2018 Challenger Widebody

PHOENIX — Since Dodge reintroduced the Challenger for the 2008 model year, both the Mustang and Camaro muscle cars have undergone complete refreshes. Further, Camaro is expecting another update for 2019. By contrast, the Challenger has basically remained unchanged for the past 11 years, except for one minor mid-cycle refresh back in 2015. Still, sales keep climbing and thus far in 2018, it is outselling the three-year-old Camaro.

So what’s the secret formula that keeps Dodger Challenger selling so well? A steady stream of high-performance Hemi-powered trim levels, currently 16 in all. From the just retired monstrous 840-horsepower Demon, to the 707-horsepower Hellcat, T/A 392, R/T Scat Pack, and more – all of which are hard tops. Camaro offers five different convertible trim levels; Mustang, four.

It seems there are no limits to the endless number of Challenger iterations with gobs of power, wild new color choices, and something to offer for everyone.

In fact, Dodge has just announced the most powerful SRT Hellcat ever, the 2019 Redeye (Dodge says is possessed by the Demon) with 797 horsepower, which goes on sale this fall.

That brings us to our most recently driven Challenger, the high performance 707-horsepower ticket-getting 2018 Hellcat Widebody, delivered to me with a Yellow Jacket exterior paint scheme with bumper-to-bumper fat dual black racing stripes.

The Hellcat Widebody is essentially an SRT Demon sans the 840-horsepower Hemi, which is replaced by the 707-horsepower Hemi V-8 and $6,000 optional Widebody Performance Package, which keeps the widened fenders of the Demon, wider 305/35ZR20 all season performance tires mounted on 20-by-11-inch Devil’s Rim aluminum wheels, widebody competition suspension, and electric power steering.

Those wide, sticky tires, of course, not only significantly improve the handling, but also drop the zero-to-60 time by a tenth to 3.4 seconds. It covers the quarter-mile in 10.9 seconds at over 125 mph. Buyers get a choice of a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. There’s a massive 650-lb-ft. of torque to go along with the sweet, smooth flowing mellifluous supercharging whine that you never tire of hearing.

Still the Hellcat Widebody, with its extended claws and sharp, pointy, saber-shaped canines, is a very controllable performance car, especially with the wider tires making it more street and track friendly.

The Widebody is noticeably wide especially when viewed from the back. But with its incredible 707-horsepower and predatory nature, one would be wise to forego any Widebody shaming. This is as real-deal as it gets and can easily overpower any wannabes that dare to make fun of it.

Vital Stats
Base Price: $64,890
Price as Tested: $77,275
Powertrain: 6.2-Liter 707-horsepower supercharged Hemi V8 and 8-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel Economy: 13-mpg city – 22-mpg highway
Seating Capacity: 5

Crash Test Ratings: Overall highest possible 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Competes With:
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

Fab Features
Fashionable, aggressive Widebody performance package
Massive 707-horsepower
All-around track-ready street car

— Jim Prueter