There was a Dodge Charger ad from the 1960s that read, “The HEMI was never in better shape.” That’s cute. It may never have been in better shape, but it certainly is now. You can go ahead and get misty-eyed over those classic MOPAR muscle cars from the late '60s and early '70s, and I may be right there with you, but none of them brought all of these cards to the same table. The Devil hissed. And growled, then desecrated all of the other wannabes with the 2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody.
Stingray Curves, Shark Anger
If you’re going to call something “Hellcat”, it should look the part. Its front sports the curves of a stingray and the anger of a shark, snarled through menacing hood vents, mesh grille, and lowered bumper. You don’t want to see that in your rearview mirror! A formal sedan profile is underpinned with 20-inch wheels wearing Pirelli Pro Pilot tires hidden under wheelwell extensions. A big spoiler leaves you with dreams of NASCAR. It looks a bad, angry beast.
As with the exterior, the interior is a blend of classic and modern. The wrap-around dash recalls classic Challengers, and there’s a lot of black vinyl, but the headliner is suede and what looks like carbon fiber is. Big plush heated and ventilated leather front seats encourage long days of driving. Heated rear seats, thick heated steering wheel, power moonroof, and 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system add carnal delights. The touchscreen has intuitive icons for audio, phone, and navigation with redundant controls below. Or, command it by voice – whatever you please. Connect phones via Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G Wi-Fi hotspot.
One solid thwap of the throttle created demonic sounds that had a hundred heathens dancing on the hood and a thousand spirits of Hades stampeding out the back. There’s nothing like being sandwiched between the supercharger’s demonic howl and bone-tumbling rumble of the exhaust. The sinister 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8 tosses out 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission – paddle shifted if you choose. Fuel economy rates 12/21-MPG city/highway.
Digits Beyond The Classic Era
I suspect nobody buys this car for fuel economy. So, how about some performance digits? It will leap from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, eat the quarter-mile in 10.96 seconds, and give up the ghost at 196 mph. Find me a factory-fresh muscle car from the classic era that will do that. Unlike those antiques, this one has the underpinnings to plant its stomp.
Satan’s supercharger may whisper you can’t handle this beast, but the chassis confirms you can. It can be a little clunky over chattery bumps, but it’s not a difficult car to drive if you don’t want it to be. Be gentle with the throttle, and it returns the love. Stomp it, and all the delicious nasty surfaces. A launch control mode gets you off the line smartly while SRT buttons let drivers configure the powertrain and chassis from comfortable cruising to all-out track handling.
Way too many people have rose-colored memories of what they thought was the muscle car’s heyday during the late '60s and early '70s. None of those cars – absolutely none – compares to the Charger Hellcat Widebody. It looks menacing, can be gentle to drive, and has a comfy full-size interior. Not only does it conjure unholy power, but also possesses the chassis to back it up. If you can afford the $82,755 as-tested price, get one while you can.
2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat WB
- Five-passenger, RWD Sedan
- Powertrain: 6.2-liter SCV8, 8-spd trans
- Output: 707hp/650 lb.-ft. torque
- Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind
- Wheels f/r: 20”/20” alloy
- Brakes f/r: disc/disc
- Must-have features: Comfort, Performance
- 0-60 mph: 3.6s
- Fuel economy: 12/21 mpg city/hwy
- Assembly: Brampton, ON
- As-tested price: $82,755