REPRINTED FROM CHICAGONOW.COM/DRIVE-HE-SAID
(Contributing Editors: Peter Stamatis; Susan Frissell: “Women With Wheels”, “ChicagoNow Girls Go Racing”)
It’s Official: Roadblazing.com’s sister blog site “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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