Hellcat Owner Write Up

Discussion in 'Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat' started by tsc, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. tsc

    tsc SRT Hellcat Enthusiast

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    Build #1362. First (and currently only) Bright White Hellcat built for Ohio. I have named her "White Hot Cat".

    Summary
    Words cannot truly describe, but I will do my best. The car is amazing and a night and day difference from my 2010 B5 Blue M6 SRT8 Challenger -- inside, outside and underneath. The engine, exhaust and supercharger noises bring a smile to my face every single time and I don't think that will stop any time soon, if ever. If you are on the fence about the car, frustrated with your wait time, hang in there, it is worth every agonizing second.

    More details if you wish to read the babbling of an extremely happy Hellcat owner... videos at the bottom of the post, too.

    Background
    I have been waiting for this car for quite a while, ever since the rumors of engine development started. At first, I personally wasn't holding out hope that it would make it to production and that even if it did, would probably cost more than I'd be willing to pay. Once prototypes were spotted driving around, I started getting a bit more excited but still thought it would be more than I'd want to spend. Then they officially unveiled the car and I was blown away by the appearance, let alone the power train. That was about when Dodge said it would have "at least 600 HP", we all know how that turned out. Anyway, I figured FCA would pull a GM and not let the car be more powerful than the Viper so I didn't think more than 640 HP was on the table. At this point I'm thinking it will still be too expensive for a Challenger. Then they unveil the power numbers. Wow, was I (and mostly everyone else) so wrong! Yeah, but will it hook up? 11.2 on street tires and 10.8 on Drag Radials? Holy crap, now we're talking. But how much??? $59,995 WITH gas guzzler tax? Are you freaking kidding me? Did I read that right?! I crunched the numbers and knew the car was mine, after getting approval from the wife of course. ;)

    It's July and I had checkbook in hand and needed to lock in a deposit somewhere. I knew I could get MSRP at #9 spot from Bob Frederick after contacting him. Told him I would be in touch based on what kind of response I got from local dealers. Gave my dealer that we got our two 2010 SRT8s from a chance, but the GM of the dealer would not commit to MSRP even though I was there with checkbook in hand as a repeat SRT customer. I was about to send a deposit with order details to Bob when my dad contacted me saying a different local dealer would sell to me at MSRP and nobody was on their list yet (thanks Dad!). I called that dealer's General Manager to confirm and gave the other dealer another chance. GM there said if you can get that, to take it. So I left and went to the other dealer and left a deposit with order details. Their loss... but I do have a deposit down with them on their first Hellcat Charger, at no markup.

    August order date came and went with the delay. When the orders finally opened on September 9, the dealer called me to confirm my order details again and order was placed at 9:08 AM and I was sent my POC with VON. September 16 my VIN was issued as I had their only initial allocation. October 3 my car went to D1 status (dropped to D status twice, and is even indicated on my build sheet as 'D1-To-D Regress'). December 11 it hit frame and December 12 it was built, December 15 it was released by the plant at KZ status. It sat at the factory for a week and then finally left for Toledo. December 23 it left Toledo headed to my dealer and arrived at 1:00 AM December 24. My dealer was closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so I had to wait 2 days to take delivery. It was torture as I could see and touch the car but not get the keys yet.

    Built - Pending Inspection: (I) 12/12/2014 11:13 PM EST Brampton Assembly, ON
    Plant Release (KZ) 12/15/2014 11:32 AM EST Brampton Assembly, ON
    Departed Facility 12/22/2014 01:45 PM EST Brampton Assembly, ON
    In Bay At Facility 12/22/2014 09:52 PM EST Toledo Supplier Park, OH
    Departed Facility 12/23/2014 05:42 PM EST Toledo Supplier Park, OH (on truck to dealer)
    Vehicle Delivered to Dealer 12/24/2014 01:00 AM EST

    Delivery Day
    Those two days of hell from the car gods eventually passed and I was at the dealer first thing Friday morning, December 26. My salesman actually called when I was almost at the dealer to let me know what I already knew -- my car was there. Told him I'd be there in 5 minutes. I had already seen the car so I was not as excited about that, just wanted to get the PDI process started. I let them fire it up to idle (it was frosty that morning) after removing the plastic from the supercharger. I went back inside, far away from the car. I wanted to hear the startup for the first time inside of the Service Shop, echoing sounds and all. I went back to the shop and did a remote start standing behind it. OH. MY. GOD. It's so loud! All of the guys in the shop swarmed to the car like bees to honey. We put the car up on the lift and everything underneath was as expected. Huge exhaust, large fuel lines, large brakes,impressive shocks. Did the drive with the PDI tech and everything checked out. All that was needed at this point was final paperwork then fill her up with gas at Costco, compliments of the dealer.

