2015 Dodge SRT Charger Hellcat ‘Double Birds’ Europeans
The brand new Dodge SRT Charger Hellcat is essentially a sub-$70,000, double middle finger extended to the supercar makers of Europe. The fasted four door sedan in the world, it’s supercharged, 700 horsepower engine will provide every bit of the thrill its overseas rivals might offer for tens of thousands of dollars less.
The Charger sits beside the Challenger at the top of the Dodge mainstream production line. The Viper might be considered the company’s help car, but it keeps jumping between the SRT and Dodge monikers, so we’ll deal with just these new Chargers and Challengers for now.
Charger, Not Challenger
The Challenger is intended primarily a pure straight line muscle car. It always has been, and with Dodge reintroduced it a few years ago with the kind of immediately recognizable retro styling Ford should’ve used with this year’s 50th anniversary Mustang, it promises to always be just that. With its big engine, long wheel base and weight, the Challenger is not a car built for deft handling. It exists to be loud and visually imposing while going very fast in one direction on a city street.
Charger wants to be more ambitious than that. It seeks to handle better than its larger, more savage sister. It’s a four door sedan that wants to be fast and corner well while serving as an appealing everyday drive.
Most importantly, Dodge SRT wanted to provide high performance within reach of more drivers. For example, the entry level trim level for the new Dodge Charger sells for less than $30,000 well equipped.
From there, here come the big Hemi V8s, with a 485 horsepower version en route for about $39,900. That car on its own is fun and aggressive — the kind of car that will intimidate on the street with its low, wide and brooding grill and throaty grumble. The only problem with the very worth V8 Hemi trim is that it’s simply not its crazy eyed Hellcat sister.
See in (a) Hell (Cat)
With a 202 mph top speed worthy of the Bonneville Salt Flats, the Hellcat Charger can outrun any four door sedan from Fastest four door sedan in the world. $64K. 700 hp. You’ll hear these words a lot from Dodge SRT reps: “… fastest, quickest and most powerful four door sedan in the world.” But, they like to remind everyone that it can serve as a regular drive with its 22 mpg mileage.
Irreverent Super Car
The driving experience is thrilling under track conditions. Taking a supercharged V8 car down a straightaway long enough to allow145 mph puts your skull back into your headrest while your cowardly instincts tell your right foot to left. I did not. It wasn’t my first rodeo.
But, while I’d be clinching up my buttocks on such a track getting a Challenger around, the Charger settles in nicely along the corners — distinguishing from the traditional, numb, straight rear axel muscle cars of old.
Those reps also like to call their Charger Hellcat an “irreverent super car.” We’ll see how the snubbed Germans and Italians respond.