Sometimes I feel the world has just gone a bit soft, a bit meek. We seem to have become overly sensitive and hyper conformist. We are obsessed with being politically aligned, careful in our choice of words—lest we offend. Our society seems so much more preoccupied with blending-in than standing out. This, however, is not the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye. It’s entirely the antithesis of blending in.
As the fastest, most powerful production sedan on the planet, the Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye is unabashed, unapologetic, and unsubtle. It is a raucous, hairy chested beast with massive amounts of unadulterated raw power on tap. And I absolutely love it!
In some respects I am perhaps somewhat ill-equipped to write about a Dodge Charger. I am not what one might consider a typical muscle car driver. I am not particularly cool or hip. I don’t have a well manicured beard, or any tattoos for that matter, and I prefer the brim of my ball cap with a curve and without the sticker. I do however quite like bourbon, though my personal proclivity is more for it to be served with some bitters in an Old Fashioned—but that’s quite a different story for another time and place.
So, I would probably never have put the Redeye in my consideration set. I typically gravitate toward performance cars that are designed and built for all-around handling, with a focus on finding the optimal balance and configuration between power, weight, and chassis. I am generally more excited and engaged by the technical wizardry of Formula 1 than the brute force of Nascar. But the Charger Hellcat Redeye is something special. What you see is without question what you get and this car is just pure fun. It is massively addictive and highly compelling to drive and it is refreshingly basic and down-to-earth, without all of the technological nannies and electronic accoutrements adorning so many modern day cars that either desensitize or overly synthesize the driving experience. In the Charger you just long for wide open roads where you can listen to the lovely melody of the supercharger whine accompanied by the percussion of the deep thumping Hemi V8.
The Redeye features the same widebody, originally introduced on the Charger SRT Hellcat in 2020 with the integrated fender flares that provide an additional 3.5 inches to accommodate the 20-by-11-inch wheels and wider Pirelli P-Zero performance tires. Wider side sills connect the flared wheel fenders, giving the car a much lower, broader stance. It looks just as aggressive and belligerent as one would expect from the world’s fastest production four door. The Redeye also features a newly designed functional performance hood to accommodate the larger air intake, which adds to the menacing aesthetic and the mail-slot front grille for additional cooling. My demo car came in the TorRed exterior color with the optional Carbon Black Aluminum wheels with the black brake calipers. The subtle Redeye badges on the fenders and trunk with their sinister jewel-like red eye differentiate the Redeye from the Scat Pack Widebody and SRT Hellcat Widebody.
The interior of the Redeye is very much to business. Other than the SRT logos, red dials on the instruments and the optional carbon and suede interior package, it doesn’t feel that different from a standard Charger. But that’s part of the charm of the Redeye, as all the technology and investment has clearly gone into the powertrain. My demo car came with the black and sepia interior, and the laguna leather seats were surprisingly comfortable and still-remained fairly supportive. It also had the Navigation and Travel package and the superb Harman Kardon Audio with its 19 speakers amplifier and surround sound, which offered excellent fidelity. Though I didn’t use it much, as I was completed smitten with the glorious whine of the supercharger. There is also plenty of space for rear seat passengers and a generous trunk, it’s easy to see why the Charger platform has such ubiquitous appeal with the police and car rental firms.
The instrument cluster is clear and unfussy, you have got to love instruments with red dials and a speedo that goes to 220mph. The 8.4 inch Uconnect center screen was easy to navigate through the media, navigation and phone and vehicle settings as well as the SRT Dashboard, which is where all the real fun is to be had. Through the SRT Drive Modes you can switch from the default settings to Sport, Track, and Custom configurations to specifically tailor the experience with individual settings for transmission shift speeds, steering, traction, and suspension. The Performance Dashboard also allows you to set the launch control and a glorious function call Line-Lock—more on that later. You can also access a series of performance dashboards with Timers, Engine Gauges, and G-force, as well as Engine and Dyno information that shows horsepower and torque data. The Hellcat Redeye also comes with a Red Key and a Black Key, which feels a bit like something out of the Matrix—choose the red key and it unleashes the full 797hp, choose the black key and it restricts the Redeye to a paltry 500hp.
Raising the hood of the Redeye reveals the clean well laid out engine bay with the massive 6.2-liter Hemi V8 engine, with its prominent supercharger and the huge air-intake. To increase the horsepower to 797, Dodge upgraded the supercharger from 2.4-liters to 2.7-liters, which increased boost from 11.6 to 14.5 psi. increasing the redline from 6,200 up to 6,500 rpm. The Redeye now boasts the largest factory supercharger of any production car. To cope with the additional air induction, the Redeye gets two dual-stage fuel pumps as well as a larger induction airbox that draws from intakes on the newly designed performance hood, the mail-slot grille opening, and the airbox opening near the wheel liner. Dodge also strengthened the connecting rods and pistons, added a high-speed valve train, new fuel injection system, and improved the lubrication system. The engine is mated to the incredibly smooth and rapidly shifting—160 milliseconds—TorqueFlite 8HP90 eight-speed automatic transmission, which also has rev-matching. The upgraded torque converter on the Redeye increases torque multiplication by 18% compared to the standard Charger SRT Hellcat.
