It’s coming, at least that’s what the governments of the world have determined. It is the culmination of the combustion engine era, an era of Barracudas and Wildcats, Firebirds and Mustangs, Javelins and Camaros, Challengers and Chargers. So, fittingly, Stellantis celebrated August 15-19 “Dodge Speed Week” when the company revealed where it’s headed in the age of the electron, even as it celebrated the last of its fossil-fuel-fueled muscle cars. .
The future of Dodge is certainly a mix of remarkable and mundane.
There’s the graceful yet muscular Charger Daytona SRT Concept, a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody that’s both new and classic, one that recalls the best of Chrysler Corporation’s muscle car era without slavishly replicating it. While it certainly looks like it could be Dodge’s first electric car, executives kept quiet. What we will see before that is the 2023 Dodge Hornet, a new compact commercial vehicle that shares much of its styling and underpinnings with the Alfa Romeo Tonale. The base model has a turbocharged petrol engine, although a plug-in hybrid model is also offered. The 2023 model year will also see a convertible version of the Dodge Challenger, and the return, however brief, of the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat.
And the Dodge Charger and Challenger return for 2023 for one last lascivious, loud, gas-fired uprising against an electron-filled future. These cars go away, but not quietly.
And so it was time to get behind the wheel of the long-named 2022 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Jailbreak.
Whatever you call it, call it familiar. The charger, which debuted in 2005 with a modified 1990s Mercedes-Benz E-Class chassis, still has a litany of mostly OPEC-friendly powertrains. It starts with a 300-hp V-6 and continues with the R/T and the 370-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, up to the Scat Pack and its 485-hp 6.4-liter Hemi V- 8. , before reaching the Hellcat with a supercharged 717 horsepower 6.2-liter Hemi V-8. Choose the Hellcat Redeye and it grows to 797 hp. But Dodge thoughtfully gave me a Jailbreak model. New for 2022 and continuing for 2023, it offers seven options for seats, stripes and wheels; six caliper color options; five exterior badges finishes; four choices each of steering wheels, seat belt colors and floor mats.
Oh, and one more thing.
The 6.2-liter V-8 with supercharged overhead valve generates 807 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque through an 8-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. It splits 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds; top speed is 203 mph, with a quarter-mile run in 10.6 seconds at 129 mph. Um, was I speeding, officer?
And there are standard electronic aids to meet your need for speed. A lawyer who can get you out of jail won’t. Launch Control controls tire slippage during acceleration, Launch Assist adjusts engine torque to restore full grip and Line Lock activates the front brakes when the vehicle is stationary, enabling a smoky burnout. There are also Track, Sport and Auto damping modes for the adaptive suspension.
It was dressed to kill. The test vehicle was painted in “Hellraisin”, with “Brass Monkey” decals on the outside and 3.5 inch fender flares. It was shod with beefy Pirelli 305/35ZR20 three-season tires. With black exhaust tips, a hood scoop and a stripe on the roof and deck lid, this isn’t the car to drive to your Sierra Club gathering. If you do, they’ll hear you coming.
This conventional four-door, grinning American muscle car was built in Canada with an engine from Mexico and a gearbox from Germany. Like America, it’s a melting pot, one that generates insane amounts of torque and speed, making it ideal for straight-ahead riding, but less so when cutting corners. But 807 horsepower is directed to the rear wheels, so it’s challenging, if not impossible, to maintain traction or a straight line, while tapping into that power is challenging. It’s way too easy to hit a 180, or something much worse, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t try to tame this tiger, you never will. But you will find it hard to resist.
If there’s one thing that doesn’t live up to its price, it’s the interior. The seats are inviting, large, wide with heating and ventilation. But despite the pampering comfort, they prove sufficiently supportive during moments of furious automotive athletics. But other parts that remind you that the Charger doubles as a bare-bones police car. That’s not to say the Charger is a stripper. Far from. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on the 8.4-inch touchscreen, a reminder of the age of this vehicle.
But the lack of perfection is naturally what makes it a quintessential American car. Dodge claims the 2022 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Jailbreak is the fastest mass-produced sedan in the world.
We wouldn’t doubt them. There is a reason why it is called the jailbreak.
2022 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Jailbreak
Base Price: $75,900
Engine: 6.2-litre Supercharged High-Output V-8
Horsepower/Torque: 807/707 pound-feet
EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 12/21 mpg
Observed fuel economy: 11 mpg
Length/Width/Height: 201/78.3/57.6 inches
Loading Capacity: 16.5 cubic feet
Weight: 4,591 pounds