    Within a few seconds of opening the door at the gas station I immediately hear "Is that a Hellcat?!". Every stop I have done has drawn attention and delayed whatever I was doing. Plan for this. Also plan for people revving at you, trying to get you to rev, and trying to get you to take off, just to see and hear the car. I've had a couple of cars appear serious at first until realizing what they were next to, LOL.

    I eventually took it home and spent a few hours cleaning the car inside and out as I did not let the dealer touch the car any more than necessary. Removed all plastic and paperwork from the car. Installed the Bright Pedals. The gas pedal is a snap but the brake pedal is a royal pain in the ass -- I forgot how much it was since doing the wife's over 4 years ago. If you don't let the dealer put them on be prepared to be cursing at things a bit. Lots of time was spent just staring at the car... you know the feeling, we all do it.

    Engine / Supercharger / Exhaust
    What can I say about the engine, supercharger and exhaust? The engine is an engineering marvel, the supercharger is the loudest bone stock supercharged application I've ever heard (SVT Cobra or SVT Lightning with cold air intake a close 2nd). I knew it would have plenty of supercharger whine, but didn't expect so much whine at lower RPMs and throttle load. And the exhaust? How is this thing legal, especially in states like California? Before I got the car I was considering cutting out the mid mufflers like some have done on their 2015 392s, but I seriously don't think it is necessary. The car is just plain LOUD. You have to experience it for yourself. On very cold starts, it's even LOUDER, which I couldn't believe it would get any louder. The torque and power curve on this thing is insane. Power is ALWAYS there, no matter what speed or gear you are at. Very linear, not peaky. Totally controllable even when past the limits of adhesion. Just be alert and RESPECT THE POWER. :D

    Valet Mode & ECO Mode
    Tried out the Valet Mode yesterday and it most certainly dials the power back. You already know the details of Valet mode so I won't bore you with them. ECO mode, however, surprised me.. for being an 'ECO' mode it still has quite a bit of power available, especially on the highway for a quick pass or something. I have not driven extensively with 500 HP mode but I expect it to be plenty strong.

    Gas Mileage
    Really, who cares?! For the record I got 23.7 on the highway for 30 miles driving around 70 MPH, in full 700+ mode with less than 200 miles on the clock. I'll take that.

    Transmission & Traction/Stability Control
    My car has the A8/TorqueFlight/ZF/8HP90 transmission, however you want to call it. My last two cars (SRT8 Challenger and CTS-V) as well as my current beater are manual transmission. At first I figured I would get a Hellcat with the M6 transmission but I have bad knees and was worried a time would come one day when I couldn't drive it as I already get issues today in bad traffic. Before my order was put in I test drove a Jeep Grand Cherokee 392 to get a feel for the transmission and knew I was sticking with the A8. In street mode it is totally comfortable, searching for highest gear whenever possible. Track mode is fast, very fast. Flick the paddle or move the shifter and it is immediately in the gear you select. If you leave it in 'D' in track mode it is also very aggressive. I use Track transmission in my 'Custom' drive mode. Sport transmission is somewhere in the middle. It is a great transmission and I've had zero issues thus far.

    The traction control has 4 modes - Street, Sport, Track, 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 dials back in some traction control and stability control is mostly off, letting you get away with a bit of sideways action before kicking in. Full off and everything is in your hands -- I haven't done this yet and probably won't until there is snow on the ground and I want to have some drifting fun. :D Considering the amount of torque on hand that comes on QUICK it does a pretty good job of keeping things under control. I keep my 'Custom' drive mode set to Street, knowing I can change it to the other modes just by pressing the button when needed.

    Edit: Apparently I was wrong (along with others) in what Track mode traction control actually does. I thought it fully disabled traction control to allow straight line tire spinning and simply raised the yaw angle that can be achieved before stability control would kick in. Actually it does put some traction control back in, but does allow more yaw than sport. I didn't notice this at first due to purposefully drifting on snow and ice, and initiating a drift while already moving, rather than spinning tires from a dead stop.

    Suspension & Wheels/Tires
    The 3 mode suspension is simply awesome. Coming from two cars with a firmer ride (CTS-V had the stiffer shock option and my 2010 SRT8 had Mopar Coilovers installed within a few days of taking delivery) I'm used to a sporty suspension. Street mode is totally comfortable, not like riding on a cloud, but it does a good job of minimizing bumps. Sport mode is closer to my Coilovers and Track mode is full stiffness where you will feel everything on the road but it is not going to rattle the fillings out of your mouth. Some may feel it is too firm but I find myself driving in Track suspension a lot. I have my 'Custom' drive mode set to Sport suspension.

    As far as the wheels, I know some love them and some hate them. Personally, I love them, especially with the black contrast on the white car. The wheels and tires look huge, too. The 20s on the wife's 2010 SRT8 just don't look as big, even though they are. Love it. I have the All Season tires and I'm surprised how much grip they actually have considering how cold it's been the last couple days. Handles twisty back roads just fine. Took sweeping curves at 84 MPH with no issues, didn't break loose once.

