trunk and room for five. It feels big but and handles sweet. The SRT performance pages are magical for car geek like mine. I saw 697 hp on the real time horsepower engine readout screen. The SRT drive modes are also fantastic. No other way to say it: the Brembo brakes are simply great.
The launch control beckons, whispering in your ear to find a deserted drag strip or safe place to try and better your last 0-60 run. But be careful. You will burn up tires very easily and puts a lot a strain on the manual gearbox
People ask: are you afraid about driving a car with that much power? The answer for me is no because I have been to a professional driving school and more importantly I respect the Hellcat, the laws of the public roadways, and physics 101. Don’t buy this car and crash it as you pull out of the driveway full throttle from the dealership. Hellcat starting price, including the gas guzzler tax, is right at $60,000. If you want more power from the factory, you’ll have to pay an extra $260,000 for the Ferrari F12berlinetta, and even that only gets you an extra 24 ponies.
This is a grown-up muscle car for grown-ups like me who love Muscle Cars. A dream car come true. Congratulations – the Dodge Challenger Hellcat is one spectacular machine.
- 6.2 Supercharged Hemi V8
- Exterior Styling
- Interior Creature Comforts - Stereo - Speakers
- Brembo Brakes
- Drive Modes
- No Power Passenger Seat
- No CD Players (only for the older guys)
- It's Big (might be a plus for some)
- No Chrome Wheel Option