I Gave the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat a Bath
Every year, the Texas Auto Writers Association has its Texas Auto Roundup. Early this week, my fellow automotive journalists in the Lone Star State and I met at the Texas Motor Speedway in Dallas to drive dozens of vehicles and determine which ones would win first place in their respective categories. We would be allowed to take certain models, such as the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat aka a Mopar version of four-door Z06, on the track to evaluate their prize-worthiness.
Unfortunately, rain at the venue meant I had to be happy with driving the Hellcat on public roads. A friendly SRT Track Experience driver named Jimmy rode shotgun.
As I drove over the numerous potholes and the lumpy asphalt of the roads around the TMS, I noticed the smoothness of the Charger’s ride. For being attached to a monstrously powerful car with the name Hellcat, the Charger’s suspension didn’t maul me. (My week in the driver’s seat of the 2015 Corvette Stingray Convertible was equally devoid of punishment.) The throttle pedal was easy to use without making the car lurch, despite the 707 horsepower it could unleash.
That’s exactly what I intended to do with the Hellcat, slick streets be damned. Jimmy was game. I gave him full license to be a bad influence.
Before he used it, I discovered why the sound superchargers make is usually described as a “whine.” That’s because they’re complaining about not being able to hulk out as often as they’d like to. The blower attached to the Hellcat’s 6.2-liter V8 was certainly not happy with my boring speeds. Jimmy was going to let it flex its muscles.
He told me to gradually increase my speed. The red needle on the speedometer spun to larger and larger numbers.
Then Jimmy urged me to floor it. What happened next was chaos.
The Hellcat’s electronic handler threw a choke-chain around its neck and pulled hard right when the beast lunged, causing a series of power-cutting vibrations. The traction control wrapped its hands around the throat of the rear tires as they flailed through the rain for a grip on the pavement. It was the automotive version of the electroconvulsive therapy scene from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” as software, hardware, and the elements battled each other simultaneously.
My experience with the Hellcat was interesting, but it left me unsatisfied. I wanted to feel the beast’s unrestrained fury. (The TAWA, as a whole, felt the Charger Hellcat deserved to be named the Performance Sedan of Texas.) Perhaps one of these days I’ll be able to sink its claws into some dry pavement and do that.
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via [Texas Auto Writers Association]