Buying Guides

The 5 Highest Horsepower Muscle Cars

Welcome to the new muscle car horsepower war

Wade Thiel, Senior Staff Writer

Muscle cars don't demand the kind of market share they used to, but the vehicle type certainly hasn't died off. Instead, it's become more powerful and extreme than ever before. Some talk about the heyday of the muscle car being the late 1960s, but those cars pale in comparison to today's cars in terms of power and performance. If you want to go extremely fast for a reasonable amount of dough, these are the models you should pick from.

2018 Dodge SRT Demon

 
  • PROS: Record-setting in just about every way, looks match the name of the car, and impeccable attention to detail.
  • CONS: Banned by NHRA, only really good in a straight line.

The first thing you need to know about the SRT Demon is that it has 840 hp. The second thing is that it’s a drag car that’s banned from drag racing at NHRA events. Well, that is unless you install a roll cage. The car can run a sub 10-second quarter mile at 140 mph.

The Demon is takes the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat’s package up several notches and customizes it specifically for the dragstrip. Every inch of the car is designed specifically to go fast in a straight line. If you’re looking for the most badass muscle car available on the market today, this is it.

2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Best

for the dragstrip

  • PROS: Can truly accommodate four adults, attractive classic muscle car proportions and styling.
  • CONS: Weight and size hinder handling, poor rear visibility.

We know. It’s not cool to have two versions of the same car on this list, but the Challenger SRT Hellcat doesn’t deserve to be forgotten just because the SRT Demon exists. The Challenger Hellcat, may not make 840 hp but it still makes a whopping 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, and it does so in a car that can easily be your daily driver.

The Challenger Hellcat can sprint from 0-60 in just 3.6 seconds, and it has a manufacturer-claimed top speed of 199 mph. Its heavy curb weight keeps it from being a dream on the racetrack, but it’s at least capable of making it around without issue. On the roads you drive every day, this car can be a true joy.

2017 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

 
  • PROS: Family sedan size with real drag racer power, good brakes and suspension make it good to drive outside of a drag strip.
  • CONS: Sport tuned suspension makes the ride harsh, rear seat isn’t as spacious as other large sedans.

Dodge’s Charger SRT Hellcat is the most powerful production sedan in the world. The 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine blasts out a whopping 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. The Charger Hellcat can rocket from 0-60 mph in just 3.4 seconds, and the car’s top speed is a manufacturer claimed 204 mph. It’s a five-passenger land missile with tons of attitude and a riotous engine and exhaust note.

The Dodge Charger has good brakes and some serious cornering performance. This makes the Charger Hellcat a real riot on the right road. If you’ve got some room to ring the engine out and a few tight turns at the end, you’re going to be in nirvana driving this car.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Best

for The Racetrack

  • PROS: All the muscle you could wish for, and the suspension and brakes to make it manageable.
  • CONS: Difficult to choose gears manually with paddles shifters due to the 10-speed transmission’s number of gears.

Chevrolet’s most powerful Camaro ever is a beautiful thing to behold. The Camaro ZL1 has a burly 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that’s been tuned to produce 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. Roasting the tires in this car is easy and sprinting from 0-60 mph even easier. Hold the pedal down for 3.4 seconds and you’re there. It’s got a top speed of 198 mph and can go around a racetrack faster than most cars twice its price.

The Camaro ZL1 is a muscle car that’s also a track car. It’s about more than straight-line speed. To fine tune the car, Chevrolet took it to the Nürburgring on six separate occasions. Those trips paid off too. The 2017 Camaro ZL1 ripped around the track almost 12 seconds faster than the previous model.

2017 Cadillac CTS-V

 
  • PROS: Luxuriously appointed interior, excellent seats, intoxicating power.
  • CONS: Cadillac’s infotainment system should be better, steering is a bit too light for something this fast.

The Cadillac CTS-V brings everything you love about muscle cars to a luxury marque. It’s beautifully appointed inside, sharp-looking outside, and a blast to drive. It’s got a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine lurking under its hood. That engine chugs out 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque. That makes the car good for a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds and a manufacturer-claimed top speed of 200 mph.

The best thing about the CTS-V is that it doesn’t have to be driven by a Wildman. It can be a soft, luxurious sedan for cruising around. The big engine’s power is tough not to tap, but this Cadillac can still be a civilized sedan for the upper classes.

Why Buy a Muscle Car?

  • Gobs of horsepower and torque
  • Burnouts all day long
  • Straight line speed
  • Gives the finger to efficiency

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