“Is that the Hellcat?!” the excited voices clamoured all week. “No, this is ‘just’ the regular 392 Hemi.” I expected to see disappointment, to hear it in their voices. It didn’t come.

“Wow, I love this colour, this looks awesome! Bet it still goes like hell too, yeah?”

Well, yeah. Frankly.

It looks the goods too, the recent refresh, especially the headlight treatment, elevated the Charger from outdated brute to shredded street fighter. The menacing hood scoop and aggressive front splitter are beautifully executed and the bulging hood sets off the purposeful silhouette. Even the rear brake vent ducts in the rear bumper are well done, mirroring the character line pressed into the doors. The 20-inch SRT rims fill the wheel wells and command respect with just a little more gap in the rear well giving the Charger a head-down, arse-up stance.

Everything about this car says “alpha dog”.

And yet you have to feel for the former top-flight Charger trim.

These days, nobody can ever speak about the SRT 392, or write a review of it, without speaking about its a bigger, badder brother. Its 485 hp and 475 lb-ft were once enough to make everyone else quiver in their boots but the stout 707 hp metered out by the Hellcat make those numbers seem so small.

Which is unfair, because there’s nothing small about 485 hp when you stand hard on that right-hand pedal.

When you do, especially if you’ve already delved into the SRT Track app in the massive display screen and selected “Track” mode – you will light the rears up in a glorious shower of hot rubber and glory.

Or, if you’re more judicious with the throttle and give the traction control an opportunity to assist you, the Charger will shunt forward with the sort of enthusiasm and thrust that makes your passengers scream, squeal, giggle or punch you, depending on who they are. My wife punched me. My daughter giggled. My wife punched me again.

The SRT also gets a launch control button, which I pressed… and then promptly un-pressed when I saw my wife curling her hand into a fist once again.

The point I’m trying to make is: If you chose to buy “just” the 392 Hemi you will not be disappointed. You will not feel like you need more power, and anyone who tells you that you “should have bought the Hellcat” will likely eat their words within 10 seconds of sitting down in your passenger seat.

This setup is actually more usable on the street too, a little easier to drive, a little lighter on the fuel load and a lot less likely to make you dead.

Less sensible choices: 2016 Challenger SRT Hellcat vs. 2016 Charger SRT Hellcat

It’s the more sensible choice. Kind of.

If you were to owe someone money, and they wanted you to know they need that money back, this is the first bloke they’d send ’round to explain that to you. Most of us would pay up lickety-split after that first visit.

The Hellcat is more likely the person who comes knocking the second time around. It’s the overkill.

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