Highway to hell(cat)

A look inside the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Highway to hell(cat)

Robert Marion Ellerhorst

It’s an iconic look mixed with a little 21st century engineering.

It’s barely able to contain a supercharged 6.2 liter Hemi V-8 engine, to go along with 707 horsepower and 650 lb per ft of torque

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat really is a thing of beauty for gearheads and auto enthusiasts.

It has already been hailed by Popular Mechanics as the “wildest muscle car Detroit has ever built”, along with the title of “Best Muscle Car” for 2015.

One of the hottest and highly anticipated releases of 2014, the Hellcat has done a great job of melting faces and giving adrenaline junkies the biggest rush you can possibly get out of a sedan.

Already having set the record with a 10.8 second time to cover one fourth of a mile (that’s 125 miles per hour), the next great thing from Dodge also comes with a 0-60 MPH time of a mere 3.7 seconds.

The best new thing to come out of the Motor City contains 45 more horsepower than the previous record holder, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (662 hp).

Dodge also made sure that strong wind wouldn’t be a problem when testing how far the car can be pushed. Every single one of the Hellcats rolled off the line spent 35 percent more time in the wind tunnel, in order to achieve the maximum aerodynamics possible, and to make it well suited to high wind conditions.

The standard features alone include power windows with a one-touch up function, keyless entry and start, parking sensors, an 8.4-inch color touch screen, a one-year subscription to SiriusXM radio, leather seats, heated and power-adjustable front seats, body-colored mirrors, chromed exhaust tips, and 20-inch alloy wheels.

I still have to roll my windows down by hand whenever it gets too hot. The auto industry has truly come a long way since my Corolla rolled off the production line in 1999.

With 125 potential driving configurations, drivers have never had more options to make their vehicle run the way they want. Interestingly, these configurations include two different key fobs to set limits for the power of the engine.

The red key fob unlocks the maximum engine power the V-8 can produce, taking you on the wildest ride of your life.

The black key fob, on the other hand, limits engine power to only 500 horses, preventing it from achieving its full potential and making it suitable for drives in the city or other suburban areas.

Drivers also have the option to choose their preferred transmission for the car. They have the choice of a TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic, or a 6-speed manual gearbox, if you like to have more control over the behemoth engine, which probably won’t be very likely.

It’s clear that the masterminds behind this ground breaking car had the classic 1971 Challenger in mind, constructing both the interior and exterior to pay homage to one of the greatest and most iconic muscle cars in history.

The exterior is slightly altered to capture the split front grille and enlarged hood bulge made famous by the ’71 Challenger, while the interior gives off the feeling of being in control in the cockpit, coupled with the technology of today.

You also get the option to choose between 17 types of interior designs to drive as modestly or as luxuriously as you desire.

An awesome add on you can pay extra for is Chrysler’s new Uconnect system, which allows the driver to connect his or her mobile device and use voice command to put on music, make phone calls, or get nearby traffic updates.

Everything you do with the Uconnect comes on the 7-inch digital cluster display that comes standard on all models.

Another cool feature is the “Air Catcher” of the front headlights; using new LED technology, a passage is opened up in the headlight that feeds the air into an airbox located directly behind the front headlights, creating a cheap form of air conditioning.

The car takes the driver back to the nostalgic days when too much horsepower could totally mask over the rest of the car’s faults and imperfections. Granted the car’s exterior may not have reinvented the wheel, but you instantly know that it’s a fiery Dodge masterpiece the second you lay eyes on it.

The real deal breaker for this powerful piece of machinery is the fact that it gives you the most bang for your buck when it comes to horsepower.

With a starting price of $59,995, the Challenger is as thrifty as it gets for muscle car owners.

The comparable 2015 Chevy Camaro with 505-horsepower V-8 comes with a $70,000 price, with the 2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium and its 435-horsepower V-8 starting with a price of $37,125.

In other words, you get more power for less of your hard earned cash.

You might be thinking that the Hellcat might be one of the big gas guzzlers on the road, due to the engine’s need for power and speed, but surprisingly the EPA recently announced that the 8-speed automatic transmission was rated at 22 miles per gallon on the highway, with 13 mpg in the city and 16 mpg combined. The 6-speed manual scored only one mile less on the highway, with the city and combined numbers remaining the same.

“As the fastest muscle car ever, the Challenger Hellcat can run 10-second ETs at the track, and then get 22 miles per gallon on the drive home. With a starting price of $59,995, there’s nothing else that even comes close,” said Dodge and SRT President Tim Kuniskis in a press release from the company.

If Santa Claus still has time to make a last second New Year’s run, then I would like nothing more than to find a brand new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat sitting in my driveway. He should even consider getting one for himself, unless Rudolph can start pumping out 707 ponies and going 0-60 in just a couple of seconds.

Until that day, setting the roar of the engine as my ringtone will have to do.