THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Acceleration and sound.
- What’s Worst: It’s anything but subtle.
- What’s Interesting: Yes, it’s Dodge that makes the most powerful and fastest sedan on the planet.
In case you’ve forgotten, this Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is the most powerful and fastest sedan on the planet. What Dodge is doing with this Hellcat, along with the Challenger Demon, represents the modern, golden age of muscle cars, and unlike decades ago, these things not only rocket down the drag strip, they also can handle a racing circuit without making any excuses.
This Challenger is an unapologetically large, spacious, and comfortable American sedan, but with a brutal amount of power, and its proudly made right here in Canada. For this test, I’m taking this bold white Hellcat for a bit of a road trip across South Florida and this may be the perfect car for this locale.
You already know that the Hellcat engine is simply legendary and it’ll push this Charger all the way to a top speed of 328 kilometres per hour, according to Dodge. It’s capable of zero to sixty in the mid threes and it’ll do the quarter in the mid 11s. To be honest, those numbers probably could be bettered with a different tire, but the hooligan in me likes the fact that there’s a little less than optimum grip with the Pirellis P Zeros.
Breaking it down, the supercharged 6.2-litre HEMI V8 makes 707 horsepower and 650 pounds of torque, and sure those are impressive numbers, but that’s not the complete picture. The thing with a Hellcat is that there’s an abundance of power and torque basically everywhere in the engine’s rev range. Massive acceleration is always available. Always.
SRT is known for doing cool things and perhaps the coolest is that you get two keys with your Hellcat. There’s a black one and that’s the one reserved for those people you don’t trust with 707 horsepower. You see, thankfully there’s a black key that limits power output to just 500 horses. With the red key, however, you get access to all 707 of them.
The beefed up eight-speed automatic is relaxed when you need it, but at the opposite end of the spectrum, in track mode, it shifts quick and hard. In fact, it shifts so hard that it reminds me of the Lamborghini Aventador.
To handle all of this power, SRT engineers specified unique suspension calibrations, including three-way adaptive dampers from Bilstein. There are varying levels of bump and rebound that correspond to Street, Sport and Track modes, but, to be honest, even on Florida’s relatively smooth roads, I’m using Street mode almost exclusively for it’s better overall compliance and perhaps a little more comfort, plus the entire state of Florida seems to be made up of straight roads, so there’s very little cornering to do.
Brakes are by Brembo with six piston calipers and proper 15.4-inch, two-piece rotors up front, and four piston Brembos in back. Braking is impressive, particularly for a 4,500-pound sedan, and feel and modulation are exemplary.
I love the quick steering and the fact that there’s plenty of lock, which is helpful if you like going a little sideways, like I do from time to time. Still, I’d like a little more road feel and I could really do without the flat-bottomed wheel.
For some strange reason, this car has some of the right options – the Pirelli P Zero summer tires and the sunroof that I’ve been enjoying here on some of these Florida evenings – but it’s missing the power seat option, which also includes the power adjustable steering column and power lumbar adjustment. It’s a very odd spec for what should be a fully optioned car like this.
Still, this is probably the correct colour combination for Florida with the white paint and tan leather, though I’d go with the black Alcantara upholstery for sure. And I do love the standard cooled seats.
Speaking of standard equipment, the 8.4-inch uConnect is the only infotainment unit for the Hellcat and, I’m sure I’ve said it plenty of times: it’s one of the best in the business. Reason being, it’s remarkably easy to use and the processor that runs the thing is pretty powerful, so it never lags. Other manufacturers should take note.
Due to its size, there’s almost limitless storage in the trunk. Golf bags for everyone! Naturally, the rear seat is full-size-sedan spacious, too. Everybody can get comfortable in this Charger.
I have to note one unexpected yet pleasant surprise I discovered while driving this Dodge. During my test, the good motorists of Florida seem to think that this white Hellcat with all of its black trim is perhaps a law enforcement vehicle. Not once, in these hundreds of miles, have I found any other car impeding my progress on the freeway. If that’s the kind of, ahem, attention you’d like from other motorists, just buy a Charger Hellcat in white or black.
If you want to very fast, the Charger Hellcat is perhaps the best bang for your buck. It starts at under 70 grand in the US or just under 80 thousand in Canada. Think about this for a second. You’re getting a full size four door sedan that will do zero to sixty in the mid threes and blow past the 200 mile and hour mark for that kind of money.
That’s kind of outright performance and very reasonable price make this Charger Hellcat is a veritable bargain. Perhaps the bargain of the century.
2018 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
BODY STYLE: four-door sedan.
DRIVE METHOD: front engine, rear-wheel drive
ENGINE: Supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine (707 hp, 650 lb/ft of torque) with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
CARGO CAPACITY: 467 litres.
FUEL ECONOMY: 10.7/17.6 L/100 km hwy/city.
PRICE: Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, $78,695; $81,290 as tested, plus $2,595 destination.
WEB SITE: Dodge.ca
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