2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody new car reviews

797 horsepower.

That’s how much the spec sheet tells us the supercharged, 6.2-liter Hemi Hellcat “High Output” V8 under the hood of the Charger Hellcat Redeye makes.

To put that kind of power into perspective, the Lamborghini Aventador S only makes 730 horsepower, and the Redeye manages to edge out the 789-horsepower Ferrari 812 Superfast.

So yeah, that’s a lot of power to have underneath your right foot—though with great power, often comes with a great price tag. The Charger Redeye comes with a starting price of $69,995, but to scoop up the model we sampled, you’ll have to set aside $87,165.

Then again, unlike the Aventador and the Superfast, the Charger comes with 40 inches of rear legroom, 16 cubic-feet of truck space and costs much less than the aforementioned supercars, even with a few optional packages added on.

At this point, you’d probably like to know what it’s like to drive one of the most powerful production cars on the planet, so you can read our driving impressions below.

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J.G. Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

A lot of words have been written—deservedly so—about just how insane the Hellcat-powered Dodges are. They’re cars that put to rest forever the argument that muscle cars were better “back in the day,” or at some arbitrary period polished by nostalgia when solid axles, carburetors and drum brakes were cutting-edge technology. Yes, the greatest muscle machines of the late ‘60s and (very) early ‘70s were exceptional, but what Stellantis has done with these Hellcat machines is simply otherworldly.

Shockingly, the most impressive part of the Hellcat Charger I sampled—with the Redeye Widebody package bumping power output to a mind-boggling 797 horsepower and adding additional bodywork to cover the 305mm wide Michelins—is not the objective performance. True, it is staggering. Too staggering, really, to ever fully experience on public roads. Turn the traction control off and the Hellcat will easily fry $800 worth of rubber in a matter of seconds through four gears before it even gets across the intersection. Flip the traction control back on and the car will pin you to the seatback until you lose your nerve, or your license. It can hit 100mph in under eight seconds, with the a/c on and the supercharger whining away under the hood while the world turns into a blur of terror in the windshield, and things that were far away suddenly become alarmingly near, like an Alfred Hitchcock dolly zoom.

The straight-line performance belies even the massive heft of the Charger, which weighs in at nearly two and a half tons. But more shockingly than that is Dodge has somehow found a way to make it feel, well, “light on its feet” would be a stretch, but suffice to say it’s more nimble than it has any right to be, given the sheer mass and all that kinetic energy that wants nothing more than to keep heading in the same direction. Ultimately, the mass wins and you get a taste of just how bulky the car is as it overwhelms those tires whose size starts with “3,” but up to about 80% of capacity, the Hellcat Charger is a remarkably refined feeling sport sedan.

But we still haven’t gotten to the most impressive part, which has almost nothing to do with what the Hellcat-powered machine shows you whenever you mash the gas. No, the most impressive part is what happens when you don't mash the gas. Driven without rage or aggression, the Hellcat Charger—even in super-funky Redeye Widebody trim—gives almost zero indication of what it’s capable of, and this is where it truly distances itself from the muscle cars of yesteryear.

Throw one of these in the motor pool at any car rental agency, and Mitch and Selma from Dubuque would have zero clues that it was anything but a nice, upscale sedan until they tried to merge onto I-85 for the first time and ended up laying stripes along the entire entrance ramp. There’s no lopey cam, no bone-shaking idle that can barely be maintained, no hi-stall converter that is impossible to drive at less than full throttle, it’s just...a car. It’s pretty miraculous that a vehicle producing nearly as much power as a NASCAR Cup Car can just be driven around like it ain’t no thang.

It took a lot of guts for Dodge to build this car, but apparently, sales numbers are strong enough that it shows their gamble is paying off. But the real triumph of the Hellcat Charger is not how good it is at laying down amazing numbers—we’d expect nothing less of a car with nearly 800hp—but how good it is at being normal at the same time.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Car go fast.

Big car go very fast.

Me like big, fast car.

Leave it to Chrysler to hang around for last call.

