With most of the attention from the Dodge Charger lineup being given to the 797 horsepower Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye (and now the 807 horsepower Charger SRT Jailbreak), many people tend to overlook the car that started it all – the Charger SRT Hellcat. The supercharged HEMI-powered four-door got a few new upgrades for the 2021 model year. But as the big sedan charges into 2022, the Charger SRT Hellcat continues to be a bargain when it comes to performance.
Powered by the same supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat V8 engine, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat upped the ante by increasing its shifting points from the innovative, quick-shifting TorqueFlite 8HP90 8-speed automatic transmission to 6,100 rpm. This allowed the 2021 model to match the power rating of the limited edition 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition with 717 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Charger SRT Hellcat models are loaded with standard performance features, including:
- Adaptive Damping Suspension — SRT-tuned Bilstein three-mode Adaptive Damping Suspension system includes: Auto mode = sporty but compliant ride; Sport mode = firm, maximum handling; Track mode = firm, maximum handling plus performance shifting and gear-holding feature
- Braking System — Braking power comes from the standard Brembo brake system with two-piece, 15.7-inch front rotors and six-piston front calipers for outstanding heat management, thermal capacity, and longevity
- Electric Power Steering (EPS) — Electric power steering delivers a better steering feel and ease of turning at parking lot speeds. It can be calibrated to optimize steering effort for a variety of driving situations via settings in the SRT Performance Pages
- Launch Assist — Launched on the Challenger SRT Demon as a factory-production car first, Launch Assist helps resolve one of the biggest challenges to clean launches and driveline integrity – wheel hop, which happens when tires quickly slip and regain traction at launch, rapidly storing up and releasing energy in the driveline. These high torque spikes can quickly and severely damage driveline components and, up until now, the only solution was to back out of the throttle. Charger SRT Hellcat models use the wheel speed sensors to watch for signs that the tires are slipping/sticking. If the hop is detected, the engine control module momentarily reduces torque to maximize traction almost instantly – without the driver having to lift the throttle. Launch Assist reduces loads in the driveline from wheel hop by up to 20%
- Torque Reserve — Torque Reserve becomes active once the engine speed passes 950 rpm. The system closes the bypass valve, “prefilling” the intake with boost, manages fuel flow to cylinders, and manages spark timing to balance engine rpm and torque
- Launch Control — Holds the engine at optimal launch rpm and waits for the driver to release the brake. Launch Control then uses engine torque management to optimize wheel slip for maximum acceleration
- Line Lock — Engages the front brakes to hold the Charger stationary, but leaves the rear wheels free for a burnout to heat up and clean the rear tires. The system will also let the driver perform a controlled rolling burnout and can engage for up to 200 rear wheel revolutions
- Larger Induction Airbox — Sealed to the new functional performance hood for a steady supply of cool outside air, the SRT Hellcat Redeye’s airbox includes an additional inlet near the wheel liner
- SRT Drive Modes — Accessed via the 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen, drivers can tailor their experience by adjusting horsepower, transmission shift speeds, steering effort, paddle shifters, traction, and suspension settings. SRT Drive Modes offer selectable settings for Street (Auto), Sport, and Track. There is also a custom setting for the driver to select individual preferences
- SRT Performance Pages — Brings critical vehicle performance data to the driver’s fingertips, including a real-time dyno graph, a g-force heat map, and much more
The functional performance hood from the Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye also comes down to the Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody and gives the four-door muscle car an even more sinister look.
The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat offers plenty of room for five full-sized adults (four super comfortably). Even with the fastback design of the roof, the rear seats are sculpted to allow taller riders to sit lower for more headroom. Front passengers have plenty of room and unlike the Challenger which has to have the ability for the passenger to tumble forward to allow access to the rear, the Charger features a power seat for the passenger.
For a 700+ horsepower rear-wheel-drive sedan, the Charger SRT Hellcat proves that it can be aggressive on the track and drag strip, but can be civil on the street. For those who are worried to have their spouse, children, or neighbor drive the car, the Hellcat can be dialed back to 500 horsepower thanks to the standard black key fob (while a red key fob unleashed all 717 horsepower). Driving the Hellcat with the black key fob in hand, it still performs on par with that of a Scat Pack model.
Yes, it may not have the latest Uconnect 5 software, nor does it have Level 2 autonomy, or things like messaging seats, the Charger SRT Hellcat continues to offer the one thing other vehicles in its class can’t – that raw back to basics muscle car experience. Sure, the big heavy “barge” will continue on until 2024, where it will be replaced by a new generation of big Dodge sedans. But, this Charger SRT Hellcat is one of the last great pieces of Americana in the auto industry – no fancy electrics, no hybrid system, just raw supercharged HEMI V8 power.
When compared to its Hellcat Redeye sibling, the standard Hellcat is almost $9,000 USD cheaper. The savings will allow you to buy several new sets of tires since the Pirelli tires don’t last that long. Especially with the rolling burnouts that these cars are capable of. Nevertheless, the standard Hellcat still doesn’t disappoint in today’s world and continues to offer a more affordable offering while still making well over 700 horsepower.
Special thanks to our friends at White Rock Dodge in Surrey, British Columbia. This 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody (as of this writing) is currently in inventory there.
2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Image Gallery: