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Life in Hellcat #6: Cooler Temps, Better Times

by Patrick Rall on

On my sixth day testing the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, I cruised around the area, running simple errands including a stop at the feed store. My wife and I run a premium horse boarding stable and as part of my new testing procedure, I always pick up some grain to see how the vehicle handles the weight.

No one buys a Hellcat Challenger to haul grain, but putting 200lbs of bagged grain in the trunk had very little impact on performance. The beast was still able to dash to 60 in under 4 seconds, but that was just a small part of the day – and what I consider to be a humorous part of testing the Hellcat.

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Once I had gotten that grain out of the trunk, I headed back out, hitting some of the back roads to stretch the Hellcat’s legs a bit and cruising through town, revving and showing off the coolest test vehicle that I have ever had the pleasure of driving.

Pretty much everywhere I went, people pointed out the car, even in areas where new Challengers are plentiful. Even though the Hellcat has just the subtle badge on the fender, everyone who follows the industry takes notice of this sleek, dark grey muscle car. I was also able to give hell rides to a few friends who were interested in experiencing the most powerful muscle car ever, and I was able to put a big smile on their faces, making their Hellcat experience one that they would remember.

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In addition to spending the day driving the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat around the Metro Detroit area, I visited a friend’s property, which has a few long stretches of pavement where I could really put the hammer down without the risks of public roads or the crowds of the drag strip. This was just about being able to clean the tires off and launch the car hard to see just how well it would get away from the line with the stock street tires, on a surface that is more like a public road (as opposed to a very clean, very sticky race track).

This parking lot has a similar surface to most of the local roads with dust and such, so this was a good test to see how well the car can launch in the real world.

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With the transmission set to track and using the paddle shifters, the traction control turned off, and the suspension on the street mode, I was able to get the Hellcat Challenger 0-60 time down to 3.7 seconds, making it only slightly slower than some of the 0-60 times reported by other outlets on prepped tracks. I was able to churn out 3.8 runs with 3.7s sprinkled in along the way. While I wasn’t able to test the car in the quarter mile, I was able to record a 7.6 8th mile – a tenth quicker than my best 8th mile time with the Hellcat Challenger at the Chrysler Proving Grounds.

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The video below shows the Hellcat Challenger dashing from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds, with one camera angle on the windshield and another shot from behind to best let us hear the exhaust roar at wide open throttle. In each of the videos, you can hear that I basically coast through first gear after stabbing the throttle to get the car moving, and then once I get into second gear, the Challenger finally put the power to the ground – even though there is still some wheel spin in second gear.

This all means that with some practice, a 100% factory stock Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with the 8-speed automatic transmission and the 3-season tires will comfortably run up to 60 from a stop in under 4 seconds. Actual times will vary, but I am confident in saying that any driver who knows how to launch a car can get the Hellcat Challenger into the high 3-second range without any tricks. This also means that the anti-Mopar trash talk insisting that the Hellcat Challenger cannot make use of that power is simply nonsense.

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Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.


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