Hellcat verdict? Aside from more, please? I spent 12 months with the most ridiculous sedan on earth: 707 horsepower divided by 365 is nearly 2 horsepower per day. Is that the most ridiculous sentence I’ve ever written?
But, let’s get serious: Did I learn anything after 26,012 miles seated in the deeply cushioned red barcaloungers that Dodge tries to pass off as bucket seats while averaging an almost respectable 14.9 mpg? I suppose you’d have to learn something—one entire elapsed year and all—but I have a hunch I learned the wrong lessons.
Normally with a long-term verdict you’re supposed to ascertain whether something such as the $1,500 black-painted roof was a worthwhile optional expenditure. The problem is I didn’t really remember that this car even had a blacked-out roof until I checked the window sticker. Because unlike regular cars, you don’t think about things like that when you’re living with a Hellcat.
I did appreciate the $995 Brass Monkey wheels, but mostly because Licensed to Ill by the Beastie Boys was the third album I ever bought—the first two being In 3-D by Weird Al Yankovic and Raising Hell by Run DMC. I’m Gen X, yo. Even still, I’m not so sure I’d opt for the $1,995 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Oh, who am I kidding—of course I would! Of note is the fact that although I might have chewed through five sets of tires (one short of my initial goal of six sets in a year), nothing on the car broke. No matter how viciously we treated the Hellcat with Motor Trend’s version of accelerated wear and tear, only routine maintenance—like changing out 8 quarts of synthetic oil every 6,000 miles—was all the big red gal required.
One takeaway from living with a Charger Hellcat is if you’re able to control your right foot, the thing drives like a normal car. You might be thinking, “Hey man, anything’s a normal car if you don’t drive it like you stole it.” That’s not true of many performance machines. Take the Alfa Romeo 4C. It’s never a normal car, ever! The same is true for a Viper, a Nissan GT-R, or a Lamborghini Aventador. But the Hellcat version of the Charger can do a close approximation of a $29,090 SE model. It’s roomy, it’s surprisingly comfortable, the Uconnect infotainment system works pretty much OK, and the back seats are good for three adults, fantastic for two. But if any of the above figures into your decision to go out and purchase a Charger Hellcat—a $73,725 purchase that I highly recommend—you’re doing it wrong.
You buy the four-door Hellcat with the shrieking supercharger so you can see the look on the guy’s face at the tire shop as he once again chisels molten rubber off your exhaust pipes. You get yourself a 707-hp Charger so that when you’re virtually parked in traffic you can relieve tension by spinning the back wheels a bit. Not a big smoky burnout, but just enough to make everyone around you nervous. It helps both relieve the tension and break up the monotony. You buy yourself a Charger Hellcat because it’s as close to a concealed carry permit as there is in the automotive world. Just like a .357 Magnum under your coat, you always know the immense power is there, mere inches away.
There’s a tension to living with this car. Perhaps that’s what 12 months of Hellcat stewardship most taught me. It’s a constant tussle between you behaving like a upright citizen and four-wheeled, tail-out, tire-shredding anarchy. Do I have the strength to not pointlessly burn up a tank of gas today? It’s a moral struggle, a constant one.
There’s going to be a time—and it’s coming sooner than many of you think—that you won’t be able to waltz down to your local neighborhood Dodge dealer and drive away in a snarling, antisocial beast with a Satanized kitty cat head on the fender. Not only will cars be electric, but you’ll also be too busy InstaSnapTweeting to even want to drive them, assuming they’ll still let us. No one will speed, and cars most certainly will not burn out. I’m not saying the impending future is better or worse. I’m just saying it’s racing toward us. Quickly. The Hellcat, this Hellcat, any Hellcat, is a finger in the eye of that particular inevitability. Take a guess as to which finger.
More on our long-term Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat here:
|SERVICE LIFE||13 mo / 26,012 mi|
|OPTIONS||Preferred pkg 23T ($1,995: Harman Kardon audio, 19 speakers, floor mats), black-painted roof ($1,500), Brass Monkey forged wheels ($995), P Zero summer tires ($595)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$73,725|
|AVG ECON/CO2||14.9 mpg / 1.30 lb/mi|
|MAINTENANCE COST||$158 (2-oil change, inspection)|
|NORMAL-WEAR COST||$2,114 (2 sets Pirelli P Zero tires, mount and balance)|
|3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE*||
*IntelliChoice data; assumes 42,000 miles at the end of 3-years
|2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Supercharged 90-deg V-8, iron block/alum heads|
|VALVETRAIN||OHV, 2 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||376.3 cu in/6,166 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||707 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||650 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||6.4 lb/hp|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Control arms, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F; R||15.4-in vented, grooved 2-pc disc; 13.8-in vented, grooved disc, ABS|
|WHEELS, F;R||9.5 x 20 in forged aluminum|
|TIRES, F;R||275/40ZR20 106Y Pirelli P Zero|
|TRACK, F/R||64.0/63.7 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||200.8 x 75.0 x 58.3 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||38.5 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||4,530 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||57/43 %|
|HEADROOM, F/R||38.6/36.6 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||41.8/40.1 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||59.5/57.9 in|
|CARGO VOLUME||16.5 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||1.7|
|QUARTER MILE||12.1 sec @ 123.4 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||103 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.93 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||24.4 sec @ 0.82 g (avg)|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,600 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$73,725|
|AIRBAGS||7: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, driver knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||3 yrs/36,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||5 yrs/60,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||5 yrs/100,000 miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||18.5 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||13/22/16 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||259/153 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.22 lb/mile|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||17.0/24.6/19.8 mpg|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium|