Car UK – June 2023
English | 134 pages | pdf | 108.15 MB
Welcome at Car UK Magazine June 2023 Issue
To this day I’ve never driven anything like it. My one and only contact with the cultural touchstone that is the American muscle car in context (and context is crucial: a Mustang on the M25 is still a Mustang, but it doesn’t work like it does on sun-scorched US blacktop, starring in its own mind’s-eye art movie every 500 yards) was a few unforgettable days with a Dodge Hellcat. You know the Hellcat: that unholy, 707hp union of supercharged 6.2-litre V8 and a car so charmingly built down to a price the entire rig came in at just $60,000/£48,000.
Was it good? It was; certainly if good is completely capturing your imagination and laying down memories so potent I can still smell the rubber when I close my eyes. Every moment in the thing felt incredible: elbow up on the door with the window dropped, snug behind a vertical cliff face of a dashboard that, perhaps appropriately, felt more like monitoring the machinations of a ’60s power station than driving car.
They don’t make ’em like they used to – do they? Certainly 2023 is the end of the road for the V8 Charger and Challenger. But the V8 muscle car will go on. Witness the new Mustang and its newer still Dark Horse derivative. But they also make them – American performance cars, that is – with hybrid-assisted V8s (the Corvette E-Ray) and no V8 at all (Dodge’s Charger Banshee).
Which is quite the crossroads to be at, enginerumbling, thinking left, right, or straight on?
The Dark Horse is a comforting slab of give ’em what they want, piston-engined apple pie. Previously pretty dismissive of the ’Stang, our recent Mach 1 long-term test car
made me think again.
But I’m more excited about the E-Ray and the Banshee. Essentially the current mid-engined Corvette with an e-module on the front axle, everything that’s right about the 655hp, 2.5sec 0-60mph E-Ray is essentially everything that’s wrong with AMG’s four-cylinder C63. The Corvette knows its V8 is key, and cherry-picks the best that electrification has to offer in support of that USP. Inexplicably, the AMG ditches the V8 baby with the bathwater.
And the Banshee? It’s the most compelling of the three in my opinion. Back before you could buy a Bentley with a charging socket, then-CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer told me electrification held no fear for him.
After all, the great Bentleys have always been weighty, torquey, hugely refined and big on straight-line performance, characteristics almost intrinsic to battery-electric vehicles. Refinement aside, muscle car priorities are not dissimilar. They needn’t be especially light or agile just so long as they can insouciantly savage a quarter-mile.
No numbers yet but we’re assured the Banshee will destroy Dodge’s own Hellcat away from the lights, plus you’ll be pulling ‘gears’, mashing an F1-style push-to-pass button and having your brain battered by 126 decibels of ‘real’ noise, coming not from a speaker but rather manipulated, amplified airflow (and isn’t that what a combustion engine soundtrack is anyway?). And given we’ve established context is key, I have until next year, when the Banshee’s due into production, to emigrate across the pond.
Enjoy the issue.