Gallery: 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye First Drive

Since the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye was introduced for the 2019 model year with 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque, Charger fans have been clamoring for a supercharged super-sedan with nearly 800 horsepower. Fortunately, the Charger Redeye is officially coming to market for the 2021 model year and a few weeks ago, FCA invited me to travel to Charlotte, North Carolina to experience the world’s fastest four-door on the road and on the track.

My time testing the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye took place on the same day that I tested the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, but we aren’t allowed to talk about the 710-horsepower SUV just yet. We will cover that next week. After spending the morning driving to Carolina Motorsports Park in the Durango, we spent a few hours on the rain-soaked track in the all-wheel-drive SUV. It rained pretty much all day, but there were enough breaks in the rain that we could enjoyable push the Charger Redeye to its limits on the road course.

The track at Carolina Motorsports Park is a ton of fun for a car that pulls hard in the straights. It is not a particularly technical track, with a series of long straightaways punctuated by sharp turns. This is really the ideal road course for testing a car with monster power and huge brakes, as you find yourself accelerating hard from turn to turn, followed by some pretty extreme braking maneuvers at the end of the straight. While the racing line was dry, the track was still pretty damp and the occasional sprinkle of rain kept the track from ever completely drying out. This was more of an issue for braking and cornering than accelerating, but the Charger Redeye was up to the task.

Lap after lap, the Redeye’s huge Brembo brakes worked with the Pirelli PZero tires to bring the big Dodge sedan down to manageable speeds for the upcoming turns. Even when the track was at its wettest, the Charger came down from speeds well over 100 miles per hour without so much as a wiggle.

As we entered the turns, the Bilstein active dampers kept the supercharged four-door pinned to the ground, allowing the front tires to point into the next straightaway while the rear tires worked on putting the power to the ground. The Charger Redeye really does handle and brake beautifully, but so does the non-Redeye Charger Hellcat. The Redeye has bigger brakes and unique suspension tuning, so it does handle a bit better than the original Hellcat, but the real story here is all of that supercharged power.

It is easy to look at the specs for the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye and see the advantages over the Hellcat sedan that is on sale today. The current Charger Hellcat has 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, with that horsepower number climbing to 717 for the 2021 model year. On the other hand, the Redeye packs 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque. Some people believe that the extra power only really makes a difference on the top end of a long pull, but that isn’t the case.

2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye: The supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI high-output V-8 boasts 797 horsepower and 707 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a TorqueFlite 8HP90 eight-speed automatic transmission.

Of course, the Redeye does pull a whole lot harder at wide open throttle, but the power ramps-up earlier as well, leading to better low-end and mid-range acceleration. The extra peak power is what gets the most attention for marketing purposes, but with peak numbers of 797 horsepower, you arrive at the peak output of the 707-horsepower much more quickly, allowing you to have at least 700 horsepower on tap far more often than with the original Hellcat cars.

I have put thousands of miles on 707-horsepower Charger Hellcats – both on the street and on the track – and the Redeye definitely pulls harder at every point. Coming out of a sharp turn at Carolina Motorsports Park, the damp track forced us to be more delicate than usual with the throttle, but even when being gentle on exiting the turns, the Redeye pulls very hard. Surprisingly, the Track drive mode does a great job of preventing wheelspin on the wet track, but there was a certain measure of patience required to use all of the available power.

Once the car was straight and I rolled into wide open throttle, the Charger Redeye accelerates through the mid-range like few vehicles I’ve tested. It quickly climbed up over 100 miles per hour with ease, comfortably reaching speeds in excess of 125 miles per hour on the wet track. Give it a little too much throttle, even on the relatively dry racing line, and it is quick to smoke the tires, but with a bit of patience and a steady right foot, the 2021 Charger makes great use of all of that power.

When our time at Carolina Motorsports Park came to an end, it was time for road testing with the 2021 Charger Redeye. Unfortunately, as we were leaving the track facility, the storms from earlier in the day returned and it poured down rain for the first 20 minutes of my road testing. That is no fun to exercise 797 horsepower, but the period of hard rain allowed me to focus on other attributes of the car.

For example, even in a torrential downpour, the 305-millimeter-wide Pirelli tires do a great job of cornering, braking and putting the power to the ground. Mind you, I wasn’t pushing the car hard in the rain, but at no point did I have any issues driving the supercharged sedan on the flooding roads. Some people expect that driving a 797-horsepower, rear-drive vehicle in the rain would be impossible, but it isn’t bad at all. When driving reasonably, the Charger Redeye has no issue getting along at the posted speed limit in a few inches of water.

While there are some interior changes with the Redeye – such as the 220 mile-per-hour speedometer – the majority of the cabin features are unchanged. The 797-horsepower Charger has the same award-winning UConnect infotainment system with the 8.4-inch touchscreen, the same flat-bottomed steering wheel with paddle shifters and the same deep-bolstered, leather-wrapped seats.

Those shared interior features lead to the same impressive level of comfort and the same ease-of-use when it comes to using any of the cabin features. Also, when driving the Charger Redeye gently on the flooded roads, I found that the super-sedan is surprisingly quiet and smooth, offering as comfortable of a ride as your average four-door sedan that doesn’t have 797 horsepower. There is absolutely no compromise with the Charger Redeye, as the extreme performance is coupled with impressive on-road manners for the daily drive and an interior that is comfortable from front to back.

Luckily, the rain stopped during the final half hour of my road drive with the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye, allowing me to let the four-door cat stretch its legs a bit on the open road. Having had a track to perform proper high speed testing, I didn’t go crazy on public roads, but I found that all of that Redeye power leads to a big sedan that will rocket down a desolate country road or an empty highway as quickly as just about any car sold in the United States.

The 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye takes all of the aspects of the original Hellcat sedan and improves on them. The original, 707-horsepower Charger Hellcat offers stunning braking, handling and acceleration. The 797-horsepower Charger Redeye obviously offers considerably sharper acceleration, but the larger brakes, larger tires and retuned suspension setup lead to a super-sedan that outperforms the original in every way.

If you want a four-door sedan that offers true muscle car straight-line acceleration coupled with world-class handling, the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye is the car for you. While it obviously shines brightest on the drag strip, this 797-horsepower sedan offers incredible handling for a vehicle of this size and weight, but it does so without compromising comfort. That comfort, provided by a blend of the adaptive suspension and the luxury-level interior, makes the Charger Redeye just as great of a daily driver as it is a track car.

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2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye: The most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world with 797-horsepower shown here in Triple Nickel with Dual Carbon stripes.

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Patrick Rall

Industry News Editor Patrick entered the Mopar world when he bought his 1983 Mirada back in 1994, installing a mild 340 a year later that would eventually be built up into the range of 500 horsepower. Today, Patrick daily drives a Hellcat Challenger, but he still has his 340-powered Mirada, as well as a 1972 Demon 340 and a Hemi Ram.

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