In case you have been lost at sea for a year or so, the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat both pack a new supercharged 6.2L Hemi V8 labeled the Hellcat. With an official rating of 707 horsepower and 650lb-ft of torque, these are the two most powerful American production cars ever. The Hellcat Challenger is the 6th most powerful coupe in the world and the Hellcat Charger is the most powerful sedan in the world.
Making Use of Power
When someone who knows what they are talking about says that I car cannot make use of the power, they are saying that the car is simply too powerful to turn that power into forward thrust and with 707hp, there was a good chance that the 2015 Charger and 2015 Challenger could fall into that category. Cars that cannot make use of lots of power aren’t good for anything but big, smokey burnouts. For example, if you wedged an NHRA funny car motor with 10,000 horsepower into the engine bay of a Ford F150 without performing any other modifications, it wouldn’t be able to make any use of the power. As soon as you touched the throttle, the back tires would just endlessly spin. That would just plain make a car (or truck) dangerous, and that is why we don’t see automakers offering up more models like the Bugatti Veyron.
While both the Hellcat Challenger and Charger will roast the rear tires as well as any production road car in America, the performance times and my experiences with each car on a road course serve as proof that these cars make very good use of all of that power.
Proof is in the Performance
The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat seems to get the most shots about not being able to use the power, but those claims are totally unfounded. With 707hp, this is the most powerful 4-door production sedan in the entire world, EVER. Now, if the Charger couldn’t make good use of the Hellcat horsepower, it wouldn’t be able to back up those power numbers with real world performance numbers. However, in addition to being the most powerful, the Charger is also the fastest sedan in the world with a top speed of 204 miles per hour while an NHRA certified quarter mile time of 11 seconds flat makes it the quickest sedan in the world.
When the most powerful sedan in the world is also the fastest and the quickest as well, it is hard to argue that the Hellcat Charger cannot use its power. If it was the most powerful sedan, but it was slower than several other cars in the high performance sedan segment, that argument would be valid. It is the best performing sedan in the world, so the argument is totally unfounded.
The battle for the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is tougher due to the greater number of high performance coupes in the world, but the 707hp still lays out performance numbers to prove that it can use that power. With an NHRA certified stock time of 11.2 seconds with the stock tires and 10.8 seconds with drag radials, the Hellcat Challenger is the quickest American muscle car ever. The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 packs 662hp and runs a slightly slower stock quarter mile time in the 11.5-11.6 range while the 580hp Camaro ZL1 is a stock low 12 second car. Even though the Challenger is bigger and heavier than both of the other Detroit muscle cars, it is still able to outrun both of them in the quarter mile by a pretty significant margin. The Lamborghini Aventador has slightly less power than the Hellcat Challenger while also weighing far less and having all wheel drive, and it will outrun the Challenger in a quarter mile race, but that doesn’t mean that the Challenger isn’t making good use of its power – it just means that the $400,000 Lamborghini makes a little better use of it.
In short, if you haven’t driven a car in an environment where you can push it to its limits, don’t make stupid comments about how the 707hp Dodge Challenger or Dodge Charger cannot use the power. The fact that they are able to compete (or crush) the competition in real world performance conditions is all the proof that they need and just because you know a guy who knows a guy with a 700hp Mustang that runs 9s, doesn’t mean that a production road car should be able to do the same.