Welcome to Motoring Monday for August 18, 2014

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

As if one 707 horsepower car in the Dodge showroom wasn’t enough. Dodge announced this week they’re dropping their supercharged powerhouse into the four-door Charger.

Making its appearance at the Woodward Dream Cruise this weekend, the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat has an NHRA-certified quarter mile time of 11.0 seconds on street tires and a top speed of 204 miles per hour.

This makes the Charger SRT Hellcat the world’s fastest and most powerful sedan ever built so says Dodge. With the now well known supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI making 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque, this will be hard to argue with for some time.

To make its appearance obvious, the Charger SRT Hellcat has heat extractors in the hood, unique front and rear fascias and eye-popping LED lighting at both the front and rear.

Unlike the Challenger SRT Hellcat which can be had with a manual or automatic gearbox, the Charger SRT Hellcat comes only with a heavy-duty eight-speed automatic which can snap off rev-matched shifts in as little as 160 milliseconds.

Brakes come courtesy of Brembo with 15.4” two-piece rotors and six-piston calipers. You can see them well through the unique 20” aluminum wheels. The Charger SRT Hellcat comes standard with an adaptive damping three-mode suspension.

Similar to the other Hellcat, you will get two key fobs – one black and one red. The red fob unlocks all 707 horsepower, the other keeps you restrained at closer to 500.

A special interior includes an SRT three-spoke, flat-bottom steering wheel, 7-inch reconfigurable digital gauge cluster, 8.4-inch touchscreen, Nappa leather and Alcantara suede seating and more premium trims throughout.

The first police department that adds one of these to their fleet gets an embroidered TestDriven.TV polo shirt!

Toyota FT-1 Sports Car Concept

This week Toyota brought a sequel to the original FT-1 sports car concept, in a new color and with a rich saddle interior – all of which teasing us with visions of their next production sports car.

On display over the weekend in Monterrey, the second iteration of the FT-1 is meant to show us what a more upscale theme might look like in the car who’s architecture is being developed in conjunction with BMW.

The natural saddle-colored leather on the seats offers up a more European classic look with an all-natural grain. Toyota says the intention is to bring in a more sophisticated feel and authenticity through color choice, showcasing the versatility of the FT-1 sports car concept.

Designer Sellene Lee and the team compared leather thicknesses, grain sizes and textures to find the perfect combination to create the look.

Raised metal mesh, metal accents and an embossed pattern on the instrument panel leather brings what Toyota calls a 3-D technical look.

While your Toyota dealer wont have anything like this for a while, this new Toyota FT-1 Concept and a new race-car version will be available for download in Gran Turismo 6 in September


At the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this weekend Steve Saleen introduced an all-new and ground-breaking model for his company, the Tesla Model S based FOURSIXTEEN.

Steve takes the all-electric Tesla Model S and works his trade-mark lifestyle magic by creating a new exterior and interior design and adding track-centric performance modifications.

Generous carbon-fiber body trims, a new front fascia, rear diffuser and rear spoiler all re-invent the aerodynamic properties of the Model S, creating more downforce than before.

The interior also receives rich custom leather with perforated and Alcantara accents. Genuine carbon fiber dash accents and a new center console with center storage areas and a much needed cup holder.

Performance enhancements are geared toward taking the power that exists and better applying it to the ground through a number of strategic enhancements starting with a quicker 11.39:1 final drive gear ratio.

Better applying the high torque, is a MaxGrip locking differential and a significantly re-mapped traction and stability control software which allows for faster acceleration and power response.

While power output isn’t increased, Saleen adds a better cooling system for the motor which allows it to provide top power for longer periods of time and more consistently.

Suspension and brakes get Saleen’s traditional makeover to increase cornering abilities as well as chassis responses for both track and every day driving. An adjustable suspension is also available as an option.

The Saleen FOURSIXTEEN is available for order now and starts at $152,000, with only a short 6-8 week delivery time.

