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Marlboro Machine: Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody

6.2 liters, a demon on the compressor, 717 hp plus a great thirst for petrol, a flap exhaust without a real neighbor mode: This Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat widebody is as socially acceptable as the tobacco cowboy of yesteryear would be today.

The headline for this text should actually refer to the bad boys from Detroit: That's what the basketball players of the Detroit Pistons were called at the end of the 80s because of their need-oriented, extremely physical playing style. In the legendary era of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, there was a need for many of the 82 games of the season. In the playoffs? Increased need. Everyone took care of themselves, with special effort Rick Mahorn, Bill Laimbeer was under the basket for special tasks. The 2.11 meter cabinet would be suspended for ten games today after the first game. After the comeback then for the rest of the season. At least.

To the delight of the phrase pig, that would fit this Dodge like a glove, because it too is an elemental dinosaur that, with its politically less than correct airs and graces, is today like the Pistons used to be. In fact, that only fits to a limited extent: next to the shift lever there is something about "designed in Detroit", but the Chargers are built in Canada. So then with reference to the 6.2-liter heart? Of course that would work - if the supercharged V8 came from Michigan. But he's from Saltillo, Mexico.

Alright, then something about the Charger's smoking habit, which would get completely out of hand if a packet of Pirellis were a minor logistics problem. The guy still smokes enough that one can speak of a halfway serious addictive behavior. For the title of this article, let's sweep under the rug that Marlboros were actually marketed as women's cigarettes long before the Cowboy. Anyway, 1930 was a long time ago. Do you still want to know what made the Frauenfluppe special? The presence of a filter.

Since the Charger SRT Hellcat widebody with its intake manifold injection does not produce any filter-worthy petrol particles, it can play music almost uncensored from its well-sized tailpipes. "Almost" because the official Dodge importer AEC is installing an exhaust system that can be approved here right at the port of Antwerp (from the cat). The papers in the glove compartment are from TÜV Austria, the vehicle registration says something about X-Pipe and absorption dampers. Fits.

Martial at FSK-18 level

In the trunk under the loading floor next to the battery there is a small control unit for the exhaust system from Grail Automotive from Rheinböllen, which instructs the exhaust flaps. The cold start of the V8 is still shockingly brutal, rather martial. And the demonstration can even be done by double-clicking on the remote start button on the key: First the charger roars, then the audience.

This is of course not good for the already shaky social compatibility of the Dodge, although with a good knowledge of the flap acoustics a softer cold start should also be possible, says AEC. Will it work? If I had tried, I would have figured it out before the car left. sorry In any case, the move should be right, otherwise you will first become a topic of conversation in the neighborhood and then a partner. Where car people have a well-meaning interest in the Dodge. And you can tell an incredible amount with the same conclusion: The Americans are just incredibly cool when it comes to entertainment.

This is also expressed in corporate culture things. Do you know what an S54 B32HP, EA888 or MA1/75 is? Engines from the BMW M3 CSL (E46), VW Golf GTI and Porsche 911 GT3. With the Americans, Chevy has a similar naming scheme with LS-something. In contrast, Ford engine compartments contain Voodoo, Coyote, Apache, Predator or Aluminator. At Dodge? There used to be FirePower or Magnum, but most of them are called Hemi, the 717 hp monster is a Hemi Hellcat. Depending on the power level, this becomes Demon (851 hp) or Hellephant (1,000 hp). hellcat. Demon. hell elephant. What were the German engines called again?

And there are umpteen other aspects where the Americans show us how nonchalance works. In commercials, the Dodge SRT (Street and Racing Technology) models almost always burn across the street or blow out tires when going straight. In an advertisement for the Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody, they reveal additional information such as the rim width including tire size, cornering grip and speed index. In addition, the size of the brake system and how wide the widebody with the fender attachments is (plus 9 cm).

Then there's this one spot where nobody ever sits in their 470hp Charger R/T and thinks, "Oh man, I would have taken the Passat." Another commercial: the one from the Dodge dealership, in which two police officers – one of them an animated monkey – fold a guy up because he is eating a croissant in his charger. Shame on the Dodge to munch on such an etepetete pastry! Twinkies would have gone. The driver's excuses? Doesn't the monkey want to hear: "Tell the judge, mon Chéri!"

The Americans not only advertise in a more humorous way, they usually always outperform the rest of the world when "bigger is better" actually applies to the most absurd extent possible. But we Germans get involved, because wonderfully crazy ideas are not far from us: After all, we break wild lap times on the Nordschleife for marketing and build 600-plus-hp station wagons. Only this Charger Hellcat is bluntly even more insane: little croissant finesse, more Bill Laimbeer!

The BMW M5 and AMG E 63 have modes to cut off the front axle from the drive when it needs to smoke.The Dodge just constantly maltreats the rubber via rear-wheel drive - there it smokes sometimes even with fully activated traction control. As with the Mustang, there is also a burnout software that only holds the front brake. This is called "Line Lock" and works like this: press the brake pedal, hold down "OK" on the steering wheel and accelerate - release "OK" as soon as the desired amount of abrasion is in the air. Now don't forget to countersteer, otherwise the number will end up in one of the Hellcat crash compilations on YouTube, one of which is nine minutes long.

