We tamed the 2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye
The most intense four-door muscle car you can buy today is the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye, or you can get its two-door stablemate, the Challenger. These cars come with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine rated at 797 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque. Right off the showroom floor, this car is capable of hitting 203 MPH. The amazing thing is that you can buy one of these with an ordinary driver's license, plus about $78,595. How long you'll keep your driver's license after that moment is up to you.
To tell the truth, we didn't really have to tame the Hellcat. Dodge has done a fantastic job of making the Charger easy to drive. Nearly 800 horsepower is there, just under your right foot any time you want it. But the beauty of the Charger is that it will never surprise you with unintended acceleration. It's not jumpy at all, but rather smoothly linear as you press the gas pedal. The Charger comes equipped with traction and stability controls. Don't ever turn them off.
The Hellcat Redeye engine is mated to a tough 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. You can't contain all that torque with a clutch, so a manual is out of the question. You can get a manual with the regular 717-horsepower Challenger Hellcat, though, if you really want it. But the thing is, you don't need it. The Hellcat Redeye engine has plenty of power to drive an automatic, and today's transmissions are very efficient.
To drive a car like the Charger Hellcat Redeye, you need someplace where you can do things your high school driving instructor told you not to do. So we took it to a race track where we could let the big cat out of its cage to run around a bit. The Charger is surprisingly nimble in curves. The tires are wider than usual, owing to extra fender flares Dodge has added to the 2021 model, making it a "widebody." Those big meaty tires give the Hellcat its bite, and it's easy to get pointed in the right direction so you can let the engine roar.
When you roll on throttle coming out of a corner, the Charger responds and leaps ahead, quickly registering triple-digit speeds on the long straightaway. Then comes the next test: slowing down for the upcoming corner. Dodge's engineers thought of everything, as you might expect, and the Charger comes with enormous brakes. We had plenty to work with and in fact, my biggest problem was slowing too much going into the corners.
So, we'll give the Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye an A+ for performance. It's also a great looking car. The widebody kit and deep, wide wheels give this machine a bold, aggressive stance. It's also got the obligatory hood scoop and power bump in the hood that announces the car as a contender. Dodge aficionados will be able to tell that you bought the super-duper version by the little tiny red eyes on the 3D Hellcat badges on the fenders.
Inside, the Charger is as comfortable as any car on the market. Big, deep leather seats support you as you drive, and they're heated for comfort. Dodge's UConnect infotainment system is intuitive and even easier to use this year. Of course, since you're buying the top of the line you get GPS navigation and all the technological goodies you could want. Also, being a good-sized sedan, the Charger's back seat is big enough to accommodate three people. There's a trunk, but honestly I didn't look in it. I'm sure it's more than adequate.
The bottom line on the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye is simply this: If you want a muscle car that will absolutely smoke anything from the golden age of muscle cars in the 1960s, this is your ride. Choose two doors or four doors, it doesn't matter. The Dodge Hellcat family (soon to include an SUV - stay tuned!) will please you with any choice you make.
2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye
Base price: $78,595
Price as tested: $78,595
Type: Full-size sedan
Engine: 6.2-liter Supercharged V8 (797 hp, 707 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 12/21
Overall length: 201 inches
Curb weight: 4,610 pounds
Final assembly: Brampton, Ontario
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