2021 Dodge Charger Redeye review: When in doubt, power out

That color? It is called Hellraisin.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

At this point, Dodge could sell the current Charger for another decade and I don’t think anyone would mind. The company has honed a simple but effective strategy to incrementally improve its old full-size sedan with cool styling updates and the one thing everyone loves: more power. Like, a lot more power.

Like it

  • 797 horses
  • 797 horses
  • Did I mention it has 797 horsepower?

I do not like

  • Outdated interior pieces
  • Hope you like gas stations

You’ve already read the titles: the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye it hits the road with 797 frankly silly horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque. Is absurd. It’s wonderful. And with its standard launch control, it’s really fast. The Charger Redeye can accelerate to 60 mph in about 3 seconds and will max out at 203 mph supercar. It’s so stupid and I love it.

Dodge’s 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8 is the star of the show, tucked away under a redesigned hood that has a larger cold air intake and two heat extraction vents. The Redeye upgrade comes with Dodge’s Power Reserve feature, which pre-pressurizes the intake manifold for better throttle response, as well as the Power Chiller, which uses air conditioning coolant to cool the air of aspiration. It’s a big engine in a big machine that produces big power, and it’s an absolute beast in action. You will never, ever never urge to push forward in the Redeye loader. The responsible adult in me feels it needs to be stressed that it’s bordering on dangerous to offer a 797 CV anything to the general public, but the laughing enthusiast in me just says fuck it, come on.

The Hellcat V8 works in conjunction with an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission that’s perfectly capable of keeping the engine buzzing at the heart of its power range (which, given the output, is pretty much everywhere). There are tacky little half vanes attached to the steering wheel if you fancy a change on your own, but these metal nubs are hardly satisfying to use. Leave the broadcast alone.

You can customize a whole mess of performance settings to your liking, from steering weight to suspension stiffness, transmission mapping, and more. You can even tell the V8 to calm down and limit its power to 500hp, not so that really makes a lot of difference in the grand scheme of things. My favorite music is to leave everything on Street but put the steering on Sport and of course leave the engine at full blast. This gives the wheel a bit more weight without feeling overly bulky and keeps the adaptive dampers soft enough to make the Charger a real catch on long journeys.

A round of applause for this motor cannonball.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

Honestly, as much as Charger Redeye is a master of straight-line cheating, it is surprisingly capable when you throw it down a winding road. Redeye gets the Widebody treatment, which adds 3.5 inches of additional track width and 50 extra cooling points over a regular charger. More importantly, this allows Dodge to fit meaty 305 / 35ZR20 tires in all four corners, even if, oddly enough, they’re all-season tires, not the stickiest summers.

The underlying feeling of “if I give it too much gas out of a corner, I’m going to roll and crash into a fireball” never really leaves you as you move this 797hp monster with two-decade-old bases. But with great power comes great responsibility, and the adaptive shock absorbers and wide tires do a great job of keeping things copacetic when cornering. There’s also a lot of feedback through the steering wheel, so you’re always aware of how much grip is available at any given moment. I wouldn’t call the Redeye agile in any way, but it’s a lot less hoarse and biting hell than you might think. Plus, it has 15.7-inch two-piece front brakes from the good folks at Brembo, which is pretty solid serenity.

I guess I should mention the fuel economy, even if it’s irrelevant in any Hellcat powered car. Exactly no one is buying this thing with efficiency in mind, and that’s a good thing, because even the EPA ratings of 12mph city, 21mpg highway, and 15mpg combined are a bit optimistic. Get used to seeing teen numbers regularly. Don’t forget the $ 2,100 gas consumption tax either.

With Uconnect, even old technology is good technology.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

The entire Redeye upgrade is technically just an optional $ 8,600 package on the standard SRT Hellcat Widebody charger. You get all the fast stuff, a 220mph speedometer and some unique badges, but everything else remains unchanged from other Charger models. Colorful brake calipers and matte black roof and decklid treatments are available as add-ons, but the only way to really tell a Redeye from lesser Hellcats is to spot the red eye within the Hellcat logo on the front fender. (Take it?!)

This means that the Redeye’s interior is no different from the base Hellcat, which itself isn’t much more special than the entry-level charger with V6 power. Sure, you can add things like a carbon / suede interior package ($ 1,595), but there’s no hiding the fact that this cabin is old. Really old. You’ll especially notice cheap plastics on the door boards and the buttons on the center stack look and feel like the 20-year-old parts that they are. At least those supportive front seats are infinitely comfortable and come standard with heating and ventilation. The rear seats are also heated, although you will be shocked at the little leg room for such a huge car.

Every Charger Hellcat gets the Uconnect infotainment suite, housed on an 8.4-inch screen in the dashboard, with Apple CarPlay is Android Auto. This is Fiat-Chrysler’s old multimedia software, not the new and improved Uconnect 5. However, this next-generation system has a ton of features and the touchscreen responds quickly to inputs. It’s old technology, but at least it’s good technology.

Strong and proud.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

Driver assistance technologies are few and far between. Blind spot monitoring and cross-traffic detection are standard, but that’s it, and modern conveniences like adaptive cruise control aren’t available. (You’ll notice the three dead buttons on the right side of the steering wheel where those features should be.) Then again, you buy the Charger Redeye because it makes damn 797 horsepower, not because it’s packed with gee-whiz tech.

The 2021 Redeye Charger costs $ 82,190, which is $ 69,995 for the Hellcat Widebody, $ 8,600 for the Redeye upgrade, $ 2,100 for the gas consumption tax, and $ 1,495 for the destination. Add some extras and you can get one of these over $ 90,000; my slightly more sober Hellraisin tester (yes, that’s really the name of this color) costs $ 87,165.

Yes, that’s a lot of money for a Dodge Charger, but good luck getting so much power for this little money from any other automaker. Also, if Dodge has proven anything in recent years, it’s that people love these things and the end result doesn’t matter. That “shut up and make it faster” attitude is a rare thing in the car world these days, and something we should embrace for as long as possible. As faulty as it may be, I wouldn’t have the Charger Redeye in any other way.

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