2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat First Test
#707Horsepower #SuperchargedHEMI #LudicrousSpeed #MuscleCars
Seven-oh-seven horsepower. In a full-size American sedan. Let that sink in. The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is the most powerful production sedan ever built. And with a claimed 204-mph top speed, Chrysler says it's also the fastest production sedan ever. The fact that the Charger has four doors makes it even more ludicrous than its two-door Challenger counterpart, which we loved dearly in our First Test and a comparison against the supercharged 580-hp Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. (The supercharged 662-hp Ford Shelby GT500 has been discontinued.)
Like the Challenger SRT Hellcat, the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat's astonishing 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque come from a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 mated strictly to an ZF eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. (A six-speed manual is available on the Challenger SRT Hellcat.) The Charger SRT Hellcat rides on 20-by-9.5-inch forged wheels wrapped in 275/40R20 Pirelli P Zero tires on all four corners. If those tires sound narrow for 707 hp, you would be correct. To put that into context, a 275/40R17 was the optional tire size (a 245/50R16 was standard) on the 305-hp 1999-2002 Camaro Z28 and was the standard tire size on the 325-hp Camaro SS and the 390-hp 2003-2004 Ford Mustang Cobra SVT. The 2015 Charger Hellcat makes roughly the same amount of power as those two ponycars combined.
Despite its 4,562-pound curb weight, those tires hindered the Charger Hellcat's performance at the dragstrip. The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat reached 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and finished the quarter mile in 11.8 seconds at 124.3 mph. The 113-pound-lighter two-door 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat matched the Charger to 60 mph and finished the quarter mile one-tenth quicker and 1.1 mph faster.
Dodge claims the Charger Hellcat can run the quarter mile in 11.0 seconds flat. Although that might be possible on a specially prepped dragstrip, our testing is done on a street-style surface. For comparison, several 488-550-hp Jaguar F-Type V8 S roadsters and Coupe R models we've tested hit 60 mph in 3.4-3.9 seconds and ran the quarter mile in 11.6-12.1 seconds at speeds of 120.2-122.3 mph. The Hellcat's 4,562-pound curb weight, compared to 3,873-3,965 pounds for the F-Type models, and its relatively narrow tires (the Jaguar has wider 295/35R20 tires) keep the Hellcat from reaching its true potential.
In fact, the Hellcats' (Charger and Challenger) trap speed is closer to the all-wheel-drive Nissan GT-R. With 545-600 hp, the last three Nissan GT-R models we tested (Black Edition, Track Pack, Nismo) hit 60 mph in 2.7-2.9 seconds and finished the quarter mile in 11.0-11.1 seconds at 124.8-125.3 mph. The 3,880-3,887-pound GT-R models benefit greatly from the added grip of all-wheel drive (and short transmission gearing), indicating that the Hellcat's tires hamper its acceleration numbers. Although the supercharged V-8 Jaguar models claw for traction at speed, the Hellcat takes that experience to a whole new level. Stomping the right pedal at a 60-mph roll can easily produce black stripes and smoke as the Hellcat fishtails into ludicrous speeds even with traction control set at its most oppressive setting. At full throttle, the tires chirp on each upshift regardless of transmission setting.
Although the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat might be the most powerful production sedan available, the twin-motor (691 hp, 687 lb-ft combined output) 2015 Tesla Model S P85D is the quickest sedan we tested, reaching 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and finishing the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds at 115.2 mph -- 0.2 seconds quicker but 9.1 mph slower than the Hellcat. The Hellcat also has the advantage on the top end: The P85D tops out at "just" 155 mph. The 560-hp, all-wheel-drive Audi RS7 reaches 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and matches the P85D's quarter-mile time but has a higher 120.4-mph trap speed.
The Charger Hellcat also puts down impressive handling stats, outperforming its lighter two-door sibling. Although both the Charger and Challenger Hellcat pulled 0.94g average around the skidpad, the Charger was slightly quicker around the figure eight, posting a 24.5-second lap at 0.91g average versus the Challenger's 24.7-second lap and 0.85g average. Ride quality is also comfortable on the streets. The Charger stopped from 60 mph in 104 feet -- 5 feet shorter than the Challenger. Those are impressive numbers for a full-size sedan.
Despite its hood scoop and pair of heat extractor vents, our Charger Hellcat tester was relatively incognito on the streets. Drivers of other performance cars seemed to be the most aware that our tester was special, though it still took a few incidents for many of them to realize they were dealing with more than just a "run-of-the-mill" SRT model. The Charger Hellcat is as docile as a house cat when slogging through Los Angeles rush hour(s) traffic. Although the Jaguar F-Type's supercharged V-8 makes an intoxicating sound, crack open the throttle on the Charger Hellcat, and the blown Hemi unmistakably proclaims "American muscle."
Starting at $64,990 (including $995 destination and $1,700 gas guzzler tax) our 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat was finished in Billet Silver paint over Black Nappa leather with Ruby Red Alcantara seat and door inserts. Other options include a $1,995 Harmon Kardon (900-watt, 19-speaker) audio system, $695 Uconnect system with 8.4-inch touchscreen and navigation, $1,195 power moonroof, and $195 for summer tires. Total cost came to $69,070.
Sure, you could build a more powerful car for less money, but the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is the only 707-hp sedan available with a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and is EPA-rated at 13/22/16 mpg city/highway/combined.
|2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$63,290|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||6.2L/707-hp/650-lb-ft supercharged OHV 16-valve V-8|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,562 lb (57/43%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||200.8 x 75.0 x 58.3 in|
|0-60 MPH||3.7 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||11.8 sec @ 124.3 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||104 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.94 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||24.5 sec @ 0.91 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||13/22/16 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||259/153 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||1.22 lb/mile|