Hellcat Charger Owner Write Up

Discussion in 'Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat' started by tsc, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. tsc

    tsc SRT Hellcat Enthusiast

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    Build #187. First Hellcat Charger in Cincinnati, OH area and only one of two within a 100 mile radius (second car is 100 miles away). I haven't given it a name yet, I'll let caren (wife) do that since it's her car. I am writing this from the perspective of already owning a Hellcat Challenger, so there will be comparisons to it and describing differences, though a lot of things are similar.

    My Hellcat Challenger write Up can be found here: Hellcat Owner Write Up SRT Hellcat Forum

    Summary
    As with the Hellcat Challenger, words cannot fully describe the experience of driving this car, but I'll do my best. With her going from a Challenger to a Charger, the first thing caren and I agreed on after admiring it's beauty was that the car is huge, but in a good way. I can't speak to prior year Chargers having not owned one, but the interior is light years ahead of the prior Challengers and while the exhaust is not quite as loud as the Challenger, the supercharger whine is as loud and both will still put a huge smile on your face. No matter which Hellcat you may have on order, if you are patiently waiting, hang in there! It's worth it, I PROMISE!

    Just as in my previous write up, I'll go into more details now if you wish to continue reading. Videos and pictures with the Challenger to come later.

    Background
    After going through the ordeal of ordering the Hellcat Challenger and going through the ultimate test of my (lack of) patience, we were not too keen on the idea of ordering another, even though I knew she wanted one the moment it was unveiled in August 2014. Knowing we had a Hellcat Challenger on the way, we sort of decided to wait a year or two, let some of the hype die down and hopefully just pick one up off a dealer lot somewhere. In December 2014 I called the dealer that I got my Challenger from just to see how many people were on their Charger list, and the GM told me 3 or 4 sold orders (wasn't 100% sure at that time). I thanked him for the info, explained the situation and due to allocations (or lack thereof) I told him we'd just wait it out.

    Less than a week later I get a call from a different local dealer, the same dealer we got our 2010 Challenger SRT8s from. They wanted to buy mine and I informed the guy (not my original salesman) that the car was already being traded in for my own Hellcat Challenger (they missed out on that sale due to markup). We talked for a while and before ending the call I let him know that we actually had two 2010s, and hers had half the mileage as mine, plus hers had navigation and sunroof. But I also said she would likely only get rid of it for a Hellcat Charger. This call took place the day before Charger orders were to originally open in the US in December 2014. He informed me that they had one initial allocation and it was unclaimed. I was surprised but based on the prior experience I asked what the markup was, and he replied none. I was shocked and immediately had to call caren to see if she wanted a Charger, and if so, she had to decide right now. A couple hours later I placed a deposit over the phone and said we would give order details in the morning once she decided on color. The sale was also transferred to our original salesman once they realized he had already sold us two SRT8s.

    Order day (next day) came and of course as we now know the order banks opening was delayed. Once the ordering opened on January 12 the order was placed with our specs - B5 Blue, HK Audio and that's it. January 15 our VIN was issued and was in D status. January 17 the car moved to D1, but no projected build or ship ETAs. February 18 the car hit frame, February 19 it went to paint and February 20 it was built. February 23 it went KZ and sat around for a while. March 4 it arrived in Toledo, March 5th it left Toledo and was delivered to the dealer overnight.

    Built - Pending Inspection: (I) 02/20/2015 08:22 AM CST Brampton Assembly, ON
    Plant Release (KZ) 02/23/2015 06:13 PM EST Brampton Assembly, ON
    In Bay At Facility 02/23/2015 06:59 PM EST Brampton Assembly, ON
    Departed Facility 02/27/2015 01:17 PM EST Brampton Assembly, ON
    In Bay At Facility 03/04/2015 02:42 PM EST Toledo Supplier Park, OH
    In Bay At Facility 03/05/2015 05:59 AM EST Toledo Supplier Park, OH
    Departed Facility 03/05/2015 05:28 PM EST Toledo Supplier Park, OH
    Vehicle Delivered to Dealer 03/05/2015 10:01 PM EST

    Delivery Day
    Waking up on March 6 (Friday) we both knew the car had arrived. We would have preferred it to actually have arrived on Saturday since there wouldn't be conflicts, but we weren't going to wait. I got my work done that I had to do that morning and left the office as soon as possible to meet caren and go up to the dealer. Once we got there we quickly found the car on the lot and WOW, what a sight. I knew what the Charger would look like, and had already seen pictures of a B5 Blue one thanks to scoutermike. But pictures do the car NO justice. Its simply beautiful and striking, especially in the B5 Blue in my opinion. We went back and fourth between Ivory Pearl with Brass Monkey rims and B5 Blue with Black rims. As much as I LOVE the Bright White and Ivory Pearl colors (hence my Bright White Challenger) I think we made the right choice.

    caren worked with our salesman to get paperwork and stuff started while I worked with the Service Technician (he was great!) for PDI. Everything checked out perfect and eventually it came time to sign the paperwork. Once papers were signed I drove the car to another building where the first wash and detail would be performed. As soon as I met the guy I knew he was someone that treats cars he works on like they were his own. We got along great, watched him like a hawk, helped him out and it turned out perfect. Not a single scratch or swirl could be detected under fluorescent or sun light. Once that was complete we could finally hit the road and get some seat time.

