The Dodge Demon may be gone, but it’s certainly not forgotten, and Fiat Chrysler’s muscle car brand is again pushing the limits with another spin-off of its Hellcat line.
While the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye won’t quite match the numbers delivered by last year’s limited-edition Demon, it looks to have little to apologize for considering it will still make 797 horsepower – 90 more than the original Hellcat coupe. That will be enough to launch it from 0 to 60 in just 3.4 seconds, with a top speed of 203 mph.
“The Dodge Brothers would be proud that we’re leveraging the power and performance of this proven engine to bring a Demon-possessed Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye to an even wider high-performance enthusiast audience,” proclaimed Dodge boss Steve Beahm, during a debut event at FCA’s proving grounds in Chelsea, Michigan.
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Despite ever-tightening emissions and fuel economy standards, the domestic muscle car market has reached a competitive level not seen since the twin energy shocks of the 1970s sent motorists scurrying off to buy import econoboxes. In terms of raw power, Dodge has set a high hurdle for its competitors, starting with the 2014 launch of the Charger and Challenger Hellcat twins and then, for 2018, the audacious Challenger SRT Hellcat Demon.
But where that 840-hp monster was primarily targeted at drag strip fans, Dodge is aiming the 2019 Redeye at a broader audience, among other things, with more conventional tires geared for everyday driving.
“It’s a Hellcat that’s been possessed by the Demon,” said Beahm, adding that “It’s basically a Demon engine with a slightly different calibration.”
Like the dragstrip-oriented coupe, the Challenger SRT Hellcat won’t get lost in the crowd. Visually, the Redeye will share a new dual-snorkel hood with other Hellcat models, a design cue meant to pay homage to such legendary golden age Dodge muscle cars as the 1970 Dart Swinger and 1971 Demon.
One reason Redeye didn’t retain the Challenger Hellcat Demon’s massive air scoop is that it was designed for the relatively low speeds experienced on a dragstrip. One you’re pressing well into triple digits, explained Dodge engine chief Chris Cowford, the Demon scoop creates not only a lot of drag, but also a lot of lift. But there’s no reason to lament. The new dual-scoop design can suck in 18% more air than the original Hellcat design.)
And buyers actually will have two options to choose from, both the standard Redeye and a Widebody version that adds an extra 3.5 inches of width. With fatter 305/35ZR20 Pirelli tires on 20×11-inch rims, that will translate into a fair bit of additional grip that, in turn, will cut the Redeye’s quarter-mile time down from 11.1 to 10.8 seconds at 131 mph.
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Of course, when it comes to muscle, beauty has to be more than skin deep. And that’s where Dodge claims the Redeye can deliver, with 25 major component upgrades from the “base” Hellcat engine. These include the largest factory supercharger of any production car: 2.7 liters versus the Hellcat’s 2.4. Other improvements include:
- Increased boost pressure, which climbs from 11.6 to 14.5 psi;
- A redline that increased 300 revs, to 6,500 RPM;
- A two-stage fuel pump, and
- A larger induction airbox with three sources of intake, including that new, dual-snorkel hood.
All-in-all, the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye’s 6.2-liter V-8 will churn out 797 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque, a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic directing power to the rear wheels.
Along with the new dual-snorkel hood and street-ready tires, there are some other changes from the Demon. The Redeye suspension is now race, rather than track tuned as well.
The Redeye does retain the air chiller feature that uses the car’s air conditioner to maximize boost. And there’s also Launch Control and Line Lock.
Pricing for the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye will come in “around $70,000,” according to Beahm. “We’ll have it in a couple weeks.”
Incidentally, the original Dodge Challenger Hellcat hasn’t been forgotten. Thanks to the deeper breathing of the new dual-snorkel hood, the beast will get a performance enhancement of its own for 2019, the coupe now rated at 717 hp and 656 lb-ft of torque.
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