2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat: First Drive Review

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
The potent high-performance version of Dodge’s 4-door family sedan, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat receives an updated widebody design for the 2020 model year. The new look adds a more aggressive front-end appearance and 3.5 inches of width thanks to integrated fender flares that cover wider wheels and tires. Dodge SRT added the widebody to the Challenger SRT Demon when it arrived in 2018, followed by the Challenger SRT Hellcat and SRT Scat Pack for 2019. For 2020 the Widebody Package will be standard for the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and available for the Charger Scat Pack.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceWidebody Design
The standard Dodge Charger is a somewhat conservative, practical 4-door family sedan, but the Charger SRT Hellcat turns it in to a modern-day muscle car with serious performance chops. Thanks to the new widebody design, the Charger SRT Hellcat is even more aggressive, starting with the new front fascia, mail-slot opening above the front bumper and front splitter that flows into the front wheel flares. The new rocker panel design connects the front and rear flares; the new look gets completed with a new rear fascia, an exclusive rear spoiler and large dual exhaust outlets.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceNew Wheel Design
The 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat also receives new 20-inch forged split 5-spoke wheels with a low-gloss Carbon Black finish. Two optional wheel choices are 20-inch Warp Speed deep dish wheels with a low-gloss Granite finish and 20-inch Brass Monkey design. Standard tires on the 11-inch-wide wheels are 305/35ZR20 Pirelli all-season performance tires, with Pirelli three-season performance tires as optional equipment.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceModel Lineup
The Charger SRT Hellcat is the top-performance model of the Charger lineup, powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat V8 engine, followed by the Scat Pack powered by a 392 cubic-inch HEMI V8 engine. The Charger lineup begins with the SXT at a starting price of $29,895, followed by the GT, SXT AWD and R/T. The starting price for the Charger Scat Pack is $45,995 and the Charger SRT Hellcat starts at $69,645.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood
The 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 engine producing 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, combined with an 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. According to Dodge SRT performance numbers, the Charger SRT Hellcat will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 second, complete the quarter mile in 10.96 seconds and reach a top track speed of 196 mph.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceSuspension and Steering
In addition to the wider track and larger wheels and tires, the 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody features an SRT-tuned suspension with Bilstein 3-mode adaptive damping, new electric power steering, stiffer springs, larger sway bars, and retuned shocks. For the first-time ever, Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody features electric power steering for better steering feel; it can be adjusted with the SRT Performance pages for different driving conditions. The new steering makes it easier to turn in tight, low-speed situations and also improves the steering feel at speed.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceRace Technology
Race-inspired technology in the 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody includes Race Cooldown, Line Lock, Launch Control and Launch Assist. Race Cooldown continues to cool the supercharger and charge air cooler after the engine is shut down by continuing to run the intercooler pump and radiator fan. Line Lock engages the front brakes but leaves the rear wheels free for a burnout to heat up and clean the rear tires on the drag strip. Launch Control manages tire slip for consistent straight-line acceleration, and Launch Assist uses wheel speed sensors to watch for wheel hop at launch and adjust the engine torque to regain grip.

© FCA US LLCBrembo Brakes
The 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody receives a brake upgrade from the previous version with the addition of Brembo 2-piece 15.4-inch front rotors with 6-piston Brembo calipers, combined with 4-piston rear calipers. The new brakes in conjunction with the new wider tires reduce the stopping distance from 60 mph to 107 feet.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
Inside, the 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody features standard heated and ventilated Laguna leather front seats with an embossed Hellcat logo, a heated and leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, an available Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and a new black and red SRT Hellcat instrument panel badge. The available new Carbon & Suede Package includes carbon fiber accents for the instrument panel and console, with a Dinamica suede covering for the headliner, sun visors and A-pillars.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceScat Pack Widebody
For 2020 the Charger Scat Pack is also available with the widebody kit as an option, distinguished by the 392 HEMI badges on the front fenders in place of the Hellcat logo. The Charger Scat Pack is powered by the 6.4-liter 392-cubic-inch HEMI V8 engine producing 485 horsepower and 475 horsepower — impressive numbers for any car, yet overshadowed by the massive output of the SRT Hellcat. According to SRT, the Scat Pack Widebody will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and complete the quarter mile in 12.4 seconds at 111 mph.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceScat Pack Widebody
Suspension upgrades for Charger Scat Pack Widebody include modified springs, sway bars and shocks; stiffer front springs; a larger rear sway bar and revised damper calibration. The Scat Pack Widebody also receives the same Brembo brake package as the Hellcat, and standard wheels are 20-inch by 11-inch “Devil’s Rim” split five-spoke with low-gloss Granite finish and Pirelli 305/35ZR20 all-season performance tires. Optional wheels are 20-inch by 11-inch finished in Carbon Black; three-season performance tires are also optional.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceDaytona 50th Anniversary Edition
Dodge SRT will also offer a Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition for the 2020 SRT Hellcat — a tribute to the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, featuring a unique Daytona decklid and rear-quarter decal with matching spoiler. The powertrain calibration is revised to boost power by 10 horsepower to a 717 total for the Daytona edition. Four exterior colors will be offered: B5 Blue, Pitch Black, Triple Nickel and White Knuckle, with B5 Blue exclusive to the Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition. Only 501 of the original 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona were built, and SRT will limit the 50th Anniversary Edition to the same number.

