Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody 2018 review


As ridiculous as you would hope and expect it to be. At everyday speeds, the Redeye is actually pretty civilised for something with such outlandish statistics. The ride is pliant at low speeds, if a little under-damped, and the light-feeling steering is accurate and free of slop.

Cabin materials feel (and smell) cheap, but it seems well screwed together and, although old-fashioned, the simple design suits the car’s complete lack of pretension. From the driver’s seat, it is often hard to remember just how much cartoon aggression the steroidal styling is projecting, especially in the Widebody, which has chunky arch extensions to cover fatter tyres.

The glove might not be silk, but there’s definitely an iron fist inside it. Push beyond the top inch or so of the throttle pedal’s long travel and the Redeye’s character changes, exhaust note hardening and thrust turning immediately serious. Push harder and it just gets progressively angrier, especially once the supercharger starts to add its wail above 3000rpm. Well before the pedal reaches the floor your brain will be telling you the Challenger is giving its all, but there is more to come. Fully unleashed, the car can spin its speedometer in a way that’s reminiscent of a sports bike, with some truly startling figures arriving amazingly quickly.

It’s very important not to be distracted by the numbers, nor the way the scenery is blurring in the side windows. Try to slow, or turn, the Redeye and you’re left in no doubt of the very considerable forces at play here; it’s alarmingly easy to find yourself approaching a corner carrying way too much speed. Because while the Redeye copes with bends reasonably well, there’s no question they aren’t its forte. Especially as sending any significant amount of torque to the rear axle in a slow turn sees the stability control effectively abrogate responsibility.

Even with everything fully switched on, the Redeye slithers and slides to rakish angles under power. This was on dry Tarmac: in the wet, I expect the amusement of such low-speed antics would become more alarming.

The Redeye has a launch control system designed to maximise drag strip performance, but it is also possible to fully disable the traction sentinels – in the same way you could choose to wrestle a bear. Fully unshackled, the Redeye vaporises its rear tyres off the line, although easing the throttle slightly did persuade it to hook up. It’s not the most effective way to deploy its huge performance, but it’s certainly fun.

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