THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: This is what a “muscle car” is all about.
- What’s Worst: Trying to get this thing insured
- What’s Interesting: Like the folks at Dodge, I’m wondering why its main competitors have not tried to match it and the Demon.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN: You’d think a set of wheel well flares wouldn’t make all that much performance difference, but they do on the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody.
Dodge takes its already potent 707 hp, supercharged 6.2-litre Hellcat Hemi-engined Challenger and adds the flares that widen it by just 3.5 inches.
This was in response to buyers who said they wanted more grip.
With revised suspension and riding on 20 X 11-inch “Devil’s Rim” five-spoke alloy wheels with 305/35ZR20 Pirelli P-Zero performance tires, the new Widebody tested on a 2.7 km (1.7 mile) track lowered its lap time by two seconds.
And that’s just the beginning.
Arriving in the fall priced at $87,995 (not including $2,495 destination fee), it improved its 0-100 km sprint time by 0.1 seconds over the standard Hellcat and by 0.3 seconds over the quarter mile mph plus a top speed of 314 km/h (195 mph).
The Widebody features an all-new electric power steering rack as standard which includes three driver selectable SRT Drive Modes – Street (auto), Sport and Track.
These modes allow performance to be set up from transmission shift speeds, steering, traction and suspension compliance.
To help the supercharged engine stay cool, the power-bulge aluminum hood has a centre air intake and twin engine bay heat extractors.
Aiding this are the “Air-Catcher” headlamps that funnel air directly to the engine through an opening in the centre of the parking lights.
At the front is fitted the same fully functional splitter from the 840 hp Dodge Challenger Demon, while at the rear, it retains the standard Hellcat spoiler.
The engine with its 650 lb/ft of torque is mated to either a six-speed heavy-duty Tremec manual or eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission.
Open the hood and there’s that Hemi with a silvery supercharger housing sitting top of the engine block. And when it fires up, there’s a hollow “oomph” sound as the first gases exit the pipes at the rear and it settles down into a basso burble that lets the world know there is massive power under the hood.
The blower takes in up to 30,000 litres of air per minute using two air/coolant heat exchangers built into the supercharger housing that keeps heat under 60 C (140 F) even after hours of track time.
Because this is so effective, Dodge does not have to lower power due to cooling issues, even when the ambient temperature is as high as 38 C (100 F).
The 2018 Widebody was previewed to the media along with the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT at the fabled Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where there was a track set up with an infield course that exited onto the main straightaway.
After some exploratory laps with the instructor onboard, you built up speed and familiarity with the layout before being let out there on your own.
You have to see the Widebody rocketing down Indy’s main straight at about 150 mph before hitting the brakes, down shifting with the paddles with great trailing explosions from the automatic throttle “blipping” to believe it.
But from that speed, the next challenge was to get down to about 60 mph and cut through a tight corner into the infield.
All this massive slowing is accomplished by standard Brembo two-piece, 15.4-inch vented rotors with six-piston calipers.
The cabin is tight with body hugging sports seats. The first thing you notice is the speedo, which will read up to 340 km/h on Canadian models with matching tach on the left with really big numbers that you can take in at a glance.
Next, the heated, flat bottom SRT steering wheel, plus the SRT Laguna leather sports seats with embossed Hellcat logo ad to the panache.
The many SRT “Performance Pages” for the various setups, are found in the 8.4-inch centre stack Uconnect navigation/infotainment system.
There are other contenders such as the Shelby Mustang GT350 and Camaro ZL1 out there, but for pure, unadulterated power to the pavement, nothing quite equals the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody.
Also Read: Seen Through Glass – Trip to West Coast, USA
2018 Dodge Challenger Hellcat SRT Widebody
BODY STYLE: Intermediate performance coupe.
DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive with eight-speed TorqueFlite heavy-duty automatic or six-speed Tremec manual transmission
ENGINE: 6.2-litre supercharged OHV Hemi V8 (707 hp, 650 lb/ft)
FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium) TBA
CARGO CAPACITY: 459 litres
PRICE: $87,995 (not including $2,495 destination fee)
WEBSITE: Dodge Challenger