The last of the breed? Likely. Do we really think that anyone else will bring back the old-school muscle car, complete with a real dino-burning IC engine? Not sure I’d take that bet.

But talk about going out with a bang: Let's be honest, this chassis isn’t new or cutting edge. Calling it traditional is probably more polite than "dated" or "old fashioned."

It's 1968 all over again. But with more power and way better manners.

But here’s the big but: Despite all of the available forward thrust, the Charger Hellcat is quite docile around town. Fire it up, put it in gear, and just drive it. No waiting for something to warm up. And no watching the temp gauge in case something gets too warmed up.

You can drive it to work, take it to the strip, fetch groceries with it. The Hellcat Charger rides and drives like a real car. My EG-chassis Civic Si offered much less civility and it made just 125 wimpy horsepower. (Okay, true, it had race-valved shocks.)

The big downside is the price. We just drove a BMW X5 hybrid that stickered for about the same amount. But, really, which is cooler?

Someone's going to argue about the fact that the Hellcat’s only available with an automatic. I'm with the auto here. It doesn't get in the way. I don’t think it’s slowing you down.

I came home from the hospital in the original muscle car, and this might well be the last. Talk about ending a run with a big W.

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chandler
chandler UltimaDork
3/26/21 10:29 a.m.

I saw three of these testing in Michigan this week. They sound glorious.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
3/26/21 10:33 a.m.

Man, what a time we live in, where you can buy a 797hp widebody sedan with a warranty from a Dodge dealer.

Donebrokeit
Donebrokeit UltraDork
3/26/21 10:33 a.m.

These cars are mind bending fast, when  you think about the low buy in they are a screaming deal. Another thing is  these cars can creap through bumper to bumper traffic in late August  with out overheating and with no twitching. Once you get to the open road they will take off like a rocket. 

 

The one thing not mentioned is these cars require no crazy maintenance and they can be serviced at any number of Dodge dealers around the nation. 

 

I think we are in the Golden age of horse power.

ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/26/21 10:34 a.m.

I'm not a Dodge fan in general, but the late model chargers are pretty cool. Even the rental 5.7L I had was a good car, although the rental-spec interior was cheap. Given the chance to have one of these...I'd jump on it.  

FMB42
FMB42 Reader
3/26/21 11:02 a.m.

797 horsepower is only a couple of hundred or so shy of the output of the very early Rolls-Royce V12 Merlin engine (27-litres (1,650 cu in). A guy a few blocks over from us had 2018 5.7 Challenger that he said was pretty darn quick (he also had a 69 GTO with a Pont 455 plugged into the thing). And ya, I too think that we're in the 'golden age' of HP.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
3/26/21 11:24 a.m.

This may or may not be controversial, but I view the Charger and especially the Challenger as some of the last true muscle cars, as cars like the Camaro and Mustang have moved on from their muscle car roots.

Yeah, they are just as fast and can be faster, but they seem to have evolved into proper sports cars, whereas the Charger and Challenger are big, heavy cars with massive engines.

Also, don't think I haven't kept the Charger in the back of my mind as the next family hauler.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/26/21 12:05 p.m.

Yeah, if I got lottery money I'd probably buy one just like that, in white and everything, just for the grins.

 

Aaron_King
Aaron_King PowerDork
3/26/21 12:42 p.m.

I saw a 392 wide body charger yesterday, very drool worthy.

bgkast (Forum Supporter)
bgkast (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/26/21 12:45 p.m.

The want is strong

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/26/21 12:52 p.m.

Go back 10 years: Did you ever think that a car boasting something even close to these numbers would be sold through the local dealer? No special tuners, no one-off builds. 

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
3/26/21 12:59 p.m.

