Unleashing the Beast: A thrill in a 910-hp Dodge Challenger Hellcat
Hellcats in the United Kingdom are a rare sight in themselves - but this is no ordinary Hellcat.
Owned by Sporting Bear, Mark, the modifications to this Hellcat include a programmable ECU, Fidanza Performance Flywheel, and a single-piece aluminium propshaft. The impact of these modifications on the car's power output is what really matters, and a dyno graph below shows the enhanced capabilities of Mark's Hellcat:
It's worth noting that this test was conducted a few years ago, and since then, the car has been fitted with even more modifications - such as a custom one-off cat-back exhaust by JL Innovations. In reality, Mark's Hellcat is now pumping out somewhere in the region of 910 horsepower from its 6.2-liter V8 engine. By comparison, the standard Hellcat produces 717 horsepower.
MY EXPERIENCE IN THE PASSENGER SEAT
As a 5-seater coupe, the Hellcat boasts all the features of a usable daily driver. But, brush your foot against the accelerator, and you’ll feel an intense force pushing the car down the road; making it feel like the world's fastest freight train. Although it's available as an automatic, this tuned version is a proper manual. What sets it apart from other manual cars is that even as you're changing gear, the car doesn't lose momentum; it just keeps on going.
Because it's a muscle car, cornering isn't its strong suit. But then again, with 910 horsepower going solely to the rear wheels, going in a straight line also isn’t an easy task. This is why, despite this Hellcat having more power, a standard Demon can still beat it in a drag race. But, once you gain traction, you'll be able to outrun anyone who may dare to challenge you to a drag race - and that too, in the loudest possible manner. The deep growl of the 6.2-liter V8, tied together with the high-pitched whine of its supercharger, makes for a truly epic - and deafening - aural experience.
Although the car has been heavily tampered with under the bonnet, it's completely standard in the cosmetics department, which is by no means a bad thing. All Challengers have great big proportions which are reminiscent of '70s muscle cars. The Hellcat however has a few unique touches which set it apart from other models. For instance, it has a huge singular bonnet scoop - which is functional - along with Hellcat badges dotted across the body and interior.
No version of the Challenger is sold in the UK, so when designing the Hellcat, Dodge had to appeal to the US market. This is why there's a supercharged 6.2-liter engine, something that wouldn't normally make sense in the UK. Moreover, some aspects of its exterior design may please the Americans, though they might be a bit too over the top for style-conscious Brits - the bulgy proportions, for example. With that being said, despite being surrounded by six-figure supercars, the Hellcat managed to draw quite a large crowd.
The interior may not be of the highest quality, but it's still quite comfortable. There's a responsive 8.4-inch display where you can access Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Hellcat also boasts a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, though you'll need superpowers to hear your music over the growling V8 situated in front of you.
It’s the type of car you’d have as a poster when you’re in your early teens. With age, most tend to gravitate towards supercars or classics instead - but deep down, every petrolhead has a soft spot for a muscle car… and this Hellcat is a muscle car in its purest form.
With this being said, driving a car like the Hellcat requires a great deal of skill and caution. The sheer power of the car can be overwhelming, and if you're not careful, it's easy to lose control. Fortunately, Mark’s driving skills kept us safe during the ride.
Overall, the experience was unforgettable, and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to ride in such an incredible machine.