The Charger Hellcat Widebody was already a very fast car with 717hp. In Redeye guise it’s even more bold and audacious adding another 80 horsepower and 57lb ft of torque. The supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI high-output V8 on the Hellcat Redeye produces a whopping 797 horsepower @6300rpm and 707lb-ft of torque @4,500 rpm. This gives the Redeye a top speed of 203 mph, it will run 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and the quarter-mile in 10.6 seconds at 129 mph. Dodge refer to as the World’s fastest four door muscle car, pretty crazy for a family sedan.
The Redeye is equipped with a massive set of Brembo high performance brakes, with six piston calipers on the front and four on the rear, with vented rotors. With this level of performance, it would almost make sense to offer carbon brakes, but Dodge don’t offer this option presumably to keep the costs down. That said, the Brembos do a great job even with the weight on the Charger at 4,600 lbs, and will bring the Redeye to a full stop from 70 mph in around 144 ft.
With such an incredible amount of power on tap, the Redeye is absolutely intoxicating to drive, particularly as you wind up the revs and listen to the lovely howl of the supercharger. The SRT-tuned Bilstein three-mode Adaptive Damping Competition suspension combined with the fat 305/35ZR20 Pirelli P-Zero performance tires, provide great traction—but it is easy to spin the rear wheels with all the torque. Straight-line performance is extraordinarily quick as expected, and it purely and simply comes down to efficiency of traction. Fortunately, Dodge has equipped the Redeye with a series of electronic devices to provide some assistance all of which can be accessed from the SRT Performance dashboard. The Launch Control manages tire-slip to optimize traction and Launch Assist uses sensors to monitor wheel speed modifying engine torque within milliseconds to maximize grip. To support acceleration the SRT Hellcat also has a Torque Reserve system that pre-fills the supercharger and manages fuel flow, and a spark advance to balance rpm and generate a reserve of torque.
Perhaps my favorite feature, however, is Line Lock which enables you to engage and lock the front brakes, depressing the brake pedal and holding the OK button on the steering wheel. You can transfer the full attention of your right foot to the throttle to spin the rear wheels to heat and clean the rear tires. I tried this a couple of times much to the bemusement and concern of passers-by who were astonished to see the Charger disappear in a cloud of smoke, with a strong smell of burned rubber permeating the air. As a word to the wise, I would highly recommend not doing this outside of fancy establishments, lest the valet appear with a fire extinguisher.
With this level of extreme performance, the SRT engineers have clearly spent considerable time on refining the cooling system. In addition to maximizing the air intakes, the Redeye is equipped with the SRT Power Chiller that further lowers intake air temperature by utilizing air conditioning refrigerant to the heat exchangers in the supercharger, resulting in cooler air and improved performance. The Race Cooldown feature keeps the engine’s cooling fan and coolant pumps running to lower the supercharger temperature, which can also be tracked on the SRT Performance pages in the Uconnect touchscreen.
At full throttle, the Redeye is consuming 1.43 gallons of fuel a minute, which is certainly demonic, and would drain the fuel tank in just under 11 minutes. However, under normal highway conditions, the Charger is still rated at 22 miles per gallon and for such a capable beast, it transforms to be a docile, quiet, and comfortable family sedan around the doors.
What I love about the Charger is that what you see is exactly what you get, which is really quite refreshing in today’s automotive landscape, particularly with the frenzied hysteria around electrification and synthesized sound and performance. The Hellcat Redeye feels reassuringly old school. These motors will be around for years and they feel a bit like the last stand against the oncoming onslaught. I for one am old school and my recommendation is to grab one of these incredible snarling beasts while you still can.
The 2021 Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody has a base price of $81,420, the demo car as tested included the 20 inch Carbon Black Aluminum wheels ($1,295), Black Brake Calipers ($595), Navigation & Travel Group Package ($995), Harman Kardon Audio Group ($1,995), Power Sunroof ($1,995), Carbon / Suede Interior Package ($1,595) and Front and Rear 3-Season Tires ($695). With destination charge and gas guzzler tax, brings the total to $91,480, which is a heck of a lot of value for a car with this level of performance.
For 2022, as part of the new “Never Lift” campaign, Dodge has announced the Charger SRT Jailbreak which boosts SRT Hellcat Redeye model’s power output to 807 horsepower with a revised powertrain calibration. The Jailbreak model also includes a series of additional option and color combinations.