The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat comes from the factory with a genuine 707 horsepower. Yikes, that’s a full 282 HP higher than the Challenger’s Hemi-powered namesake of the 1960s and current Viper’s 8.2-litre V10 produces a mere 640. Frankly, the Hellcat is more powerful than [insert your own hyperbole here].
There are only six new series-production cars on the market more powerful, and the least expensive of these – the 730hp Ferrari F12 – costs more than six Hellcats combined. By the standards of stupendously powerful cars, the thing is a screaming bargain.
You’d never know to look at the Hellcat. It doesn’t stand out from other Challengers. The only inkling is a big air splitter under the front bumper and the hood has a telltale central scoop on top. But it is still emphatically a Challenger, a car that has been produced since 2008.
Under the hood, its engine is almost completely covered by the huge, screw-type supercharger that fills the valley between the 6.2-litre Hemi’s cylinder banks. This engine is one of the few that still uses an iron block, which imparts the meat to handle the immense pressures that come with 707hp.
The Challenger may be heavy, at a manufacturer-claimed 4,439lbs, but as the guys at Maryland’s Thompson Dodge insist “707hp will overwhelm a lot of mass”. The six-speed manual transmission, a version of the same box used in the Viper, needs a hard shove to find a gear. The optional eight-speed automatic, on the other hand, is deceptively easygoing.
Granted, there are plenty of quick cars on the road, but few approximate the feeling of mind-blowing thrust that this Dodge creates. And, all this supercar performance, for the price of a mid-size German luxury car!