    Engine / Supercharger / Exhaust
    The engine and supercharger are obviously exactly the same as the Challenger, so no difference there but I will repeat what I said in my other write up. The engine is still an engineering marvel and the supercharger whine is intoxicating! Loudest supercharger whine in a stock vehicle application I've ever heard. Plenty of whine even at low throttle input and RPMs. Throttle response is excellent, even in Default mode. Track mode takes it to a whole new level. Power is always available no matter your speed or gear. You still need to RESPECT the power in this car or it WILL bite you!

    Now, one thing that is most certainly different (confirmed while being under the car and by other pictures in driveshaft removal threads) is the exhaust. The rear resonators/mufflers appear to be the same as the Challenger, but the middle mufflers are not. The A8 Challenger has 'bottle' type mufflers that are barely larger than the exhaust pipe. The A8 Charger has more of a traditional looking muffler in the middle, which I'm quite sure contributes to the Charger exhaust sounding slightly different and not quite as loud. That said, it is NOT quiet at all! If someone didn't have each to compare side by side, they probably wouldn't even know there was a difference. But the Challenger is indeed a bit louder. Some may prefer the Charger specifically for that reason as it is a bit more tamed down. No matter which car, they both have killer exhausts in which videos don't really capture the true sound.

    Valet Mode & ECO Mode
    Both Valet and ECO Mode perform exactly the same as the Challenger. Valet mode limits you to 2nd gear starts, 4000 RPM red line, limited to ~300 HP (trivia: per Ralph Gilles Valet Mode has the power curve of the V6 engine). ECO Mode reduces horsepower (though by how much I don't know) and more importantly, numbs down the throttle response. ECO Mode is perfect for slippery conditions like snow and ice as you're not as likely to spin tires (assuming you don't have summer tires mounted) with the snappy throttle response offered in full power mode.

    Gas Mileage
    As I said in the other write up, who cares? Since writing that I've realized I can get 23-25 @ 70 MPH on the highway cruising. I expect to get the same in the Charger once it is broken in.

    Transmission & Traction/Stability Control
    As you should already know, no choice of transmission in the Charger, A8/TorqueFlight/ZF/8HP90 only. The transmission basically performs exactly the same as the Challenger. 3 modes available, Street, Sport and Track. Street provides the most 'comfortable' shifting (and still shifts pretty quick), Track provides the fastest 160ms shifts and Sport is somewhere in between. I've driven a LOT of cars in my life and this is probably the best automatic transmission I've ever experienced. Nearly the speed of a dual clutch transmission but no clunking or jerking at low speeds.

    Nearly all of the Hellcat Chargers will already have the TSB for the TCM already flashed. It does make a difference, most notably in Track mode Transmission mode. On my Challenger without the flash I can get violent and jerky downshifts from 2nd to 1st when in 'D' mode and slowing down. This did not appear to happen in the Charger.

    Traction control acts the same as the Challenger and has 4 modes: Street, Sport, Track and Full Off. Street (default on every startup), which reels mostly everything in, lets you get away with a bit of tire spin. Sport mode turns off traction control but leaves stability control mostly on, letting you have a bit of straight line fun and minor tail kicking out action. Track mode actually puts a bit of traction control (straight line) back in but allows more yaw angle than Sport. If you want to do a full on burnout, use Sport (keep it straight) or just go Full Off. Keep in mind that with Full Off everything is in your hands. I do not recommend driving around all the time with the system in Full Off due to the amount of power, and more importantly, torque available from this engine. I personally drive around in Street most of the time, until I want to play, and then put it back to Street when done. It's your call on what you want to do, but try and keep it between the ditches. :) Overall, considering the power and torque output, the TCS/ESC system does a very good job of keeping things in check as much as it possibly can.

    Suspension & Wheels/Tires
    Wheel and tire options are exactly the same as the Challenger. Same finishes, same tires. Interestingly, the summer tire option on the Charger is cheaper than the Challenger, even though they appear to be the exact same tire. Just as in my Challenger we kept the standard All Season tires on the car so it can be driven in whatever conditions. This car will be driven every day by one of us. Tires perform just as good as on the Challenger. Very nice for an All Season tire, really.

    As far as suspension, it is mostly the same as the Challenger, but some things like the sway bars are different which makes it slightly 'softer'. You notice this the most in Street Suspension mode, when compared directly with the Challenger. But just as with the exhaust, if someone didn't know any better they could probably not tell a difference. Sport and Track are likely different by a small amount too, but I can't tell yet. Still an amazing suspension and being able to adjust on the fly is great. The Charger is a bit more 'comfortable' than the Challenger. As good as the Challenger does on a long trip, I think the Charger will be even better.

