Well I must be doing something right - because this week I am back behind the wheel of the 2019 Dodge Challenger Redeye Widebody - the fastest and most powerful car I have ever reviewed. This is the second time I've had the Redeye in the last year and a half.
Building this car was a brilliant idea by Dodge. You can’t get the 840-horse Demon anymore, and besides the Demon is a car built for the racetrack. Dodge took that same engine, de-tuned it slightly, added some creature comforts, and made a hybrid of a track car and a daily driver.
My tester has the $17,000 Widebody 27Q package. Dodge added fender flares giving 3 ½ more inches of width to the car, allowing for meaty 305/35ZR 20” tires and aluminum wheels. The Redeye also has electric power steering for better handling, a front splitter taken from the Demon, a new grill, and bigger Brembo brakes, which you need to stop this beast. You have to look closely at the Hellcat fender badges; the Redeye has, well, a red eye not there on the Hellcat.
Note: The Coronavirus has halted our filming, however, here is the review video we shot in November 2018:
The big story with the Hellcat Redeye lies under the hood where you find the 6.2-liter supercharged high-output Hemi V8 that is putting out an amazing 797-horses. My tester has the 8-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles, the only way the Redeye comes.
Performance stats on the Redeye are beyond impressive: 707-pound feet of torque, 0-to-60 in 3.4 seconds, it will run the quarter-mile in 10.8 seconds, and top speed is an incredible 200-miles per hour. I am sure it will do it, I got the last one up to 163 before losing my nerve.
The Hellcat Redeye is an unusually heavy car for its category, tipping the scales at 4500 pounds. Of course, the engine itself adds a lot of weight, but this is a large car, and especially now with the extra width. Even under heavy acceleration, the Hellcat engine stays cooled, thanks to the functional dual snorkel hood scoops, and air dams around the headlights and under the front bumper, and the SRT Power Chiller.
Moving to the inside, I love the interior quality, and the leather air-conditioned and heated seats are very comfortable. The Hellcat comes loaded with just about everything you can imagine. The Chrysler Uconnect system is terrific as always, easy to operate, and the navigation system works great. The 18-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system has a couple of huge subwoofers in the trunk that sound terrific. The back seat is OK for teenagers and under, adults would be miserable.
My review vehicle has a backup camera, steering wheel controls, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot, voice commands, blind spot monitoring, and remote start.
On the Uconnect screen, you’ll have a blast going through all the apps, especially the Performance Pages. The gauge cluster in front of the driver is bright with an extensive driver information center in the middle.
When you get your Hellcat Redeye, you’ll get two keys-one red, one black. The red key unleashes the beast to full horsepower, and when the totally useless black key is in use, it holds the car to a measly 500-horses.
Hit the SRT button above the air conditioning controls, and this is where you configure how you want the car to perform. Hit custom and you can vary the settings. I like track for some of the settings, and street or sport for others. There is also an Eco mode, but you can’t prove it by me.
Launch and Line Lock
You’ve got to do a launch from a dead stop, it is exhilarating. Hit the launch button and follow the instructions on the dash. Bury one foot on the brake pedal, the other with the accelerator flat on the floor, and it will tell you when to release the brake. The car will apply full power, but will not burn the tires.
Then there is the line lock button. It allows you to do a full throttle burnout with the front brakes locked down completely. Word of caution, turn the air conditioner off before using the line lock, I got a cabin full of smoke and had to bail out of the car before my lungs were completely full of smoke.
Note: This is the burnout video we shot last year:
Let’s be honest here, this car makes no sense. Who needs almost 800-horses? Who needs to go 200 miles per hour? Who needs the crap scared out of them every time they get behind the wheel?
Nobody does, but if you can get it, why not?
Ride and Drive
Handling is better than I expected, there is very little lean in hard turns, the rear end stays well grounded, and overall you get a sense of just how well balanced this big coupe is, thanks in part to the wider rear tires.
Fuel Economy and What You’ll Pay
Price-wise, my very loaded review car with options has an MSRP of $87,805 and that includes the government’s $995 gas-guzzler tax.
Fuel economy is what you’d expect. It is rated at 13 in town and 22 on the highway, but take about 25% off that if you are having fun. A Detroit reviewer tested it wide open on a track and states it will drain the 18.5 gallon tank in 11 minutes.
I always feel fortunate to spend a week with a car like this, it is a compliment most reviewers will not get. As I stated in the first review, this is a car you must respect, mainly because the Hellcat Redeye deserves it, and secondly if you don’t, you’ll die in it. This is, in fact, the second-fastest, most powerful muscle car ever made in America, beaten only by the Demon.
Somewhere, the Dodge brothers are smiling at the burnout video I did last year.
2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Redeye Widebody Review
- What I liked most: Everything, but the performance is incredible.
- What I would change: Nothing.
- MSRP: Base Price: $59,245/As equipped: $87,805.
- Fuel Economy: 13 city/22 highway/16 combined
- Official Color: Octane Red exterior, Black/Sepia interior.
- Odometer reading when tested: 6600 miles.
- Weight: 4476 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Inflator kit.
- Length-Width-Height: 197.5” long/85.4” wide/57.5” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gallons with filler on the driver’s side.
- Towing Capacity: N/A.
- 2019 Hellcat Redeye in a few words: There ARE no words for the beast. It is every car enthusiast’s dream to be behind the wheel of the Redeye.
- Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/60,000 mile power train warranty with roadside assistance.
- Final Assembly Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
- Manufacturer’s Website: Dodge
- Up Next: 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Sport