Dodge Challenger SRT 392 / SRT Hellcat

Billowing burnouts and thunderous emanations are standard equipment on the Challenger SRT siblings. Dodge’s devilish duo are fitted with an adaptive suspension and substantial brakes; the SRT 392 packs a 485-hp Hemi V-8, and the Hellcat summons 707 horses from its evil-sounding supercharged V-8. Both retro-styled coupes route power to the rear wheels through a standard six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic. While the stripped-down 840-hp Challenger SRT Demon dominates the drag strip, the SRT twins terrorize weekly cruise nights with a comfortable ride and snazzy standard features.

Dodge Challenger SRT 392:

Hard-core versions of Chevrolet’s Camaro (the 650-hp ZL1) and Ford’s Mustang (the 10Best Cars–winning Shelby GT350 and GT350R) have escalated the pony-car wars to DEFCON 1 with racetrack-capable handling. Dodge and SRT are instead banking on having the most powerful weapons of mass destruction.

What’s New for 2017?

Dodge’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) group began tuning Challengers with the car’s 2008 revival. An extensive refresh in 2015 included the Dodge Challenger SRT 392 and the SRT Hellcat. Since then, changes have been minor, and this remains true for 2017. Every Challenger has an updated Uconnect infotainment system. The 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation—standard on SRT models—adds multitouch gestures. New exterior paint colors include Green Go, Yellow Jacket, Destroyer Grey, and Octane Red; White Knuckle and Contusion Blue are renamed carry-over colors. Both SRT cars add an illuminated steering-wheel logo. The Hellcat has new badging, and its standard 20-inch wheels are redesigned to save 16 pounds.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat:

Trims and Options We’d Choose

How much do you care about horsepower? If you’re like us, a lot. The Challenger SRT 392 ($51,290 to start) is a sweet ride, but the same 485-hp V-8 is available on the R/T Scat Pack model for about $11,000 less. The Hellcat, with its 707 ponies of supercharged fury, starts at $65,290. Both models have a host of standard features, including:

• 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
• Leather-trimmed interior with heated and ventilated front seats
• Blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert
• SRT-tuned adaptive dampers

We’d take the Hellcat home with the standard six-speed manual; the eight-speed automatic is quicker but adds $2995. Of the limited options available, we’d snag the high-performance summer tires ($695). Heavy-footed buyers be warned—the hot-rod honeymoon will be expensive if you roast the rubber too often. Our SRT Hellcat costs $65,985. It’ll satisfy horsepower junkies and provide a ticket to burnout paradise. Otherwise, a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 coupe costs around $63,000 to start, and we spec’d a highly capable Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 for $60,045.

Dodge Challenger SRT 392

Engine and Transmission Rating

The mad scientists at Dodge’s SRT laboratory pulled a Samuel L. Jackson and went all Old Testament with the almighty 707-hp Hellcat engine. See the diabolical 840-hp SRT Demon, filed under U for Utterly Unnecessary but Totally Awesome. Dodge Challenger SRT 392 has only 485 ponies, but it’ll reduce the rear rubber to clouds of billowing smoke faster than someone can ask, “That thing got a Hemi?”

Dodge Challenger Hellcat

High horsepower ratings are supplemented by ample torque support. The SRT 392 generates 475 lb-ft from its 6.4-liter V-8 while the Hellcat’s supercharged 6.2-liter has 650. Although we’ve yet to test the lower-spec SRT, the same engine in the Challenger T/A we drove was remarkably responsive and prone to spinning the rear tires. We’ve driven several Hellcats and—as expected—never had trouble tapping into the endless power supply. However, launching the unruly beast straight and true is an exercise in extreme car control. Both SRTs exhale through a dual-exhaust system with 2.8-inch pipes. It makes an insidious growl at startup that builds to a hellish howl under heavy throttle. The Hellcat’s distinct supercharger whine will send shivers down your spine, from either fear or excitement—and most likely both. Hellcat buyers receive two key fobs: The black fob limits engine output to a mere 500 horsepower while the red fob unlocks all 707. The standard six-speed manual transmission is plenty of fun, but the clutch pedal is stiff and the throws are long. The eight-speed automatic can snap off lightning-fast shifts and still provide a pleasurable cruising experience. The automatic adds $2995 to the bottom line but subtracts a couple of tenths from the zero-to-60-mph and quarter-mile times.

 

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Dodge Challenger SRT 392 / SRT Hellcat Billowing burnouts and thunderous emanations are standard equipment on the Challenger SRT siblings. Dodge’s devilish duo are fitted with an adaptive suspension and substantial brakes; the SRT 392 packs a 485-hp Hemi V-8, and the Hellcat summons 707 horses from its evil-sounding supercharged V-8....