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2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye First Drive

Challenger Hellcat News

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The 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye has a name as long as the tire stripes it will leave in front of your house. It is a silly, unreasonable sort of transportation in the same way that an ice cream sundae is a silly, unreasonable sort of food. Both are easy to overdo but ultimately delightful.

Our first drive of this gooey snack of a car occurs at Club Motorsports in New Hampshire, where we get a chance to see how 797 horsepower behaves on a racetrack and on the street. Unsurprisingly, it's a lot of fun, but so is the regular Challenger SRT Hellcat, which now offers 717 horsepower and only slightly slower straight-line performance. Is the Redeye's extra 80 hp worth an extra $11,000 over the base Hellcat's $61,745 starting price (including destination and gas-guzzler tax)? Probably not, but we wouldn't blame you for getting one anyway. Who's going to turn down an extra scoop of ice cream?

What Is The Redeye?
The Challenger Redeye is made up of ingredients from other Dodge Challenger models, namely the Hellcat Widebody and the drag-race-inspired Demon. That Demon engine, called the Hellcat High Output in the spec sheet, sets the Redeye apart from lesser V8 Challengers. The Redeye gets the Demon's larger supercharger on a beefed-up 6.2-liter V8, but it does not get the massive single-scoop hood or available high-octane fuel tune that permits 840 hp. The Redeye can only brag about 797 horses.

Despite this incredible handicap, Dodge says the Redeye runs a 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds and clears the quarter-mile in 10.8 seconds at 131 mph. That's 4 mph faster than the Hellcat Widebody, which covers the same distance in 10.9 seconds.

The Redeye gets stronger connecting rods and pistons, a more capable fuel-injection system and improved oiling of the Demon, as well as a system that can divert air conditioning to the engine to cool it before an acceleration run. Other drag-racing tricks include a line lock, a launch control, and a feature that adjusts engine timing and fuel delivery to help build boost from the supercharger. The Redeye doesn't have the Demon's sticky drag radials, transbrake or other drag-racing optimizations, so don't expect wheelies. But if you need to brag, the Redeye has a top speed of 203 mph.

While you can get a six-speed manual transmission in a Hellcat, the Redeye is only available with an eight-speed automatic because Dodge doesn't have a manual rated for 707 pound-feet of torque. You do, however, have an option of rear gear ratios: a standard 2.62:1 or optional 3.09:1 for quicker acceleration.

Big drivelines deserve big brakes, and the Redeye comes standard with 15.4-inch vented and slotted rotors and six-piston Brembo calipers in the front and 13.8-inch vented and slotted rotors with four-piston fixed Brembo calipers in the rear.

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