Everyone knows which way the wind is blowing. We’ve seen the electric cars coming from Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, and here’s the thing: They’re no longer concepts. Both will actually be in dealerships within a year or two. Meanwhile, there’s even a hybrid Ford Mustang in the works.
Over at Dodge’s performance wing, everything seems to be going in the opposite direction. While you’ll see some updated SUVs coming out from this brand, the Challenger lineup keeps expanding for added capability.
First, it was all-wheel drive for the muscle car; now it’s a 797-horsepower Hellcat that uses the Demon engine and can race with any vehicle on the road. As production gets underway, here’s everything you need to know about the 2019 Dodge Challenger and new Hellcat Redeye.
1. Challenger SXT and new GT models
The base (SXT) Challenger continues with its 305-horsepower V6 and base price of $27,295. With its high ($1,395) destination charge, that comes to a total of $28,690, making entry-level models pricier than both the Camaro and Mustang for 2019. An all-wheel-drive SXT starts at $32,390.
Meanwhile, there’s a new grand touring (GT) model with rear-wheel drive for this model year. This one starts at $31,390 and features a standard hood scoop, cloth Houndstooth seats, splitter, performance suspension, and paddle shifters. All-wheel-drive GT models carry on at $35,390.
2. Challenger R/T Scat Pack and Widebody
For 2019 R/T models (375 horsepower), buyers will get a standard high-performance suspension, 20-inch Granite Crystal-painted wheels, and enhanced steering. Meanwhile, the price ($35,495) only jumped a little over a hundred dollars for the base V8 Challenger, which keeps it as the cheapest eight-cylinder muscle car.
R/T Scat Pack models (485 horsepower) come with a new power-bulge aluminum hood standard. Plucked from the SRT Hellcat, this hood features dual air extractors that cool the engine and help reduce lift. The manual-transmission model ($41,390) gets a gas guzzler tax added for 2019, which makes the automatic version only slightly more expensive ($41,985). Multiple SRT performance features come standard with Scat Pack as well.
Another new wrinkle for 2019 is the debut of the R/T Scat Pack Widebody, which adds 3.5 inches in overall width and features an SRT-tuned chassis and suspension. The splitter in the front fascia and Hellcat spoiler in the back are two more functional styling changes. This upgrade costs seeral thousands.
3. Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye
Overall, the biggest change to the 2019 Challenger is the introduction of the SRT Hellcat Redeye. This performance model takes on the 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 from the limited-run Demon and gives enthusiasts a slightly less monstrous (797 horsepower, 707 pound-feet of torque) option. It works only with an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission.
As in the Demon, you’ll find a few dozen upgrades over the standard Hellcat, including a larger supercharger, stronger connecting rods and pistons, higher rpm limits (6,500 rpms), and dual-stage fuel pumps. With this model , Dodge can boast of several bests:
- Largest factory supercharger (2.7 liters)
- Most powerful production V8
- Quickest muscle car in production to 60 mph (3.4 seconds)
- Fastest GT production car: 10.8 seconds to run the quarter mile (131 mph) and top speed of 203 mph
A new dual-snorkel hood, special badging, and SRT Power Chiller (which uses AC refrigerant) round out the list of further changes. Hellcat Redeye starts at $72,745 including destination and gas-guzzler charges.
4. Standard Hellcat power boost and price drop
While the Redeye takes performance to insane levels, the standard Hellcat also added 10 horses, pushing the total output to 717 horsepower. This boost pushes its speed times to new heights.
In a Hellcat Widebody, that means a quarter mile in 10.9 seconds at 127 mph and a top speed of 195 mph. A standard Hellcat ($61,745 including destination and gas-guzzler charges) runs the quarter mile in 11.2 seconds at 125 miles per hour and boasts a top speed of 199 mph.
Meanwhile, compared to the ’18 Hellcat, the ’19 model’s starting price is more than $5,500 lower.
5. Fuel economy, release dates
Production of the 2019 Challenger is on schedule for the FCA plant in Brampton, Ontario. It will start arriving in U.S. dealerships sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.
Fuel economy specs range from 23 mpg in the V6 with automatic to 18 mpg in the R/T with manual transmission and 17 mpg in the R/T Scat Pack manual. Hellcats top out at 16 mpg combined, which sounds optimistic for a car that can drain its entire fuel tank in 11 minutes at full throttle.