If the title of this article has gotten you slightly peeved, then you’re likely one of those people who has been jumping on forums telling people why the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat (the official name) isn’t everything that Chrysler says it is. We hear you, and we understand that some people might be a little butthurt about this, but we should all be happy about this, shouldn’t we? Because, like the Hellcat or not, this is the start of something big and encourages competition amongst the big three.
As excited as some people are, first let’s address the facts about the new Hellcat Hemi. No matter what camp you park your car in, it is pretty impressive and the Hellcat has been the talk of just about any town lately.
With videos of burnouts, sliding around the tracks at Willow Springs and Portland, and of course the quarter-mile runs, there are plenty of videos that have elicited some pretty funny responses and memes.
But, before you assume this is an “in your face” type of article – it isn’t. We like all the competition from either camp, and we welcome whatever the big three has to offer, but let’s not act like school children claiming “my dad can kick your dad’s ass” just because of one car that is setting records.
- It’s the most powerful V8 from any car produced in America – ever.
- It’s the most powerful musclecar produced in America – ever.
- It’s the most powerful car produced in America – ever.
Now, you don’t have to like those distinctions, but shouldn’t you at least acknowledge that the horsepower wars are alive and well, thanks to the Hellcat Hemi? And aren’t you glad that someone decided to step up and push the envelope?
The 2014 Shelby GT500 is very impressive with 662 HP, and maybe that’s the car that actually started it all, but we don’t recall people getting so butthurt over the GT500 like everyone seems to be doing with the Hellcat – and why is that? Is it that the Hellcat is just that impressive?
Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO of Dodge and SRT Brand, has said, “Dodge is racing to the front lines of the horsepower wars” in a video that Chrysler put up on their YouTube page. Chrysler is very proud of their Hellcat, and rightfully so. There are no other regular production vehicles in America that came off the factory line with over 700 horsepower.
Currently there are only five other regular production cars with more power, none of which are American:
- LaFerrari – 950HP, 664 lb/ft of torque, $1.4 million
- McLaren P1 – 903HP, 664 lb/ft of torque, $1.15 million
- Porsche 918 – 795HP, 575 lb/ft of torque, $845,000
- Lamborghini Veneno – 740HP, 590 lb/ft of torque, $4 million
- Ferrari F12 – 730HP, 508 lb/ft of torque, $319,000
To be #6 following a list of exotic supercars like that is very impressive, to say the least. The seventh car on the list is another Lamborghini – the Aventador, with 690HP at $397,000; it’s amazing to see an American made musclecar nestled between some of the most powerful and expensive cars in the world isn’t it? The GT500 has 662 HP, which is impressive in its own right, the ZL1 lags behind at 580 HP. But even though the Mustang and Camaro aren’t as powerful, it doesn’t mean they aren’t great cars. But why is there so much hate and animosity over the Hellcat?
Ten quick SRT Hellcat facts and figures:
- Chrysler’s most powerful car, ever
- Chrysler’s first production supercharged Hemi
- 11.6 lbs of boost
- 707HP, 650lb/ft of torque
- Base price of $59,995 ($60,990 adjusted)
- Available with a 6-speed Tremec manual or 8-speed HP90 Torqueflite automatic
- 4,439 lbs (4,449 with man trans)
- 15.4-inch front brake rotors (largest on a Chrysler automobile)
- 6.2L Hemi uses 91% new components
- 10.8 quarter mile time at 126 mph on drag radials (11.2 @ 125 on street tires)
Those are the facts, above, and they’ve been documented. For months, people assumed the Hellcat Challenger would be low 600 horsepower, but we estimated it closer to 700 in May of this year. We also read all the predictions that the car was going to be in the price range of the Z/28. It seems nobody wanted the Hellcat to shoot to the top of the list in the horsepower wars. So let’s address some of the comments and negativity that we’ve seen lately:
- “The Shelby Super Snake has over 800 HP.” – of course it does, and it’s not a production car, it’s a $39,000 package added on to a factory car.
- “The dealers will mark the car up and nobody will be able to afford it.” – this is nothing new, other specialty cars have been marked up as well. That’s the price people pay for cars like this, it isn’t fair or fun, but the Hellcat didn’t invent the markup.
- “They’re limiting the car to only 1,200.” – this is rumored, it may or may not be true, but this is the first year for the Hellcat. Remember the Ford GT? Not many more were produced, likewise with the GT500KR – 1571 were produced for the US in 2008-09, the 2014 Z/28 has been limited in production as well. Let’s see what happens in the years that follow.
- “The Hellcat is a pig.” – we’ll give you that, at 4,449 pounds it is quite heavy. But the 2014 Camaro ZL1 weighs in at 4,120 lbs, and the 2014 GT500 is 3,850 lbs, not exactly lightweight cars.
- “Chrysler was deceiving, they ran the car on drag radials.” – yes, they did, and so does just about every other manufacturer when they want to get better quarter mile times. But they also shared that the Hellcat did the quarter in 11.2 with the factory street tires.
- “The Hellcat ran over 12 seconds at Bandimere.” – yes, it did, and the corrected altitude that day was over 9,000 feet for the normally 5,000 (mile high?) altitude. The thin air will do that to most any car.
- “The 2013 GT500 did the quarter mile in 10.2 seconds.” – sure it did, and the car that went 10.2 was on drag radials, and it was modified by Evolution Performance, Inc. – the Hellcat is stock.
- “The Hellcat can’t handle a road coarse, it was built for straight line racing, while the Mustang and Camaro are road racers.” – it’s interesting a car that isn’t out yet has so many people with seat time in it.
- “COPO Camaro”, and “Cobra Jet Mustang” – okay, and Track Pak Challenger… the COPO and Cobra Jet aren’t regular production vehicles, so let’s stick with apples to apples.
- “The 2015 GT500 is going to be 750 horsepower.” – good, we hope so but that hasn’t been confirmed yet. We’ve seen cars cruising around town and we hope that Chrysler doesn’t have the last word.
We propose the following: let’s wait for all three cars to become available for side-by-side testing – the GT500, the ZL1, and the Hellcat Challenger. We can do a quarter mile race, a slalom race through the cones, braking tests, economy tests, and take the three cars out to a track and see who has the best lap time. Let’s hope that NONE of the three cars sweeps all categories, because that would be rather boring. We live in a time when we wanted more power and we got it.
The Hellcat Hemi Challenger is being talked about, regularly, and whether you’re a Ford or Chevy fan, these are exciting times right now. Many of us lived through the demise of the musclecar era decades ago, and it was not good! Remember when a production musclecar had less than 200 horsepower? We get it that Ford fans are tired of hearing about the Hellcat, and that Chevy fans have had their share of recall jokes shoved in their faces, and we don’t blame you one bit.
But c’mon… seven hundred and seven horsepower out of a car that comes straight from the factory to the showroom floor is still impressive. And even if you’re not a Mopar fan, you should care about this and be excited about it because Chrysler has made the call of the wild – and you know that Ford and Chevy have no other choice but to answer that call with something just as wild.
These are exciting times, let’s embrace them instead of hurling lame attacks and starting flame wars – that is so 1990s. Let’s grab the red key fob and move forward – because finally, musclecar fanatics, we’re facing the right direction.