Is The Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Worth The Upgrade?

Opinion / Comments

Or should you get a different trim?

As part of the updates for the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, buyers can now opt for the Redeye option that was once only available on the two-door Challenger model. The Redeye dials up the Hellcat's lunacy to new heights, resulting in the world's most powerful and fastest production sedan. Dodge has created a pretty impressive car here, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's worth the cost of entry compared to a standard Hellcat.

After spending a week driving a Charger Hellcat Redeye finished in a loud shade of Sinamon Stick (yes, Dodge misspells it on purpose), we have reached a verdict on whether or not it's worth the premium over a standard Hellcat. Here all of the reasons why the Redeye is worth the price, and all of the reasons why it's not.

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What Is The Redeye?

The Redeye is a Hellcat model with upgrades from the limited-production Demon, with its red eye showing that it's been "possessed by a demon." Opting for this trim level bumps the 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 from 717 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque to 797 hp and 707 lb-ft.

This massive power increase comes courtesy of several Demon-inspired components, such as a larger supercharger with higher boost pressure, strengthened connecting rods and pistons, and an improved valve train, fuel injection system, and lubrication system. Buyers get a few other changes as well, including new available wheels, a bulked-up transmission, a 220-mph red speedometer, a special splash screen, and unique Redeye badges.

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What It Costs

As the most powerful model in the Charger lineup, the Hellcat Redeye commands a hefty premium. Starting at $78,595, it's $8,600 more expensive than the standard Hellcat model, which costs $69,995. Our Sinamon Stick tester came with several options, including the carbon/suede interior package ($1,595), Alcantara interior package ($995), navigation ($995), Harmon Kardon audio ($1,995), and satin black hood/roof/trunk ($3,495). Combined with a $2,100 gas guzzler tax and a destination charge, the as-tested price of our Redeye was $91,960.

Yes, that is a ton of money to pay for a Charger, but it's also a pittance for a car that produces close to 800 hp. For reference, the Scat Pack Widebody is available for $46,595 and serves as the best value Charger in the lineup.

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Why It's Worth The Upgrade

For buyers who want the ultimate bragging rights, the standard Hellcat with its 717-hp rating will no longer cut it, not while the Redeye exists. There are performance benefits to the Redeye, but the most significant benefit to buyers is the ability to tell their friends that they purchased the most powerful model. Dodge claims the Charger Redeye is the "fastest mass-produced sedan in the world" with its top speed of 203 mph, compared to the standard Hellcat's 196 mph figure that couldn't quite crack the 200-barrier.

The Redeye's extra grunt results in a lower quarter-mile time, 10.6 seconds at 129 mph versus 10.96 seconds, and for drivers that prefer tracks with corners, Dodge says the Redeye will lap its 2.1-mile test track 1.2 seconds quicker than a standard Hellcat. Those who want to take this car to the track may reap the benefits of its power increase, but out on the road, that's a different story.

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Why It's Not Worth The Upgrade

Owners who take their car to the drag strip or race track may see marginal improvements over the standard Hellcat, but the Redeye doesn't feel much different out on the road. In fact, Dodge quotes the Redeye at 3.6 seconds to 60 mph, which is exactly the same as the regular Hellcat. Putting down 80 extra horsepower without all-wheel-drive is no easy feat, and the 717-hp Hellcat already struggled for grip even with the Widebody upgrade. Anyone that daily drives a standard Hellcat will struggle to notice the additional power of the Redeye without access to a track.

On top of that, unless someone knows exactly what to look for, it's easy to mistake the Redeye for a standard Hellcat Widebody. There are a few Hellcat logos with red eyes on the side fenders, but the badges on the grille and trunk feature an ordinary non-possessed kitty. We took the Charger Redeye to a local Cars & Coffee event before the car had reached most dealer lots, and it went virtually unnoticed, even in a row of other Mopar vehicles surrounded by Dodge owners.

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What We Recommend

Our verdict may not sync up with Dodge's "more is more" ethos, but we recommend practicing restraint when ordering a new Charger. The standard Hellcat already produces an insane amount of power, which is why we'd happily save the $8,600 premium for the Redeye. But in our honest opinion, the Scat Pack Widebody remains the best Charger that money can buy. With a starting price of $46,595, it costs a whopping $32,000 less than the Redeye and $23,400 less than the standard Hellcat.

It's powered by a 6.4-liter normally aspirated Hemi V8 producing 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque, which is not only more than satisfactory, but it's also easier to put down to the ground. And while the Hellcat's supercharger whine is comical, we'd say the Scat Pack's burbling V8 produces the better exhaust note. The Scat Pack comes with its own cool looking mascot (the Superbee), and to most onlookers, it will look just as impressive as the Hellcat.

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