Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) team pioneered the company’s first factory-supercharged engine: the 700+ horsepower Hellcat V8. The engine debuted in the 2015 Dodge SRT Challenger and Charger. But by 2016, Ram had developed a prototype leveraging the engine. The Hellcat-powered Ram 1500 launched for the 2021 model year. Its permanent 4WD solves some of the Charger Hellcat’s traction issues. So which beast is faster?
|Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye||Ram 1500 TRX|
|Output||797 horsepower||702 horsepower|
|0-60 MPH||4.0 seconds||4.1 seconds|
|1/4-mile time||11.9 seconds @ 126.6 mph||12.7 seconds @ 106.3 mph|
|Figure-8 course||24.8 seconds (0.80 g avg.)||28.4 seconds (0.61 g avg.)|
|Top speed||203 mph (claimed)||118 mph (claimed)|
The 2021 Ram TRX loses the race to 60 mph by a bumper
MotorTrend conducts controlled acceleration tests on every vehicle the publication reviews. Its team has the process down to a science: they run every vehicle several times, including with and without traction control. Then they publish the best 0-60 and 1/4-mile time in a single run. On windy days they even test in both directions and average the results.
For over a decade, the 2008 Toyota Tundra TRD Supercharged was the quickest truck MotorTrend had ever tested. It boasted an unheard-of 4.4-second 0-60 mph time. Then the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX arrived on the scene. With its Hellcat engine, 4WD, and launch control, the top-trim Ram reached 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds–according to its MotorTrend test.
One major limitation of the Hellcat-powered Dodge Challengers and Chargers is the RWD cars’ lack of traction. When SRT tuned the Hellcat engine up to 797 horsepower for the Dodge Hellcat Redeye, the extra ponies did little to improve its 0-60. This is one reason that by the 2021 model year, every Charger Hellcat Redeye ships with a factory widebody kit. These fender flares bump the stock tires from 9 inches to 11 inches.
With its bonus rubber, the 2021 Charger Hellcat Redeye can reach 60 mph in 4.0 seconds even. That’s enough to pull a hairwidth ahead of the Ram 1500 TRX in the critical first moments of a drag race.
The 2021 Charger Hellcat Redeye pulls further ahead by the 1/4-mile
By the end of the 1/4 mile, the 2021 Charger Hellcat Redeye and 2021 Ram TRX would both me moving faster than 100 mph.
The 2021 Ram 1500 can finish the 1/4-mile in 12.7 seconds with a top speed of 106.3 mph. Though this time is very impressive for a 6.400 + pounds truck, its not quick enough to catch the Charger. The 2021 Charger Hellcat Redeye can race through the 1/4-mile in 11.9 seconds reaching a top speed of 126.6 mph.
By the 1/4-mile mark in our hypothetical race, the Ram 1500 TRX is running out of steam: the Ram’s claimed top speed is 118 mph. By 1/4-mile, the Charger is already going eight mph faster than that.
Neither the Ram TRX nor the Charger Hellcat is designed for drag racing
MotorTrend swooned over the 2021 Ram TRX’s off-road performance. Its reviewers even crowned this supertruck pickup of the year. In a race to 60 mph, the TRX is faster than Ford’s Mustang Bullitt, Subaru’s WRX STI S209, and Mercedes-AMG’s GT 53. But with its high center of gravity, knobby tires, and 118 mph top speed the big truck is not suited to many other forms of road racing.
The Dodge Charger Hellcat has the reputation of a street-racing monster. Yet oodles of sports cars are faster to 60 mph and in the 1/4-mile. What gives?
The truth is that even with 797 horsepower, the Hellcat Redeye struggles to put enough power to its rear wheels to launch its 4,600 pounds. For example: The Charger Hellcat sans widebody kit loses to the TRX in the video below.
This big car might get to 60 mph (relatively) slowly, but excels at pulling from 60 mph into the triple digits. In the words of MotorTrend writer Duncan Brady, “The Charger Hellcat Redeye feels like it pulls harder from 90 mph than most sports cars do from 40 mph.”
So in the battle of the four-door Hellcats, the Dodge Charger Redeye beats the Ram TRX to 60 mph and in the 1/4-mile, but this is not where either vehicle shines. Perhaps this is why the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and Dodge Durango SRT are faster than both.