The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is over the top as the quickest, fastest and most powerful production sedan in the world and has solidly positioned itself as the hottest and most capably advanced four-door muscle car in America. Charger SRT Hellcat – created by the Dodge SRT Detroit folks who originated muscle cars – is simply awesome and well off the charts for performance.
The Dodge SRT folks are asked all the time why they built Hellcat while those owning a Charger SRT Hellcat are similarly asked why they bought one. The answer from both parties is quick and very straight forward – “because we can”.
Taking a walk around the Charger Hellcat, one sees a Detroit four-door sedan that gives (standing still) subtle hints as to its capability with functional hood scoops to let in cold air and extract heat, bulging hood dome, aggressively styled blacked out grille and fascia, rear deck spoiler and Y-rated Pirelli P Zero Tires – all very seductive but ready to pounce. Having gotten ones attention and glancing at the spec and performance numbers, one simply cannot avoid the urge (first sip of the sauce) to get behind the wheel of the Hellcat and see what it is all about.
It can quickly become an obsession to drive one – they say – and we can attest to that. When one gets that chance to drive Hellcat and taps the Start button bringing Hellcat to life, pushes the throttle pedal to the metal and launches Hellcat – with tires smoking and body being pressed into the high performance seating – they understand the answer of why build it and drive it. They have drunk the sauce – because they can – and quickly long for another taste.
Hellcat by the Numbers
So how does Dodge SRT generate such desire and longing to go hard and fast in the Charger Hellcat?
The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is fitted out like no other muscle car sedan has ever been starting with the first ever application of V8 supercharger technology by Dodge or SRT in the new – hand built – supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat engine that produces 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque.
Mated to the HEMI is a segment-first TorqueFlite heavy-duty eight-speed automatic transmission that delivers both fuel-efficient street driving and maximum performance track driving with 160 millisecond shifts and rev-matching.
The Charger SRT Hellcat is fitted with the largest brakes ever offered in a Chrysler Group vehicle – 15.4-inch Brembo two-piece rotors with six-piston calipers; runs on 20-by-9.5-inch wide forged-aluminum wheels with Pirelli P Zero performance tires and features an adaptive damping three-mode suspension.
The new exclusive SRT Performance Pages system allows drivers to tailor the driving experience by controlling horsepower, transmission shift speeds, paddle shifters, traction and suspension through the Uconnect 8.4 display touchscreen in the center stack.
To manage the power as they dare or desire, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat has two key fobs – one black and one red. The red one unlocks all 707 horsepower and Performance Feature options.
Pulling all of that together and using the Red Key, the Charger SRT Hellcat delivers an NHRA-certified, quarter mile elapsed time of 11.0 seconds on street tires and will sprint 0-100 mph in under 13 seconds while racing to a top speed of 204 mph.
If that does not give you the ultimate rush, then the Hellcat sauce is not for you.
Drinking the Hellcat Sauce
We have had three formal opportunities to taste the 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat sauce since it arrived late last year. We can tell you, that for us, the Hellcat sauce became addictive very quickly.
Our first opportunity was the media First Drive debut of the Charger SRT Hellcat on the Summit Point Raceway track in West Virginia where, with professional driver guidance, we learned just how capable Hellcat is. Bad news was that it rained and they only let us drive with the Black Key which limits Hellcat to just 500 horsepower with other performance limiters locked down. Good news was that in doing so, we were forced to focus on learning to drive this rocket instead of just going as fast as we dared – which could have been ugly because, with all that power, it will get away from you.
Last month we got another chance with Charger Hellcat at the Gingerman Raceway in South Haven Michigan where the Midwest Automotive Media Association held a full-day track driving training for journalists. This time, we had the Red Key giving us all 707 horsepower plus the SRT Performance Pages system to let us set our own performance parameters.
A professional driver trainer from CGI Motorsports was in the right seat to teach us technique. Our lesson learned was, with all the power and track technology built into Hellcat, getting the fastest time around the course is not necessarily a function of running the shortest distance. Learning to finesse the power of Hellcat instead of just driving it, we found we had better control of the Hellcat this time and upped our times measurably with each set of laps.
Ride and Drive Hellcat
The Charger SRT Hellcat makes a “decent” daily driver as well. After all it is still a Charger four-door five-passenger sedan – only it comes with an awesome performance profile plus a boatload of extras that do not appear on other option or accessory lists for sedans.
A recent week-long (not nearly long enough) ride and drive of another Charger SRT Hellcat afforded us local ‘rock-star’ status wherever we went during the week. Everyone, it seems, knows what a Hellcat is and, with them in short supply, folks of all types want to be able to hear, see and touch one – including one local Constable and two County Sheriffs. In their particular cases, they were interested if we thought their bosses would let them ‘trade out’ their standard issue Charger Pursuit cars. Our answer was something like, “when Texas Longhorns fly”.
Our test Charger Hellcat came in a stunning Ivory Tri-Coat Pearl Coat exterior with Black interior and the premium Sepia Laguna Leather High Performance seating. Frankly, we thought the Pearl Coat color and 20-inch Low Gloss Black Slingshot Seven Spoke Forged Wheels mounted with Pirelli P Zero P245/40ZR20 Three Season tires would still – even with their bright red Brembo Ultra-High Performance Brake calipers showing – give us ‘cover’ as we drove around town and through the hills of Central Texas.
Fat chance as there was no hiding the distinctive rumble of the 707 horses from the 6.2L HEMI HellCat V8 – even while idling waiting for the light to change. And if the rumble did not give us up, when the light changed and we added throttle, the telltale whine of the supercharger winding up gave us away every time.
Our 2015 Charger Hellcat was base priced at $62,295. The Ivory Tri-Coat exterior added $500. The Laguna Leather High Performance seating with ventilation up front was a must for another $1,795. Any muscle car worth a darn needs a top-notch audio system and our Hellcat came with the premium Harman Kardon 900-watt Audio System with 19-speakers and subwoofer for $1,995.
The Uconnect 8.4-inch Touchscreen telematics system included 3D GPS Navigation, HD Radio and SiriusXM Travel and Travel Link added still another $695. The Three Season Pirelli P Zero tire upgrade was $195.
Lastly, the Charger SRT Hellcat is so powerful, it joins the elite group of vehicles with a Gas Guzzler Tax of $1,700 that made the final price of our 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat $70,170.
More Hellcat Sauce Please
The 2015 Charger Hellcats are now all gone. Dodge SRT has announced they are building double the number of Hellcats for 2016. Dodge says the 2016 price will be higher, but that it will now include the Laguna Leather seating and 8.4 Uconnect with Navigation as standard. At whatever the price, the Hellcat sauce remains addictive and we look forward to another taste – soon.