2019 Dodge Challenger first drive review: Hellcat Redeye gives a taste of the demonic

    The legendary Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is gone, however not forgotten. Each one of many 840-horsepower monsters have been offered, however for 2019 lots of that automotive’s evil DNA has trickled right down to the remainder of the lineup, creating a brand new cadre of cambions and a brand new top-shelf mannequin: the 797-horsepower, $69,650 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye.

    Whereas that determine does fall some 43 ponies wanting final 12 months’s full-fat Demon, the Redeye packs quite a lot of of the tips that made its predecessor so outrageous. The trick Energy Chiller system that cools the intercooler with the air-con system is right here, as is identical launch system because the Demon’s, together with torque converter and line lock. All this helps the Redeye dash to 60 in three.four seconds and on by way of the quarter-mile in 10.eight seconds. 

    That is a couple of full second slower than the Demon, however a tenth faster than the usual Hellcat, which now produces 717 horsepower (up 10 from final 12 months). Consider it or not, although, there’s one space the place the Redeye really trumps the Demon, and that is high pace. The Redeye tops out at 203 miles per hour, an astonishing determine for a automotive with all of the aerodynamic finesse of a proper hook. That is eight mph sooner than the usual Hellcat can handle and about 40 greater than the Demon, which was restricted at 168 to avoid wasting its tires.

    Certainly, whereas the Demon rolled on drag radials by default, the Hellcat Redeye may be had with far-sportier Pirelli P-Zeros entrance and rear, sized at a whopping 305/35ZR20. That is what you get in case you spring for the non-compulsory Widebody package deal, which provides these bigger wheels and tires plus quite a few suspension tweaks and greater brakes for an inexpensive $6,000 upcharge.

    These brakes now have higher cooling than final 12 months’s Widebody, due to a brand new set of ducts within the entrance splitter that, in accordance with Dodge, ship “33 % extra laps to fade” from the beefy, six-piston entrance Brembo brakes. Given we’re speaking a automotive in extra of four,400 kilos, even after the advance you are still in all probability speaking most stints within the single-digit vary. 

    Massive brakes meet large calls for.

    Tim Stevens/Roadshow

    Sadly, I can not touch upon precisely how lengthy these brakes will survive, as a result of whereas I did spend a sunny afternoon driving the Redeye across the pretty Membership Motorsports circuit in New Hampshire, my stints had been restricted to only one scorching lap at a time. Loads of time for cool-down, then.

    When cool, these brakes carry out admirably effectively. The massive muscle automotive stands on its nostril strongly sufficient make that monstrous rear-end wiggle simply a bit beneath braking. The four,492-pound beast feels surprisingly vigorous in that respect, however the remainder of its observe efficiency is extra stoic. It turns in with a relaxed roll of the nostril and tracks cleanly by way of the turns, even accelerating strongly out of the sooner sweepers with extra poise than you would possibly anticipate from a 797-horsepower muscle automotive.

    It is succesful on the observe, then, however I can not say as I actually ever fell in love with it on the market. That is thanks largely to numb steering and a transmission (TorqueFlite 8HP90 eight-speed) that simply may by no means make up its thoughts what gear it needed to be in, nor give me the gear I needed in a well timed style.

    In case you do plan to hit some observe days in your Challenger, keep on with the R/T Scat Pack. In 2019, the $38,995 Scat Pack too may be configured with the $6,000 Widebody package deal. This, with a customized suspension tune to benefit from the almost 200-pound financial savings by leaving off the supercharger, makes the Scat Pack way more vigorous. The nostril stays nearer to stage with the horizon on turn-in and its 485-horsepower is that rather more manageable popping out of tighter corners.

    If that does not seal the deal, a correct, six-speed guide on the lesser Challenger would possibly. 

    I get it, although. 485 horsepower does sound a bit tame in comparison with the 797 the Hellcat Redeye gladly throws down, and even the 717 the bottom Hellcat now delivers. After which there’s that outrageous supercharger whine, which is nearly as addictive as the push of torque. On the road, although, it is awfully tough to inform the distinction between the latter two.

    Dodge representatives modestly referred to as the Hellcat “tire-limited,” which means getting any additional energy to the bottom is the true problem. Certainly, impromptu launches in both of the Hellcats is simply as more likely to lead to a cloud of smoke as it’s a speedy getaway. The Redeye is quicker, sure, however wanting a sticky drag strip, you will be arduous pressed to note the distinction. 

    On the street, all of the Challengers stay remarkably drivable in day-to-day conditions. Go mild on the throttle and even the Redeye is straightforward to burble by way of visitors, whereas the adaptive suspension does a advantageous job of dealing with street imperfections regardless of these low-profile Pirellis. The inside is spacious and seats are comfy sufficient for an extended drive, although on the freeway the drone of that exhaust can get annoying actual fast.

    2019 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye2019 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye

    It hasn’t modified a lot since its reintroduction, however in Widebody guise the Challenger nonetheless turns loads of heads. 

    Tim Stevens/Roadshow

    The Challenger SXT begins at $27,295, adopted by the brand new, rear-wheel drive GT at $29,996. Including all-wheel drive prices one other $three,000. The 485-horse R/T Scat Pack begins at $38,994, whereas the more-powerful 717-horsepower SRT Hellcat now begins at $58,650. That is greater than 4 grand cheaper than earlier than, due to a simplified entry-level trim, with material seats as a substitute of leather-based, and some different minor tweaks. In the meantime, the brand new king of the hill, the 797-horsepower Redeye, is $69,650. The Widebody package deal provides an extra $6,000 to any of these final three. 

    For me, the Scat Pack Widebody is the candy spot, with greater than sufficient muscle for the road and an out there guide transmission, however I might be mendacity if I mentioned the brand new Redeye did not tug at my heartstrings. Hellcats of all flavors are the sorts of beasts that take essentially the most boring of drives and switch them into correct occasions. Their roaring exhausts and screaming superchargers are nothing wanting intoxicating. Which Challenger is best for you depends upon your wishes and your funds — however whichever you purchase just remember to put some cash apart for tires. You will be needing plenty of these. 

    Editors’ observe: Roadshow accepts multiday automobile loans from producers in an effort to present scored editorial critiques. All scored automobile critiques are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases. Nevertheless, for this function, the producer lined journey prices. That is widespread within the auto trade, as it is extra economical to ship journalists to vehicles than to ship vehicles to journalists.

    The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial workforce are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

    Recent Articles

    Related Stories

    Stay on op - Ge the daily news in your inbox