Recently we learned that Dodge is seriously upping its muscle car game with the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. The coupe will sport a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 with north of 600 horsepower. That's the most powerful V8 Chrysler has ever made. Great. Swell. Neat-o. Now bring on the sedan.
Somewhat lost in the news about the Challenger Hellcat late last month was the fact that most likely, the Charger sedan is getting that engine too. Automotive News reported that "the supercharged Hellcat is expected to migrate to other SRT vehicles, including the Charger SRT." And the Dodge portion of Fiat Chrysler's five-year plan indicates the same. Check out the top right hand corner of this image. We've seen some possible mules with this engine running around too.
Nothing else with four doors comes close to the Hellcat's power. The soon-to-be-discontinued (and likely replaced by a new one) Cadillac CTS-V puts out 556 horsepower. The Charger SRT's 6.2-liter Hemi has 470 horsepower. The Chevrolet SS comes to the party with 415 horsepower. It sounds like the Hellcat will trump all of them.
We haven't seen any official specs on the Challenger Hellcat quite yet, but some have speculated a zero to 60 mph time of under four seconds, which given its estimated power figures seems entirely plausible. Put this into the Charger and you have what very well could be America's fastest sedan.
I'm an unapologetic fan of the Dodge Charger. I drove a gorgeous blue Charger R/T Daytona halfway across Texas once, and I did burnouts in a Charger SRT8 on my wedding day. I like the car. I like the way it sounds, I like the way it drives, and I really like the way it looks.
See, it used to be that in America, you had entire ranges of V8 engines to choose from when you purchased your family sedan or wagon. Gas prices, emissions regulations, technology and the car-buying public's tastes have changed all that.
The V8 engine, once the mainstay of American automotive transportation, is now a fairly rare thing; it has become relegated mainly to our luxury and high-end performance cars, available only to those willing to pay extra for both the gas and the motor. You can have V8s in Corvettes and Mustangs and Cadillacs, not affordable family cars.
That's why I like the Charger. It's a long, wide family sedan with eight cylinders under its hood. It rolls like we used to. Sure, the Chevrolet SS is very similar, but it drives more like Chevy's take on the E39 BMW M5 than a classic American muscle sedan; not that this is necessarily a bad thing. (It's also from Australia. You know the toilets flush the other way down there? Weird.)
The Charger is old school muscle, done in a modern way with some nice luxury touches and a really good infotainment system. You can drop your kids off at school in it, rip some burnouts in the parking lot, and then drive to work with everyone around you dropping their speed to 10 mph below the limit because they think you're a cop. Not many cars can do all three of those things.
So I'm amped for the Charger to get a range of V8 options like the muscle cars of yore, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the Hellcat can do under its hood. The Challenger SRT Hellcat sounds like one of the mightiest performance cars America has ever unleashed, and adding extra two doors and more practicality to that is an enticing proposition.
Just make sure we can get it with a manual, please?