2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
The Challenger is a major salvo in the Horsepower Wars, offering muscle-car metal and seriously awesome engines. The 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 makes 485 hp and 475 lb-ft; choose either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic.
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The aptly named Hellcat has a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 good for 707 hp and 650 lb-ft, with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. The automatic is faster, hitting 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, while the manual is more fun and still quick doing 0–60 in 3.9 seconds.
If you tickle the throttle just right, the Hellcat delivers seriously heroic acceleration, much quicker than can be achieved with its built-in launch-control feature. Zero to 60 mph happens in 3.6 seconds, 100 mph comes up in 7.8 seconds, and the quarter-mile is covered in 11.7 seconds at 126 mph, with the car’s massive supercharger whining like a hive of angry bees the entire time.
Those are the same times that we recorded for the 2015 edition with the automatic transmission, although 100 mph took 0.2 second longer this time. Balancing the torque against the available traction is never quite exactly the same experience twice.
Although standing-start acceleration runs in the Hellcat are breathtaking, the real eye-widening happens once it’s rolling. Top-gear acceleration from 30 to 50 mph and from 50 to 70 mph happens in 1.8 and 2.3 seconds.
Passing other traffic poses no worries beyond avoiding the attention of the local constabulary. Booting the gas pedal at anything less than triple-digit speeds goes something like this: The big coupe squats back, the transmission quickly kicks down to a lower gear, and the car rockets forward, its rear tires slipping and fighting to maintain contact with the road. Don’t get behind in your steering.