You’ve probably never looked at the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and thought to yourself, “There’s no way I’m going to buy that thing until the factory makes one with 797 horsepower and a stop speed of 203 mph.”
Those are figures best left to high-end exotics even rich people rarely drive, not the plebeian family sedan. Besides, Dodge has already done so much to make the Charger as menacing as possible, and the Hellcat variant is already the fastest production sedan in existence. There would be nothing to gain by adding another 80 horsepower and 57 lb-ft of torque except continued bragging rights. It’s a preposterous notion. Yet Dodge happens to be a ridiculous company, absolutely loves bragging, and has earned the right to do so.
Our coverage of Dodge’s latest and greatest performance products continues with the all-new Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye.
There are a few manufacturers selling vehicles in this country that seemingly don’t want everyone to drive something painted a dull shade of grey or white. Large, teutonic sedans from Ingolstadt or Munich all seem to be on the greyscale (when was the last time you saw an A6 or 5 Series in any sort of bright color?), but even these manufacturers let loose with their sportier offerings. The natty Turbo Blue found on a TT RS is particularly eye-popping.
What’s your take? Given the option, if you were to buy a new car today, would it blend with the pavement — or would it be visible from space?
For a model seemingly older than the domestication of plants and animals, the Dodge Charger manages to foist new things at its intended audience every year. Same goes for its two-door sibling, the Challenger.
For 2020, the Charger offers something the Challenger debuted for the 2018 model year: a GT model with four-wheel grip.
No one has a need for a large family sedan that produces over 700 horsepower.
But I’m glad one exists.
Dodge is now offering a wider Charger Hellcat and Scat Pack in a bid to keep reminding us enthusiasts that the Charger’s aging platform may still have plenty of life left in it. Somehow, this trick continues to work.
Dodge’s Charger and Challenger are rolling anachronisms we’ll miss after they’re gone. For now, the two full-size rear-drivers soldier on into the future atop their ancient underpinnings, with Fiat Chrysler bestowing an ever-growing list of variants upon still-interested buyers.
The latest corrects what some Mopar fans may have viewed as an oversight. Last year, following the release of the long-teased Challenger SRT Demon, Dodge pushed the Challenger SRT Hellcat’s supercharged 6.2-liter up to 717 horses, giving would-be buyers 10 more reasons to desire the model. A Redeye version delivered 797 hp, a downgrade (if it can really be called that) from the limited-edition Demon’s 840 hp.
Meanwhile, the Charger was left to “suffer” with only 707 hp. Not anymore.
We’re living in a golden age of performance where somehow, despite all the focus on electrification and sport-utility development, you can still buy a nearly 800 horsepower coupe off the showroom floor for less than six figures. All of the so-called “Detroit 3” manufacturers are offering supercharged V8’s that start with the Camaro ZL1 and Corvette Z06’s 650 hp and top out at the Challenger Redeye’s 797 hp. The new Shelby GT500 falls in between, with 760 hp.
Are they the fastest iterations of each of their respective platforms? Yes. Does that make them the best? No. In fact, they become inferior in the process.
Maximizing the footprint with which to apply up to 707 horsepower and 650 ft-lbs of torque, the 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat and Scat Pack add a Widebody package to cover their 305/35ZR20 Pirelli tires and 20×11-inch wheels. For the Hellcat, 0-60 mph comes in 3.6 seconds while the quarter-mile elapsed time drops to 10.96 seconds and the skidpad grip builds to 0.96 g. Combined with the additional braking grip and revised chassis tuning, the lap time around an FCA-approved, 2.1-mile road course drops by a massive 2.1 seconds.
The Scat Pack Widebody sees similar improvements, getting to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.3 seconds on its way to a 12.4 second quarter mile. Without the weight of the supercharger and associated plumbing over the nose, the Scat Pack Widebody pulls an even more impressive 0.98 g on the skidpad. Around the same 2.1-mile road course (presumably GingerMan Raceway), the Charger Scat Pack drops 1.3 seconds in Widebody form.
Dodge released a teaser video this morning of a Charger SRT, shrouded by a sheet flapping in the wind. Though covered, the visible cues point to the previously-spied widebody Charger. The video is titled, “Something big is coming…”, so they’re not exactly leaving much to the imagination.
