Meet the 'world's fastest' four-door saloon
While European car manufacturers are busy downsizing engines and investing heavily into hybrid tech for increased power and economy, the Americans are still banging the 'bigger is better' drum with their fast cars. Enter the Dodge Charger Hellcat.
Don't expect to find advanced composite materials or engine cylinder deactivation here. The Hellcat is Dodge flexing its Detroit muscles in a two-fingered salute to the green lobby. Under the skin is a huge 6.2-litre V8 motor – supercharged, naturally – developing an eye-watering 707bhp, making it the most powerful V8 engine Chrysler has ever produced.
To put that into context, Porsche's most powerful 911, the Turbo S, puts out 552bhp. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed (something of a rarity in a US muscle car) automatic gearbox and a standard-fit limited-slip differential.
That muscular engine has prompted Dodge to describe the new Charger Hellcat as "the quickest, fastest, most powerful production saloon in the world, as well as the most capable and technologically advanced four-door muscle car in America".
These claims remain to be tested, but the Hellcat certainly has the performance figures to put the frighteners on the fastest four-doors that Europe has to offer. Dodge claims that it will cover the 0-60mph dash in a scant 3.7 seconds, and put in a quarter-mile sprint time of 11.0 seconds – half a second faster than the Ferrari 458 Italia. Top speed is a claimed 204mph – eclipsing the de-restricted top speeds of the fastest European saloons from Mercedes AMG and BMW's M division.
To tame this wanton power, Dodge has fitted the Charger Hellcat with its largest ever brakes: 15.4-inch items (around the same size as the wheel on your average supermini). It also features performance Pirelli P Zero tyres and adaptive sports suspension with three selectable modes.
The Dodge Charger Hellcat goes on sale early next year with a projected price of around $62,000 (around £37,000). Currently there are no plans for a UK market launch, though if you want one, you can always import a Hellcat personally. Just make sure you've not misplaced your petrol station loyalty card.