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Motorweek's decades of history on television make it the perfect medium to look back into the automotive past and see how things are different now. It recently added old road test videos to its YouTube channel of the Acura NSX and Toyota Supra, as well as the Ferrari F40. For one of its newest flashback clips, Motorweek has exhumed an affordable five-car challenge of 1986's premiere hot hatches.
By today's standards, this is an eclectic field that features fondly remembered classics like the Volkswagen GTI 16-valve and Acura Integra. However, it also throws in some nearly forgotten contenders like the Dodge Colt Turbo and Ford Escort GT. The angular Toyota Corolla FX16 GT-S rounds out the group.
It's fascinating to watch Motorweek run the quintet through the slalom, down the drag strip and on various roads. What's most striking in this clip is the difference in the definition of a performance car between then and now. With its 16-valve, 1.8-liter four-cylinder, the GTI is the burliest of the contenders with 123 horsepower, but it still takes 8.8 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour. By today's standards, that would make it a plain-jane economy car, and not even a particularly quick one.
When Dodge released the Challenger Rallye Redline last year, it brought a new dimension of styling to the car's classic muscle car lines, but it was only available in V6 form lacking the oomph to back up its sinister appearance. To remedy that situation, Dodge is unveiling the Challenger R/T Redline, powered by a Hemi V8 engine, at the Chicago Auto Show.
Other than the extra cylinders, most of the R/T's Redline package carries over from the Rallye model including the custom-look 20-inch black chrome wheels with red paint accents, but the R/T version of the package gets more of a retro look to the side stripes with graphite graphics featuring Redline lettering. Cars equipped with the six-speed manual transmission will get a performance-tuned, low-restriction exhaust allowing the engine to produce 375 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque; cars with the five-speed auto are rated at 372 hp and 400 lb-ft, but they do offer a bright chrome Mopar t-handle shifter and steering wheel paddle shifters.
The R/T Redline Group is offered only on cars painted in Billet Silver, Granite Crystal, Bright White and Pitch Black, and it adds just $1,995 to the MSRP of the Challenger R/T (starting at $31,990) and the Challenger R/T Plus (starting at $33,990), which adds features like Nappa leather and Boston Acoustics speakers.
Almost immediately after we drove the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, we began wondering: what's next? Pumping 707 horsepower into the Challenger seemed so crazy - and so intoxicating - we just assumed that Dodge would try that trick again.
Rumors swirled about a Charger Hellcat. Frankly it makes even more sense than the Challenger version. The Charger is a bigger car, and Dodge has never been shy about dropping monster engines under its hood. Hell (cat), we've seen Charger mules running around town that appeared to be the super sedan.
And finally, it's here. The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat was revealed today at a preview event near Detroit, and it will be a centerpiece of the Chrysler display this weekend at the Woodward Dream Cruise.