Before I get into justifying the 2017 Dodge lineup as the greatest performance lineup ever, I want to head off the people who are going to insist that the greatest American performance lineups came during the original muscle car era. I most certainly agree that it would have been more impressive to walk into a Dodge dealership in 1969 or 1970 and see a Hemi Challenger, a Hemi Charger, a 440 6-Pack Super Bee and maybe even a Charger Daytona lining the showroom floor. The idea that so many classic American muscle cars would have been on sale in the same dealership at one time is mind-blowing, but let’s be honest – those classic muscle cars were all very similar.
For the most part, they were all 2-door models which were best at going very fast in a straight line. Really, that was true of all cars back then and while there were some models that focused more on handling – like the Challenger T/A – the cornering abilities of those old school muscle cars pale in comparison to today’s cars.
However, the 2017 Dodge brand lineup has the most affordable V8 muscle car with the Challenger R/T, the most bang for the buck with the Scat Pack models, the most powerful models from an American automaker with the Hellcat models and the most track capable road car with the Viper ACR – plus offering unrivaled performance across the board with the entire Charger lineup.
The late 60s and early 70s definitely had more muscle, but the 2017 Dodge lineup offers more all-around performance in more forms than any American model year lineup, ever.
The Dodge Durango doesn’t have a big power SRT version yet, but with 360 horsepower and sport tuned suspension, there is no competitor from Ford or Chevy in the segment. If the Durango gets an SRT package, it will pack even more power into the Dodge showrooms – power that you cannot get from Ford or GM in a performance SUV.
Most Affordable V8 Muscle Car
The first piece of the puzzle which makes the 2017 Dodge brand the great performance lineup ever starts with the Dodge Challenger R/T. This is the most affordable (read: lowest MSRP) V8-powered muscle car on the market with a base price of $33,090. The least expensive Ford Mustang with a V8 starts at $33,820 while the least expensive Camaro SS starts at $37,900.
Of course, some people will point out that with 375 horsepower, the Challenger R/T is less expensive than the Mustang GT or Camaro SS, but it also has less power than the 435hp Ford or the 455hp Chevy. That is where the Challenger Scat Pack comes into play.
485hp Under $40,000
The Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack is the next reason why the 2017 Dodge brand offers the best American performance lineup ever. The Scat Pack is equipped with the 392 cubic inch Hemi with 485 horsepower and 475lb-ft of torque and it has a starting price of $38,995. The Challenger Scat Pack offers far more power than the Camaro SS or the Mustang GT, with a price similar to the Camaro and a few thousand more than the base V8 Mustang.
To get more than 435hp from the Mustang, you need to buy the $55k Shelby GT350 and from GM, you need to look into the supercharged ZL1, which is more of a competitor for the Hellcat Challenger.
In short, the Challenger Scat Pack offers more bang for the buck than any muscle car sold in America.
Hellcat Bits on a Scat Pack
Next, the newly announced Challenger T/A is another package which is completely unrivaled by Ford or GM. This package starts with the Scat Pack and adds the brakes, wheels and tires from the Hellcat package along with some exterior components, like the air intake headlights and the hood. The modern Challenger T/A is basically a Scat Pack with the most popular components of the Hellcat – sans the supercharged V8.
Best of all, this 485hp Challenger T/A with Hellcat goodies has a starting price of just $45,090, making it considerably less expensive than the Challenger SRT 392. This is one more area where Dodge offers big performance for a bargain.
The Most Powerful Muscle Car Ever
Next, we have the most infamous of the modern Dodge Challenger models – the SRT Hellcat. Thanks to the 707hp supercharged Hemi, the Challenger SRT Hellcat is the most powerful production muscle car ever and with the exception of the Charger SRT Hellcat, no American production car has ever offered comparable power.
The Challenger Hellcat has a high tech adaptive suspension system which makes this big brawler surprisingly nimble, but it shines brightest on the drag strip, with stock quarter mile times in the low 11 second range and with sticky tires, the Hellcat Challenger is very capable of running in the mid 10s. No other American muscle has been able to lay down quarter mile times like that in stock form (or with only sticky tires).
The Entire Charger Lineup Dominates
The next big reason why the 2017 Dodge model year is the greatest American performance lineup ever is the full Dodge Charger lineup. Like the Challenger, the Charger has the affordable R/T V8 model, the bargain performance Scat Pack and the ultra-high performance Hellcat model – along with the SRT 392 and the new Daytona models. Where the Charger differs from the Challenger is that the 4-door sedan really has no competition in the US market.
Sure, Chevrolet has the SS sport sedan, but with just 415 horsepower and a starting price of just under $49,000, the big Chevy is far less powerful than the similarly priced Charger while being far more expensive than the 485 Scat Pack sedan.
Also, the Charger SRT Hellcat is the most powerful, the quickest and the fastest production sedan in the world, with no competition of any kind of Ford or GM.
In short, the Dodge Charger has the most expansive (not expensive) performance lineup of any large sedan in the world, which is why it is the bestselling rear wheel drive sedan in the US market.
The Viper Rules
Finally, the 2017 Dodge Viper lineup will be the most elaborate ever, thanks in part to the availability of the 5 different American Club Racer special edition packages offered up for the final year of Viper production. The Viper is available in base SRT, GT, and GTS trim with a base price of $89,995, but none of those 650hp packages can rival the mighty Viper American Club Racer. The new Viper ACR has set track records all over the country and in addition to the “regular” ACR models, Dodge has rolled out a collection of special edition ACRs which will lead to the greatest number of ACR sales in a single year.
In other words, the best performing Viper ever – which is also one of the best performing road cars in the world – will be sold in its greatest numbers for 2017.
While all of the American brands have impressive performance cars, no US company offers or has ever offered a lineup like the 2017 Dodge family – with the most affordable V8 muscle car on the market, the most powerful muscle car on the market, an unrivaled performance sedan and the most track capable road car in the US market. The Charger and Durango put Dodge ahead of Ford or Chevy since neither of those companies have offered a similar performance sedan or SUV. The Challenger is the most powerful muscle car ever and the Viper is the most track capable road car ever – beating both Ford and Chevy in categories where they do compete.
If anyone thinks that Ford or Chevy has had a single model year with a better performance spread, feel free to post about it in the comment section below.