By: Jag Dhatt
Ok – Just Take My Money
Ring. Ring. “Hello, Jag speaking.”
On the other side was Jordan, Stellantis Canada PR team: “Hey Jag, Hope you’re doing well. I have some great news for you. Vancouver is going to be getting the new Charger Hellcat Redeye in fleet for you to test. Are you interested?”
“Am I interested? Hell, Hellcat? And a REDEYE? YES!”
There are just some vehicles that evoke such strong emotions that they can’t be controlled and the Charger Hellcat is one of them. And to be honest, normally the West Coast doesn’t get all of the high-performance vehicles to test as does the Toronto area. So, for us, this was going to be a real treat.
The last time I drove any Hellcat was about three years ago, when I traveled to the Proving Grounds in Detroit, Michigan, headquarters for, at that time, FCA. And boy, was that ever an experience.
So, what is the Hellcat really? Well, the Charger Hellcat takes the stock SRT version to the next level – it’s mostly all performance. Yes, there are other aspects to it as well, but really, who are we kidding. Before we talk about the Charger Redeye, let’s differentiate the various motors available in this 4-door sport sedan.
Charger FT: 3.6L Pentastar V6 – for the person who just wants a charger.
Charger R/T: 5.7L Hemi V8 – this is for the basic muscle car enthusiast.
Charger 392: 6.4L Hemi V8 – this is for the more serious muscle car enthusiast.
Charger Hellcat: 6.2L Supercharged Hemi V8 – this is for the insane muscle car enthusiasts.
Charger Hellcat REDEYE: 6.2L Supercharged Hemi V8 – 90 more horsepower than the Hellcat!!
So now that you’ve got an idea of the powertrains available, let’s get into the Charger Hellcat Redeye.
Our test car was finished in beautiful F8 Green Metallic with Painted Satin Black Graphics Package; the colour was subtle, but still enough to grab a passerby’s attention. Mix that with the widebody package, and you’ve got a true American muscle car. And for those who noticed the details knew for sure that it was a Redeye.
Some asked about the Charger Hellcat and my opinion on which I would choose and every time, my answer was Charger. For one, there’s nothing else that compares to the Charger Hellcat; it doesn’t have a competitor because of those four doors. And personally, I’ve always been a four-door guy. I mean, when else can you seat four or five comfortably and still be able to beat almost every other car in the quarter mile? It’s a winner for me.
And that’s the appeal in the Charger Redeye. You’ve got a 6.2L V8 that has a 2.7L supercharger bolted on top it. That’s enough for 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque. It’s actually ridiculous the amount of power under the hood of this sedan. And when you punch it even slightly, the whine of the supercharger is intoxicating. A smile appears on the driver’s (and passengers’) face almost every time. Take off traction control and you could sit and spin the 305-mm tires until they melt. And since the car is ready for a race, there’s Launch Control that will let this rocket loose without tire slip if done correctly. Goodbye!
All this power doesn’t do much for fuel economy, but who’s worried about fuel when you’re driving a Redeye? Not I. Official ratings for fuel economy are about 15.6 L/100 km but again, who’s counting really, and yes, my average was much higher!
On the road, the Charger Redeye handles surprisingly well. Rear wheel drive means it’s not going to be the vehicle of choice for when it snows. But when it’s dry and clear, the fat tires keep the car planted on almost all occasions; taking corners, on a straightaway, and down any windy road. Yes, straight-line acceleration is where the car shines; however, it’s amazing how composed and stable the car is when put under stress.
Steering is where you can tell the Charger Redeye isn’t a real sports car. Steering resistance can be increased or decreased but it’s never going to be an AMG E63S. And it’s not trying to be, nor should it be. These are two different machines that serve two different purposes.
And when you need to stop on a dime, the 400-mm front and 350-mm Brembo brakes will grab quickly. A couple of times, I got white knuckles but the Charger came to a stop comfortably.
Driving the car means sitting inside of it and for the most part, the Charger Redeye’s cabin is functional. It’s typical Dodge and so don’t expect much in terms of modern looks or luxury. The seats are big and comfortable and again, don’t expect them to be like those in an E63S. That being said, you can seat 5 people comfortably. You’ve also got a lot of plastic; I wish there was more metal and carbon fiber. The steering wheel is thick, even more than one in a BMW. So if you have small hands, this might be a minor inconvenience.
The infotainment system is what you’d find in most of the FCA, err, Stellantis, vehicles. The Uconnect system is simple and works very well. All menus for controls are within arms reach and as said before, it’s simple and functional.
The trunk of the Charger Redeye is what you’d expect – it’s massive and you could throw a bunch of suitcases inside with room to spare. Well, if the base body is pretty much what you could rent at a local Enterprise or Hertz, you know it’s big enough.
So, now the question. Why buy the Charger Hellcat Redeye? Well, for most, the best bang for the buck might be the 392 spec with the rumbling 6.4L Hemi V8. It does most of what the Redeye will do at a much lower price.
But sometimes it’s not enough. You want…no wait, you need more. In the words of Tim “the Tooltime” Taylor, more power, more power, more power. And that’s what the Redeye is. It’s unnecessary and ridiculous, but you want it. And when you’re looking for a vehicle that carries the tag, “the fastest and most powerful sedan of all time” then you’ve got to get the Charger Hellcat Redeye.
Is it worth the as tested price of $117, 000? Many may say no, but for me, it’s a clear winner and if I had that money available, there would be a Charger Hellcat Redeye in my garage.