A Challenger by any other name may be a Redeye.
The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody sounds like a mouthful, but it is also a handful. The six parts to its name may be difficult to remember, but this sport coupe’s performance capabilities won’t soon be forgotten.
Based on the revived Challenger series launched in 2008, the Hellcat Redeye brings sports car performance to the streets. It purrs when idling and screams like a banshee under full throttle. It’s also the apex predator in a segment that includes the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang.
Dodge offers the 2020 Challenger in 13 configurations ranging from the SXT ($28,095) to the SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody ($78,695). Dodge adds a separate $1,495 destination charge, while the federal government assesses a special $2,100 “gas guzzler” tax on Hellcat models, including our test vehicle. That evaluation model also added several packages and accessory upgrades, bringing its final price to a jaw-dropping $92,245. For the purpose of this review, we’ll concentrate on our lender car primarily.
Redeye Widebody Wonder
Every Dodge Challenger advances a sporty visage, but some trims do it better. From special hood scoops to fat tires and from full-body racing stripes to an oversized rear wing, a Challenger is available in many permutations.
The so-called “widebody” appellation represents thick fender flares, wide all-season performance tires, and an enhanced sport suspension system. In effect, it raises the aggression quotient to its highest level with this package.
Hellcat Redeye Power
Dodge offers four engine choices with the Challenger, including three HEMI V8s. The Hellcat Redeye’s engine isn’t the largest of the trio, but it is by far the most powerful thanks to a supercharger that supplies added boost from the onset of your drive.
In its standard configuration, the supercharged 6.2-liter engine develops 717 horsepower and 656 pound-feet of torque. In its enhanced Redeye configuration, a larger supercharger increases performance to 797 horsepower and 717 pound-feet of torque, one of the highest numbers ever for a mass-production car. Unlike the other Challenger models, a six-speed manual transmission is not offered. Instead, an 8-speed automatic sends power to the rear wheels.
The big fat tires on the rear are a necessary part of the Hellcat Redeye driving experience. Even with the girth, there is so much power sent to the rear wheels that inevitably they’ll do some fast dancing when gunning the gas pedal. Under normal driving, if that term can be used with this coupe, a tremendous amount of power lurks nearby.
Upon ignition, the engine purrs and the exhaust pipes growl. Head out as you normally would and the coupe moans and groans wherever it goes. There’s no quiet mode to please the neighbors – they’ll always know your comings and goings as will law enforcement looking for an easy ticket to write.
The Hellcat Redeye’s infotainment panel is your friend for learning how to best operate the coupe, as it offers touch-screen driving functions for switching between automatic (eco), custom, sport, and track modes. The novice driver should leave the system in automatic or switch to eco to gain just a sliver of an increase in fuel economy. We averaged 15.6 mpg for a week’s worth of driving, staying in automatic mode most times, but moving between sport and eco on the open road.
Once on the highway, the Hellcat Redeye is always ready to pounce. While we don’t recommend breaking laws (heading to the track is your best choice for satisfying your need for speed), the performance characteristics of this beefy coupe are easy to gauge. Indeed, with a 0-60 mph time of 3.4 seconds, you may feel like Marty McFly entering hyperdrive.
Unlike the “Back to the Future” series, there’s no flux capacitor to crack time barriers. But the whirling supercharger combined with the shrieking engine is an acceptable substitute. Just grip the steering wheel tightly and keep the nose centered.
On the straightaways, the Hellcat Redeye is a beast. On twisty roads, it holds its own, but when cornering, it’s easily outpaced by lighter and lower-to-the-ground sports cars.
Power to the People
The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody is for drivers who take their behind-the-wheel time seriously. On paper, it seats five, but it is ideal for two. The back seat is cramped, especially when the front seats are pushed back. Still, small children in booster seats does work out. Besides, why not give the youngsters something to cheer about as you let the Redeye rip?
If you’re looking for a family car, the similar Dodge Charger four-door sedan is the better choice. And beginning in 2021, the Charger gains the same Redeye package as the Challenger, thus once again underscoring its position as the fastest mass-production sedan in the world. In either guise, we recommend track time training first before heading to the street.
See Also — History of the Dodge Challenger
Photos copyright Stumpwater Medaio Group, LLC. All rights reserved.