A funny thing happened when the pandemic hit and the economy went into a free fall. Cars didn’t stop selling—especially fast ones. Turns out contemplating mortality meant, for many of us, enjoying the visceral pleasures available to us while we still could. For some, that meant going out and buying the 2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Widebody.
After driving one, I tip my dopamine-soaked cap to those buyers. On an emotional scale of 1 to 10, the fastest mass-produced sedan in the world is somewhere in near-earth orbit. Jeff Bezos unloaded much more than the $90,050 sticker price on our test car to get there.
Dodge Hellcat reimagined
The Hellcat at hand represents another chapter in an ongoing story. When Dodge unleashed the “Hellcat” name back in 2014 with the first iteration of its 6.2-liter, V-8-powered supercharged monster, it was part of a bid to leave boring cars behind, ceding the everyday stuff to other brands. Apparently selling a 700-plus-horsepower machine to the masses was such a wild idea that it worked. Over 50,000 Hellcats have found driveways thus far, helped, in part, by hip-hop lyrics: it’s shown up in bars from Chief Keef, Quavo, Lil Baby and many more.
Our tester made it easy to see why the thing’s a pop culture hit. It wore a “Go Mango” paint job, which is a kind of orange, solar-plasma blast, and came with a speedometer that tops out at 220 mph. It looks unsubtle, and drives no differently. The freeway starts to feel like a strobing video game as the high whine of its supercharger adds hair-on-fire flare. A quarter mile passes by in the mid-ten seconds. You become friends with the 14-inch Brembo brakes. Hilariously, a car seat fits in back just fine.
But here’s the thing—haven’t electric cars like the 1,020-horsepower Tesla Model S Plaid turned the fuel-sucking Hellcat into a dinosaur? I called Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis to ask. He didn’t seem worried.
“The technology [of electrics] is amazing—you can have better control of acceleration and traction, you have instantaneous power,” he said. “Every mainstream product is going to go toward electrification. And when they do, and we have economies of scale that make it more affordable, it’s going to be the muscle car war all over again.”
So, folks, the Hellcat might have a quieter, even faster, electric future. For now, enjoy this late-stage internal-combustion masterwork.
At wide-open throttle, Dodge says the Charger Hellcat Redeye can drain its fuel tank in 11 minutes, using two dual-stage fuel pumps. We’re here for a good time, not a long time, right?