I discounted these cars for a long time as something I wouldn't enjoy.  Too big, too heavy, and questionable styling on all but this last generation.  Then I got one as a rental to drive back-n-forth from Atlanta to Birmingham on a business trip.  It was "just an RT" and it had me questioning my WRX as a family hauler.  I was sad when I returned it.

chandler
chandler UltimaDork
3/26/21 1:03 p.m.
Matt B (fs) said:

I discounted these cars for a long time as something I wouldn't enjoy.  Too big, too heavy, and questionable styling on all but this last generation.  Then I got one as a rental to drive back-n-forth from Atlanta to Birmingham on a business trip.  It was "just an RT" and it had me questioning my WRX as a family hauler.  I was sad when I returned it.

Truth, my brother had an 06 300c SRT8 that was soooo much fun. Double the HP and add some more tire and what a good time we will have.

FMB42
FMB42 Reader
3/26/21 1:10 p.m.

I agree 100%.

FMB42
FMB42 Reader
3/26/21 1:11 p.m.

I agree 100% with Colin Wood.

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
3/26/21 1:50 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Nope. I did not see that coming.

It's incredible what Dodge/Chrysler-now-Stellantis is doing.  When other companies can't figure out how to make money on cars in general let alone performance models, they've produce an array of powerful RWD sedans at a profit.  It just goes to show you the average buyer doesn't give a hoot about what generation "platform" they're driving. Is it cool? Is it fun?  Is it functional too? Done. Shut up and take my money.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/26/21 2:08 p.m.

I spent some time at the Bondurant track in Phoenix a couple of months ago. The place is littered with Hellcats and a few of the Redeyes. They say that the rear tires last 4 days on average. They're using these things to try to teach autox skills laugh

They do have to work a bit on their naming, though. 6 words, one of which is a three word acronym so really it's 8. Doesn't quite trip off the tongue and it means people like me are always forgetting which one is the really super duper extremely special variant and not just the super duper special one.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UltraDork
3/26/21 2:30 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

They do have to work a bit on their naming, though. 6 words, one of which is a three word acronym so really it's 8. Doesn't quite trip off the tongue and it means people like me are always forgetting which one is the really super duper extremely special variant and not just the super duper special one.

All I know is my young boys know whenever they see the hood, and the cat, and go "DADS THATS A HELLCAT"

 

Often they can hear them coming

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/26/21 2:44 p.m.
Duke said:

Yeah, if I got lottery money I'd probably buy one just like that, in white and everything, just for the grins.

Actually, if it was lottery money paying, I would be physically unable to stop myself from getting it wrapped like this:

https://patchesofpride.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/hellcatc.jpg?w=584

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/26/21 2:57 p.m.
mr2s2000elise said:
Keith Tanner said:

They do have to work a bit on their naming, though. 6 words, one of which is a three word acronym so really it's 8. Doesn't quite trip off the tongue and it means people like me are always forgetting which one is the really super duper extremely special variant and not just the super duper special one.

All I know is my young boys know whenever they see the hood, and the cat, and go "DADS THATS A HELLCAT"

 

Often they can hear them coming

But Hellcat is only 2/3 of the way through the name :) This is a Hellcat plus Demon plus Widebody!

Edit: No, Hellcat + Redeye + Widebody. I may have just proved my own point.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UltraDork
3/26/21 2:59 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
mr2s2000elise said:
Keith Tanner said:

They do have to work a bit on their naming, though. 6 words, one of which is a three word acronym so really it's 8. Doesn't quite trip off the tongue and it means people like me are always forgetting which one is the really super duper extremely special variant and not just the super duper special one.

All I know is my young boys know whenever they see the hood, and the cat, and go "DADS THATS A HELLCAT"

 

Often they can hear them coming

But Hellcat is only 2/3 of the way through the name :) This is a Hellcat plus Demon plus Widebody!

Like a Countach and so many iterations, it is really a one name car. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/26/21 3:07 p.m.
mr2s2000elise said:
Keith Tanner said:
mr2s2000elise said:
Keith Tanner said:

They do have to work a bit on their naming, though. 6 words, one of which is a three word acronym so really it's 8. Doesn't quite trip off the tongue and it means people like me are always forgetting which one is the really super duper extremely special variant and not just the super duper special one.

