Same supercharged V8.
The Dodge Charger follows the adage, “if it ain't broke, don't fix it,” to a tee. The platform is old by modern vehicle standards, but Dodge's seemingly annual release of new trims, special variants, and more powerful engines ensures the dated four-door feels fresh year after year. And the 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody model is no exception.
The Hellcat Widebody is pretty much the same Hellcat we saw five years ago, only now it's slightly wider and a bit grippier. Dramatic changes these are not, but the extended fenders and better ruber are just enough for us to fall in love with this 707-horsepower sedan all over again.
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You'd be crazy to buy a standard-body Charger knowing this one exists (not that you can, Dodge discontinued the traditional body style). The Charger Hellcat Widebody looks so tough. Granted, a lot of the same exterior bits from the standard model carry over, like the slim headlights, menacing grille, and rear light bar. But with an extra 3.5 inches of sheetmetal over the matte-black, 20-inch wheels, the Charger Hellcat – somehow – looks even more menacing. But that sinister look really only applies to the exterior.
The Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody's interior is identical to its narrow-body sibling, not that that's a bad thing. The styling is nice, the layout is clean, and the $1,595 carbon/suede interior package plusses up the cabin with unique carbon fiber accents, high-quality stitched Alcantara on the steering wheel, and a soft suede headliner. Unfortunately, some of the normal fixtures and materials are dated.
The knobs and dials just below the 8.4-inch center screen are a bit flimsy. The buttons on the steering wheel are chintzy, too. And even the optional leather and suede seats aren't of the highest quality nor do they offer great bolstering. There are definitely some elements that could be better for a car that costs more than $70,000.
For a fire-breathing, 707-horsepower sedan, the Charger Hellcat Widebody is shockingly comfortable. The big leather and suede-appointed buckets may not be the highest quality, but they're soft like couch cushions – as is the rear bench – and both heated and ventilated. Sound deadening is superb, even with the exhaust blaring in the wildest SRT drive mode. And although the Charger's adaptive dampers are stiffer here than on the non-widebody model, the suspension setup still delivers a nice balance of comfort and firmness for a ride that’s far from back-breaking.
The Charger Hellcat Widebody is big, even by full-size standards. Its 201.0-inch length and 78.3-inch width beat both the BMW M5 Competition and Mercedes-AMG E63. But that affords plenty of room for all five passengers inside. The Charger’s compartment is very roomy, with plenty of headroom and legroom for both driver and passenger; its 41.8 inches of front legroom and 38.6 inches of front headroom are best in class.
The Charger's back seat offers tons of legroom, too. Its 40.1 inches are best in class – better than even a near-rival SUV, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk (38.6 inches) – giving your six-foot-tall author plenty of space to stretch out comfortably. But taller passengers might bump their heads on the sloping roofline’s tight rear entryway, and the 36.6 inches of headroom make the backseat feel a bit more claustrophobic than some of the other cars in the class.
The Charger Hellcat Widebody packs plenty of power, but it’s smart, too. This model gets a standard 8.4-inch infotainment screen (over the base Charger's 7.0-inch screen) with Uconnect, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. And like previous Uconnect setups we've tested, the Charger has a great display. Clear graphics, a concise home screen layout, and a number of Hellcat-oriented options as part of the “SRT Performance Pages” – like a quarter-mile timer, a G force meter, special driving modes, and more – make for an extremely intuitive setup.
But you will have to pay an extra $995 for the Navigation and Travel group if you want things like nav and satellite radio – though, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make the baked-in nav pretty much pointless anyway. Also, the 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system is an additional $1,795 on top of that.
The Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody assumes all the same traits of its non-widebody predecessor: a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8, 707 horsepower, and ridiculous straight-line speed. Only now this car can corner, too. Sort of. Dodge applied meatier 305-width Pirelli PZero tires (a $695 option over standard all-seasons) at all four corners and a new electric power steering rack that responds more quickly to inputs. Even for a car that weighs 4,586 pounds, the Charger Widebody feels fleet-footed comparatively; it’s flatter, smoother, and more confident in the corners than any of its predecessors. And it’s still fast as hell, too – just be gentle with the accelerator. Even with that thicker rubber applied, too much throttle and the Charger bucks.
But straight-line speed is the Hellcat’s M.O., anyway. Even if the Widebody is a smidge slower at the top end than its traditional predecessor, dropping its top speed from 204 mph to 196 mph, it doesn’t matter. This car still sprints to 60 mph in a supercar-rivaling 3.6 seconds, which is plenty quick enough to force your skull into the headrest and your stomach through the seat.
The Charger never lacks torque, either. All 650 pound-feet from the supercharged engine come alive at a moment’s notice. Even the slightest pressure on the gas pedal propels the Charger Hellcat with a ridiculous force that you won’t find in many other car under six figures. The Dodge-tuned ZF eight-speed automatic can be a touch sluggish, but it’s a minor gripe all things considered. The Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody is the same insanely fast, supremely fun four-door it’s always been.
Safety certainly isn’t this speed demon’s strong suit – but there’s a reason for that. The front-facing radar you get on lesser Chargers (which adds adaptive cruise, lane-keep assist, etc.) would block a big chunk of the supercharged V8’s vast cooling system. And because of that, it leaves the Hellcat widebody with only a few safety features: blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors. Both the M5 Competition and E63, meanwhile, get automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep assist, among others.
Fuel economy is another of the Charger Hellcat’s weak points, obviously. The widebody Charger’s 12 miles per gallon city, 21 highway, and 15 combined are just below average for the class. The BMW M5 Competition gets a slightly better 17 mpg combined, and the E63 Sedan returns 18 mpg combined, even with all-wheel drive on both. Also, the Hellcat’s gem of an engine requires premium fuel to keep running at peak performance.
You might not think it by our tester’s $78,320 asking price, but the Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody is actually a great value. Consider this: the cheapest BMW M5 Competition costs $110,000, the most-affordable Mercedes-AMG E63 starts at $107,360, and even the Jeep Trackhawk is $87,400. The Charger Hellcat Widebody, meanwhile, asks a more reasonable (by comparison) $69,645 – and that’s with nearly 100 more horses than the two Germans.
Even with options like the upgraded audio system ($1,795), the carbon/suede interior ($1,595), navigation ($995), thicker tires ($695), and a hefty gas guzzler tax ($2,100), our loaded Hellcat Widebody is almost $30,000 more affordable than its nearest competitor. You won’t find many cars with that much power at this price.
Gallery: 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody: Review
2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody