It’s Hellcat vs. Trackhawk in the ultimate Hemi-powered grudge match

Hennessey Performance Engineering brought together two of Chrysler’s meanest muscle cars for a drag race. Who wouldn’t want to see that?

Lining up at the start are a 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody and a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Both vehicles pack the same 6.2-liter supercharged  Hemi V8, producing 707 horsepower. The Dodge boasts 650 pound-feet of torque, while the Jeep has 645 lb-ft. For the drag race, both vehicles rode on stock tires, according to Hennessey.

But the Jeep also has all-wheel drive, and that makes all of the difference here. Despite weighing about 800 pounds more than the Hellcat, the Trackhawk walks away from it at the start, and extends its lead from there. With only rear-wheel drive, the Hellcat can’t get its power to the ground efficiently.

Given a long enough drag strip, the lighter Hellcat would eventually catch up with the Trackhawk. Dodge claims the Hellcat Widebody (which has wider, grippier tires than the standard Hellcat) will run the quarter mile in 10.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 196 mph, compared to Jeep’s estimates of 11.6 seconds and 180 mph for the Trackhawk.

Both brands quote 0-to-60 mph times of 3.5 seconds for their respective vehicles. That the heavier Trackhawk can, in theory, accelerate as quickly as the Hellcat again shows the advantage of all-wheel drive. Getting the quickest time out of the rear-wheel drive Hellcat is also trickier, something this real-world drag race made clear.

Considering that buyers now have the choice of putting a 707-hp V8 in a coupe or an SUV (not to mention the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat sedan), it’s clear that we’re in a new golden age of muscle cars. But if factory levels of performance aren’t enough, Hennessey will boost the output of either the Hellcat or the Trackhawk to a staggering 1,012 hp and 969 lb-ft of torque with its HPE1000 performance package.

A souped up Hellcat or Trackhawk would be one of Hennessey’s tamer creations. The company also offers a six-wheeled version of the Ford F-150 Raptor with up to 600 hp. It’s also cooking up the Venom F5 supercar, complete with a claimed top speed of 301 mph.

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