© FCA US LLCOn the Road
Like all the other Charger variations, out on the road the 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat provides a comfortable ride for five passengers despite the fact there is no hiding the high-performance potential under the aggressive widebody appearance. Charger SRT Hellcat offers four drive modes: Auto, Sport, Track and Custom. Sport mode offers more throttle response, steering effort and firmer suspension settings, but it is still comfortable on the highway or 2-lane backroads without being too firm or harsh. Track mode is best reserved for the track of course, with more leeway in traction and stability settings.

© FCA US LLCSpeed Control
The biggest challenge for a driver of these beasts out on the road is keeping the speed in check — for open highway cruising, using cruise control is a must. With more than 700 horsepower on tap and tons of supercharged low-end torque, it’s too easy — with simply a slight squeeze of the throttle — to bump the speed up 10–20 mph. Add the massive stopping power of the brakes with the high-performance suspension and tires, and the SRT Hellcat never feels like it’s working hard, even at higher speeds. Some excellent advice here: Use the cruise control to save your license.

© FCA US LLCOn the Track
Dodge arranged for us to test the Charger SRT Hellcat and Scat Pack Widebody on the track at Sonoma Raceway in California, a technical natural-terrain road course with blind corners, elevation changes and high-speed straightaways. While the blinding acceleration and straight-line speed of the SRT Hellcat are expected — no reason to doubt SRT’s claim of zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and an 11-second quarter mile — it is the Hellcat’s braking and handling that are most impressive.

© FCA US LLCOn Track
At almost 4,600 pounds, the SRT Hellcat is a heavy car, but SRT has engineered the suspension and brakes so that it stops and turns on par with the acceleration. The massive Brembo brakes are extremely impressive, handling five heavy braking zones from high speeds without any drama. Granted, we only did four laps at a time, but that is a tall order for any street car, especially one this fast and heavy. The suspension tuning, wide performance tires and steering calibration all work to make the SRT Hellcat turn-in surprisingly well on the racetrack. The steering feel is a little numb, but with the wide tires it turns in well with minimal understeer.

© FCA US LLCIntimidating
As good as the SRT Hellcat is on the track, it is still an intimidating car to pilot; drivers will not lose the feeling that 700 horses will easily prance away from beneath them at a moment’s notice — especially when trying to learn a new, technical track. In Track mode the throttle response is very direct, and drivers must learn to apply the throttle smoothly and progressively coming out of corners to keep the Hellcat in line. As good as the Hellcat works on the track, it still feels like a big car.

© FCA US LLCScat Pack Widebody on Track
At almost 500 horsepower, the Charger Scat Pack Widebody is also a very powerful car, and it weighs 200 pounds less than the Hellcat with 150 of those pounds off the front axle. According to SRT numbers, the Scat Pack Widebody will pull 0.98 g lateral grip on the skidpad compared to 0.96 for the Hellcat. The Scat Pack Widebody is equally impressive on the track — and slightly less intimidating — but it is still big and powerful. The Scat Pack requires the same level of attention and finesse to keep things clean on the track.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceRight for You?
No one needs 700 horsepower for the street, and the new widebody design is anything but subtle. The 2020 Dodge SRT Hellcat embodies the spirit of a ‘60s muscle car with today’s modern technology to deliver an astonishing level of powerful performance capability. For a driver who needs the roomy 5-seat capability but longs for a sports car, there is nothing else like this Hellcat on the road — or track for that matter.

© FCA US LLCRating: 8.5
Pros: Family sedan with supercar-level performance; great-looking widebody design.
Cons: Despite performance, still feels heavy — because it is.
Bottom Line: If you need a family sedan with room for five, the 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat lets you have sports car performance, too.

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