The ’21 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye is the world’s most powerful gasoline-powered sedan, offering 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque in a package that will comfortably seat four adults. I was fortunate enough to be involved in the initial media test event, which included track time and a cruise through the countryside. That seat time made it clear that the Charger Redeye is the most engaging sport sedan on the market, but that time really didn’t give me a very good feel for what it is like to drive in every day traffic.
How does the 797-horsepower handle dense traffic on a hot day? Is it really comfortable for four adults on a long road trip? What are the downsides to daily driving the world’s most powerful sedan with a combustion engine?
The initial media testing doesn’t reveal much about the daily grind, but the folks at Dodge were good enough to let me borrow a brand new Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye for the weekend of the 2021 Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit. In addition to my normal daily drive, the Dream Cruise presented some unique conditions, such as sitting in traffic for hours on end, in the heat, while being asked to let all 797 horses run every so often.
As you might expect, when it comes to a car that can comfortably carry four adults in the lap of luxury with the ability to do monster burnouts – even when sitting in brutally hot traffic – there is no car better than the Redeye Charger.
The Daily Commute
If you have never driven a Dodge Hellcat car, one of the best aspects of these supercharged machines is that when they are driven gently, they are every bit as comfortable and as mild-mannered as any other big sedan. While they can be incredibly violent cars that will annihilate tires and beat just about anything on the street in a quarter mile sprint, they are also quite comfortable in normal driving situations.
Thanks to the adaptive Bilstein dampers, showcasing multiple modes with varying balances of comfort and performance, you can select a more comfortable ride or a stiffer, sportier ride. Frankly, even in Track Mode, I found the Charger Hellcat Redeye to be comfortable enough for my daily drive, even on Metro Detroit’s rough roads.
That being said, if you want the suspension to eat up all of the road’s inconsistencies, the softer modes do just that. Also, even in Track Mode, throttle response is still gradual enough for easy driving in rush hour traffic while the adaptive steering system offers tighter, more precise input.
The one thing that separates the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye from other, boring sedans when being driven in traffic is the sweet roar of the adaptive exhaust system. While some companies have active exhaust with quiet settings, the Hellcat cars use their valved pipes to be loud or louder, with the Track Mode opening the valves under the lightest amount of throttle response.
The system isn’t like some, where selecting a certain mode locks the active exhaust valves all of the way open, so the Charger Redeye has the same great grumble at idle in every mode, but when you pick the Track Mode, it is much quicker to clear its throat when you put the hammer down.
For some people, the exhaust note might be too loud for the daily drive, but I imagine that few of those people are considering a four-door sedan with 797 horsepower anyway. For those who can appreciate the rumble of a supercharged Hemi, the Redeye Charger is the best sounding sedan on sale today.
Of course, when your daily drive leads to you an open stretch of road without any other cars around, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye will move out from a stop to 60 in the mid-3-second range without much work. Even on a gentle launch, the four-door Redeye will easily get to 60 in the high-3s over and over again in the worst conditions.
It will also accelerate through the mid-range more quickly than any sedan in the world, so a hard pull from 60 to 150 is like nothing that you will experience in a rear-drive four-door. So, can the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye serve as a good daily driver? It is a great daily driver – the best daily driver for someone who wants a truly exhilarating big sedan.
Dream Cruising in the Charger Redeye
The highlight of my time with the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye was spending the day at the Woodward Dream Cruise. I hit the cruise route with a handful of good friends in their own supercharged Mopars, including a friend in a his TorRed 800-horsepower ProCharger Challenger 392 Shaker, a friend in an Indigo Blue Redeye Challenger and my wife in our GoMango Hellcat Challenger.
If you have never attended the Dream Cruise, it takes place on a 16-mile stretch of Woodward Avenue, running through a collection of communities including Pleasant Ridge, Ferndale, Royal Oak, Berkeley, Birmingham and Pontiac. Along the route, there are huge crowds of people, often sitting at the edge of parking lots packed with new and classic vehicles on display.
It is basically like a huge rolling car show lined with a bunch of smaller car shows, with every type of vehicle imaginable packed into the dense, slow moving traffic. There are stretches of the Woodward Dream Cruise route where covering a mile could take you an hour, so there are few opportunities to show off big power. However, the crowds lining the cruise route all demand the same thing – burnouts.
Even when it has been sitting in traffic for an hour, leading to the supercharger to be completely heat soaked, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye will still do a quick, smoky burnout that wows the crowd without much effort. The factory issued Pirelli tires aren’t the best for a good grip on a hard launch, but they make the type of smoke cloud that every Dream Cruise spectator hopes to see.
Truth be told, lots of cars can do nice burnouts, but few of them can roast the tires as easily as seat four people are comfortably as the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye. With the front seats adjusted to make plenty of leg room for the rear riders, there is still ample leg room for the driver and front passenger. When cruising with the windows down, the cooled front seats help keep you from sweating on the leather, but even in traffic, in the brutal heat, the air conditioning system quickly cooled the cabin down when we had enough fresh air.
Also, when cruising with a handful of passengers in the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye, the SRT Performance Pages screen is a crowd pleaser, clearly displaying the horsepower and torque levels being created during a hard pull. People enjoy the hard pull in a 797-horsepower sedan, but when they can watch a gauge that displays more than 700 horsepower, it adds to the overall experience.
When you look at the total package, there is no car better for heading to the Woodward Dream Cruise with a couple buddies than the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye. It has an awesome infotainment system, a spacious cabin with comfortable seats and enough power to get everyone’s blood pumping – even those watching from the sidewalk.
If you want a roomy sport sedan that truly offers the most engaging experience in every way, there is no better option than the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye. They don’t come cheap, with pricing beginning north of $83,000, but for those who have the means, this is the most exciting sedan on the market today.