By Joseph Moss – firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a clash of the titans. Now, we are going to find out who is the greatest super sedan in the world, and, surprisingly, we aren’t going to Germany to test this out. Coming straight from the proud US of A, in the left corner is the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. With the most amazing supercharged V8 ever installed in a muscle car, this atrocity has already proved its insane performance and sheer excitement racing with the likes of Ferraris and Porsches, and winning in the process. In the other, greener corner under the rainbow of ecology and future resides the silent and almost humble Tesla Model S P85D.
This is not only a clash between two cars. It is not even a clash between two totally opposite ways of transportation. This is a clash of cultures, a clash of the best from the past with the best of what we have now that could lead us to a better future. The outcome isn’t even important. What is important is that we have an opportunity to compare two similar, yet profoundly different, driving concepts, one of which will definitely take over the world in the near future.
The specs are quite straightforward here. Both cars have engines capable of producing around 707 HP (707 HP for the Charger and 691 HP for the Model S), both are four-door saloons capable of comfortably transporting five people, and both can do a run to 60 in much less than four seconds. No other stock four-door sedan of this size is capable of such insanity. So, similarities clearly exist, but the differences are much, much more profound.
Starting with the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, it is important to note that this machine was clearly designed to provide conservative American drivers a chance to feel a slice of the ultimate muscle car roar before engines and cars like this become outlawed. Now, this one fits into the market quite comfortably, but for how long!? On the other hand, the Tesla Motors Model S P85D is the ultimate expression of an electric car. It has the best batteries, two motors powering all four wheels, the best possible launch control and the lowest center of gravity of almost any other car in production up until this point. So, it’s a hot machine.
Before we sink deep into the mind-boggling numbers, the biggest issue with comparing these two is that they are not in a similar price range. While the Charger Hellcat is available to basically anyone who owns a fast food restaurant, you’d have to own a few of them to buy the Tesla Model S P85D, or be a lawyer/entrepreneur or just a really smart guy. The Tesla is worth almost twice as much as the Hellcat. It is not by chance that a saying that goes something like this rolls out here: “Bang for a buck, you can’t beat the ‘cat!” As we said before, this is not just a fight between the Tesla Model S P85D and the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. This is a fight between two very different lifestyles.
That is obvious just by looking at them. While the Charger looks bad and, it has to be told, magnificently mobster, the Tesla Model S P85D is something like a smart man in a suit wearing a punch you wouldn’t expect. And that is about it—sophisticated against unrefined, and subtle against rough. However, don’t think for a minute that the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat isn’t sophisticated. It is! Really sophisticated. If it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be a freaking way that its suspension, transmission and architecture could deal with the punch a throaty and nicely tuned 6.2 liter V8 can deliver.
How much thought went into building the engine for the Hellcat is best shown by its impressive uniqueness among other FCA V8 engines. True, the base structure and architecture did get used from the likes of engines such as the 5.7 liter, 6.1 liter and 6.4 liter FCA engines from the past, but everything that counts was changed. According to one estimate, as much as 90 percent of the parts are all new. The block is thicker, new cooling and added NVH lowering techniques were employed, as well as the forged steel crankshaft, new bearings, connecting rods and aluminum pistons in order to deliver the best possible power response with the best possible reliability. It works. It works so well that the engine, with the monstrous 30,000-liter-of-air-per-minute turbocharger, delivers insane 707 HP and even more mind-bending 650 pound-feet of torque. Huge power delivery is channeled to the rear wheels with the Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual transmission or a ZF/TorqueFlite paddle-shifted 8HP90 eight-speed automatic. These transmission systems were specially adapted for use on the highly powerful car. At last, they have to bear the load of burnouts and numerous quarter of a mile runs.
The rubber on it will definitely be annihilated more than once, but if you get this car in your life, there is only one proper way to go—Pirelli PZero tires. Simply the best application, although 707 HP will shatter them in an instant if you are up to the task.
What we have learned about the Charger SRT Hellcat is that it is the most brutal muscle car in existence, retaining the best from the tech from yesterday. What on the other hand Tesla Motors is doing with the Model S P85D is totally different. It is so different, actually, that we think Elon Musk gathered everything he could from the time of tomorrow.
Taking an absolutely different path for solving the need for speed problems, Elon Musk and his team started a sort of Darwinian attempt of creating the Model S. First off, it was a nice gadget, then an alternative to hybrid cars, then it became the alternative to the real cars and now, after only a couple of years really, the constant updating and evolution mean that this is not an alternative—it is the car to have.
However, we have to say that the Charger Hellcat with all this high-tech internal combustion engine (ICE) nonsense looks a bit like an axe in comparison with the clever Tesla. While the D in its name stands for Dual, or to be blunt for both axles driven, the engines used for the thing do not fall short of incredible. Providing a total power of 691 HP and an instant torque of amazing 687 pound-feet of torque, the only thing limiting these engines to make the Tesla go to warp is the limited amount of electrons that can be pulled from the enormous 85 kW battery located in the floor of the car. This setup really made German and American manufacturers scratch their heads, and now all of them are in a sort-of-a-race moment trying to deliver electric cars of similar performance. However, they are at least six years late, and Tesla Motors is doing ever so slightly more to increase the efficiency of its drive.
By this we mean that the Model S P85D isn’t the fastest or the most powerful one. The new Model S P90D took its title; and while the Insane mode that granted access to the full acceleration potential has made headlines for ages, the new 90D went further yet and granted access to the Ludicrous mode. Now, we have to sing the numbers of both cars we are presenting here. The Charger Hellcat is the fastest ICE powered sedan to 60 mph ever, but it really can’t hold a candle to the Tesla Model S P85D (let alone the P90D). 0-60 for the Hellcat – 3.7 seconds. 0-60 for the Model S P85D – 3.1 seconds. A hell of a difference.
Actually, the Consumer Reports from the US did the math about some performance stuff and concluded that the Tesla accelerates like its freefalling – at one G. That’s Insane. With the P90D and Ludicrous mode, the acceleration will be even greater – 2.8 seconds. Now, that’s Ludacris.
This is, obviously, a clash no car can win. While one will grant you with the show never smelled before in the muscle car world, the other will teach you about the future. And you know what!? It is going to be awesome. It is going to be so awesome that we’ll forget about the ICE.