The 2018 Dodge SRT Challenger Hellcat Widebody Assaults Lime Rock Park
Ooooh, feel those 707-horsepower muscles, as only Detroit can build them.
Dodge boys tend to prefer stoplights and straight lines to road courses and curves. But the Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody lets you have your two-ton cake and eat it, and we at The Drive feasted accordingly during our test at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.
This is the grippier, sharper-steering offshoot of the vaunted Challenger Hellcat, that 707-horsepower marvel and throwback to the glory days of Sixties street racing in Detroit, SoCal and elsewhere. True to its name, the Widebody is 3.5-inches broader than a standard Hellcat. Its wicked flared fenders accommodate 20x11 inch rear wheels and Pirelli P Zero tires. Those aluminum alloys are 1.5-inches wider than on the standard Hellcat, with a slim-spoked “Devil’s Rim” design, begging the question of which supplier was tasked with the Devil’s Rim job.
So equipped, the Widebody beat the standard Hellcat by nearly two seconds per lap around Fiat Chrysler’s 1.7-mile road course. And it clearly felt more tractable at Lime Rock than its straight-up Hellcat cousin, including pulling 0.97 g of lateral force on the pavement. It’s faster, too, scorching said pavement from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and running a quarter-mile in 10.9 seconds, versus 3.5 seconds and 11.2 for the skinnier Hellcat. No, this Dodge won’t be beating a Chevy Camaro ZL1 or Ford Shelby GT350 around a racetrack, despite its big horsepower advantage. But the Widebody’s improved grip and more-responsive steering—not to mention its more menacing looks—make it a more versatile take on the traditional Mopar destroyer.
With its mental-ward 840-horsepower, the ultimate Dodge Demon version of the Chally has stolen the Hemi V8 thunder. But for people who don’t have a standing invitation to a drag strip, the Challenger Widebody is actually the better and far-more- affordable choice, especially at a $72,590 base price versus $86,000 for the Demon...if you can even find a limited-production Demon for anywhere near list price.
Of course, it takes a special breed to drop even 72 grand on a Dodge, especially when half the fun for drag-racing fanatics is to build a car with their own grease-stained hands. But the Hellcat Widebody shows, again, that the American Muscle Car remains ready to kill—and refuses to die.