by John Tallodi
The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is the muscle car your parents think they had back in the good old days. This coupe offers a level of performance that matches those rose-tinted memories and adds some modern conveniences and daily usability too. A few changes to specification levels and some upgrades to the infotainment sum up the changes to the latest Challenger SRT Hellcat coupe.
6.2L Supercharged V8 Gas
When it comes to two-door coupes there are inevitable compromises to interior space especially in the rear. The Challenger however is the most spacious in its class and while getting in the back may require a bit of contortion, there is space for three passengers. Trunk space is class-leading too.
The two large front seats offer good support and there is a pleasant straightforwardness to the controls and switchgear. Everything is where you would expect it and is intuitive to use. Some plastics do leave a little to be desired though.
The Hellcat bears some similarities to its muscle car forebears in the handling department too, despite wearing some wide rubber and having a stiff suspension setup it is not made for tight and twisty roads.
The large coupe is at its happiest on long sweeping roads where there are no sudden direction changes to upset its composure. The ride quality can be a bit hard on certain surfaces and the cabin lets in a fair amount of road and tire noise on the highway but the heavy steering gives the Hellcat a solid feeling when travelling at speed and overtaking a row of slower traffic is never more than a mere flex of your right foot away.
The Challenger SRT Hellcat has a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 motor that offers a frightening 707hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard and an 8-speed automatic is an available option.
The Hellcat moves the muscle car performance goalposts way down the road with a claimed low 3-second 0-60mph time and a sub 11-second quarter mile time. Those figures compare well to supercars costing many times the Hellcat's asking price and make this coupe one seriously impressive performer.
The automatic transmission offers better acceleration from a standing start but customers may still want to consider the manual transmission for the added driver involvement it offers.For the record the Hellcat can achieve 13 mpg in city driving and 21mpg once you get on the highway. A driver selectable 500hp option is also available, for those days when you don't feel like leaving your tires smeared down the driveway. A high power red key and lower output black ignition key perform the same function.
The Hellcat comes equipped with most of the items fitted to the rest of the range and some noteworthy features include an 8.4-inch touchscreen with smartphone connectivity, a navigation system, leather seats with heating and ventilation function on the front pair and automatic high beams and wipers.
20-inch alloy wheels, uprated Brembo brakes and adaptive sport suspension are also included in the standard specifications list.
Safety items include a rear park assist system, rearview camera, blind spot and rear cross path detection as well as brake assist.
A satin black painted hood is a unique option on the Hellcat and dual center body stripes are available too. A power sunroof and a range of seat coverings complete the options list.
The Challenger Hellcat is a full-sized two-door coupe with an over-sized supercharged V8. It offers massive straight-line performance potential that eclipses its rivals and slightly less impressive dynamic abilities that don't.
The ride is firm but acceptable considering the nature of the SRT Hellcat, and its large dimensions make for a spacious interior that seats five. Add a comprehensive list of equipment and Dodge has a winner on their hands.