707 horsepower is a lot of horsepower.
Dodge was kind enough to let us borrow a Charger Hellcat. If you don’t know, the Hellcat is the fastest production sedan, with a top speed of 204 MPH and 707 insanity inducing horsepower under the hood. It’s not quicker off the line than the Tesla Model S P85D, but after 60 it just crushes it. It’s faster than almost anything and everything.
We had four days with the car to learn its intricacies. Here are the ten things you need to know:
1. It’s obscenely fast. That’s a given, but nothing can really prepare you for the insanity of the Hellcat until you first step on the gas. It’s not subtle about its speed or power. Get on the gas and you’re greeted by a wall of noise and speed unlike anything out there. The 6.2 liter supercharged Hemi with 707 horsepower is one of the greatest engines we’ve ever seen. Seriously, there’s a lot to love here.
2. It’s overpowered and undertired. Ok, so overpowered was a given, but it has a square tire profile with 275s all around. 275s sound meaty, but then you realize that the Camaro Z/28 has 305s all around, the Corvette Z06 has 335s out back, even the Viper has 355s out back. All of these cars are lighter and have less power. The heavier (4,000+ pounds), more powerful Charger simply cannot hook up, it needs more rubber. Even a slight throttle application results in spinning rears and tire marks down the road, even with the traction control set to very on.
3. Yes, it can do a burnout. As you’ve seen from literally every YouTube video that this car has been in, brake stands are no worries for it. I didn’t do any when I had the car because I wanted to give it back with tires. Also, I’ve seen the videos, I know it can do a burnout, what would doing one prove?
4. It’s actually rather subtle. This is kind of hard to believe, but the word Hellcat appears on the outside of the car precisely zero times. It has two little badges that are the Hellcat symbol, two SRT badges, and that’s really it. To the uninitiated, it looks like a regular Charger Scat Pack, perhaps a slightly more sinister one, but that’s about it. It’s a total sleeper, got to love that.
5. People who know what it is freak out. I had a number of people give thumbs up, roll down the windows to chat about it, or give knowing nods of approval. Owners of regular Chargers were obviously jealous when they stopped to talk. That has to make someone who owns a Hellcat feel damn good.
6. Some people who know what it is act like idiots around it. If you’re driving the Hellcat and come across something like a Camaro or a lowered Mitsubishi Evo (these are just examples and definitely not people that I saw, no sir, not at all), be prepared for some invitations to drive like a moron in traffic. People will pull up next to you, drop gears, and then take off, expecting that you’ll be following close behind to prove that your car is fast. A better thing to do is to just let those people make asses of themselves and get pulled over while and you just continue on your way.
7. Gas mileage is a joke. Seriously. It’s more like gallons per mile than miles per gallon. Hypermiling in the Charger will let you see 20 MPG. Maybe. A full tank of fuel barely got me 200 miles. That’s kind of awesome.
8. Corners are not its thing. Steering is vague and it’s a heavy SOB. That’s why you’ll see these on the drag strip, not on the road course.
9. It’s surprisingly nice inside. While some of the materials on the dash feel a little cheap, the seats are top notch, the wheel feels great, and Chrysler’s UConnect system is a delight to use. It’s a very, very nice place to spend a lot of time.
10. The Hellcat is a screaming deal. The particular car that Dodge gave us to test came in at $70,800. That sounds like a lot, but that roughly equates to $100 per horsepower… for the most powerful, fastest sedan that the world has seen. Yes, yes, you’re spending $70,000 on a Dodge, but you get to say it’s a Hellcat. And there’s something cool about that.
The Charger Hellcat makes no sense. It’s not a rational car. You’d have to be clinically insane to buy this as your daily driver/family hauler. You’ll probably need to change tires every time you refuel, which is basically every single day. It’s nuts. It makes no sense. It’s irrational. It’s dumb.
It’s basically perfect.