The front bumper looks to ready depart from the current SRT Charger design by incorporating a snout akin to that found on the SRT Durango. The lower outer air inlets grow considerably larger and more aggressive, as well.
In September of last year, the Michigan State Police conducted their 2019 Model Year Police Vehicle Evaluations. The purpose of these tests is to provide objective performance data to the individual agencies who are making purchasing decisions for their divisions.
For the automakers, it’s an all-out race for pride in being the superior bad-guy chaser. Ford hands off the title from their own 2018 3.5-liter EcoBoost Police Interceptor AWD (Taurus) sedan to their 2019 Police Interceptor Utility 3.0L EcoBoost AWD Explorer SUV.
It’ll have not escaped your notice that the performance arm of FCA is currently going all-in on horsepower. Numbers cresting the 700 mark currently reside in SUVs, while the march towards the stratosphere continues in the Challenger. I firmly believe that, even at 840 horsepower, they haven’t yet reached the upper limits of what a speed-crazed Mopar fan can buy right off the showroom floor.
If that same fan is willing to deal with the “some assembly required” mantra, they can now treat themselves to Mopar’s new Hellephant engine — a supercharged beast making 1,000 horsepower.
Like a bull who’s had enough of the matador and his capote de brega, the Dodge Charger has been spied flaring its nostrils. We saw this design flourish in a teaser shot distributed by the company for the 2019 Charger Hellcat, and it now shows up on the Scat Pack trim.
The Charger is currently offered in no fewer than 11 different trims that represent a steady and relentless upward march of power and tire-melting capabilities. The Scat Pack is number eight on the totem pole.
The Dodge Charger and its Challenger cousin have been stalwart models of the Dodge lineup since the 2006 model year, back when the place was still called DaimlerChrysler.
By the way, it’s been 20 years since that “merger of equals” (which it totally wasn’t) and Automotive News has a fantastic longform piece on the milestone with behind-the-scenes stories from people who lived to tell the tale. The description of a senior-level German lighting up a cigar while steamrolling the “no smoking” exhortations of the Chrysler contingent tells you all you need to know about who was really in charge at the time.
I digress. Now, about that 2019 Charger. It appears a four-door Hellcat will continue after all.
Every now and then, life takes you by surprise. One minute you’re hanging out with your buddies, deploying the 225 horsepower of a tattered Mustang GT to do donuts in the parking lot of the Muddy Shag Lounge. The next, you’re weighing the benefits of a variable rate mortgage.
It’s an alarming reminder of age, not unlike the sudden predilection of my knees to sound like nails in a Cuisinart when I attempt to alight from my sofa after watching the Pittsburgh Penguins get shellacked by the Chicago Blackhawks.
One such life event snuck up on me a couple of weeks ago: I finally kept a car long enough to pay it off.
It was impossible to escape the word “Turbo” in the 1980s.
There were Turbo Aviators and Turbo Hoover vacuums. Turbo was a character on American Gladiators. There was even Turbo chewing gum, which came with a cool mini car poster wrapper. Turbo was a helluva drug in the 1980s, and Chrysler took note.
BMW offered one turbocharged gasoline model. Porsche offered three. But Chrysler? Over a 10 year span, the Pentastar turbocharged its entire car lineup, bringing us some 20 turbocharged models powered by no less than six different variations of the 2.2- and 2.5-liter inline-fours.
As a six-and-a-half-foot tall red-blooded male who’s driven in demolition derbies and owns John Deere machinery, I naturally gravitated to a big, rear-wheel drive, future Junkyard Find sedan when it came time to replace our family car four years ago. Settling on a Pentastar-powered 2012 Dodge Charger, one non-negotiable item was FCA’s 8.4-inch uConnect screen. The other was ZF’s eight-speed automatic.
As we know, hapless drivers have failed to put their ZF-equipped cars in Park, confused by the spring-loaded shifter’s design, which always returns it to a central position no matter what gear those drivers select. The NHTSA started an investigation and FCA voluntarily recalled over a million 2014-2015 Grand Cherokees and 2012-2014 Chargers/300s.
I got my recall notice in the mail yesterday, which provided me with two things: a “Visor Tips Card” and a good belly laugh.