We love excess. Be it food, money or power, excess is what keeps people on their toes and pushes us forward. Excess is something that wakes us up, makes us stop and stare, and gets our juices flowing. There are those that say excess isn't a good thing, but then they haven't driven the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat either.
No longer a competitor to the Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro, the new Challenger Hellcat finds itself nearly in a class of its own by being positioned as America's first true grand touring car. That means ample room for four adults, enough storage space for luggage, and an interior that cradles you with every comfort and convenience that you'd expect to find in a high-performance two-door coupe at high speeds or touring around town.
Then there's the engine. A supercharged 6.2L V8, which pumps out a mind-boggling 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, making the Hellcat one of the most powerful production vehicles ever built. Visually, it's pure muscle car - big, loud and fast. Â However when it came to refining the Hellcat, designers and engineers had to get creative in order to deal with all the extra grunt that lay under the hood.
Look closely and you'll notice that the inner-headlights have been replaced with snorkel style air inlets that help feed the hungry twin-screw supercharger. Then there are the recessed hood vents that aid in removing heat from the engine compartment, while a fully functional Trans-Am style hood scoop sits dead center to aid with air induction.
The Hellcat is a vehicle that was built to gobble up hundreds of miles of tarmac at a clip while traveling at triple digit speeds. And while Dodge isn't going to tell you that, I am, because quite honestly this is one of the most exciting cars I've driven in quite some time.
Power gets to the pavement by way of either a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic transmission with active rev-matching. Quite honestly you can't go wrong with either unit as they both perform beautifully. In regards to suspension, the boys at SRT have given us a choice of three settings: Street, Sport and Track. Each one adjusts your suspension and throttle inputs to suit your specific driving needs. Wheels are 20x9.5-inch forged aluminum units at all four corners and are wrapped in 275/40R20 Pirelli PZero Nero three-season tires.
When it comes to brakes, think big, really big. Up front 6-piston Brembo calipers clamp down on 15.4-inch two-piece rotors, while out back 4-piston units on 13.8-inch rotors reside and help to bring the Hellcat's hefty 4,400+ lb curb weight to a halt in no time flat. At a recent test session at Portland International Raceway we went lap after lap with zero brake fade and no loss in pedal feel.Â
The 2015 Challenger Hellcat is a big deal for the Dodge brand. For one it shows that they're committed to evolving their products as opposed to just replacing them. It also shows the competition that they're not messing around when it comes to performance. This is a car that will run sub-11 second quarter miles on drag slicks, top out at around 200 mph and blitz to 60-mph in just 4.0 seconds â and all of this from a Detroit-built muscle car in grand touring comfort.
Well done Dodge... well done.
For full review, photos and video visit AutoNationDrive.com
Image Credits: AutoNation