Full disclosure: this has been written without knowing anything about how the new AMG C63 drives. It could be the best four-cylinder car ever made, a 680hp mash-up of rally rep, AMG lunacy and Mercedes-Benz luxury. It could silence every possible critic that exists about the demise of the V8 C-Class. But there’s a suspicion it might not. As enthusiasts, we’ve known for so long how important a great engine is to a brilliant car, and now everyone is starting to appreciate how central the appeal of an ICE is to a driving experience. There aren’t many iconic cars out there with disappointing petrol motors under the bonnet…
But change is a-comin' and you know it's serious when Dodge is having to give up on the Hellcat and create an electric Charger concept. Of course, they’re doing it the Dodge way - 24 Months of Muscle is a product strategy, not a raunchy calendar - but the end is in sight. For cars as iconic as the Challenger and Charger Hellcat, models that have come to redefine affordable muscle over the past decade, the end of their production will be tremendously sad. Here’s a product line that’s never had less than 707hp, launched at thousands less than the old BMW M4, pulled wheelies as a Demon, offered a 200mph four-door saloon when none of the Germans would, and came in colours like Hellraisin. In an ever more serious and virtuous automotive world, it wasn’t hard to admire the tongue-in-cheek sense of humour.
Though both Mustang and Corvette have been launched as UK models during the Hellcat era, right-hand drive models never came here. Maybe that’s for the best; they’re probably too big and too crude to be truly viable. It’d spoil the illusion, and you’d be less willing to cut them any slack with the steering wheel on the correct side. But the sustained and considerable interest in both Charger and Challenger has kept a steady stream of LHD imports coming almost since launch. Meaning that those that want one, can get one.
And a Hellcat surely comes no finer than this. It’s a four-door Charger, for starters, arguably the better looking of the Dodge duo and surely rarer in the UK as well. Then it just gets better and better from there. The colour is F8 Green, a kind of dark military shade that would likely be too bold for the European makers and looks great here with the red calipers and the huge light bar. This Charger is a Redeye, too, meaning 797 glorious imperial horsepower - or more than 800 in metric. And rear-wheel drive. And now, in fact, probably a kerbweight that undercuts the C63…
Don’t adjust your aspect ratio, either, as the Charger really is this broad. It’s a Widebody car, a factory option introduced in 2019 that added 3.5 inches to the width and meant giant 11-inch wide wheels could be fitted at the rear. The Widebody wasn’t just to the benefit of aesthetics; more rubber on the road, bigger anti-roll bars, stiffer springs and reworked dampers made it faster around a track. In addition to the Brembo brakes that also came with the Widebody upgrade, Dodge said the kit made a Charger two seconds a lap faster around a two-mile circuit.
Of course, it’s not likely to see which way an M5 went on track. Even with 800hp, it’s not going to keep up with the new C63, especially not with AMG’s latest chassis tech doing its thing. But that’s never really been the Hellcat’s bag, anyway. It’s more about looking cool, going fast, and making a stupendous noise in the process. None of them will do it quite as well as this one. US imports sadly look more expensive than ever right now, and the Charger is no different, but it isn’t hard to see the appeal of a legendary supercharged V8 in a four-door this rude. Served AMG well enough, after all.
SPECIFICATION | DODGE CHARGER SRT HELLCAT REDEYE WIDEBODY
Engine: 6,166cc, supercharged V8
Transmission: 8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 797@6,300rpm
Torque (lb ft): 707@4,500rpm
Year registered: 2021
Recorded mileage: 3,000
Price new: Don’t ask
Yours for: £119,950
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