Full disclosure: This was written without knowing anything about how the new AMG C63 drives. It could be the best four-cylinder car ever, a 680bhp mishmash of rally reputation, AMG madness and Mercedes-Benz luxury. It could silence every possible critic that exists about the demise of the V8 C-Class. But there is a suspicion not. As enthusiasts, we’ve known for so long how important a great engine is to a brilliant car, and now everyone is starting to realize how important the appeal of an ICE is to a driving experience. There aren’t many iconic cars with disappointing petrol engines under the hood…
But change is coming and you know business is serious when Dodge has to give up the Hellcat and develop an electric Charger concept. Sure, they’re doing it the Dodge way – 24 Months of Muscle is a product strategy, not an ordinary calendar – but the end is in sight. For cars as iconic as the Challenger and Charger Hellcat, models that have come to redefine affordable muscle over the past decade, the end of their production will be immensely sad. Here’s a product line that’s never had less than 707 horsepower, launched with thousands less than the old BMW M4, pulled wheelies like a demon, offered a 200 mph four-door sedan when none of the Germans wanted it, and was available in colors like Hellraisin. In an increasingly serious and virtuous automotive world, it was not difficult to admire the tongue-in-cheek sense of humour.
While both the Mustang and Corvette were launched as British models during the Hellcat era, right-hand drive models never made it here. Maybe that’s for the best; they are probably too big and coarse to be really viable. It would spoil the illusion, and you’d be less willing to give them some slack with the steering wheel on the right side. But the continued and significant interest in both the Charger and Challenger has seen a steady stream of left-hand drive imports almost since launch. This means that those who want one can get one.
And a Hellcat certainly doesn’t come any finer than this. It’s a four-door Charger, for starters, arguably the nicest of the Dodge duo and certainly rarer in the UK too. Then it just gets better and better from there. The color is F8 Green, a sort of dark military shade that would probably be too bold for the European makers and looks great here with the red calipers and huge light bar. This Charger is also a Redeye, meaning 797 glorious Imperial horsepower – or over 800 in metric terms. And rear-wheel drive. And now, in fact, probably a curb weight undermining the C63…
Also, don’t adjust your aspect ratio because the Charger really is that wide. It’s a Widebody car, a factory option introduced in 2019 that added 3.5 inches to the width and meant giant 11-inch wide wheels could be fitted to the rear. The Widebody didn’t just benefit aesthetics; more rubber on the road, bigger sway bars, stiffer springs and reworked dampers made it faster on the track. In addition to the Brembo brakes that also came with the Widebody upgrade, Dodge said the kit made a Charger two seconds per lap faster on a two-mile track.
Of course, you’re not likely to see which way an M5 went on track. Even at 800 horsepower, it won’t keep up with the new C63, especially with AMG’s latest chassis technology doing its job. But that’s never really been the bag of the Hellcat anyway. It’s more about looking cool, going fast and making a huge noise in the process. None of them will do as well as this one. American imports unfortunately look more expensive than ever at the moment, and the Charger is no different, but it’s not hard to see the appeal of a legendary supercharged V8 in such a rude four-door. After all, has AMG served well enough.
SPECIFICATION | DODGE CHARGER SRT HELLCAT REDEYE WIDEBODY
Engine: 6,166 cc, supercharged V8
Transfer: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 797 @ 6,300 rpm
Torque (lb ft): 707 @ 4,500 rpm
Year registered: 2021
Registered mileage: 3,000
Price new: Don’t ask
Yours for: £119,950