Challenger Hellcat: 707 Reasons Why We Need a C7 ZR1

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From Left to Right: 2015 Dodge Challenger 392 HEMI® Scat Pack S

What does it take for an American muscle car to make a room of Corvette enthusiasts stand up and take notice? If the ruckus around the forum about the new Dodge Challenger Hellcat is any indication, 707 horsepower should just about do it. One of the larger forum threads is near 250 posts regarding Dodge’s new car.

It makes sense, though. With the upcoming Z06 boasting “only” 650 horsepower, and the most powerful Camaro ringing in at a paltry 580 ponies, the ludicrous 707 horsepower of the Challenger is a shot across the bow of performance machines everywhere. You guys are quick to point out that the Challenger handles like a boat and weighs more than the entirety of Roosevelt’s old Cavalry unit, but that doesn’t stop the talk. From speculation on a new ZR-1 ‘Vette to the future of the Viper, a lot of ground gets covered in the thread. There are also plenty of posts about what else people would like to see Dodge put this engine in.

Here are a couple of my favorite posts, but make sure to hop onto the thread often to read up on the latest excitement. There is a lot of good stuff in there.

Mr. Gizmo – With today’s official release of HP figures on the Dodge Hellcat at 707 horsepower, it’s reasonable to believe GM will have to up that number with a C7 ZR1.


Smirky Maximus – A lot of nervous/anxious suits at GM today after this news broke, hahaha. I was considering a Stingray or the new Z06, or even a ZL1, but now I’m waiting to see what this cat is all about. “Most powerful muscle car ever”. Pretty awesome to be able to say that. Can’t wait to test drive that thing.


1985 Corvette – Awesome job by Dodge, but hopefully people who value more than a bragging number won’t get hung up on the 700-hp+ figure. The Corvette Z06 and Viper will still be faster around the track and in a straight line. Likewise, Porsches with far less horsepower will find their way around tracks just as quickly.


Vegasredz062 – I’m not sure why everyone is tripping. 707 is going to be 630 at the wheels. With a gross weight of 4,300 lbs, this heavy turd will be lucky to trap 127. Power is not everything. You also need to calculate weight into the picture. Here is an SRT8 with a supercharger that made 700 hp at the wheels. That’s close to 800 horsepower at the crank. It trapped 126.7. Weight killed it.


Supermassive – I always find these threads amusing because horsepower is silly. It’s a number that people can brag about at the water cooler at work. Don’t get me wrong — the Hellcat will be a formidable car on the street, and may even be decent at a drag strip, but the problem with the Hellcat is that it doesn’t cater to my personal taste in cars. I prefer skidpad g-figures, and slalom/figure-eight times over just raw horsepower. Zero to 60 is about as important as fish farts to me. Twenty to 100+ is a more useful metric. I don’t drag race for sport because setting up for drag racing destroys a car’s other handling dynamics.

The Hellcat suffers from its height, its weight, its chassis construction, and as such, is basically only good, in my eyes, for street driving and possibly drag strip heroics. Drag radials will be a necessity on this car to make any meaningful grip at the rear end. The stock tires will be merely for getting from point A to point B, and for the occasional smoky burnout (because we all know how good that looks). The brake system will also likely be a weak link on this car. Hauling it down from any speed that the engine is capable of will tax the steel rotors on this car, and will make it a nightmare to drive on any race track.

Ultimately, the engine is the star … not the car. If Dodge actually built a car to make good use of that engine instead of cramming a high-horsepower motor into a mediocre-at-best chassis, it might be more appealing. The Viper needs to do something right to get more sales, but I think that the price is the killer. The car is amazing, just not worth the entry fee right now.

If the Corvette didn’t exist, I would take a Cayman S, which has even less horsepower than the ‘Vette, but is probably one of the most fun cars I have ever driven. With a Cayman R coming soon, that would be even more fun. I love all performance cars, but I value certain attributes more than just horsepower.


Forensicsteve – The Viper is amazing; it has become an almost daily driver for me. Poor sales can be a huge bonus if you are willing to wait. My 2013 SRT base with just a few hundred miles on it, cost me about $20,000 below the $108,000 sticker. My ‘06 coupe stickered at $84,000, so for a little more, I got a car with 140 more naturally aspirated horsepower that is way easier to drive.


AFVETTE – The real question we should be asking is what will GM do with the Camaro to counter the 707-horsepower Challenger?


Thebrander – A Hellcat Grand Cherokee would have me very interested.


AZZ-KIKR – I have a 392 SRT8 Challenger A5, and […] it has never weighed more than 4,150 lbs. [….] Secondly, I have a cousin who works for SRT who does a lot of compiling of test data for all their cars. We know […] the Hellcat has in fact run three to four runs back-to-back with the manual transmission and all runs were 10.90-10.97 at over 127 mph on stock rubber on a well-prepped track.

I am still anxious to see real-world numbers once owners of these cars start racing them instead of biased third-party magazine testers [and the] the SRT team. Keep in mind, when conducting these tests they capture all data and have lots of timing equipment, cameras, laptops, etc. in the cars as well. So that could also be where some of these differences can come from during the test and pre-release phases.

Then we can sit back and look forward to what the other manufacturers step up with. Enjoy it while it lasts, as we all know CAFE and other government regulations will hinder this probably sooner rather than later.

Christian Moe contributes to many of Internet Brands' Auto blogs, including Corvette Forum, Club Lexus and Rennlist.

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