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2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye: A DriveWays Review…

by Frank A. Aukofer

Tamworth, N.H – With its unrivaled new 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye and a slew of other bulked up coupes, it looks as if Dodge intends to overpower the market for muscle cars.

Counting the Redeye, the company now offers nine brawny Challenger pony cars, including a purpose-built drag racer and others with all-wheel drive, that cover an affordability spectrum aimed at enthusiasts of modest means to those with big bucks.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

The focus at the Club Motorsports 2.1-mile road racing course here was on two new Challengers: the R/T Scat Pack Widebody and the pinnacle, the new SRT Hellcat Redeye, which Dodge touts as “the most powerful, quickest and fastest muscle car” in the world.

Numbers testify to the claim. The Redeye is a step up from the Hellcat, which itself is a more powerful version of the original SRT Hellcat. It astonished enthusiasts in 2015 with a 707-hp, 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that sent 650 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels.

The 2019 Hellcat gets a bump from the same basic engine to 717 hp and 656 lb-ft of torque. But the Redeye, with its supercharged 6.2-liter V8, revs up 797 hp, or 80 more than the regular Hellcat — if any of these machines could be called regular. Torque jumps to 707 lb-ft.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody

Two transmissions are offered on the Hellcat: a six-speed manual gearbox with a twin-disc clutch or a beefy eight-speed automatic transmission. The Redeye comes only with an even stronger eight-speed automatic with a manual-shift mode controlled by paddles on the steering wheel.

As laps on the racetrack here demonstrated, however, the paddles likely will prove superfluous to most drivers because the eight-speed’s shift points are so computer-calibrated that the driver can forget about shifting and focus on picking fast lines through the curves.

Besides the Hellcat Redeye, the Dodge girls and boys offered track drives in the Challenger R/T Scat Pack, which gets its power from a 485-hp, 6.4-liter V8 with 475 lb-ft of torque. It is available with both the eight-speed automatic transmission and a six-speed manual gearbox, one of which was at the track.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody

Interestingly, the Scat Pack had a stiffer suspension system than the Hellcat Redeye, which enabled it to finesse curves that the Redeye, with some slight body lean, overwhelmed with raw power.

Another distinguishing characteristic of the Redeye: docile manners in low-speed cruising. Though a driver can trigger an explosion under the hood by slamming the gas pedal, rocketing to 60 miles an hour in slightly more than three seconds, the Redeye casually acts like your grandmother’s Toyota Camry in downtown traffic.

Both Hellcats and the R/T Scat Pack can put more rubber on the road with the $6,000 Widebody option package. It includes fender flares and 11-inch wide, 20-inch diameter alloy wheels with 305/35ZR20 all-season performance tires.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody - interior

With full safety equipment, the Widebody’s Brembo brakes and a host of other options that included a 220-mph speedometer, navigation, motorized sunroof, high-performance audio system, leather upholstery and suede trim, the Hellcat Redeye’s $60,045 base price jumped to $88,410. Another version with comfortable and gripping cloth upholstery checked in at $81,331. Both prices include a $1,700 gas guzzler tax.

For less wealthy enthusiasts, Dodge offers the Challenger SXT and GT models, both with rear-drive or all-wheel drive. They are powered by the 305 hp Pentastar V6 engine, with 268 lb-ft of torque and a six-speed manual gearbox or eight-speed automatic transmission. The SXT stick-shift price starts at $28,690 and the GT is $31,390. Add $2,700 for the automatic.

SRT Hellcat Redeye emblem located on the cover of the Supercharged 6.2L HEMI® V-8 engine

The Challenger R/T has a starting price of $35,495 (all prices include the destination charge) and the R/T Scat Pack has a sticker of $41,390, which also includes a $1,000 gas guzzler tax.

No prices were announced for the Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320, which is a model purpose-built for drag racing. It is intended as a less powerful successor to last year’s limited-production Dodge Demon, which was powered by a supercharged Hemi engine with 840 hp. It enabled the Demon to nail the quarter-mile drag strip in 9.65 seconds.

The Scat Pack 1320 — the number is the number of linear feet in a quarter mile — uses the same Hemi 392 engine as other Scat Pack models. Individual buyers will be able to customize their dragster rides. As with the earlier Demon, the 1320 comes only with a driver’s seat but a front passenger seat and a back seat are available for $1 each.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody

Specifications

  • Model: 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye two-door coupe.
  • Engine: 6.2-liter V8, supercharged; 797 hp, 707 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with manual-shift mode.
  • Overall length: 16 feet 6 inches.
  • EPA passenger/trunk volume: 94/16 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 4,492 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 13/22/16 mpg. Premium gasoline required.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $60,045.
  • Price as tested: $88,410.

Disclaimer: This test drive was conducted at a manufacturer-sponsored press event. The manufacturer provided travel, accommodations, vehicles, meals and fuel.

2019 Dodge Challenger Lineup: R/T Scat Pack Widebody, SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody, SRT Hellcat Widebody (from left to right)

Photos (c) FCA North America

Bondurant and Dodge SRT

by Jason Fogelson

Anyone can buy a fast car, but it takes skill and training to get the most out of your purchase. That’s why Dodge SRT has teamed up with the Bob Bondurant School of Performance Driving to offer SRT buyers a free day at the school in Chandler, Arizona.

LG016_001MBI got to attend a day at the school, and I wrote about the SRT/Bondurant experience for Autotrader.

I also wrote about the whole muscle car concept for Autotrader in “Why Muscle Cars Matter.”

When I got back from this trip, I felt like a better driver. I always do after driving instruction. Even if you think you’re a good driver, spending some time behind the wheel with a pro driver in the right hand seat giving you real time feedback can make you better — right after it makes you feel like you’re the worst driver in history and that you should never be allowed behind the wheel alone.

While I was in Chandler, I met Ryan Kim, SRT Brand Manager. I couldn’t really put my finger on what a Brand Manager does, so I arranged to do an interview with Ryan Kim, and ran it on Forbes.com. I’m still not quite sure that I know what a Brand Manager does — but Ryan is a really smart guy with real passion for SRT.

I’ll go to any driver training program, anywhere, anytime. It’s a great experience that pays off every time I get behind the wheel.

Oh, and did I mention that I got to meet Bob Bondurant, the legend himself? He’s a great guy, friendly and engaged, and can still drive the wheels off any car he chooses.

Photo (c) FCA North America

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