If the 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat doesn’t warm your heart and conjure images of the Founding Fathers riding into battle on the wings of bald eagles, raining bags of tea as hell fire down upon the heads of the Red Coats, well I think you might not be as American as you once thought you were.
The new Charger Hellcat is sporting a sickening 707 HP under the hood, and Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky was recently able to get hands on with it (to my extreme jealous). What’s more American than over-the-top horsepower and a 4-door sedan capable of getting up to 204 MPH? Nothing. When it comes to vehicles there’s simply NOTHING more ‘Murican than that.
Just picture it now: you’re with the family and decide to swing through the McDonald’s drive-thru on the way back from seeing the latest Transformers movie, you get your food and pull up to a light. At that light some pissant in a rice burner sees you mowing down on your extra large heaping of fries and begins to rev his engine at you’re obviously superior American craftsmanship.
What do you do? It’s fucking obvious, isn’t it? You smoke that cocky asshole off the line and show him what real speed looks like, all while washing down those fries with a super-sized heaping of Coca-Cola. Because, ‘fuck you’, that’s why.
Here’s a snippet of what Jalopnik has to say on the ins and outs of the 2015 Charger Hellcat:
Trying to explain this car to non-car people is a great way to take a step back from the insular world of gearheadom and realize just how absurd the whole thing is. You can try to personify it, for example. You could tell a friend to imagine a successful, middle aged man, probably an orthodontist or something, who has good taste, is a responsible and dedicated dad, but also has one of the most elaborate and well-appointed sex dungeons in three states. The car’s kind of like that.
707 HP is an absurd palindrome of a number. I also drove the SRT 392 version of the charger, which makes a very healthy 485HP, and it was intensely fast. By any rational standard, that would be the insanely quick version — but, of course, it’s not. Having a family sedan with 707 HP on tap is sort of like having a vacuum cleaner that could, if you wanted it to, vacuum the finish right off your hardwood and then keep going until it sucked a hole in the fabric of spacetime, which would then become a singularity that would suck in your entire home, family, pets, underpants, and the whole planet.
Sure, you probably wouldn’t ever need to put your vacuum cleaner in ‘destroy the known universe’ mode, but you’d always know you could.
That right there, that idea that just knowing you could go 204 MPH in the car with your baby seats in it, that’s both the fundamental motivation for this car and one of the key things that make it so uniquely American. I’m going to go out on a limb and say, accounting for a statistical margin of error, exactly 0.0% of people who buy a Charger Hellcat actually can or should drive it at 204 MPH.
Sitting in the Charger, you’re greeted with an interior packed full of very up-to-date controls and LCD screens and autonomous driving aids, all made tangible with a competitive selection of soft-touch plastics and leather and other materials. It’s on par, equipment-wise, with what’s being offered from Europe or Japan. But the fundamental layout and shape and arrangement of the interior is absolutely an evolution of the big American sedans I grew up riding in in the 70s and 80s.
In traffic on the way to the track, it was a quiet, one-finger-on-the-wheel sort of thing. Like American cars have been for decades. Acceleration was, of course, quite good, even in the sub 500 HP cars. Steering was precise (and speed-sensitive) if a bit removed from the feel of the road, but the car did handle and maneuver in a way that ignored its considerable size and weight.
Once on the track, with TRACK mode set on the controls and the Red Key in use (the Hellcat comes with a red key for full power use and a black one for valets and untrustworthy simpletons like myself) the car’s rampant bonkersism became alarmingly clear.
The braking point arrives alarmingly quickly, and the massive brakes (6 piston front, 4 piston rear) manage to turn 100 MPH of speed into invisible heat astoundingly fast, and with almost no histrionics. You come in hot at 140, put some pressure on that pedal, and you rapidly and confidently end up at 40 MPH. Those brakes are seriously impressive.
The 392 engine has 475 lb-ft of torque that gives great acceleration, and the whole cop package includes beefed up suspension and a set of heavy front brakes that stop just about as well as the Hellcat’s more exotic, lighter setup. The guy in charge of the police car division made the excellent point that if you’re looking for a ready-to-roll track day car, you can do really well by picking up a used cop Charger from an auction.
For a full run down on the pure unadulterated ‘Murican mansplosion that is the 2015 Charger Hellcat you can check out the full review by Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky by clicking HERE, or check out Car and Driver’s blog on it HERE.