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Hellcat Challenger versus the 727-hp Mustang

by Patrick Rall on

Over the past few weeks, there has been a great deal of discussion about the Lebanon Ford Mustang, which packs 727 horsepower for just $40,000. The Ford camp has used this dealership package as their golden child in disputes about beating the Hellcat Challenger, since the Dodge “only” has 707hp and costs over $60,000.

707 hp Hellcat Hemi

When you go beyond those two simple factors, the Hellcat is clearly the better option for someone who really wants to go fast and today, we bring you a closer look at how badly the Lebanon Mustang GT sizes up to the Hellcat Challenger.

lebanon mustang 727hp

First, let’s talk about the engine of these two cars.

As you likely know, the Hellcat Challenger is powered by the Hellcat Hemi – a 6.2-liter V8 engine engineered to be supercharged, with an intended stock output of 707 horsepower and 650lb-ft of torque. The internals of this engine, the cooling system. and all of the drivetrain components connected to the Hellcat Hemi were created to handle the many variables of a supercharged, 700+ horsepower engine.

The Lebanon Mustang GT is powered by a 5-liter V8 engine created to be naturally aspirated, with an intended stock output of 435 horsepower and 400lb-ft of torque; that includes the internals,  cooling, and the entire powertrain. The Lebanon package’s supercharger lifts the output to 727 horsepower and 610 lb-ft of torque, but it does so without beefing up any of the other components.

Even though the Mustang engine is designed to be naturally aspirated with 435hp, nothing else in the engine bay or under the car is bolstered to handle the extra power.

That is why the Hellcat Hemi comes with a full 5-year, 100,000-mile factory drivetrain warranty, covering parts and labor, while the Lebanon package for the Ford Mustang GT comes with Roush’s three year warranty (honored by all US Ford dealers, but only for parts, not labor). It voids the factory warranty.

Even if we put aside the fact that the Ford V8 isn’t built to produce 727hp and the fact that the Lebanon Mustang doesn’t come with a warranty, the advantages of the Hellcat Challenger go far beyond the engine bay.

The chassis of the Hellcat Challenger was designed to handle the abuse of an engine with 707hp and 650lb-ft of torque, including massive 15.4” Brembo brakes up front and 275-width tires out back. The Hellcat has an adjustable suspension that allows the driver to make the most of that power, whether they are on a drag strip or a road course.

On the other hand, the Mustang’s chassis was designed for a 435 hp car, with 14 inch brakes up front, 235-width tires out back, and a fixed suspension system appropriate for a car with 435 hp, not 727 hp.

The Challenger’s 6-speed manual transmission and clutch were created for the 600+ horsepower Viper; the Lebanon Mustang uses a stock transmission and clutch, made to handle 435 horsepower.

Finally, while this has no real impact on performance, the $40,000 Lebanon Mustang GT with 727 hp is based on the entry level Mustang GT, which means that you get the amenities of the base model Mustang GT — cloth seats and a low end infotainment system. The Dodge Challenger has heated and cooled power leather seats, one of the industry’s most awarded infotainment systems, and the rest of the premium appointments of the SRT Challenger lineup, including its Performance Pages.

So, while the Lebanon Mustang GT has slightly more rated horsepower, it comes from an engine that is designed to produce far less, and it is sent to the ground via a collection of other components that were not upgraded to handle the power .On the other hand, the Hellcat Challenger has a full complement of features specifically designed to work with a supercharged 707 hp engine and the engine itself was built to produce 707 hp from the factory.

The Challenger SRT has already proven itself on the track, where, unlike some competitors, it has made power consistently, race after race, due to its high performance cooling system — while other cars’ engine computers slammed the lid on power to avoid overheating.

The Hellcat Challenger costs far more because it is a more complete high performance muscle car. with a loaded interior and a warranty. The Hellcat has a V8 designed to be supercharged, a transmission and rear differential designed to be mated to a 700+ horsepower engine, a high tech suspension setup, premium Brembo brakes, and lightweight wheels wrapped in high performance tires. The Lebanon Mustang is a base GT with all of the components of the standard 435 hp pony car and a supercharger that lifts the output of the otherwise unmodified engine to 727 hp.

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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