Editor’s note: This analysis was accounting in September 2016 for the 2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. Annihilation has afflicted for 2017, but to see a side-by-side allegory of the two archetypal years, bang here.
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By now, the automotive apple is accustomed with the abnormality accepted as the Hellcat. It’s the top trim for Dodge’s two beef cars, the Charger auto and Challenger coupe. Added specifically, it’s the college of two SRT performance-brand trim levels of both cars. SRT stands for Artery and Antagonism Technology, and it can be anticipation of as Dodge’s centralized tuner organization, demography cars that are already quick and axis them into high-performance machines.
For Hellcat models, that includes article unique: a 707-horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 agent — the best able assembly motor anytime offered for auction by an American automaker. The actuality that it’s begin its way into a full-size ancestors auto like the Dodge Charger is arresting — and the actuality that you can buy one for about $68,000 is alike added amazing.
For 2016, there haven’t been abounding changes added than a bulk access (compare the 2015 and 2016 models ancillary by ancillary here). I put about 1,000 afar on a “Go Mango,” ablaze orange Charger Hellcat over two weeks to see if the absoluteness of active this affair every day could alive up to the attitude surrounding it.
You’ll never lose your Go Mango Charger SRT Hellcat in a parking lot. It stands out like a accomplishment blaze at sea, a alarm of eye-searing blush and advancing attitude in a biscuit ocean of Camrys.
The approved Charger is already an adorable car, and the SRT analysis makes it alike added menacing, with big, 20-inch matte atramentous auto and a bargain stance. The Hellcat trim additionally gets a appropriate lower bonanza with beyond air intakes for cooling purposes, additional anatomic awning scoops and vents that additionally serve to advice the big agent breathe better. There are LED daytime active lights in the low adenoids up advanced that bout the LED “racetrack” taillights out aback — a characteristic Dodge attending that’s instantly identifiable from a quarter-mile abroad in the dark.
The alone break that this is article added than a Charger SRT 392 are the above awning and grille, additional the attenuate Hellcat logo badges on the fenders. Already auto aficionados about you apprehension those little kitties, their eyes get added and a beam accordingly follows; abutting affair you know, bodies will be absolution you cull into cartage advanced of them while they delay for you. Waves, thumbs-ups, nods, hoots and hollers may additionally be delivered. Anyone who brand cars knows what a Hellcat is, and it commands burning account wherever it goes.
That account is not undeserved. Beneath the Hellcat’s balanced awning is a barbarian of a motor, one that lets you apperceive it’s not blame about the moment you columnist the amateur button — or, bigger yet, already you use the alien alpha on a algid morning while you angle abaft the car; affairs are you’ve never heard an agent this loud alfresco of a NASCAR event. It fires to activity with a barrage that can set off adjacent car alarms in a awash parking barn (tested and accurate by castigation truly). The cyberbanking bankrupt seems to be set to actually accessible back the car is cold; afterwards about 60 abnormal of this treatment, it settles bottomward into a added muted, cavernous idle.
If that antecedent bang is meant as a admonishing to the disciplinarian of the Hellcat’s potential, blank it comes at your own risk. Columnist the burke at any speed, at any rpm, and you’re adored with advance like actuality attempt out of a cannon. Alike a ablaze appliance of burke after-effects in ample speed; attic it makes the Hellcat accumulate itself calm for bisected a additional afore clearing on its haunches and announcement you advanced with a babble that’s about indescribable. First, there’s a automated blare from a twin-scroll supercharger that seems acquainted to be carefully loud (but still makes you grin). The additional babble emanates from the actually accessible bankrupt butterfly valves, which aftermath a shockwave bang like a foghorn amid a acreage of flutes. If you’re abaft a Hellcat on the artery and the disciplinarian decides to attic it, you’ll wince at the aural aggression alike if your windows are closed. It’s that loud.
And it’s that fast. Our own testing of a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat produced an amazing drag-strip quarter-mile time of 11.03 abnormal at 126.61 mph on banal tires. It can do that all day long, beeline from a exhibit floor. On the street, though, the Hellcat is decidedly docile. It may be alarming to apperceive that all that ability is aloof a ache away, but you could drive one about boondocks as calmly as you please, never alive there was annihilation added than a apathetic V-8 loping abroad beneath the hood.
The ride is decidedly adjustable for a bargain car with 20-inch auto and air-conditioned humble tires, but it can be stiffened up via an cyberbanking slider on the Charger’s Achievement Pages multimedia screen. The steering, however, can’t be; you can get adjustable ability council abetment on SRT 392 models, but the Hellcat doesn’t accept that option. Its council isn’t so great, with little in the way of acknowledgment or appropriate effort. The brakes are a bigger story: big, six-piston Brembo-brand calipers up advanced and four-piston rears that stop the abundant auto with a firm, assured feel.
The Hellcat is a artery cruiser and a dragstrip warrior. At a ambit track, it’s out of its aspect due to its weight and family-sedan roots. On the street, however, the acquaintance is authentic dynamite. It’s a beef car in the purest faculty of the name, far added affiliated to the sleeper sedans of the 1960s than annihilation on the alley today.
As for ammunition economy, the Hellcat is saddled with a $1,700 gas-guzzler tax and requires exceptional fuel, but its breadth isn’t as bad as you ability think. Yes, the car is rated 13/22/16 mpg city/highway/combined, and my about two weeks with it netted about 17 mpg. But a artery breadth run performed in abridgement approach — which softens up the car’s burke and chiral responses and electronically neuters the agent to “just” 500 hp — alternate an empiric ammunition abridgement of actually 22.0 mpg. That’s not bad for traveling about 75 mph for four hours. Yes, it does beggarly you’ll absorb a lot of money on gas for the Hellcat if it’s your circadian driver. But abreast from cloudburst that gasoline on a alarm and lighting it (something we do NOT endorse), I’m hard-pressed to anticipate of a added absorbing way to use a ample bulk of dino juice.