All I know is my young boys know whenever they see the hood, and the cat, and go "DADS THATS A HELLCAT"

 

Often they can hear them coming

But Hellcat is only 2/3 of the way through the name :) This is a Hellcat plus Demon plus Widebody!

Like a Countach and so many iterations, it is really a one name car. 

But there's a Charger Hellcat and a Challenger Hellcat and a Durango Hellcat at least. Hardly variations on the same car.  There's a Demon which is something else. There's a Redeye which may or may not be a Demon, I'm not sure. Widebody I understand, unless it also implies mechanical changes.

Seriously, I spent a weekend surrounded by these things and I still didn't know if the one with 1320 on the fender was a Hellcat or something else.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UltraDork
3/26/21 3:10 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
mr2s2000elise said:
Keith Tanner said:
mr2s2000elise said:
Keith Tanner said:

They do have to work a bit on their naming, though. 6 words, one of which is a three word acronym so really it's 8. Doesn't quite trip off the tongue and it means people like me are always forgetting which one is the really super duper extremely special variant and not just the super duper special one.

All I know is my young boys know whenever they see the hood, and the cat, and go "DADS THATS A HELLCAT"

 

Often they can hear them coming

But Hellcat is only 2/3 of the way through the name :) This is a Hellcat plus Demon plus Widebody!

Like a Countach and so many iterations, it is really a one name car. 

But there's a Charger Hellcat and a Challenger Hellcat and a Durango Hellcat at least. Hardly variations on the same car.  There's a Demon which is something else. There's a Redeye which may or may not be a Demon, I'm not sure. Widebody I understand, unless it also implies mechanical changes.

Seriously, I spent a weekend surrounded by these things and I still didn't know if the one with 1320 on the fender was a Hellcat or something else.

When I mentioned my boys, I meant that they could easily tell the difference in Hellcat in the Charger body, vs the wannabe 392 vs the pedestrian rental specs ones. Then again, we come from a breed of people who could tell the difference between a HF/DX/LX/EX/Si/EX v6/ EX-L, from a mile away by spotting lack of passenger mirror, and non body color handles, and pea shooter exhaust pipes with no chrome tip.  Maybe we are weird. 

 

Now if someone can't tell the difference between a Hellcat Charger and a Hellcat Durango (which isn't what I was talking about at all) - they have much bigger problems in life

84FSP
84FSP UltraDork
3/26/21 3:18 p.m.

Used the standard hellkitty chargers are now buyable in the high 30's.  This is the likely V1 replacement to have something that is rowdy and less of a project.  Daily driving a teenager is affordable but becoming tiring in terms of upkeep.  If you are interested in the challenger hellkitty it can be had high 20's low 30's used...

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe PowerDork
3/26/21 3:22 p.m.
84FSP said:

Used the standard hellkitty chargers are now buyable in the high 30's.  This is the likely V1 replacement to have something that is rowdy and less of a project.  Daily driving a teenager is affordable but becoming tiring in terms of upkeep.  If you are interested in the challenger hellkitty it can be had high 20's low 30's used...

No they are not. Mid 40;s for a car you would actually buy. 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
3/27/21 11:46 a.m.

I’m so with you Keith, I have the hardest time understanding which car is the standard V8, vs super vs the super duper model. So many names, Hellcat, Demon, Scat pack (so is that a pile of sh1t?), SRT, Redeye (which is a slang term for an anus). It’s too much.

Everytime I think i get it, I’m wrong. A standard Hemi one was behind me yesterday, and I thought SRT, and it drove by and it wasn’t, according to the badge.

All that said, I really like the Widebody. The non widebody looks meh to me. the tires are way too skinny for such a big car, but the Widebody looks great. And what a car that can do 800hp with civility!

I drove a Challenger (think it was an SRT Scat Pack, whatever that is) with a MT a few years back and was really impressed. 

dxman92
dxman92 Dork
3/27/21 12:16 p.m.

'Murica Car nothing more nothing less. I wouldn't kick an AWD Challenger out of the garage/driveway.

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