Testosterone is a given among body builders but also exists annually in the automotive world between Dodge, Chevrolet and Ford for top horsepower muscle.
New for 2019, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, our test drive, is the champion, boasting 797 horses, with prowess on the racetrack, a built-for-speed profile and street legal. (The 840-horsepower Dodge Demon has been discontinued.)
Fully flexing the Redeye’s muscle can only be done legally on a racetrack and we asked Chris White, Motorsports Director at West Virginia’s Summit Point Motorsports Park for help.
He loves cars, speed and racing, putting our Hellcat Redeye in track mode and then roaring around the facility’s 1.7 mile, 14-turn Jefferson Circuit before guiding me around.
“It pushes corner entry a little bit but it’s easy to modulate,” he said. “It’s pretty well balanced for as heavy as it is. It’s a lot of fun to drive and the brakes are fantastic.”
He praised the sharp crackling and popping sounds and engine whine as the supercharged Hemi V8 engine automatically shifted gears.
“Dodge nailed the exhaust note and the whine of the blower is music to your ears,” he exulted. “This car sounds incredible.”
There was addictive exhilaration devouring distance and conquering tight turns in heart pounding seconds as I circled the track under White’s guidance. Fun to drive!
Highest of seven Challenger trims our appropriately named White Knuckle paint-colored Hellcat reached top performance capability only by adding $28,365 in options.
Around town, handling was surprisingly controllable and the ride smooth.
With its eye-catching wide-body profile, flared fenders, double scooped hood and sleek design, the Redeye drew looks parked or when hearty engine growl emerged during mild acceleration.
It’s probably not a commuter vehicle with low mpg using premium fuel, but leather-bolstered seats are comfortable enough for extended trips and rear seats can handle three smaller sized adult passengers, unusual for a coupe.
It can easily be a family car for vacation trips with racetrack weekend adventures possible in track mode, digesting performance feedback for power, torque, timing, G-forces, etc.
Folded rear seats create ample cargo space.
Dodge’s highly praised Uconnect 8.4 multi-function system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, excellent voice recognition, navigation and sharp graphics on the 8-inch dashboard touch screen. Knobs and dials are easy to reach and use.
A rear-view camera and blind spot detection compensate for wide pillars hindering driver visibility.
LIKES: Looks, power, ride, handling, cabin/cargo space, family or racetrack capable.
DISLIKES: Minor visibility challenges, options needed.
BOTTOM LINE: Good for neighborhood envy, long trips and challenging racetrack weekends.
2019 DODGE CHALLENGER SRT HELLCAT REDEYE
Base price w/destination charge: $60,045 ($88,410 as tested)
Vehicle weight: 4,521 lbs.
Wheelbase: 116.2 inches
Length: 197.5 inches
Width: 78.3 inches
Engine: 6.2 liter, supercharged Hemi V8
Horsepower: 797 hp at 6,300 rpm
Torque: 707 ft-lbs @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, manual paddles
EPA rating: 13 mpg city/22 mpg hwy
Range: 18.5-gallons, premium
Performance: 0-60 in 3.5 seconds