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Review: 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

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2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Heads turned and fingers pointed as we rumbled through the car show parking lot, looking for a prime spot to put the big Hellcat in the lot filled with a mixture of modern and classic cars. Garage-issue, souped up pickup trucks and oddball mishmashes of street rods made from combinations of Detroit-based brands were ignored as the big Dodge cat slid down the aisles.

The Challenger SRT Hellcat is well-known amongst automotive enthusiasts and when one appears, they all stop and admire. And no one seemed terribly surprised when five of us climbed out of the big muscle coupe, though. The Challenger’s interior roominess is also well-understood amongst modern car lovers.

For a week, we drove the 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat in the wilds of Eastern Wyoming, where the plains meet the Rockies and open roads and open range rule. On that particular day, we’d spent a comfy two hours driving from Cheyenne, Wyoming, over the border and up to Gering, Nebraska. This was our annual pilgrimage to the largest classic car show in the region, the Gering Father’s Day Classic.

2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

This year, we arrived in style. The Hellcat is never quiet, even at an idle. The rumble is felt as much as it is heard with a visceral presence of its own. That comes from the extremely well-tuned exhaust pipes coming off of the monstrous 6.2-liter V8 that’s supercharged to an ungodly 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque.

The big Challenger comes with either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic. While it might seem anathema to enthusiasts, you’ll get a lot more performance out of that automatic than you will the stick. With a machine capable of rocketing from a standstill to sixty miles per hour in only 3.6 seconds, having both hands on the wheel suddenly becomes pretty damn important. Especially considering the big Challenger weighs in the neighborhood of 4,500 pounds. Even Dodge says that the automatic transmission will net faster 0-60 times than the manual. About 3 tenths faster, in fact, with the six-speed being rated at 3.9 seconds.

2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Handling the Hellcat is a science that requires a lot of artistic finesse. Just pointing the wheels forward and punching the accelerator doesn’t produce good 0-60 or quarter mile times. It will very likely produce snaking tread trails and an offroad extravaganza of dirt throwing as the big beast leaves the pavement after you’ve lost control. Equipped with Pirelli P Zero summer tires (a $700 upgrade that’s well worth it) improves a lot of the handling dynamics track enthusiasts and back road wannabes will desire. The standard all-season tires just don’t do much for the big Hellcat’s drive.

Whatever the tires, though, the driver matters a lot. Not knowing how to handle the Challenger SRT Hellcat is a sure way to end up pointed in the wrong direction.. or much worse. Add to that the fact that each piece of pavement is different, so learning how to control on your particular stretch is also important. With practice, we managed to get past the tepid first runs with poor returns, experienced a few sphincter-puckering traction loss shimmies, and finally figured out the right pedal formula for getting our best times consistently.

We weren’t hitting factory numbers, by any means, but beating four and a half seconds became easy and our best times were below four, making us quite proud. We were also impressed with ourselves in that the pavement was mostly clean when we were done. Because we’re pros. Or just lucky.

2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Beyond drag strip performances, though, the 2017 Challenger SRT Hellcat also offers fun everyday driving. Fuel economy isn’t great and if you have to ask what it is, you probably aren’t in the market for a car like this. We have a gas guzzler tax for a reason and you’ll be paying it when you buy a Hellcat. Like all Challenger models, though, the big Hellcat is roomy, extremely comfortable, and smooth on the road. This is the last of the truly American muscle cars and it embodies the smooth-running, comfortable way that our unique take on performance has always had. This means that the Challenger Hellcat can be not only a fun weekend runner, but an everyday driver as well.

The added fun of having all of that power on tap whenever you’d like is another big bonus. Getting out on the freeway and passing into the left lane to get around a semi-truck or a couple of slower moving cars means little insta-thrills. Pushing down the pedal and hearing the engine suddenly roar with delight is addictive; as is seeing the looks on others’ faces as you rocket past them with the unmistakable sound of an unbridled V8.

2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a vehicle like the 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. It’s big, mean, and filled with testosterone.. It’s the embodiment of Americana and a reminder that there is one thing we’ve always done well in automotive: supply huge amounts of muscle in “I know exactly what kind of car that is” packaging.

No matter how much we pretend to be sophisticated first worlders, the reality is, us Americans love bigger, faster, stronger things. That’s what the Challenger SRT Hellcat is. And we love it.

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How To Know When It’s Time To Get A New Family Car

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Whether you have a sensible sedan, a standard minivan, or a versatile SUV, you place a lot of trust in your family car. However, no matter how reliable your vehicle is, you’ll have to replace it with a new model eventually. How do know when it’s the right time to upgrade? Here are some of the top signs it’s a good time to buy a new family car.

1. You’re Paying Expensive Repair Costs

No matter how well you look after your vehicle, time, wear and tear, and age eventually take their toll. When you find yourself having to make minor repairs often or taking your car into the shop several times a year for substantial and expensive fixes, it may be time to consider moving on.

Keeping a car past its prime can cost a lot of money in terms of repair costs. Older cars are generally less efficient as well, so you could be overspending on gas. Mileage is another important factor to consider. Some makes and models can be reliable past 200,000 miles, whereas others become unstable before this milestone. Do some research on your car to determine how likely it is that you’ll run into constant problems if you continue driving it.

