Written by Karl Peskett
Ask anyone to name a famous car in film and it’s a good bet the Dodge Charger will be near the top of the list. So when a new Charger comes out, it needs something special to retain its legendary reputation.
Few cars on film resonate as much as the Dodge Charger. From Bullitt to The Dukes of Hazzard, and then a resurgence with The Fast and the Furious movies, it has been a revered machine that virtually defined the ‘muscle car’ tag. So when Dodge decided to launch a new Charger, eyebrows were raised when it came with four doors.
Something was needed to compensate for its extra entrances, something to keep the enthusiasts happy. Plenty of power, then? Yes, that’ll do nicely. And add a catchy name? Sure thing – Dodge calls it the Charger SRT Hellcat.
Most saloons are saddled with soft suspension and a beige, boring image. Not so the Hellcat. For a start, Dodge has fitted it with Bilstein three-stage suspension that takes it from comfortable daily driver to solid track tearer. The interior has been enhanced with Alcantara accents (though it’s still very American inside), and the exterior is certainly more graphic than a standard sedan.
It’s under the bonnet, though, where the real story lies. Dodge has endowed the Charger with a 6.2l V8 – proper American muscle. But natural aspiration wasn’t enough. Bolted to the engine is a massive supercharger, which compresses the fuel/air mixture with such force that it takes 80bhp just to turn it over. The end result is a whopping 707bhp from the powertrain which, combined with a fast-shifting eight-speed auto, slingshots the Charger Hellcat to 100kph in 3.7 seconds, and then onto a quarter-mile run in 11 seconds. This makes it the quickest-accelerating four-door car ever to roll off a production line.
It will also top out at a rather ridiculous 328kph; no other saloon can match that. Nor would it want to. The Charger’s heritage is a rather hard act to follow, as is its drive experience. And kicking off at US$63,995, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is somewhat of a bargain.
Based on its attributes, the Charger is set for even more appearances on the silver screen.
Another car with cult status is the Subaru WRX STI. Originally built to tackle the World Rally Championship, the WRX gained a reputation for reliability, brilliant grip, and plenty of tuning potential. While it shone on ball-bearing gravel rally stages, street racers soon realised it was a formidable weapon on tarmac. The latest model is no different. Turbocharged 2.5l four-cylinder, all-wheel-drive, in six-speed manual, it launches from 0 to 100kph in just 4.9 seconds, but its handling of corners widens the eyes and challenges stomach integrity. With physics-defying grip, its handling is second to none – it slingshots at pace out of corners. Solid build and plenty of space round out the WRX STI. Grass, gravel, snow, track – as a complete package, this Subaru will shine in any environment.