These high-powered Dodge Challengers come in two flavors: bad-ass and more bad-ass. The stout SRT 392 packs a 485-hp Hemi V-8, and the notorious SRT Hellcat possesses a 707-hp supercharged Hemi V-8. Both have substantial brakes and an adaptive suspension; a standard six-speed manual transmission or a proficient eight-speed automatic funnels power to the rear wheels.
The Hellcat Widebody has a distinct appearance thanks to flared fenders and wider wheels and tires. These power-crazy Challengers still provide exceptional comfort with a spacious cabin and plentiful standard features. While the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 are more talented on a racetrack, the diabolical Dodges generate nostalgia and release our inner delinquency—which includes the effortless roasting of rear tires. Bad-asses indeed.
What’s New for 2018?
While the drag-strip-destroying SRT Demon is the most interesting addition to the 2018 Challenger lineup, we cover that hellion separately. The new Hellcat Widebody features flared fenders and wider 20-inch wheels; an electrically assisted power-steering system replaces the hydraulic setup on the regular model. Both Hellcats also receive restyled grilles and fender badges and newly illuminated Air-Catcher headlights with a Hellcat logo.
The list of options now includes a Matte Vapor wheel finish, dual gunmetal stripes, Demonic Red Laguna seating, and a new red badge on the instrument panel. The Hellcat’s Brembo brake calipers can be painted black, orange, or gunmetal, too. The SRT 392 is mostly unchanged, but the Brass Monkey 20-inch wheels are now optional. Every 2018 Challenger has a backup camera. The lineup adds F8 Green and IndiGO Blue exterior colors (whoever named the latter color was clearly a University of Michigan fan); these new shades, along with B5 Blue and Plum Crazy, have late availability.
What Was New for 2017?
Dodge’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) group began tuning Challengers with the car’s 2008 revival. An extensive refresh in 2015included the SRT 392 and the SRT Hellcat. Since then, changes have been minor, and that remained true for 2017. Every Challenger received an updated Uconnect infotainment system. The 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation—standard on SRT models—added multitouch gestures. New exterior paint colors included Green Go, Yellow Jacket, Destroyer Grey, and Octane Red; White Knuckle and Contusion Blue were renamed carry-over colors. Both SRT cars added an illuminated steering-wheel logo. The Hellcat received new badging, and its standard 20-inch wheels were redesigned to save 16 pounds.
Trims and Options We Chose for 2017
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 available options, 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. Both the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 coupe and the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 cost thousands less, but the Hellcat will satisfy horsepower junkies and provide a ticket to burnout paradise.