I beg your pardon

In any case, the mode was relevant for the smoke photos – we now have enough night photos, so let’s go on a test drive. Soon far away from residential areas, but then with the full roar: exhaust with the cruise control button on loud, windows down a little, then next to the rock walls really on the crack pedal. This is such an extreme experience that my apologies at this point are mainly for Bambi and Co., who must have assumed the end of the world: heavy-metal V8 sound, thunderstorm exhaust rabble and demonic compressor howl from the silver jukebox.

By the way, he's surprisingly good at curves. It doesn't drive as sportily as an AMG E 63 S for a long time, but with its Bilstein adaptive dampers it's not a sofa either. The steering wheel mainly receives road information and little load information, but when you turn it, the structure reacts promptly without wobbling. And above all, he has 305/35 ZR 20 all around. All around! He rolls through the factory on different wheels because he doesn't fit on the belt with the fat rollers.

With it he occasionally pulls in the direction of longitudinal joints, but in return there is so much grip that understeering on the road is almost never an issue. Oversteer, on the other hand, does – all the time. Because the wheelbase is as long as a basketball hoop hangs high (3.05 m), there is still enough reaction time left when the rear comes. But while the V8 pulls through extremely confidently from low revs, the power escalates at the top almost as quickly as with electric motors. At the exit of the curve, it is important to dose sensitively what you want.

The demon grimace on the hyperactive compressor, the grill and the fenders should also be understood as a warning. For example, releasing the brake as soon as smoke starts to appear in the rear-view mirror is actually quite fitting for a decent but not completely wild burnout. With the hell cat, however, the cabin is already fogged up at the same time. Yes, you could have guessed that with the torque. But I haven't thought about it.

The Hockenheimring suitability of the tires is now floating in the air as a cloud of smoke: well done, Hellmanzik! On the other hand, maybe that's a good thing, because although the Brembo brakes work well, the builders in Canada pour DOT3 brake fluid into the system with a boiling point that is much too low. According to the manual, please switch to the more temperature-resistant DOT4 for the racetrack, which every small car uses here.

Melting pot: Ami on the track

Well, let's take care of things that are more practical anyway: Can he do the 322 km/h that the bill says? I would say so. On a free piece of freeway, 300 went quite easily under slightly increased steering wheel vibrations. Steep uphill. But only with the red key, otherwise you'll be stuck in 500 hp mode. With 8.6 seconds from 100 to 200 km/h, in the 717 hp program it is exactly in the range of the 600 to 612 hp AMG E 63 S, Audi RS 6 and Alpina B5 station wagons, which are hardly any lighter or even heavier than the longer Charger.

The fact that the approximately 100 extra hp of the Dodge make little difference seems to be due to a design-related limit that can only be overcome with much more power. At least in our database is a Brabus Rocket 900 (base S-Class, 900 hp V12) from 2016 with 7.7 seconds - so not that much faster. The super sports car McLaren 720S has grabbed the absolute fabulous value of 4.6 seconds.

In the standard sprint, the Charger doesn't stand a chance against the four-wheel drive station wagons. That's predictable and doesn't matter at all: the muscle limo turns the zero-hundred number into an event with real traction drama. The experience stands far above the battle of numbers, although data with an entertainment factor are also left: the V8 has to apply 80 hp at 6,000 rpm in order to fire the compressor from the manufacturer IHI America via the belt drive. That's good business for the 6.2-liter, after all, the test cells at the Chrysler Technical Center (the CTC is in Detroit) had to be improved because they weren't equipped for the necessary air volume and power of the V8-supercharger combination: Until for the upgrade, the SRT squad could only test the Hellcat Hemi up to around 600 hp.

Away from these completely crazy values ​​and the power escapades, everyday life still remains. As long as you drive gently with the flaps closed, the V8 beat sounds subdued in town at mostly below 1,500 rpm. In the Radau program, subtlety is only possible with the utmost precision work: Two or three millimeters too far on the accelerator pedal, then the sled with the bass-heavy eight-cylinder including Harley rattling note draws attention to itself. And after another two millimeters of pedal travel, the local Auto-Poser-Soko immediately moves out with blue lights.

We're like the Pistons used to: When the ref whistles, you're powerless. The solution? Decency dictates that in the city.And if there is no self-appointed assistant referee with an instant replay device watching from far away, you send your inner Bill Laimbeer onto the field - as an undercover bad boy, so to speak.

Conclusion

Five stars - why? Because of this crazy wide body, the great emotions with the monster sound of the brutal V8, plus the traction dance on the gas pedal with the hyperactive compressor. And because unreasonableness can sometimes be rewarded in these sensible times. The Dodge only has flaws that should (almost) not matter to the target group.

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