2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Drivers

I’ve always wondered how Dodge would evolve the Challenger. There was only one real generation, not counting the rebadged Mitsubishi. Past and present, it’s always looked the same. With the Hellcat, Demon, and now my personal favorite, the Hellcat Redeye Widebody, it makes total sense. There’s no need to redesign it every few years. Just tweak it and add cool features — like flared fenders and the 797-hp Hellcat engine. It’s all you need.

This thing makes a statement. The Redeye is the car your neighbors want a ride in. I parked in our office building’s basement, and co-workers heard me gunning the engine — two stories up. It’s a growl. It has bass. It’s angry.

I’ve always liked how the Challenger drives. It’s big. It’s heavy. The hood looks like the deck of an aircraft carrier. It’s not trying to be a track rat. Go fast in a straight line. That’s what you do. Take a hard left and maybe you skid a little bit. Maybe that’s the idea. You don’t eat cheeseburgers because they’re good for you. You eat them because they taste good.

If you know me even a little bit, you know that I’m not big on cars with crazy power and performance. All too often, it’s performance that’s nigh unusable on public roads, and the car usually doesn’t benefit much in the areas of character and fun. As such, you would think I would hate the Hellcat Red Eye. But surprisingly, even to me, I had a blast with it.

Yes, 797 horsepower is so much you’ll probably never actually be able to use it all on the street. But there’s more to the monster under the hood than the raw numbers. First, there’s the sound. I already feel that the Hemis are the best-sounding American V8s right now. They have such a round, mellow rumble, and it’s particularly loud and hearty in the Red Eye. Then you add the urgent whine of the supercharger under the hood, and it becomes a harmony of raw power. And the sound isn’t reserved to redline or full throttle. Even bouncing between stoplights you’ll get a nice taste of it all. More revs and throttle just raise the volume.

Then, in the morning, after scaring off the deer from the garden with a blat of the exhaust, I headed out onto the still-wet road. As I pulled out of my neighborhood, I was greeted by an enthusiastic thumbs-up from a fellow driver … in a Prius. It appears the Hellcat has broad appeal.