International Route 66 Festival

This weekend was a busy time in car-land with the muscle-car roar at the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit to the classic upscale pitch of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California.

Our cameras were somewhere in-between at the International Route 66 Festival in Kingman, AZ. The annual festival moves to a different city each year along the mother road, celebrating the lore and flavor that has made the road a favorite with people the world over.

In Kingman, tourists and Route 66 enthusiast from around the globe attended the four day event which included cruises, concerts, exhibitions and a huge classic Volkswagen car show.

Bugs, Busses and dune biggies lined Route 66 as thousands converged to get a look and take in the fresh scent of gasoline in the air.

The Powerhouse hosted the convergence of both old and new with a historic Electric Car Exhibit featuring restored antique through modern-day vehicles along with some other fun vehicles.

We’ll have a full report on this event later this week, so come back and see.

Test Drives:

In our test drive’s this week we had the immensely talented 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport. With 420 twin-turbocharged horsepower and eight-speeds to shift, it promised a lot.

And when it came to performance, it didn’t disappoint. Accelerating from 0-60 in around 4.5 seconds the CTS Vsport proved it has the performance to match its rivals from Germany and Japan.

Pleasing was that the chassis, suspension and brakes also had the poise and refinement to not only handle all that power but in a way just as graceful as the many brands from over there.

The interior faced us with a few challenges including the touchy CUE driver control system which the world could do without, but outside of that was a car we can’t wait to drive again and recommend you try yourself.

On the way up to the Route 66 Festival in Kingman, AZ we issued the 2014 Lexus ES300h an MPG Roadtrip Challenge. T

This is where we seal up the gas tank and try our best to meet or beat the published EPA combined mpg rating, taking it on a grueling mountain backroad loop which also includes a good amount of city driving.

The mid-sized Lexus ES300h is rated at 40 mpg city, 39 mpg highway and 40 mpg combined by virtue of its Lexus Hybrid drive-train. Did it meet or beat 40 mpg? Tune in to see for yourself.

All these and many other test drive reviews can be found at our website TestDriven.TV or at YouTube.com/TestDrivenTV

Reality Check: Lincoln Dealership Scent

Lincoln Motor Company for the second week in a row makes our Reality Check, making news this week with another new marketing initiative to revive the brand.

Bless their hearts, the folks at Lincoln by now must think I’m bashing on them a little here. Truth be told I want our American brands to succeed, I do. But it seems they get blind with their internal powerpoint presentations and don’t actually see what we see out here.

Case in point this week Lincoln rolled out a new fragrance to be pumped into all of their dealerships, to create a lasting memory for car shoppers.

Called the Essence of Lincoln, the new perfume to regail car shoppers in showrooms has notes of green tea to encourage a sense of upscale well-being. There are also undertones of jasmine and tonka to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Together Lincoln says these form a fragrance that exudes luxury and warmth. Essence of Lincoln is made available on scent cards at Lincoln showrooms and is dispersed through the ventilation system.

You know, I have driven two of Lincoln’s top competitors this week, Lexus and Cadillac. These two brands reinforced their image and created a lasting memory for me with their cars, not a perfume piped into my nose through a ceiling vent.

The Cadillac CTS VSport offered a rich smell of burning rubber and super-heated brake pads that I will always remember it by. These are scents more likely to get me into a dealerships with a checkbook than green-tea and tonka beans. It’s just not that hard people, make some memorable cars.

Money Shot

It’s time now for our money-shot where we grab the week’s best photo from the press releases!

This week we look at the Jaguar Lightweight E-type, hand-built recreation to come from Jaguar Heritage, which operates within the Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations division. Six customer Lightweight E-types will be built each assigned one of the remaining chassis numbers originally allocated in 1963. Hmmmm!

That’s it for Motoring Monday this week, now you can be well armed for car talk this week at work. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel by clicking the link below and we’ll keep you updated on our latest news, drive reviews and Motoring Monday episodes.

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