The one number that’s been talked about most when it comes to the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is its horsepower figure: 707 to be exact. Powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi engine, the Hellcat is the most powerful muscle car ever.

But there’s another number that is nearly as mind boggling: $59,000. That’s the MSRP for the car. At first, that probably sounds like a lot, and I guess it is, but once you get behind the wheel and squeeze the accelerator, you will immediately think $59,000 is a bargain.

We had a chance to sample the Hellcat during the Motor Press Guild’s Track Days event, held annually at Willow Springs International Raceway. We only got three laps with the car, but we’ll get to driving impressions in a bit.

As you might imagine, Dodge dealers who get any of the 5,500 cars slated for production will be tempted to add “dealer markup” top the $59k price for the Hellcat, but Dodge corporate is looking to curtail that practice. Cars will be allocated according to how long the current Hellcat inventory sits on a dealer’s lot. The longer a Hellcat sits in a dealer’s inventory — waiting for a customer who is willing to pay the exorbitant markup — the fewer overall cars will be allocated to that dealer. The Dodge representatives on site explained that they can’t tell Dodge dealer what it can charge for a Hellcat, so they tried to create a system that rewards volume, which they hope will translate to lower prices to the customer.

Back to that horsepower figure. It’s difficult to imagine a car that can put all that power down, but the Hellcat can. Somehow. Even though the model we sampled had an automatic transmission, it also had a track mode, which rev matched downshifts with no input from the driver. A six-speed manual is available, too.


Now, about those three laps at Willow Springs. First of all, they didn’t turn us loose in the car by ourselves. A representative from SRT rode along shotgun, but first delivered a few words about how the car works and what driving in track mode was like. They also encouraged us not to try to go out and set blazing fast lap times. They were interested in protecting their investment, for sure.

Squeeze the throttle about halfway, and the car explodes from a rolling start from pit out like nothing you’ve ever experienced. Though track mode employs the traction control system, the Hellcat had spun the 275-40R-20 rear Pirelli PZero tires through three gears before I even knew it. The acceleration was brutal in the lower gears, but what surprised me was how savage the acceleration was on the back and front straights at Willow Springs. Roll on to full throttle exiting Turn 9 at about 90 mph, and the Hellcat pounced equally as hard as it does in lower gears.

You can feel the traction control kick in as the car goes over the lateral ruts on the track. I got the feeling that the car would just smoke the back tires at 100 mph if you switched off the traction control. With it on, you can feel the software reining in and unleashing the massive power each fraction of a second. The acceleration of this car is just phenomenal. Other worldly. At any rpm.

Is the Hellcat the next great HPDE car? Probably not. If you get one, take it to track once just for kicks. The car exhibited a good bit of understeer thanks to the lots of liquid in the supercharger’s proprietary cooling system forward of the radiator, and it’s 4,400-plus pounds make their presence known in the corners. The only thing that makes the car feel light is the accelerator pedal.

With 707 horsepower under foot, buyers likely are willing to overlook its significant girth. The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat might not be a prime candidate for track day drivers, but Dodge should be congratulated for having the solid gold balls to build such a car and figure out a software system that lets you put that power to use. The horsepower and torque figures alone are staggering. The experience of driving one will forever change the lives of 5,500 lucky buyers. I only hope they can get one for close to the sticker price.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat 8.4 inch U-Connect Performance



6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8



Front suspension:

Independent SLA with Bilstein gas shocks

Rear suspension:

Five-link independent with coil springs, Bilstein shocks


Eight-speed Torqueflite automatic

Rear axle ratio:


Curb Weight:



Images courtesy of Dodge and nasaracer

Join the Discussion