Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
It probably comes as no suppose to most of you that I am a Porsche enthusiast. After all this blog was originally a Porsche only site and my daily driver is a Boxster (my third car from the German performance car maker). So, when I go the opportunity to drive the 2015 Dodge Challenger lineup (including the SRT Hellcat), I looked at the car from a different point of view.
Where many others at the event prefer American muscle cars or were even Mopar enthusiasts, I tend to prefer European sports cars. This meant that when driving the cars I was comparing them more to European machines, instead of to the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro.
So, when I heard that the 707 horsepower Challenger SRT Hellcat started at $59,995, I first thought about how from a price stand point it is in the same segment as the Porsche Boxster and Cayman. For around that price you can get into the Boxster S or a standard Cayman.
For the sake of comparison we will use the Boxster S with its 330 horsepower as it would more closely compare to the Hellcat (which is still down over 300 horsepower). In a drag race, there is no question that you would want the SRT Hellcat. With 707 horsepower and the ability to run the quarter mile in just 11.2 seconds, the Boxster would have no chance to beat it.
But most roads aren’t straight and on many road tracks you can improve your lap time if the car can take a corner faster. Fast cornering is expected in a Porsche, but muscle cars aren’t known for it.
So, how does the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat take the corners? It takes them very well. We were on a slick track and it took a good amount of speed to loose traction, and then the traction control system brought you right back in place.
While I wouldn’t say it handled quite as well as a Boxster, Cayman or 911, it felt about as good handling as a rear-wheel drive Panamera. So, it handled much better than I anticipated.
However, there are a few things that you get in a Porsche that the Hellcat doesn’t have. First of these is how a Porsche feels like it shrinks around you when driving. The Challenger is a large vehicle and it always feels big. Unlike the way a Panamera starts to feel small when driving it, in the Dodge you are always conscious of its size.
Another difference in driving is how supportive the seats are in a corner. I have a smaller frame and the SRT bolsters just didn’t keep me in place. Perhaps if you have a larger frame they hold you better.
As for the brakes, the large Brembo units stop the car very quickly. They were a little touchy as far as stopping with very little pressure, but once you get used to them they do the job very well.
The quality of the interior and the materials in the Hellcat look very good. It didn’t feel like a less expensive car and would have been at home on a Boxster S (outside of the optional full leather interior).
The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat can be a handful. If you don’t watch out it will spin its tires and you have to ease it into the corners to keep traction. Although, when pushed it can make your life flash before your eyes, on the road it can be fairly civil.
The Porsche Boxster S and Challenger SRT Hellcat are very different cars. One is all about power, although has some finesse and the other comes alive in the bends. The Boxster is a two seater that is perfect for a date night. The Challenger has five usable seats and it can even be used as a part time family car.
So, what do you want a butcher knife or a scalpel? The Hellcat is an incredible car as is the Boxster, in two very different ways.
So, if you had about $60,000 which would you rather have in your garage (that is if you can’t have both)?
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