2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat: The World’s Quickest and Fastest Sedan – Forbes
At Kelley Blue Book we’ve watched the Dodge division struggle with sales even as its corporate cousins Jeep and Ram flourish. But a new Charger and a series of Dodge commercials on YouTube, paying homage to the brand’s 100th birthday, are among the efforts to change that. The commercials portray the original Dodge brothers, John and Horace, in various states of automotive rebelliousness. They talk about how the Dodge brothers quit their jobs at Ford because they “believed in more than mass production.” Of the series, I like this particular commercial the most because it shows the brothers driving historic Dodge performance models from the past 100 years, leading up to the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.
At the recent press launch and road test of the new Charger SRT Hellcat we heard from Dodge’s modern-day president, Tim Kuniskis. He talked about what drove the decision to build a 707 horsepower sedan in a world seemingly more concerned with carbon footprints than smoky burnouts. Tim’s quote when Dodge announced this Hellcat back in August, a quote which Tim admits caused some heat within Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, stated that, “Sometimes you need to ignore the data, disregard the focus groups, and just build a car that defines itself.” He went on to say the 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat not only defines itself but defines the entire Dodge brand.
While that may sound like a marketing catchphrase, it’s important to remember the mission Sergio Marchionne laid out for Dodge last spring. It now serves as Chrysler Group’s official performance brand. This role explains not only the attitude seen in these latest commercials but also the release of a second Dodge product in the last 6 months with a 700-plus horsepower engine (the first being the Challenger SRT Hellcat). This engine makes the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat the quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan on the planet, pulling the quarter mile in 11 seconds and topping out at 204 mph. Even more compelling is the starting MSRP of $65,000, a figure that makes the Hellcat remarkably attainable.
Given the price/performance equation, the first question a reasonable person might ask is, “What does Dodge give up when making a car so capable yet so — relatively — affordable? Are the door panels made of cardboard?” The short answer is no, the door panels are not made of cardboard. In fact, the interior of every 2015 Charger received substantial updates in material quality. You can spend less than $29,000 on a base 2015 Charger SE to get the new, thicker three-spoke steering wheel, 7-inch driver information display screen (in the gauge cluster), a 5-inch touchscreen in the center stack (an 8.4-inch screen is included on high-end models). An new electric shifter, keyless entry and push-button start are also standard on every 2015 Charger.
Stepping up from the base SE and mid-grade SXT Chargers into the R/T, R/T Scat Pack, SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat versions ups the interior content and features, as one might expect. The three-spoke steering wheel gets paddle shifters and audio/phone controls, while Charger SRT 392 and Hellcat models get a flat-bottom steering wheel. Seating materials range from cloth to leather on R/T models, with Nappa leather (in black, red or sepia combinations) available on SRT models. R/T and SRT models also include the “Performance Pages” feature. These pages track the Charger’s specs and performance numbers. One distinguishing feature that comes only on the $65,000 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat: a 200 mph speedometer.