In the world of fast sedans, there’s fast, and there’s Hellcat fast. The Dodge Charger Hellcat is the most powerful production sedan currently on sale. It has 707 horsepower and will run the quarter-mile in 10.8 seconds in the right conditions. Its speed is as impressive as its civility. The real surprise is how you can live with this car everyday and not manage to get yourself killed. It’s a car that will go down as one of the greats.
(Full Disclosure: I was in Texas attending several events and phoned up Dodge to see if I could borrow a Hellcat to make the trip shorter to the big Texas cities. Surprisingly, they said “Yes.” I’m not sure why.)
Dodge Charger Hellcat Performance
You don’t buy a Hellcat if you aren’t looking to go fast. It’s silly to quote 0-60mph numbers in this car, since it’ll get to that speed way before you realize you’re going that fast. The same goes for 90 miles-per-hour. This car will get you to “go to jail speeds” faster than anything else you’ve probably driven.
Powering the Hellcat is a 6.2L Hemi V8 that has a huge supercharger bolted to the top. Just popping the hood is a show with that beast of an engine sitting in there. While the car might not look particularly special from the outside, it’s obvious from looking at the engine that this is no standard Charger.
Power is sent to the rear wheels through a ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic transmission. This is, more or less, the same transmission that is in the Charger Scat Pack that we loved so much. The shifts are lightning-quick, and are available exactly when you want them.
In the Track setting for the transmission, the car will even jerk you back into the seat. It shifts fast enough that the tires break loose shifting gears under hard acceleration. I’ve driven the Hellcat Challenger with the 6-speed manual, and while it’s a hoot to drive the 8-speed is so much faster, and so much more refined. You won’t miss not having it available in this car.
Sending that much horsepower to the rear wheels is a bit silly, as getting traction is difficult. Under normal driving, you don’t have to worry about the back end getting squirrelly, but full-throttle launches will smoke the rear tires. Even with the stability control in the full on setting, you can get the back end to break loose or go sideways.
Dodge fitted the largest tires it possibly could to the Charger to get grip, but they just aren’t enough. Getting the car to accelerate without smoking the tires quickly requires finesse.
The Hellcat isn’t a sports car. It’s not going to lap a race track as quickly as something like the Porsche Panamera. It’s more of a “point and squirt” type of car. But my lord it’s fast.
Dodge Charger Hellcat Exterior
The car doesn’t look like a normal Charger, but does share a lot of the same body work with the Scat Pack and SRT versions of the Charger. You can tell it’s an upgraded model, but overall the car doesn’t look to shouty to normal people when you’re driving down the road. Unless someone hears it, or sees the Hellcat badge on the side, it’ll be hard to tell it’s such a badass car.
There are a lot of colors that the Hellcat is available in, but man oh man the white looks killer. This review unit had the standard black wheels, but a set of bronze “Brass Monkey” wheels are also available. Both look great.
HID headlights make seeing at night a breeze, and the racetrack LED taillights are improved for 2015 to look like one solid strip of light. There are no fog lights on the Hellcat, because every opening in the front is functional to funnel as much air into the engine as possible to keep it cool.
One additional plus is the cap-less fuel filler. There is no gas cap to not tighten properly. A lot of cars have them now, but the Challenger does not. It’s nice to see it on the Charger, since you’ll be getting gas quite often.
Dodge Charger Hellcat Fuel Economy
Now seems as good of time as any to mention the fuel economy of the Hellcat. Compared to a normal, 5-door family car, the fuel economy isn’t great. But it’s not designed to score points at the gas pump.
The car is rated at 13 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway, or a combined mpg rating of 16. During my week behind the wheel, where I didn’t drive at all for fuel economy, I achieved 17 mpg. You know what? That’s not really that bad.
The car does require premium unleaded, which in Texas isn’t that much more than the regular juice. But because this car is so thirsty, it does get slapped with a $1,700 gas guzzler tax from the government.
Dodge Charger Hellcat Interior
The only real thing different from a normal Charger interior and the Hellcat interior is the leather seats. The SRT seats are bolstered well, but still are super-comfortable for long road trips. You can spend 8 hours driving this car, and want to turn around and drive 8 more.
The interior is functional, there’s room for 5 people easily. It’s impressive how much space this 204 miles-per-hour car has.
But there are a few letdowns. Of all the SRT cars I’ve been in, the interior in the Charger is the most plastic-y. It’s not bad material, and everything works. It’s just that the money you spend for this car isn’t to upgrade the interior beyond the normal Charger interior.
Chrysler’s fantastic Uconnect system is included, and is still one of the best in the business to use. There are special SRT apps that are included to time things like 1/4 mile, 0-60mph, and braking performance. There’s even a cool gauge that shows you how much power you’re using at any given time.
Dodge Charger Hellcat Safety
When you’re putting around with 707 horsepower, safety can be a concern. Dodge has equipped the car with some cool features to keep you and your passengers safe.
First off, the car comes with two sets of keys. One key is red, the other is black. If you enter the car with the black key, the car is only capable of 500 horsepower. The red key unlocks the full 707 horsepower. If both keys are in the car, the car assumes you want to rock and roll with 707 horsepower.
Additionally, there is a fuel economy mode that limits the power even more and pulls the car back from the edge. It’s safe to say I didn’t really drive in this mode, but I do imagine it’ll help some in the economy department.
Finally, there’s a valet mode. By enabling this with a 4-digit PIN number the car’s performance is seriously crippled. When you put the foot down in valet mode the car hardly accelerates. It’s uncanny how much they can limit the performance of such a powerful car.
The car has various programs for the stability and traction control, but it should be noted that even when fully-engaged, the traction control can’t always tame the car’s power.
Because there’s no room in the front to include the sensor, the Hellcat doesn’t have the option for adaptive cruise control like the SRT, Scat Pack, and base models. But, you do get a rear camera system, rear parking sensors, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
When it comes to crashing, the Charger was rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to have a “Marginal” rating in the difficult small overlap test. The rest of the scores were a “Good” rating.
Dodge Charger Hellcat Price
Remember kids, you’re buying the most powerful production sedan in the world. That means it’s going to cost you a bit of cash to get into it. How much? Our review unit has a sticker price of $70,170. That is basically fully loaded.
How do we get to that price, you ask?
- Base Price: $62,295
- Ivory Tri-Coat Pearl (White) Paint: $500
- Laguna Leather: $1,795
- Harmon-Kardon Audio: $1,995
- Uconnect w/ Navigation: $695
- Summer Tires: $195
- Gas Guzzler Tax: $1,700
- Destination and Handling: $995
Yes, it’s a lot of money. But if you can afford it, it’s what you should get.
Dodge Charger Hellcat Final Verdict
This car is great at nearly everything it does. Driving down the highway, it eats up the miles. When you want to drive quickly, it’ll go quickly. If you need to overtake, you have enough power to do so. If you want to go through the drive-thru at Whataburger you can. There’s nothing that can really flummox this car in day-to-day driving.
Between this and the Challenger Hellcat, the Charger is the car to get. It has more space, it’s easier to see out of, and it’s just cooler to say that you have the most powerful production sedan in the world.
It’s a great feeling sitting at an intersection and knowing that it’s nearly impossible for someone to pull up next to you and have more power than you.
If you’re looking at the Hellcat, just go buy it. You won’t be disappointed. It’s truly one of the greats and will definitely go down in the history books.
Buy. This. Car.
- Horsepower and speed.
- Exhaust note and supercharger whine.
- Everyday livability and tame when you want it to be.
- Marginal IIHS small overlap performance.
- Interior not as nice as other SRT products.
- Who cares? It’s still the Hellcat to get!