My 2016 new year's resolution was that when someone asked me what car they should get, my answer would always be, "Hellcat." When they inevitably balk at my suggestion and remind me they want a sensible, economical family car such as a Prius V, I'd counter that gas is cheap and you can get a Hellcat as a two-door Challenger or four-door Charger. Plus, there's an Eco mode that limits the monstrous engine's output from 707 hp to a thumb-in-the-C6 Corvette Z06's eye 505 horsepower. Part of my reasoning is that I believe in making resolutions I can keep-one year I stopped wearing the color white-but the other part is that I really love Dodge‘s Hellcat-branded models.

So let's jump in with both feet: I get to play with our supercharged 707-hp Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat sedan for the next year. Jealous? That's the idea. Some brass tacks: The base price of "my" 2016 Hellcat is $68,640. Please note that $1,700 is due to a gas-guzzler tax. The car has a few options, including the Customer Preferred package 23T-$1,995-which nets you front and rear floormats plus a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

My favorite option has to be the $995 Brass Monkey wheels. I am squarely in the target demographic for this one. Not only is the Beastie Boys' "Licensed to Ill" part of my childhood soundtrack (there's a song called "Brass Monkey"), but a red car with gold wheels also reminds me of a Lamborghini Countach. Pirelli P Zero 275/40ZR20 summer tires cost an extra $595. The one option I don't like is the $1,500 black-painted roof. I will admit that it looks good, but in Los Angeles a black roof just means I'll be running the air-conditioning that much harder come summer. Total price for this Hellcat is $73,725. Not cheap, but keep in mind that the next most affordable member of the 700 (horsepower) club-Ferrari F12berlinetta-begins at $323,745.

Something to think about before purchasing your Charger SRT Hellcat or Challenger SRT Hellcat: How much extra money can you budget for new tires? Let me rephrase that. How much extra money can you budget per month for new tires? Because the temptation to pointlessly, mercilessly, and joyously destroy the car's poor rear rubber is omnipresent.

During the first week or so of the Hellcat's arrival at the office, the big, loud red sedan found itself at a racetrack in the Mojave Desert called the Streets of Willow. A couple of evil men-or co-workers, as I call them-decided that great fun could be had not only taking "my" 707-hp family sedan out for a few laps but also performing a smoky burnout or three atop the giant skidpad that makes up the east end of Streets. My point: The tires were shot.

As a result, our testing team was only able to hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and make it through the quarter mile in 12.1 seconds at 123.4 mph. That's not as quick as we've seen in previous Charger Hellcats (3.7 and 11.8 at 124.3 mph). The figure eight was knocked off in 24.4 seconds-on par with other Hellcats-though our handling guru, Kim Reynolds, described the bald tire behavior as "diabolical." That's a step down from how Kim usually describes Hellcats, i.e. "stupid." Rest assured, Tire Rack has its best people on the case, and the smoke-happy Hellcat will have fresh meats before you read the first update.




Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Specs
  • BASE PRICE $68,640
  • PRICE AS TESTED $73,725
  • VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
  • ENGINE 6.2L/707-hp/650-lb-ft supercharged OHV 16-valve V-8
  • TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
  • CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,530 lb (57/43%)
  • WHEELBASE 120.4 in
  • LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 200.8 x 75.0 x 58.3 in
  • 0-60 MPH 4.2 sec
  • 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)
  • EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 13/22/16 mpg
  • ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 259/153 kW-hrs/100 miles
  • CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.22 lb/mile


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