2. Your Family Is Growing

Your compact car may have worked fine when you had your first child, but squeezing multiple car seats in the back can be a challenge. If your family is growing in number, or simply growing up, chances are you have more car seats, luggage, backpacks, and sports gear you need to fit in your vehicle. If you’re constantly trying to maneuver things around to make riding in your car comfortable, it may be time to consider an upgrade.

If you choose to upgrade your family car, you can look forward to several benefits beyond just having more space. Newer cars generally have more features, and models designed for families (such as minivans) may have numerous helpful additions. You may find that having a new car with more cupholders, configurable seats, automatic doors, and entertainment systems makes your time driving with the family exponentially more comfortable.

3. You’re Moving to a Different Location

If you are moving to a place with a drastically different climate, it could be wise to buy a new family car. For example, if you’re moving to a sunny coastal climate, you may want to trade in your four-wheel-drive for something smaller and more efficient. Alternately, if you’re moving to a mountain state, it’s probably a good idea to consider switching your convertible out for a reliable and maneuverable SUV.

4. You’re Financially Ready

One of the most challenging parts of upgrading your family car is the financial burden. Whether you buy new or used, chances are taking home a new vehicle will require paying a hefty chunk of cash or signing a big loan. Either way, your personal financial status plays a large part in deciding when it’s time to buy a new car.

However, you can look at it the other way as well. If you are in a good financial spot with excellent credit and a comfortable safety net in the bank, you may want to think about investing in a new car. Buying at a time when you can afford a large down payment and qualify for a favorable loan can make more financial sense than waiting until repairs force you to buy a new car quickly. If you wait, you may not be in such sound financial waters as you are now.

Being able to afford a new car or qualify for a good loan also gives you the flexibility to choose the best option for your family. Maybe you want to move to an electric car to save money on gas and help the environment. Perhaps you want to get an SUV to make it easier and safer to spend weekends camping in the mountains. When you have the time and resources to do all the research and choose the best model for your family, it can take a lot of stress out of the whole process.

Deciding when to upgrade your family car can require a lot of thought. However, there are some standard signs that can indicate it’s time to start considering a new vehicle. Mounting repair costs can make it financially more affordable to get a new car. You may also want to consider upgrading when you’re in a good financial spot with the assets to either pay cash or secure a favorable loan.

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The 2019 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe Will Set You Back $111,900

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2019 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe

Last month, BMW unveiled the long-awaited 8 Series Coupe to the delight of enthusiasts from around the world, who have been waiting nearly two decades for the Bavarian car company to bring back the iconic luxury sports coupe.

BMW gave us a full run-down on the the 2019 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe, which is powered by a new twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 that puts out 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, launching the car from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 155 mph.

The BMW M850i is equipped with xDrive rear-biased intelligent all-wheel drive, mated to an eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission that has been updated with wider ratios and sportier gear shifts. Standard performance features include M Sport brakes and Adaptive M suspension with Active-Roll Stabilization.

Standard equipment on the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe includes Full LED headlights with BMW LaserLight technology, BMW Individual Merino leather seats, BMW Live Cockpit Professional, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and more.

That all sounds great, but how much will it cost?

The 2019 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe starts will start at $111,900 plus a $995 Destination and Handling fee, with cars arriving in dealerships nationwide on December 8th.

Naturally, BMW has a plethora of options to push that sticker price much higher, including an optional Driving Assistant Professional, a 1,400 watt Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system, a carbon fiber exterior trim package, just to name a few.

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The 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Is The Demon’s Spawn

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2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

As you’ve probably heard, the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon has already reached the end of its limited-production run, with 3,300 of them produced in less than a year.

Missed out on your chance to purchase one? Well today is your lucky day, because Dodge/SRT just unveiled the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye today, a slightly less powerful Demon spawn, with “only” 797 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque, with an eight-speed automatic transmission as the only option.

The Hellcat Redeye will rocket from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, run the quarter-mile in 10.8 seconds at 131 mph, with a top speed of 203 mph, earning it the bragging rights as the “most powerful production V8” and “quickest production muscle car” currently in production.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Needless to say, the Mustang Shelby GT500 is going to struggle keeping up with this bad boy. Same with the Corvette ZR1, which comes up short with 755 horsepower.

Like its Demon brethren, the Hellcat Redeye has 25 major component upgrades, including a larger supercharger, strengthened connecting rods and pistons, high-speed valve train, fuel injection system and improved lubrication system.

It also has the Torque Reserve system that delivers up to 3.9 psi of boost at launch and up to 55% more engine torque, along with the SRT Power Chiller and After-Run Chiller (which use the air conditioning system to cool the intercooler and reduce engine temps).

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

And new for 2019, the Redeye offers two final drive ratios, a standard 2.62:1 or an available 3.09:1 for enhanced launch capabilities. Helping put all that power to the ground is a high-strength steel prop shafts and 41-spline half shafts, both of which increase torque capacity.

Furthermore, the SRT Hellcat Redeye is available with the Demon’s Widebody package, which allows for some meatier tires (275mm on the standard body cars, 305mm on the widebody cars). That extra rubber helps shave off 0.3 seconds in the 1/4 mile (10.8s vs 11.1s), so to us it seems like a no-brainer. It also looks pretty bad-ass.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

No word on pricing just yet, but expect it to fall somewhere between the Hellcat and Demon. And if that ends up being too rich for your blood, you can always go with a “normal” Hellcat, which gets a modest power bump to 717 horsepower and 656 lb-ft of torque.

The 2019 Challenger lineup will roar into dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2018, so you’d better start saving your money now.

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