The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat’s calling card has always been its absurd 707 horsepower and rowdy attitude, but it’s desperately lacked traction. There’s a solution for that which is more tire.
Actually, everything about this car is conspicuous. It may be the first car to be visible, or possibly heard, from low Earth orbit. New fender flares add 3.3 inches of width to the Charger in order accommodate 11.0-inch wide, 20-inch diameter wheels wrapped with optional Pirelli P Zero PZ4 summer tires, sized 305/35R-20 at all four corners. (Similarly sized all-season rubber is standard.) It’s essentially the same optional modification recently brought to the four-door Charger’s two-door sibling, the Dodge Challenger, to create the Challenger widebody models.
The problem for Dodge, though, is that the current-gen Charger is already 8 years old and in theory, should be on the verge of going stale. But Dodge is at the forefront of the battle against aging. Unlike creams that remove wrinkles and diets that get rid of loose skin, Dodge’s anti-aging procedure has always been an additive process. Dodge doesn’t take away, Dodge adds more. More horsepower, more hood scoops, more inches to the wheels, more girth to the fender flares. And the endless act of piling on more has finally lead us to this moment, when Dodge crowns the new king of the barren land of muscle sedans. That crown is the Widebody package, which is now standard on the Charger Hellcat and optional on its less-powerful brother, the Charger Scat Pack.
Both the Scat Pack and Hellcat get Dodge’s Uconnect infotainment system running on an 8.4-inch touchscreen. Navigation is optional, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, so drivers don’t really need to spend the money on the embedded tech. Driver-assistance features are a little thin on big muscle cars, but there are few tech nuggets here and there. The Scat Pack has optional adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning and lane-departure warning and assist. The Hellcat has blind-spot monitoring standard but the other features aren’t offered at all.
The Charger Hellcat Widebody 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 sends 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque through the 8-speed automatic and out to the ground more effectively directed to the rear wheels only.
The Scat Pack Widebody takes the same approach but executes it to a less extreme degree. Its 6.4-liter (392 cubic-inch) naturally-aspirated Hemi V8 and 8-speed auto are left intact and still send “only” 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. With the wider tires, the Scat Pack Widebody can hit 60 mph from a standstill in 4.3 seconds and run past the quarter mile marker in 12.4 seconds.
The new Charger Hellcat Widebody will match the Scat Pack’s acceleration with its air conditioning on.
For acceleration testing, the SRT team went to multiple dragstrips including US 131 Motorsports Park in Michigan and Orlando Speedworld in Florida. With the stickier summer tires and the Charger’s Launch Control, which is programmable from 1,200 rpm to 2,400 rpm, Dodge says the Widebody Hellcat hits 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and covers the quarter mile in 10.96 seconds. Top speed is 196 mph.
With a starting price of $69,645 before options and the $1,495 destination charge, the Hellcat Widebody certainly does keeps itself grounded. But because the Widebody variant is now the only four-door Hellcat on sale, it effectively pushes the barrier to Hellcat ownership up by $2,150, up from the standard Hellcat’s $67,495 price tag. That $2,150 premium is less than the $6,000 needed to step up from the Charger Scat Pack to the Scat Pack Widebody – the former starting at $39,995 and the latter coming in at $45,995 (before destination). Dodge justifies that by pointing out the extensive modifications the Widebody package delivers, from the subtler cosmetic tweaks to the more serious suspension upgrades. But the same argument can’t be made for the Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition, which commands a price of $74,140 in exchange for 10 extra horsepower, Daytona badging, and its status as the more exclusive beast.