When Dodge re-introduced the Charger to the world in the mid-2000s, the company showed everyone a car that was at all-new heights of design, safety, and performance. It was available with a V6 engine for commuters. Those who needed a little more punch could order their Chargers with a powerful HEMI V8 engine. Dodge also produced a performance-focused SRT-8 model with even higher engine output for hardcore driving enthusiasts.
Several years ago, Dodge launched another new generation of the Charger. In its quest to make the car bigger and better than the one it replaced, Dodge debuted an engine for the 2015 model year that set the automotive enthusiast world on fire. It’s ironic that forums, websites, and magazines could not stop talking about the supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat V8 because it cranked out a breath-taking and jaw-dropping 707 horsepower and 650 lbft of torque.
Dodge manages to fit that enormous amount of power inside the engine bays of the Challenger coupe and the Charger sedan. We were given the keys to one of the ferocious four-doors, a 2016 Charger SRT Hellcat, for a week and we came away impressed by more than just its engine.
2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Exterior
You don’t have to drive or even hear the Charger Hellcat to know it’s the ultimate performance model in the Charger lineup. This feral feline devours air through four separate mesh-covered inlets in its front end. The muscular bulges in the hood surround a pronounced hood scoop and two heat-extracting vents.
Although our Charger Hellcat tester didn’t have claws, it gripped the road with optional Pirelli P Zero summer tires, which were wrapped around 20-inch wheels that drew several positive comments despite being coated in low-key matte black. The low-profile spoiler on the trunk was just as attractive and understated. The angry explosion of sound that came out of the dual pipes below? It was anything but subtle. Our neighbors might not have been crazy about hearing it first thing in the morning, but we loved it – at all hours of the day and night.
2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Interior
The handsome Sepia leather seats and door panel inserts of the Charger’s cockpit contrasted attractively with the black of the steering wheel, dashboard, center stack, and door panel caps and arm rests. Keeping an eye on our speed was easy because of the large, legible gauges up front. We also didn’t have a hard time changing the volume, radio station, or fan speed on the go, thanks to big, conveniently placed knobs that were the perfect distance from our fingertips. We were grateful for those as well as the user-friendliness of the infotainment system. Connecting a smartphone to the Bluetooth system and inputting destinations to the navigation setup using the 8.4-inch touchscreen was a snap. Ventilated front seats kept us cool in the heat of late-spring days in Central Texas. We used the Charger Hellcat’s built-in WiFi connection to check for email on our phones between legs of a trip out to local natural springs for some further cooling off. On the way out there, if we weren’t listening to the music from the rear pipes, we were jamming out to tunes coming through the optional Harmon Kardon Audio Group’s 19 speakers and subwoofer.
2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Performance
For all of its visual and sonic aggression, the Charger Hellcat had no trouble behaving like a pussy cat. Setting its SRT-tuned three-mode Bilstein suspension and its eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic to operate in Street mode made the devilish Dodge ride and shift much like a Chrysler 300S – albeit slightly stiffer and with a much more noticeable exhaust note.
Putting the suspension, traction control, and gearbox in Track mode unlocked every ounce of the Charger Hellcat’s athleticism. However, we spent most of our time in between the Street and Track modes. The Sport setting was a great mixture of responsiveness and comfort. The steering was rock-solid on-center and weighted up nicely in turns. All 707 horsepower were immediately accessible and it felt as if we could use the right pedal to let as many out of the corral at a time as we wanted to, rather than have them crash through at the slightest application of throttle.
Getting the big cat to wag its tail when turning right onto an access road from a stop was a fun experience without being frightening. The Hellcat enjoyed fishtails and it allowed us to enjoy them, too. Once we straightened out and gave it full throttle, we felt our faces flatten and our ears fill with the whine from the supercharger and savage roar from the exhaust, two very different sounds that were absolutely the same in their abilities to make us smile. We combined both of them numerous times during our week with the Charger Hellcat and averaged 15.9 mpg after traveling 234 miles over neighborhood streets, country roads, and freeways. The EPA gave our review special fuel economy ratings of 13 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway, and 16 mpg combined**.
When it came time to throw a leash on the Hellcat and slow it down, the high-performance Brembo brakes gave us confidence. They clamped down with authority on the massive 15.4-inch front and 13.8-inch rear discs in a predictable, linear fashion.
2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Safety
It’s easy for people to see you in the Charger Hellcat, especially when it wears Redline Red paint like our review vehicle did. However, when you’re in the driver’s seat, you might not have as easy a time seeing everything around you. That’s where standard technologies such as the obstacle-sensing ParkSense Rear Park Assist System, ParkView Rear Back-Up Camera, and Blind Spot and Cross Path Detection feature come in handy.
Those features are backed up by front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, side-curtain front and rear airbags…and the peace of mind they provide.
2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Overall
If you would like to adopt a 2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, you can do it at an AutoNation Dodge dealer. Prices start at $67,645*. To get one just like the one we evaluated, it’ll cost $71,730*. For that, you’ll get a handsome feline…er…four-door that knows how to behave itself whether you’re driving it fast or slow, is packed with useful conveniences, and has a roar that will turn even the most avid fan of dogs into a cat-lover.
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2016 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.