Four years ago, the audacious Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat emerged, brandishing a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 capable of generating 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, making it far and away the world’s most powerful muscle car and one of the world’s most powerful automobiles, period. Then, for 2018, the limited-production 808-/840-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Demon proved that there was still more power yet to be unleashed from Chrysler’s prolific blown Hemi V-8. A menacing Widebody version also emerged in 2018, giving the Hellcat claws to match its teeth.
Now, for 2019, the Challenger SRT Hellcat receives yet another mid-cycle enhancement—which likely won’t be its last—that replaces the power bulge on the hood with a new “dual snorkel” air-extractor design that Dodge likens to its 1970 Dart Swinger and 1971 Demon. More significant, however, is what lies beneath it: more power. Output for the standard Hellcat’s supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 will rise by 10 ponies and 6 lb-ft of torque to 717 horsepower and 656 lb-ft when production of the 2019 model commences during the fourth quarter of this year. Dodge has also announced that the 2019 Hellcat will be joined by a new, even more ferocious sibling: the SRT Hellcat Redeye, with an utterly maniacal 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque.
When an engine starts with 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, the gain (or loss) of 10 horsepower and 6 lb-ft of torque might hardly be noticed, but the Hellcat Redeye’s extra 90 horsepower and 57 lb-ft probably will. The Redeye’s gains were made by following something closer to the Demon’s diet and workout program, including upgrades to 25 major components. These include an increased-capacity supercharger; stronger connecting rods and pistons; boost pressure increased from 11.6 to 14.5 psi; valvetrain modifications; a higher, 6500-rpm redline (up from 6200 rpm); an additional dual-stage fuel pump; an increased-capacity airbox; and an improved lubrication system.
As before, the standard Challenger SRT Hellcat will be offered with a choice of a six-speed Tremec manual or an eight-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission. The Hellcat Redeye will be offered only with a modified eight-speed automatic with an upgraded torque converter that Dodge claims is good for an 18 percent increase in torque multiplication compared with the standard Hellcat’s automatic. Both models, as well as the Challenger R/T Scat Pack not covered in this story, are now offered with a rear-seat-delete package, which is good for about 50 pounds of weight savings.
Manual-equipped Hellcats will come with a 3:70:1 rear differential while automatic Hellcat and Hellcat Redeye models will come standard with a 2.62:1 rear end; Redeyes will also be offered with a 3:09:1 axle ratio. Interestingly, Dodge claims that both Hellcat models with automatic transmissions achieve the same projected EPA fuel-economy estimates: 13 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, and 16 mpg combined. If that proves true, it appears that the power gains have a negligible effect on efficiency, although we’re not too optimistic that these cars will curry much favor among the tree-hugger set.
Both the 2019 Hellcat and Hellcat Redeye models will be offered in standard width or with the Widebody package. The latter not only looks imposing with its additional 3.5 inches of overall width, it benefits from more than an inch of additional tire contact patch at each wheel on account of its 305/35ZR-20 tires mounted on 11-inch-wide wheels compared with the standard model’s 275/40ZR-20 tires on rims “only” 9.5 inches wide. Dodge projects that the Widebody models will be 0.3 second quicker to reach the quarter-mile mark than their narrow-body counterparts, saying the Redeye Widebody will do it at 10.8 seconds at 131 mph, followed by the standard Hellcat Widebody at 10.9 seconds at 127 mph. It quotes quarter-mile runs for the standard-width Hellcat Redeye and Hellcat models at 11.1 seconds at 131 mph and 11.2 at 125. Top-speed claims are 195 mph for the Hellcat Widebody, 199 mph for the narrow-body model, and 203 mph for both Redeye variants.
Dodge says that the Redeye should be able to run to 60 mph in as little as 3.4 seconds, which is 0.2 second quicker than we recorded in our test of an automatic-equipped 707-hp Hellcat. Dodge wasn’t specific about whether the 3.4-second time applied to the standard or Widebody versions of the Redeye, nor did it offer acceleration times for the non-Redeye Hellcat. It’s safe to assume that they’re all quick and loud.
Beyond the aforementioned new hood, styling changes for 2019 are of little consequence. Inside, the Hellcat lineup comes standard with retro houndstooth fabric on the seats, plus silver seat and console stitching, black chrome accents, and a gunmetal SRT Hellcat badge on the instrument panel. Leather upholstery and microsuede headliners are among the many available upgrades. The Hellcat Redeye is distinguished by its 220-mph red-faced speedometer (compared with the 200-mph speedo in the Hellcat) and various places where the standard Hellcat logo is replaced with the Hellcat Redeye logo, which is, unsurprisingly, much like the Hellcat, except for the red eye.