Warm-Up Lap: Tesla P85D Demolishes Challenger Hellcat

The Dodge Challenger Hellcat is a no-holds-barred quarter-mile machine that represents the 707 horsepower zenith of the American muscle car. The Tesla Model S P85D is the 691 horsepower poster child of the plug-in car movement. It’s only natural that the two would find themselves lining up in a drag race in a battle of old school vs. new, and Mopar fan boys aren’t going to be happy with the results for a multitude of reasons.

First, let’s focus on the fact that the all-wheel drive Model S launches with precision and little fanfare, knocking down a record-setting 11.68 at 114 MPH, making it both the quickest and fastest production electric car out there. It’s also a nearly 5,000 pound family sedan with room for up to seven human beings (if you include the two rear jump seats), so that should give you some idea of just how potent the Dual Motor Drive really is.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that the Challenger Hellcat driver just absolutely sucked, red-lighting, roasting his tires, proving that money can’t buy driving skills. It also demonstrates how, despite similar outputs, how much easier it is to drive and launch an electric car compared to managing a combustion engine. The Tesla can monitor and manage torque on the fly to provide perfect grip, while the Hellcat driver clearly opted to turn the Launch Control option off. In the P85D, all you have to do is select the “Insane” setting, and all that glorious instant torque is at your fingertips.

That said, with a better driver the Challenger Hellcat is supposed to be faster to the tune of an 11.3 second quarter-mile. That 0.3 second difference isn’t much, and it also isn’t easy to attain as this video shows. But just about anyone can get behind the wheel of a P85D and click off 11-second runs all day.

So I ask you which is the better car; the one that takes tremendous skill to drive fast, or the one that takes almost no skill at all?

 

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.