    Interior
    Other than the power train, this is the largest difference from my 2010. The interior is all new and I love it. I would have got the Hellcat if it kept the same interior but this was just the icing on the cake. I think the only thing that seems the same on the inside is the area where the HomeLink buttons and sunglasses holder are. There's probably more but I'm not paying enough attention. The 8" touchscreen and Driver Information Display between the tach and speedometer are great. Very easy to use with minimal learning curve. Some said the car doesn't have enough bass or loudness? Mine is plenty loud when you get past Volume Level 25 and also at 25 and beyond the car has TONS of bass. Satellite, iPod, Pandora and iHeartRadio have all sounded great, have not tried regular radio yet as I do not listen to it. I have Bass and Mid set to 8, Treble set to 9. Speed compensated volume OFF, Surround Sound OFF. There would be even more bass with the seats laid down I'm quite sure.

    Tweaks needed
    I noticed a couple things that I have to tweak. First, the exhaust tips are a bit crooked and I'll have to adjust that. Second, the left side of my hood sits a hair low so I need to see if I can adjust that. Neither are deal breakers. Will need to clay bar the paint when it gets warmer too, but I'd be doing that with practically any new car so no complaints. I bought the car to drive, not to sit and be perfectly clean all the time. :)

    Modifications
    I don't see myself doing any major modifications any time soon. Before I got the car I thought I may lower it but I'm loving the factory stance. I think I will be plenty happy with the power and won't need more, but we will see once the ECU is cracked. If a tune is safe I'll probably do that at some point. Wheels and/or tires may come at a later point but not right now.

    I do have one modification to put on the car when I get a chance. To complete the black/white contrast I'm blacking out the front and rear sidemarkers, the red reflectors underneath the tail lights and possibly the center section of the taillights. I have the material already from Big Worm Graphix, just need to put it on. It is their darkest 'Charcoal' color, but still lets light through. I will post pics once they're on.

    Conclusion
    This car has exceeded ALL of my expectations. I'll sum it up with this:

    Insane, yet completely practical as my daily driver.

    Edit: Adding videos. Shot by my wife on her phone. GoPro videos coming later. Car is much louder in person.

    Edit 2: Added a third video.





     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
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  2. Harts

    Harts Gold Member

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    Great write up! Those of us waiting are living through all of those who have their cars!
     
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  3. AvsBest

    AvsBest Silver Member

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    Awesome write up
     
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  4. Bjax

    Bjax Hellcat Member

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    Great write up!!
    But why you gotta jock my style?
    Just kidding!
    I too ordered a bright white cat, and I'm in OH10
    The black wheels, with all of the black trim, and the bright white paint just looks sick, doesn't it!!!
    post some pics, please!!!
    What part of the OH10 do you hail from? I'm in Akron.
     
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  5. paul suloff

    paul suloff Silver Member

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    My biggest complaint is the performance pages. I want the screen that is up, back up the next time I start the car! Dodge has missed on practicality of using the car at the track vs test passes on the street. If I'm waiting in the staging lanes and want data on performance pages, I don't have time to wait 20 sec for U connect to load to get those settings. Staging staff will not wait to change defaults. Am I missing some kind of setting or is this how it works?
     
  6. Dragon

    Dragon Gold Member

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    I agree with everything you posted..
     
  7. Nitewing

    Nitewing Gold Member

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    That was an excellent review! Very detailed and fun to read. Thanks!!
     
  8. Jim Hetrick

    Jim Hetrick Silver Member

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    I think he likes the car
     
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  9. tsc

    tsc SRT Hellcat Enthusiast

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    I'm north of Cincinnati in the burbs. I have a separate thread up with pics of the car. :)
     
  10. tsc

    tsc SRT Hellcat Enthusiast

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    As far as I know, no way to get around the load times of those pages. However, you can get to the same info quicker in the Driver Information Display (DID) in the center of the gauge cluster.
     
  11. Brett M

    Brett M Silver Member

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    Thanks for the great review! Hope I echo these sentiments next week!
     
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  12. hellcat1

    hellcat1 Gold Member

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    Very good write up,, it's like reading a motor trend review...I'm glad you like the car..I look forward to hearing more after you spend some time with it
     
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  13. tsc

    tsc SRT Hellcat Enthusiast

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    Added 2 quick videos to the first post.
     
  14. hellcat1

    hellcat1 Gold Member

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    I said it once and will say it again,, they need to remake vanishing point with a white hellcat....just my thoughts
     
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  15. tsc

    tsc SRT Hellcat Enthusiast

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    Yep, still agree with you.. would be pretty bad ass. :D I tried getting the Vanishing Point plate for my car but it's already taken. So for now my old plate went on it until I come up with something new.
     

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