We drive the 797hp Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye

Hellcat Redeye: a Demonized Version of the Regular Hellcat
Hellcat Redeye: a Demonized Version of the Regular Hellcat

Muscle cars come in different flavors but it is safe to say that they have come a long way since the 60’s. Some may argue that others have strayed from the original flavor, but the Dodge Challenger is probably the most authentic muscle car today.

It is the most traditional and it does not pretend to be anything else. A muscle car needs lots of power and we thought that the Hellcat edition with 717 hp was all that we needed.

Dodge must have felt otherwise because for 2019 they have introduced the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye with a full 797 hp.

Why? Because they can.

The Challenger is arguably the best looking of the muscle cars today. The look is very clean yet aggressive.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]You can order your Challenger with a wide variety of engines starting with the 305 hp 3.6 liter V6. Standard in the R/T model is the 5.7 liter V8 with 375 hp and if you order the Scat Pack model you get a bigger V8 with 485 hp.

You would think that 485 hp is plenty but Dodge offers the Hellcat with a supercharged 6.2 liter V8 with 717 hp and for 2019 the Redeye becomes the top engine with 797 hp.

The new engine in the Redeye features 25 major component upgrades, including a larger supercharger, strengthened connecting rods and pistons, high-speed valve train, fuel-injection system and improved lubrication system.

Compared with the regular Hellcat, the Redeye has more boost, 14.5 psi versus 11.6 psi and a higher 6500 rpm limit versus the 6200 rpm limit of the Hellcat.

The Redeye also features the largest factory supercharger in any production car at 2.7 liters (the regular Hellcat’s supercharger is 2.4 liters).

The car comes with two keys. The black key is the go-fast key.  The red key is the 'go really fast' key
The car comes with two keys. The black key is the go-fast key. The red key is the 'go really fast' key

The car comes with two keys, the first of which limits the horsepower. If you want the full 797 hp, you will need the red key to unlock the beast.

The engine is mated to an 8 speed automatic transmission that seems well suited to handling the enormous power though beefy 41 spline half shafts.

The Redeye is available with the fender flares from last year’s Hellcat Widebody. The flares add 3.5 inches to the overall width of the car but they allow Dodge to install 305/35ZR20 Pirelli tires in front and rear on 20 x 11 aluminum wheels. Dodge claims that the wider tires improve lap times by 2 seconds on a 2.1 mile road course. If you are going to buy a 797hp car, we would recommend going for the biggest tires possible.

What is it like to drive the Redeye on the street?

In a word, insane.

The huge sticky tires are no match for the engine and the Redeye eats tires for breakfast.

Even half throttle while going 20 mph results in tire spin.

It is a good thing that the Redeye has a great traction control system. Even with the traction control system, it is amazing that more people don’t crash this car.

On the street, you cannot floor it for more than a second or two because it accelerates so quickly. Dodge claims that it will do 0-60 in 3.4 seconds and run the quarter mile in 10.9 seconds.

The power is definitely there but in our very limited drive with the Redeye we found traction to be the limiting factor. Launch control and line locks are standard on the car and certainly do help the car launch as hard as possible.

Our first impression of the Redeye was that this kind of power is stupid. There may be a case for that because why do you need so much power when it is mostly not usable.

If you want to make a pass, you have to be careful not to jump on it too hard and roll on the throttle.

But an interesting thing happened after spending a bit more time with the Redeye.

We fell in love!

Yes, it is still stupid but it is so much fun. Just listening to that wonderful engine’s roar and the whine of the supercharger is something that makes you giggle.

And as soon as you drop the throttle and drop down a gear, that engine revs up and just sounds angry. It is an intoxicating sound that yells at everyone to get out of the way.

It rained during some of our time with the Redeye which made things even more interesting. We spent some time on twisty wet roads and learned a lot about the Challenger.

The Challenger is a big car. It is 78.3 inches wide and 197.5 inches long and weighs 4500 pounds. You will definitely know that you are driving a big car but the adaptive Bilstein dampers work very well to control the body motions and the huge Pirelli tires stick in corners even on wet roads.

The Challenger understeers naturally but if you want to eliminate the understeer, you can just floor it and presto! Most people buying the Redeye probably will not care about handling but it is nice to see that the Redeye can be fun on a twisty, wet road.

The other thing that Redeye buyers probably won’t care about is fuel economy. At full throttle, the engine consumes 1.43 gallons of fuel per minute, enough to drain the fuel tank in just under 11 minutes.

Realistically, it is almost impossible to give keep the throttle pinned for a few seconds, let alone 11 minutes. The EPA rates it at 22 mpg on the freeway which is pretty good considering the power. We managed 16 mpg in mixed driving and it is an accomplishment to have 16 mpg in a car with this much power.

Dodge has put in some serious work into this car and the Redeye has been put to the test time and time again and there have been no issues. Nothing has broken and this is with journalists who do not care about the car. It is remarkable what the Dodge engineers have done.

There are other cars that you can buy with power ratings of more than 797 hp. Most of those cars have far better chassis which makes them much easier to drive. Unfortunately, all of those cars are hyper exotics that cost half a million dollars and up.

The Redeye starts out at only $71,695. The closest and cheapest car with similar power is the Ferrari 812 Superfast with 788 hp that costs $365,000. So, it can be a valid argument that at that price the Redeye is a bargain.

Hellcat Steering Wheel
Hellcat Steering Wheel

They will not make this car for long and it is rare enough that it will go up in value so get yours today!


2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody

VEHICLE TYPE:front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 2-door coupe

PRICE AS TESTED:$91,469 (base price: $78,745)

ENGINE TYPE:supercharged and intercooled pushrod 16-valve V-8, iron block and aluminum heads, port fuel injection

Displacement:376 cu in, 6166 cc
Power:797 hp @ 6300 rpm
Torque:707 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 15.4-in vented, slotted discs/13.8-in vented, slotted discs
Tires: Pirelli P Zero PZ4, 305/35ZR-20 (107Y)

Wheelbase: 116.2 in
Length: 197.5 in
Width: 78.3 in
Height: 57.5 in
Passenger volume: 94 cu ft
Trunk volume: 16 cu ft
Curb weight: 4514 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 3.7 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 7.8 sec
Zero to 170 mph: 27.7 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.1 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.4 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 2.5 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 11.8 sec @ 125 mph
Top speed (drag limited, mfr's claim): 203 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 152 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.95 g

Observed: 16 mpg overall

Combined/city/highway: 16/13/22 mpg

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