2021 Dodge Hellcat Redeye

PHOENIX — Last year, we tested the bargain-priced Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack Plus, equipped with a 485-horsepower, 6.4-liter V-8 SRT 392 Hemi, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. That Charger was overshadowed by the attention-getting headlines of its more powerful big brother, the 707-horsepower Charger Hellcat.
Now for 2021, it’s no surprise that Dodge once again released a better and more powerful SRT version of its high-performing Charger.

First, there was the Charger SRT, then the 392, followed by the Hellcat, then the Hellcat Widebody, next the Hellcat Redeye with 707-horsepower. Now, Dodge trots out the Charger Hellcat Redeye Widebody that imports performance parts from the limited-production Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. It’s the most powerful, fastest production sedan on the planet with a 90-horsepower boost to 797 horsepower. It has 707 lb. ft torque and will exceed 200 mph. Perhaps even more impressive is that it’s backed by a full factory 5-year/60,000-powertrain warranty.

Internal engine modifications incorporated from the limited-production Demon drag-strip beast include the “Power Chiller” that uses the vehicle’s air-conditioning system to lower the temperature of intake air to continually prevent a decrease in power from repeated dragstrip and lap track sessions. Other carryovers include dual fuel pumps, stronger axles, and an uprated driveshaft.

From the outside, the Hellcat is easily distinguished from the R/T, mainly by its standard Widebody exterior that features unique front and rear fascias with integrated fender flares that add 3.5 inches of width over its wider wheels and tires. New for the Hellcat Redeye is the hood featuring a larger hood air scoop for the engine to suck in more air directly into the intake air box, maximizing the horsepower. Other new additions for 2021 are the special 20-by-11-inch rims, a 220-mph red speedometer and assorted Redeye logos both inside and out.

Inside, the Redeye is marginally upgraded from a base six-cylinder Charger, excluding the heavily bolstered leather seating designed to hold you in place on tight turns, and other modestly updated trim. Seating room is spacious and comfortable for four adults, tolerable for five. Nearly all operating controls, safety features and trim are basically standard issue, but SRT buyers don’t much care. They want their dollars poured into horsepower not massaging seats, 23-speaker audio systems, or self-driving features. It’s performance that lures the buyers and puts the smiles on their face.

Standard safety equipment includes basic driver-assistance technology such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors. However, more advanced driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection are unavailable.

Our Hellcat Redeye came equipped with several options, including the $1,595 carbon/suede interior package with suede headliner and real carbon fiber interior accents, the $995 navigation package that includes Sirius XM Travel Link and Travel Plus connectivity, power sunroof ($1,995), 305/35ZR20 front and rear three-season tires ($695) and upgraded 20-inch warp speed granite wheels ($1,095).

During our weeklong testing of the Hellcat Redeye, we were especially impressed with its reasonable drivability as a daily commuter, notwithstanding its massive power, thanks in part to the versatile Bilstein adaptive suspension and beyond capable meaty Pirelli P-Zero tires. There are selectable control settings for any type of driving, including “track.” But take my experiential advice and make sure you’re on the track before using that setting. We didn’t take a turn at a quarter mile run but Dodge says it will trip the timer clock at 10.6-seconds. I had no complaints with the stopping power or fade resistance thanks to the huge six-piston front, four-piston rear Brembo brakes.

For 2021, Dodge still offers the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat Charger and has increased its standard output to 717 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft torque at a base price of $69,995. However, we’d spend the additional $8,600 to move up to the powerful Redeye Hellcat with its 797 horsepower. You’ll need to add $2,100 gas guzzler tax and $1,495 destination charge to the base prices of both those vehicles.

Overall, at nearly $90,000, our Redeye is expensive to buy and needy to maintain with ample gasoline and replacement tires as necessary. But for those who can afford it and value performance, it’s the best high-powered, racetrack-optimized and most powerful full-sized production sedan in history — and bargain priced for what you get.

— Jim Prueter