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What the Hell(cat)?!

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On: Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 10:51AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


What the Hell(cat)?!

In an age where Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) is on the forefront of every carmakers mind and the target of every executive white board with a big circle around it, where the hell did the newest Dodge Challenger come from exactly? Apparently there is still a rogue sect of the car-making industry that sticks its nose up at political regulations and conformist ideals on any level. These hot-headed gearheads are the stuff of legends. They may go nameless, but their creations will echo an eternity. Much like the heyday of musclecar lore, the glorious 1960s, the 2010s aren't turning out to be quite so bad either if you're into that faster-than-God style of automobile.

The bar has been raised slightly for the past few years. Chevy's ZL1 Camaro came out with a sickening 580-horsepower blown V8 that seemed like enough to be king of the hill, that was until the Ford Mustang GT500 burst onto the scene with its own supercharged V8 pumping out a spine-crushing 662 horsepower. The king is dead, long live the king, right? Well, not so fast, Blue Oval fanatics, your favorite ruler of all the lands has just been dethroned and tossed aside for the latest and baddest car to roll off a Chrysler assembly line: The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is just stupid. Yes, stupid. There is no reason this car should exist in the modern world of cars, and we love it.

The Hellcat is a big, loud, ignorantly fast machine that is powerful enough to hurl you back in time. Dodge took the SRT Challenger motor that was fairly stout to begin with and dropped on some forged internals, and, oh yeah, a supercharger replete with intercooler running a 9.5:1 compression ratio to pump out a mind-warping 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. No, that is not a typo. A production car from Dodge comes standard with 700 horsepower. Yes Dodge, and yes, 700 horsepower.

The Hellcat comes with your choice of a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed auto, and let us be the first to say if you opt for an automatic in a 700 horsepower musclecar, you better have one hell of a war wound or carry around proof of a recent knee ligament tear because you will be judged. But we digress… The Hellcat comes with standard 20-inch forged aluminum rims that are shod in 275/40 Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season tires which, we can tell you, do not provide nearly enough rubber for anywhere near 700 ponies need to hook to the pavement, but at least you'll know what type of rubber you're spraying into the atmosphere when you try to peel out.

It should come as no surprise that the Hellcat is obscenely fast. But just in case you weren't sure, how does 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds sound? Or how about 0-100mph in 8.5 seconds? Still not convinced? How's trapping the quarter mile in 11.1 seconds hit you? It should sound Lambo-fast, because it is.

Now, don't be mistaken, the SRT Hellcat will never be confused for an Italian exotic anywhere at anytime except if someone looks at the power specs and performance times. The big Dodge is still... a big Dodge. The interior is mediocre, the car tips the scales at a portly 4450 pounds, and gets a measly 12/21 city/highway mpg. The Hellcat will run your just north of $53,000 which is good or bad depending on how you decide to think of it. On one hand, 50 grand for a musclecar isn't exactly a bargain, but then 50 grand for a car that is only a Hyundai Genesis away from matching the king-of-the-world million dollar Bugatti Veyron in terms of power isn't bad at all.

We aren't sure who these mythical people are developing cars like the Hellcat, but it's nice to know that you're out there and we will be saying a small prayer of thanks the next time one of them blows past us on the highway.


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