Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat leads the pack when it comes to power

Dodge set the performance bar high with the introduction of the Charge SRT Hellcat and its 707 horsepower. The company has clocked its zero-to-60 mph time at 3.7 seconds with an elapsed quarter-mile time of 11.0 seconds on street tires.

2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

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Dodge dropped a virtual nuclear bomb in the “horsepower wars” a couple of years ago when it launched SRT Hellcat versions of its Charger sedan and Challenger coupe.

With a 6.2-liter HEMI V8 jammed under their massive hoods, the two cars revved horsepower up to 707 and torque to 650 pound-feet, eye-popping numbers for just about any vehicle available today, let alone production models with far less than six-figure price tags.

Dodge billed the Challenger SRT Hellcat as “the most powerful muscle car ever” and labeled the Charger SRT Hellcat that followed the Challenger to showrooms as “the quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan in the world.”

That should serve to mollify Muscle Car purists who were upset that Dodge brought back the iconic Charger in 2006 with four doors instead of the two-doors on models back in its 1960s-70s-80s heyday. It also was like giving buyers who really needed that easy backseat access but loved that “Muscle Car” styling and performance their cake while allowing them to eat it as well.

Yes, it could actually serve as a family car.

Not a very efficient one, of course. The fuel mileage figures for the Charger SRT Hellcat are a paltry 13 miles-per-gallon city, 22 highway, which earns it a $1,700 gas guzzler tax to go on top of the $65,945 base price. But it is one that can handle five passengers quite easily with three adults fitting comfortably in the backseat. (Well, the one in the middle will find legroom somewhat restricted by the hump created by the driveshaft tunnel.) There’s even a good-sized trunk.

Also, you don’t have to use all that horsepower. In fact, keeping the eight-speed automatic transmission in drive reduces power to just over 500 ponies, as indicated on the touchscreen when the SRT button on the center stack is pressed. (A bit of likely unintentional humor here: That 500-plus hp setting is marked “Eco” mode.)

That helps, at least a little, on fuel consumption. Our test drive showed a range of over 300 miles when the 18.5 gallon gas tank was filled with premium fuel. When switching from a short stint of driving in traffic on city streets to a highway and obeying (well, nearly so) a 55 mph speed limit on a flat two-lane road across South Florida, our fuel range worked its way from an initial 189 miles to 209 at one point before it started on a decline again.

Those aren’t the kind of numbers to make greenies happy, but then little about this car is going to do that.

When it comes to amenities, the Charger SRT Hellcat is nicely equipped. The original package offered dual zone automatic climate control, 12-way power adjustable driver’s seat with memory, flat-bottom SRT steering wheel with power tilt-and-telescoping capability, remote start, rearview camera, rear parking sensors, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and blind spot monitoring.

For 2016, the Charger SRT Hellcat gets an upgraded leather interior, Uconnect 8.4AN with navigation, HD radio, and five years of SiriusXM Travel Link and SiriusXM Traffic. We found the navigation system easy to operate with the only flaw we ran across after setting a destination the instruction to make a left turn where it wasn’t possible.

Obviously, the power the Hellcat delivers is what sets it apart from its less ferocious trims (two other V8 engine options — 5.8-liter and 6.4-liter non-supercharged — and a 3.8-liter V6 are included in the Charger portfolio), not to mention its competition. But the good thing is that you don’t have your driving comfort cut.

The ride is a bit firm but not overly so, and the driver will find it quite nimble for a vehicle of this size. You get a low rumble from the dual exhaust, but the sound doesn’t overwhelm the cabin like say that from the company’s Viper Supercar and its 10-cylinder roar. It’s just enough to catch the attention of nearby onlookers when idling, so be prepared for some admiring acknowledgements.

What’s good about the 2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat: The power, obviously. Though you rarely will need its 700-plus horses, it’s nice to know that they are there to give you the quick boost when you need it. The cabin also is more refined than previous Chargers, and the ride is smooth, especially when cruising on the highway.

What’s no-so-good about the 2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat: The power comes at a cost in fuel mileage. The base 3.6-liter V6 delivers up to 290 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque — decent numbers in themselves — with fuel consumption figures of 19/31.

For a look at the 2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and more details, check out the accompanying slide show.

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