For a day, we had a 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat as a press loan. The car has everything you could ask for in an American muscle car today. It’s a four-door, five-seat sedan with a rumbling 707 horsepower under the hood.
This makes it a practical family car that happens to have more horsepower than any other production vehicle in its class. Or it’s a powerful muscle car that happens to have seating for five. Depends on your perspective, I guess.
Out on the road, the 2015 Charger Hellcat is a muscular beast that’s equally fun to drive and fun to listen to. The supercharged V8 under its hood makes beautiful notes through the dual exhaust and even at idle, the engine promises excellent performance. On the road, the Hellcat can easily accelerate more than you’d expect, but learning to control all that power is relatively easy in normal traffic situations.
When put to the test, though, the 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat has more than enough to give. In 0-60 mph runs, for example, your choices are to utilize Launch Control, keep Traction Control on, and to run in Sport, Track, or other driving modes. Any combination can be had. In my hands, using Launch Control and Sport Mode worked best and gave me consistent 4.4-second 0-60s when starting flat-footed (no roll, no RPM goose, just going from an idling stop to 60 mph). Quarter miles at this rate were just over the 12-second mark. On a race track with better pavement and a more professional start, sub-4s are easily possible with this big sedan.
Cornering is a different game, though, and the rear-drive Charger shows its heavy girth when the wheels are turning. On public streets, sans a lot of hooning, 90-degree corners using both lanes are possible at around 65 mph without squealing the tires. You can add 10 or so mph to that if you’re willing to lose a little rubber and let traction break to drift the turn. As a reference, a smaller, lighter, but roughly equivalent HP:weight Jaguar F-TYPE R made those same corners at about 77 mph before tires begin to squeal – largely due to all-wheel drive and a much lower center of gravity. A Corvette Stingray did the same corner at 74-75 mph. These examples demonstrate the difference between a muscular sedan and a powerful sports coupe/convertible.
The other difference, though, is more important to someone like me: in the Charger Hellcat, I can strap my kids in the back seat while doing these fun runs. My 4-year-old loves this stuff and she made it clear from her car seat behind me that she wanted more and more of it, egging me on.
It’s here that, as I said in a GuysGab.com article about the Hellcat, the Prius gets nervous and the thrill of a sports car is imparted to the next generation.
The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat was a manufacturer’s press loan for a day. During that time, over 100 miles were put on the car. Full specifications for the vehicle can be found on its Monroney (“window sticker” PDF).