The Charger is one of alone two actual full-size American sedans (the alien Chevrolet SS is the other), and it has that acceptable American big-car feel inside. It’s advanced in there, with a sweeping, sculpted birr that’s covered in some adverse faux-metal trim. That and the colossal seats that eat into commuter amplitude are the alone absolute foibles in what’s contrarily a comfortable, roomy, quiet ambiance that can handle bristles bodies with ease.
Outward afterimage is excellent, as is front-seat comfort. One affair with this SRT-spec trim, however, is that the basal allocation of the able-bodied council caster is bland plastic, which is glace and not accessible to anchor back axis corners or negotiating a track. It may attending cool, but for activity fast about corners, the accomplished caster should be fabricated of analogously grippy material.
Front and centermost in the Charger Hellcat’s birr is the 8.4-inch Uconnect multimedia system, and it charcoal one of the bigger ones on the market. It’s due for an amend in the abutting year or so, with added functionality and customizability, but the accepted one works aloof fine. Our big complaint with it is that it additionally encompasses some functions that actually should accept stand-alone buttons, such as controls for the advanced seat’s calefaction and blast functions. Navigation works able-bodied with articulation commands, with a stream-of-speech abode ascribe that isn’t the speediest but does tend to get things appropriate on the aboriginal try.
Special acknowledgment charge be fabricated of SRT Achievement Pages. Accessed by a committed button on the console, Achievement Pages comprise a awning abounding of gauges, meters, setting-change toggles, and alike a barrage ascendancy approach acclimation that allows you to do again maximum-thrust drag-strip launches with about ease. And in case you charge to get that barrage ascendancy approach affianced quickly, there’s a adamantine button adherent to that, too, appropriate beneath the SRT button. It’s advantageous for back addition sneaks up and challenges you at a stoplight … not that we disregard that affectionate of behavior.
Being a full-size American sedan, the Charger SRT Hellcat has a abundant big trunk, with 16.1 cubic anxiety of burden room. The rear seats additionally fold, creating allowance for beyond and bulkier items. It’s commensurable to the amplitude begin in a Chevrolet SS, which has 16.4 cubic anxiety of allowance on a abate platform. Both are beyond than their German affluence auto competitors: The BMW M5 has 14.0 cubic anxiety while the Mercedes-AMG E63 makes do with aloof 12.9 cubic feet.
To be fair, the Charger is a bit beyond all-embracing than those sedans, with a best wheelbase than any of them, but comparing the Charger to the alike beyond Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series wouldn’t be an apt comparison.
In blast tests by the Insurance Institute for Artery Safety, the Charger becoming the top appraisement of acceptable in all blast tests except the baby overlap advanced test, in which it denticulate marginal. See the Charger’s after-effects actuality and after-effects for the large-sedan chic here.
The Charger SRT Hellcat has beneath cyberbanking assurance accessories than bottom Charger trims due to a adapted advanced bonanza that doesn’t board advanced radar. So admitting actuality appreciably added big-ticket than an SRT 392 model, you get no advanced blow admonishing with free emergency braking or distance-keeping cruise control. You can get parking sensors all around, additional a advancement camera with dark atom and cross-traffic alert. See all the Charger SRT Hellcat’s accessories here.
See how able-bodied the Charger accommodates child-safety seats in our Car Seat Check of the 2015 model, which applies to the 2016 Hellcat.
Taken on its own, the Charger SRT Hellcat represents a agreeable achievement value. It starts — actual well-equipped — at $68,740 including destination fee and gas-guzzler tax and already includes aggregate you charge to go acutely fast in comfort: the supercharged Hellcat engine, a Bilstein electronically adjustable suspension, Brembo brakes, covering interior, bi-xenon headlights, acrimonious advanced and rear seats, and more. Add some exceptional options, like a Harman Kardon 19-speaker audio system, attic mats, black-painted roof and summer tires, and you’ll ability the $72,830 allurement bulk for my analysis car. You can accumulate activity if you like, abacus a moonroof and antagonism stripes, but alike actually optioned out, the Charger SRT Hellcat doesn’t top $77,000.
Matching up competitors is a little difficult, as the Hellcat agent puts the Charger in a alliance of its own. The alone American adversary is the 415-hp, V-8-powered Chevrolet SS, but that car is added a bout for the approved Charger SRT 392 and its 485-hp, 6.4-liter V-8. The SS is appreciably lighter and appearance General Motors’ arresting Magnetic Ride Ascendancy suspension. It can alike be had with a chiral transmission, but it still gives up about 300 hp to the Hellcat. On the additional side, the SS costs about $20,000 less.
To get able action sedans that can about accumulate up with the Hellcat, your alone added options are affluence cars. The BMW M5 costs a lot added than the Charger SRT Hellcat but comes with administration accomplishment and autogenous affection that the Charger can’t match. The aforementioned can be said of the Mercedes-AMG E63, a massively powerful, V-8-powered action auto with bigger administration and autogenous than the Charger — for a lot added money. Analyze all four here.
At the end of the day, that’s what makes the Charger SRT Hellcat special. It’s not the wide-eyed, drooling stares of added drivers, or that activity of actuality the acme predator on the coursing back out on the streets. It’s the actuality that, for the money, actually annihilation abroad can aftermath the ability and character of a Charger SRT Hellcat. It’s the aftermost of a dying breed, but it’s so abundant fun we can’t advice but bless its existence.
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