    Interior
    The interior does share some things with the Challenger, but there are definitely differences, none of which are necessarily worse or bad. The Driver Information Display has an over-speed warning that can be set up, that the Challenger does not have. The Charger also has auto-up windows, driver seat/mirror/wheel position memory, mirrors that can tilt down when in Reverse gear, cargo net in the trunk, different cup holder location (which can be covered), different garage door buttons, different sun glass holder, different interior light buttons, rear seat heaters and a different center console. Center stack buttons are also placed a bit higher when compared to the Challenger. The tachometer and speedometer are different than the Challenger and various lights (T/C off, 'BRAKE' for emergency brake, etc) are in different locations. I still love the interior and the standard seats are awesome and really hold you in place.

    Harmon Kardon audio sounds great. It is a bit different than the Challenger due to a different cabin layout and subwoofers being located in the rear parcel shelf instead of in the trunk in the spare tire wheel well as in the Challenger. It does not sound worse than the Challenger, it just has different harmonics. You need good source material to take full advantage of the audio system.

    If I had one complaint, it is the fuel door. The button to open it is in the driver's door, and I like the fact that the Charger does not have a gas cap, but you have to put your hands on the fuel door's paint to close it. That can be avoided on the Challenger. Minor I know, but wanted to point that out.

    Modifications
    Much like with the Challenger, I don't think we'll be doing any major modifications to the car. I know caren will tint the windows and we will tint the side-markers as soon as we can. The orange on the front just doesn't go well with the B5 Blue.

    Conclusion
    This car has also exceeded all of our expectations. I'll sum it up with this:

    Just as insane, and possibly MORE INSANE than the Challenger due to the fact that it is a comfortable sedan that can still be used as a daily driver.
     
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  2. Mike Canadian

    Mike Canadian Silver Member

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    By following RS's tracking of Caren's Charger, I believe that our girls were built around the same time. We will have to compare build numbers later when they are available. I live one hour from the plant and still no delivery:confused: However our weather is not conducive to Hell driving at the moment. Great write up and were the "bright" peddle covers installed? My best to Caren and time to get a car lift! P.S. move the weed wacker:eek:
     
  3. hellcat1

    hellcat1 Gold Member

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    Very nice write up tsc,, so what does tsc stand for
     
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  4. Next Phase

    Next Phase Silver Member

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    Wow, that was a write up! Very thorough, well done.

    I have a Challenger on order, but reading the Charger reviews is making me 2nd guess my choice.

    I should probably get both. Ha!
     
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  5. SRT_HC_707

    SRT_HC_707 SRT_HC_707 Staff Member

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    Your note much of a talker are you? Just kidding. Very nice writeup, beautiful car in B5 blue. Outstanding that you and Caren both have a Hellcat. Best of luck with both cars! Maybe you can drag race each other at the track and send us the video. That would be very cool...
     
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  6. yurdaddy

    yurdaddy Silver Member

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    "but try and keep it between the ditches" I thought that was so funny.:D
     
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  7. AER

    AER Gold Member

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    Should I ask my dealer to make sure the tab for the a8 is done before pickup this week?
     
  8. LeoDoc

    LeoDoc Silver Member

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    Thanks for the write up tsc. I guess Caren doesn't have time to leave her kitty's side..She made you do the review!

    Enjoy....can't wait to see the his/her cats getting pictures together
     
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  9. Carnage

    Carnage SRT Hellcat Supercharged Moderator Staff Member Hellcat Car Club Gold Supporting Member HCC Charter Member

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    tsc this is one bad arse write up, thanks for putting out effort and time to do this write up. If I had extra mula to spare I would trade in my fiancé's Mini Cooper for a Dodge Charger Hellcat too. I'm sharing this in depth write on my Facebook hellcat page.
     
  10. Rogarth

    Rogarth Hellcat Member

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    TSC, Caren, you both are too awesome. A Chally and Charger Hellcat to compare on a daily basis, that's like a dream come true.

    Thanks for such a detailed write-up!
     
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  11. B5 Blue

    B5 Blue Platinum Member

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    Nice write up tsc, I sure hope my B5 gets built SOON!
     
  12. Mtr

    Mtr Silver Member

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    tsc, that was the best writeup of the Charger I've seen yet. I especially appreciated how you listed the numerous differences from the Challenger -- only a 2 Hellcat owner would have those insights!
     
  13. 440 Superbee

    440 Superbee Gold Member Hellcat Car Club HCC Charter Member

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    tsc - Thanks for the great comparison write up. Appreciate the details you provided. Can't wait to see pics and videos in the future. Thanks again.
     
  14. Barry M Nimtz

    Barry M Nimtz Silver Member

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    Great write up. Can't wait to do the same comparison when the charger meets her challenger.
     
  15. TIGwelder

    TIGwelder SSDD

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    tsc , Can you just order a car for me? Seems you have it down to a science :D
     
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