August 15, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Tom Greenwood

A Hellcat will prowl Woodward

Every year for the Woodward Dream Cruise, the auto writers at The Detroit News business desk manage to wrangle a bad-boy car for me to drive during cruise week.

This year they lassoed me the hairiest, scariest car Iíve ever scored: the aptly named 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat that produces a beastly 707 horsepower.

(Consider this: the 60-ton Abrams battle tank produces 1,500 horsepower, plus thereís no place to hang a tray if you stop at the A&W for a Papa Burger.)

The engine compartment alone is bigger than most Japanese apartments. When you hit the ignition, the rumble of the exhaust says ďand where do you want to go, little boy?Ē

Dripping with testosterone, the exhaust produces a growly vibration that could churn milk into butter.

Honestly, the only thing that would make it better would be if the tailpipes smelled like bacon.

After ignition, I glanced at the Hellcatís 8-inch display screen expecting it to flash ďyou are not worthy,Ē but instead it offered about a million options, including a choice of AM/FM/Satellite radio, traffic/weather, voice activated navigation, audio settings, phone, sport or track mode for steering and suspension, plus a clear and sharp-as-a-tack backup camera.

Thereís more: dual climate control, hot and cold seats and steering wheel, the ability to monitor quarter-mile times, G forces, real time horsepower and torque output readings, compass, blood pressure cuff and automated rectal thermometer. (Just kidding about the cuff and the rectal thermometer.)

Hereís another unique option: the Hellcat features two ignition keys, one red and one black. The black key limits your peak power to only 500 hp while the red ignition opens the door to the 707 hp Hemi.

So far Iíve kept the Hellcat in the 500 horsepower range because basically Iím a chicken.

Have I ďpunched it?Ē

Nope, but Iíve given it a pretty good nudge a couple of times.

I went from one zip code to another in very short amount of time while the speedometer rolled up faster than the digits on a gas pump.

OK, but letís get serious for a moment here and talk about gas mileage.

WHO CARES! It cranks out 707 horsepower and has enough torque to escape from the clutches of one of those massive black holes astronomers are always kvetching about.

The pre-option starting price for this particular Hellcat is about $60,000. Would I buy one?

Sure, if I was richer, skinnier and about 150 years younger.

But Iím sure thatís how Iíll feel on Saturday when me and the Hellcat prowl Woodward.
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Tom Greenwood is behind the wheel of a 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat for this year's Woodward Dream Cruise. / Clarence Tabb Jr / The Detroit News