2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Review

Taking the Hellcat Home

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Review

It was slightly above freezing, it had rained all night, there were puddles on the drag strip and I had 707 HP worth of Hellcat on summer tires.

Unless you live in a shack, you’ve probably heard about the SRT Hellcat by now.

It’s the top dog of the 2015 Dodge Challenger family thanks in no small part to a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that makes 707 HP and 650 lb-ft of torque.

Can You Marry a Sound?

You’ve probably heard a lot about the power, sound and fury of the Hellcat and most of it is totally true. Happiness is just a quick stab of the throttle away. A little right foot pressure is all it takes to launch the Hellcat forward with a powerfully addictive sound; hear it once and you’re hooked for life, forever chasing that auditory euphoric high. I’m still not sure what sounds better: the bellowing exhaust note or the supercharger whine.

Everything about the Challenger SRT Hellcat – power, sound and curb weight – is larger than life. With the six-speed manual transmission equipped, it weighs 4,449 lbs. That’s not exactly ideal for a performance car so to help compensate, the Challenger SRT also gets wide 275 mm Pirelli P Zero tires at all four corners.

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Surprisingly Capable Around Corners

I’ve had the chance to drive this car around a racetrack and I must say it’s surprisingly controllable thanks in large part to the electronics Dodge gave it. There are multiple SRT modes available that can alter engine power, suspension stiffness and the stability control intervention. If you drive it respectfully in track mode it’s a blast and allows a little tail out fun. Take things a bit too far though and the system will save you. Push things well beyond the limit and you’re on your own.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Review

Having driven both the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Shelby GT 500 Mustang in similarly cool track conditions, the Hellcat takes the best elements from both of them. It has all the power, sound and violent acceleration of the GT 500, but it’s still fun to drive and controllable like the Chevy. A lot of that has to do with the Hellcat’s programmable drive settings and adjustable suspension.

Still, the Challenger isn’t really designed for road courses. The steering, although much improved, is still loose and makes the car feel floaty at high speeds. Despite its amazing brakes and the adjustable dampers, you’ll never forget how heavy the Hellcat is.

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Taking it to the Strip

This car doesn’t really feel at home until you get it on a drag strip. Mid-November weather conditions aren’t ideal for quick quarter-mile times at our test track and it was too cold for the summer tires. Worse still, there were a few lingering damp spots on the concrete after weeks of sitting idle. In other words, I drove in far from perfect conditions. My best 0-60 MPH run was a sad 4.6 seconds as the Hellcat would spin its rear tires all through first, second and third gears. To even achieve this time took some careful dancing on the gas pedal at the edge of adhesion.

2015-Dodge-Challenger-SRT-Hellcat-14.jpgBy the end of the day I was beginning to get a bit of grip in first, more in second and enough in third to keep my foot planted as the tail of the car danced around. By fourth gear I had full traction but by then the damage had already been done. I was turning consistent 12.5 second quarter-mile time at 117 MPH, which are well over a second off what the car is capable of.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Review

With all the traction issues I encountered, it would have been nice to have a longer strip to experience the Hellcat running flat-out at a half-mile or even a full mile mark. To think that all this power and performance is available for less than $61,000 after destination charges is almost frightening.

The Verdict

I doubt many owners of the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat will drive their car in freezing weather. This is a proper summer sledgehammer that becomes a handful of fun as the temperatures drop, but might not be for everyone. I also found on colder days it would take the engine quite a few cranks to finally fire to life. Maybe Dodge has channeled too much old school muscle into the Hellcat.

Regardless, the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is the purest, no excuses muscle car ever produced. Forget about all the icons from the ‘60s and ‘70s, this car beats them all in every performance category while still retaining the style and sound of a true, red-blooded, V8 powered, tire-shredding, all-American, ass-kicking machine.