(Contributing Editors: Peter Stamatis; Susan Frissell: "Women With Wheels", "ChicagoNow Girls Go Racing")
It's Official: "Drive...He Said" has now [nearly, since the recent announcement of the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Demon] completed its mission of whetting Tire Shredding appetites.
Two year ago we taunted readers with our version of a bona fide "Burnout" with a 2015 Dodge Challenger Hemi R/T Plus 5.7L
A year and a half ago we descended a rung to wring out a 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 6.4L :
Tarmac tarring beasts though both may be, they are but a veritable "Warm Door" before entering the "Scorching Gates to Hades' House" itself:
Enter the House of Hellcat at your own risk, given the 707 stonking horse hoofs worth. With a foreboding Plus (+) symbol suffix on the Dodge Performance Pages.
Now "Drive...He Said" has driven it's share of purpose made 600+ hp cars, including FCA SRT Division's exiting Viper. Each of which demands preparation with a level of concentration and coordination necessary to push the limits and skin a track faster than before.
MENTAL PREPARATION FOR "2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat"
- MASS combats GRAVITY: Charger SRT Hellcat's 4500 lbs. = 1000 lbs. > Porsche 911 Carrera. More than 55% is over the front axle.
- POWER IS NOTHING WITHOUT TRACTION: Without all-wheel drive a nose heavy, front engined rear-drive 4500 lb. sedan would need an awful lot of especially soft tire to have a fighting chance of putting a good portion of the power down to pavement.
- A 4500 lb. Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat requires a mere 27 horsepower to cruise at 65 miles per hour.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Ignition...BLAST OFF:
- Bring along the RED Key Fob;
- Depress brake pedal and depress RED Start button on upper left side of center stack;
- Depress center stack SRT button to display SRT Pages on 8.4" U-Connect touch LCD screen;
- Select TRACK mode on Upper Left of SRT Pages, displaying 700+ hp available;
- Select TRACK SET-UP → RACE OPTIONS on Mid Lower Left of SRT Pages;
- On RACE OPTIONS select LAUNCH CONTROL → LAUNCH RPM SET-UP;
- Select Launch RPM and set at 1500 rpm;
- Depress Traction Control button on center stack for 10 seconds to fully deactivate;
- With right foot applied to brake pedal, move transmission position selector into DRIVE;
- Select ACTIVATE LAUNCH MODE on LAUNCH CONTROL screen;
- Follow Instructions in Gauge Cluster trip display;
- Depress brake pedal with left foot, and place transmission position selector into DRIVE;
- MAINTAIN LEFT FOOT firmly on brake pedal firmly APPLY RIGHT FOOT to accelerator building engine revolutions;
- Once LAUNCH light displays RELEASE LEFT FOOT from brake pedal and apply full force on accelerator.
- Before STEP 3 above, download U-Connect Apps to a bluetooth mobile device;
- Create a U-Connect account;
- Pair the mobile device via U-Connect bluetooth phone pairing;
- Select U-Connect Apps from bottom icons of U-Connect 8.4" home screen;
- On left side of screen select ALL APPS;
- Select PERFORMANCE PAGES; (This may take a moment to intitialize.)
- Select TIMERS
- From TIMERS you can SAVE your reaction times.
3/3rds of Hellcat ≈ repaving a 20,000 square foot asphalt parking lot.
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UPGRADED BITS: 2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat 6.2L > Dodge Charger
- IHI twin-screw heat-exchanger cooled Supercharger, swallowing up to 30,000 liters of air / second to produce 11.8 psi of boost to combustion intake of the 6.2L OHV gas V-8. BTW it takes 80 hp to spin the supercharger rotors at 14,160 rpm.
- High capacity oil cooler
- Connecting rods = powder forged steel w/ cracked bearing caps
- Hardened forged steel 5 main bearing crankshaft secured by 20 bolts
- Hollow stem intake & exhaust valves, latter filled with cooling sodium gas
- Same aluminum heads & deep skirted cast iron block as 6.4L V-8 SRT Apache engine
- Shorter 90mm stroke & shared 103.9mm bore compared to other 5.7 & 6.4L OHV V-8 engines
- Variable pressure fuel pump + 8 x 600 cc/ min flow fuel injectors which can empty 18.5 gallon fuel tank within 13 minutes of full power operation
- Red key fob necessary to access 707 hp; Black valet key fob "limits" engine management power to 500 hp
- No cylinder deactivation = can't stave off $1700 federal "Gas Guzzler" tax
- Upgraded ZF 8-speed torque converter planetary automatic gearbox w/ fluid cooler
- Taller 2.62:1 final drive
- 9.3" ring variable electronic locking viscous multi-clutch limited slip differential
- 3-mode electronic adjustable Bilstein monotube dampers
- Hydraulic assisted power rack & pinion steering w/ slower 14.4:1 ratio
- Brembo front 6-piston, rear 4-piston fixed caliper two piece slotted w/ larger 15.4 front brake rotors
- Wider 275-40 Z Pirelli P-Zero ultra-high performance tires on forged 20" wheels
- "Hellcat" illustration front fender emblems, "SRT" front grille & rear trunk lid logo
- Large functional NACA hood duct
- Fog lights have been ditched for air ducts, reducing air charge temperature to 140° F
- Deeper lower front fascia splitter
- Contrasting grey lower rear fascia w/ larger diameter dual exhaust outlet housings
- Leather SRT sport bucket seats
- Genuine carbon fiber dash & console appliques
- Red analog gauge cluster & ignition button switch
BIG DRIVING SUPRISE:
- Normal drive mode and an un-leaden right foot belie dispatch a docile demon; Exhaust note humbles all other stock 4-wheeled vehicles on public roads; Hydraulic assisted steering comes off less lively than preferred, perhaps owing to the 500 extra pounds of mass > the last Challenger 392 Scat Pack we drove; Jam the throttle on a roll and the driveline shudders as the rear electronic limited slip goes to work; Couldn't decide whether the supercharger whine imitated a vacuum cleaner or a friction wind-up toy Pan Am 707 we had as kids.
- Understeerer-in-Chief; Damping in track mode imparts a rapid compression rebound control firmness, never quite a beating, yet in normal mode the compliant springs create some genuine ride plushness. Six pot Brembo fixed calipers squeeze on the front 15.4" two-piece aluminum rotors, vented and slotted at the all corners, reeling in Hellcat Challenger the way Papa Hemingway reeled in Marlin off the Florida Keys.
TRAILING IN SPIFF:
- There's a reason Cadillac's CTS-V is $15K pricier...add another $20K for a BMW M5; Cabin material fit / finish, refreshed along the entire MOPAR LX line in 2015, possesses late 20th century charm, featuring large grain plastics and lagging bread & butter family sedans such as Mazda6 or Honda Accord; Center console storage is abundant, but sketchy in the door pockets;
- Hard to fault a clean layout, requiring a minimum of fuss to master and the U-Connect center stack 8.4" touch LCD screen boasting super versatile SRT Track Apps and Performance Pages data displays; Front seats = heated + cooled, outboard rear positions are toasted; An amazing 4 x USB ports are available; Beware that front seat heating/ cooling is only touch-display accessible.
Front seats will be constrictive for intended stereotypical American male muscle-car demographic and cushion lifts knees way high; Contrast stitched leather doesn't cover flat bottom of power tilt and extending steering wheel; Row 2 knee room is compromised by thick front seat backs;
Capacious, if coarsely lined, trunk will make "Goodfellas" grin.
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Every State Highway Patrol should have one 2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat 6.2L in their fleet, though NOT in Plum Crazy Pearl Coat paint (offered in 2016 MY) to achieve any desired stealth.
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