Dodge has been putting on a clinic on how to amass horsepower and passion for a niche performance brand. Hellcat has almost elevated itself to a sub-brand, and Demon worked enthusiasts into a frenzy and created such an appetite for power that engineers have been cooking up new variants ever since.
Most of the attention has been given to the two-door Challenger. Time for some four-door Charger love. The 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody goes into production this fall, and it is not a limited run. This is just step one in giving the Charger love and ensuring it remains a four-door muscle car, performance sedan, and badass family car, says Tim Kuniskis, FCA head of passenger cars for North America.
Here are seven things to know about the latest Widebody derivative from the mad minds of the engineers at Dodge.
There’s a race car version
To build more hype, a race car version with more horsepower, big brakes, and big rubber has been ginned up to participate in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this weekend in Colorado with MotorTrend expert test driver Randy Pobst at the wheel. This race-prepped concept based on the production Charger Widebody has a specially tuned version of the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 with a high-performance eight-speed automatic transmission. It will essentially have a full race engine, full race suspension, roll cage, racing seat, and a fuel cell that replaces the fuel tank. None of the modified car parts will become available through Mopar.
It’s all about the power
The production Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody uses the 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque from the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 to scoot from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, FCA execs say. By comparison, the Demon had a claimed time of 2.3 seconds and the Challenger Redeye’s claimed time is 3.4 seconds. So this four-door family sedan is in some fast company. The latest Charger also promises to complete the quarter-mile in 10.96 seconds and has a top speed of 196 mph.
Integrated fender flares make the body 3.5 inches wider, which makes room for new 20-inch by 11-inch carbon black forged wheels wrapped with wider Pirelli 305/35ZR20 tires for better grip and handling. Before, the widest tire the Charger could take was 275. A wider body also allowed engineers to upgrade the suspension, Kuniskis says. The Widebody is standard on this Hellcat, as opposed to being an option on the Challenger.
Damping, steering, and other vital functions
The Charger Hellcat Widebody has an SRT-tuned Bilstein three-mode adaptive damping competition suspension. That is a lot of adjectives, but it means it should not remove fillings. The car also has electric power steering for the first time, engineered to provide more feel whether taking a long sweeper fast or slowly easing into a spot in the parking lot. The car also has retuned shocks, stiffer springs—front spring rates are 32 percent stiffer—as well as larger sway bars that expand from 32 to 34 mm in front and from 19 to 22 mm in the rear. Brembo brakes also help ensure this is no ordinary Charger.
Standard race tech
Feel the need for a burnout? Line Lock engages the front brakes to hold the car in place while freeing the rear wheels for a burnout. Flip a switch for Launch Control, and Launch Assist uses wheel speed sensors to avert wheel hop. But don’t go looking for the Demon’s Drag mode suspension tuning for weight transfer on launch or TransBrake to lock the output shaft of the transmission to build and hold more power prior to launch. The Charger Widebody does get Race Cooldown, which keeps cooling the supercharger and the air cooler after the engine is turned off so this hell-kitty is ready to go again.
Gotta look the part
The new fascia has a mail-slot grille to bring in air to cool the radiator; there are also new side sills and a unique spoiler. Inside a carbon and suede package jazz up the cabin.
Scat Pack love
A more affordable option is to order a Charger with a Scat Pack Widebody package. The car comes with the 485-hp naturally aspirated Hemi V-8, a specially tuned suspension, the electric power steering, wider wheels and tires, Brembo brakes, modified springs, sway bars and shocks, Launch Control, Launch Assist, and Line Lock.
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