When Dodge introduced the Challenger SRT Hellcat to the world, everyone went nuts. Heck, I can tell you that I flipped out when I found out it would be pumping 707 hp to its rear wheels. This car is a return to the days when American automakers said, “why not” and did it “because they could.” Without that type of mentality, exceedingly fast cars wouldn’t exist.
And not too long ago, I finally got the chance to finally drive the 2016 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.
If it looks like a Challenger, it’s just a Challenger, right? Not a snowball’s chance in hell. And while it may look similar to a base Challenger, there are many differences you can spot right away. This includes the hood, front lip, spoiler, wheels and badging. I should also point out that our example came in Plum Crazy purple, an exclusive finish for the Challenger and Charger models.
What I like the most about the design of the Challenger’s body is that it’s big and muscular, as it should be. And while the base Challenger looks great as is, the Hellcat takes the muscle car body to the power level it deserves to be at. Some may say it’s excessive, I say it’s America.
Oh, it’s a muscle car so the interior should be bare and void of features, right? Wrong. Leather seats, carbon fiber trim and one of my favorite infotainment centers were found in the cabin of our Hellcat. While I might have been driving one of the meanest cars on the road today, I felt like I was driving a luxury car straight out of Europe.
Specs and Power
I feel like I could just type 707 hp 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8 and be done with this, honestly. But for the sake of education, I’ll lay down some more.
The Challenger SRT Hellcat is what Dodge describes on their website as the “most powerful muscle car ever,” and at 707 hp and 650 lb-ft it’s hard to disagree. Dodge even put a 200 mph speedometer in the dash to show the driver what it’s capable of (and it’s warranted, too). Before I drove the Hellcat for myself, I always wondered if this power would be too much.
Getting behind the wheel, I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant as that much horsepower in a big ‘ol muscle car can be intimidating. After starting the car up and hearing the beautiful growl of the exhaust, I took off and was pleasantly surprised. Driving to lunch felt like a breeze, with the engine giving me what I needed. Nothing more, nothing less. See, I was scared that if I touched the throttle just a tab bit that I would launch like a rocket, but thankfully the engineers at SRT made that a non-issue.
But, when I needed the power, there was power. Oh boy was there power. I’ll start by saying that burning the wheels isn’t so easy with traction control on, as it’s quite an impressive system, but it happens. With the traction control off? Say goodbye to those tires. What’s more, the TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission flipped through the gears without a second thought, putting me at a high rate of speed in a time that would make Doc Brown and Marty McFly blush.
What I’m trying to say here is that the hype surrounding the Hellcat is real and deserved. It’s fast, mean, brutal and elegant, all in one car.
What can I say about the Hellcat that it can’t say out loud with its loud exhaust? Do yourself a favor: drive one or buy one. You won’t regret it. This car is a gift from the muscle car gods of old and I hope those gods never stop sending us these gifts.