Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
It’s always a special moment for the FCA USA brand and automotive media alike during the end of June for the automakers’ annual “What’s New Event” to showcase the latest and greatest from Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram Truck, FIAT and Mopar. Taking place at the Chelsea Proving Grounds facility in Chelsea, MI I had a chance to experience a plethora of vehicles on-road at the test track for performance driving and off-road in the woods for better understanding of each’s dynamic capabilities.
From the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica which was a feature of INCREDIBLES 2 to the new Ram 1500 and Dodge Charger Pursuit police car to the Jeep Cherokee, the magnitude of the FCA product assault is pretty immense. But what was really fascinating and simultaneously whimsical was taking out the Ram 2500 and whipping it around bends at high speeds with its powerful 6.7-liter diesel engine. However, with all the fun out on the road the highlight of the day was the introduction of Dodge’s 2019 SRT Hellcat lineup with each of the three athletes receiving improved performance parameters and wider bodies!
It’s good to be Dodge right now since the Charger and Challenger duo have been setting the pace for muscle car appreciation by way of increased sales numbers. In fact, since 2008 (when the Challenger SRT was launched) percentages have been up a whopping 70% so of course the group is rocking. Then when the Hellcat hit the scene all hell broke out – literally – since it took a multitude of records and put Dodge in the upper echelon of the muscle car segment. Then the Demon was born out of a pit of fire and stole the show. Now you can’t even buy one being that all have been sold. What was heartening to hear was Dodge donating 100% of the $1 million winning bid of a Demon to United Way!
The cream of the crop out of the trio is the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody which was unveiled in a grey hue to a group of anxious journalists. Basically, Dodge embedded the Hellcat and the Demon into one vehicle. The supercharged HEMI V8 engine pumps out 797-horsepower and 707 lb.-ft. of torque and sprints from 0 to 60 mph in a blistering 3.4 seconds. Its new top speed is now 203 mph, something you typically see in sophisticated supercars. “The Dodge Brothers would be proud that we’re leveraging the power and performance of this proven engine to bring a Demon-possessed Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye to an even wider high-performance enthusiast audience,” stated Steve Beahm – Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge/SRT, Chrysler and Fiat, FCA North America. In total, the Redeye will receive 25 integral updates from an improved lubrication system to stronger connecting rods and pistons. But make sure your pockets are deep because the fuel tank will be drained in 11 minutes if you floor it continuously!
The 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody (red vehicle) receives pronounced fender flares to increase overall vehicle width by 3.5”, suspension tuning and 305/35ZR20 Pirelli performance tires wrapping around 20 x 11” forged rims for improved performance and handling. In fact, this model is 2 seconds faster on the track than the version without the Widebody. Front 6-piston Brembo brakes ascertain that stopping distance in minimized from warping speeds. Dodge calculated a 60-0 mph stopping distance of 108 feet which is down from 111 feet. Launching later in 2018 the Scat Pack will represent a large volume of sales at 20%.
On the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody (purple) a newfangled and functional dual-snorkel Mopar design on the hood allows for 18% additional airflow for 10 more horsepower to the supercharged motor. This will be Dodge’s volume high-performance model and should please proud owners with 717-horsepower and 656 lb.-ft of torque. Expect the Tremec 6-speed manual transmission as standard or the TorqueFlight 8-speed automatic as optional. Standard wheels include 20×9.5” spins but the 20×11” forged “Devil’s Rim” are at your disposal when going with the Widebody. A wider and longer Satin Black spoiler is also available for this model.
Of course you can opt-in for a one day session of tactical control of your 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Chandler, AZ once you take ownership. It’s Dodge and SRT’s small token of appreciation for becoming an elite Hellcat Kingsman!