The Dodge Challenger Hellcat, and its sedan counterpart, the Charger Hellcat, are muscle car monsters that deliver a Hemi-powered slap in the face to the automotive establishment.
Sure, the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro are newer, more polished, and frankly, a little more refined in just about every detail. So why are we so smitten with this Mopar duo? We have 707 reasons, to be exact.
That’s because the supercharged Hellcat V8 delivers a staggering 707 horsepower. Why the odd figure? Dodge engineers realized an even 700 would lead to cynical speculation that the motor might only deliver, say, 699 horsepower. So, to be on the safe side of horsepower bragging rights, they found a few more ponies for insurance.
We reached out to Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat – at Fiat-Chrysler North America, for extra insight into these scary-fast machines. With his expert tutelage, we uncovered the coolest, craziest, and creepiest facts and stats about the hellacious Hellcat.
1. The world’s most powerful muscle car engine
The Challenger SRT Hellcat with its 707 horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 engine is the fastest, most powerful muscle car ever with a National Hot Rod Association-certified quarter-mile elapsed time of 11.2 seconds with stock Pirelli P Zero tires. With drag radials, the Challenger SRT’s quarter-mile run drops to just 10.8 seconds.
2. More doors means a higher top speed
Yes, you read that correctly: The Charger sedan has a higher overall top speed than the Challenger coupe. That’s not to suggest the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat’s top speed of 199 miles per hour is what we’d call slow. But the Charger SRT Hellcat can hit 204 miles per hour!
3. The Hellcat has a drinking problem
The SRT Hellcat’s supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine can burn through 1.5 gallons of gas per minute at full throttle — enough to drain the fuel tank in just 13.4 minutes. Keep your foot planted to the floor and you’ve got less than 15 minutes until your Hellcat adventure runs dry.
4. Suffocation by Hellcat
This is the muscle car that will kill you, but only if you’re locked in a small room with it. At full throttle, the supercharged Hemi Hellcat engine can suck the air out of a 10-by-13-by-8-foot room — about 1,040 cubic feet of air — in only 1 minute. Why and how did Dodge come up with this creepy factoid? We have no idea, and we most definitely are not going to try this out for ourselves.
5. Driver’s side marker light hides a secret
The supercharger gulps air through an Air Catcher inlet port, which replaces the driver’s-side inboard marker light and connects to a patented twin-inlet, 8-liter air box. The blower further benefits from a 92-millimeter throttle body — the largest ever used in a Chrysler Group vehicle.
6. Supercar fast, and pickup truck fuel economy
Out on the open road, the Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat aren’t total and complete fuel hogs. The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat boasts a highway fuel-economy rating of 22 miles per gallon, which is about what you’d get in a pickup truck or large SUV. In the city, however, you can just about cut that fuel mileage average in half.
7. One quick-thinking transmission
The Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats’ TorqueFlite heavy-duty eight-speed automatic transmission delivers both efficient street driving and maximum performance track driving with 160 millisecond shifts with rev-matching. Purists who want the six-speed manual have to go with the Challenger, since the Charger is only available with the automatic.
8. You can stack five family sedans on one piston
The breakthrough SRT Hellcat engine features a forged-steel crankshaft with induction-hardened bearing surfaces. The result is a crank so strong it can withstand firing pressures of 1,595 PSI (110 bar) — the equivalent of five family sedans standing on each piston, every two revolutions. And its unique, specially tuned crank damper has been tested to 13,000 RPM.
9. Red is the way to go
Each Hellcat vehicle comes with three key fobs — one black and two red. The black key unlocks 500 horsepower. The red keys unleash all 707 horsepower. Go with the red, all the time.
10. Dodge tested, dyno approved
Every Hellcat engine gets a 42-minute dynamometer shakedown before it is shipped for assembly in the vehicle. You could make the argument that every new Hellcat is therefore a “used” car, but we’re just glad they’ve been proven before being unleashed on the public.