Many of you who have read my yearly article regarding the Toronto International AutoShow already know that when it comes to cars, my specialty and focus is classic cars. However, while I tend to lean towards the saying ‘older and simpler is better,’ there are new cars absolutely worthy of appreciation as well. I always look forward to seeing both my timeless favourites and what new I would consider worth buying and that I would be interested in.
As I mentioned in my Estonian article that appeared last week, this year was exciting for me as Barrett-Jackson had an exhibit dedicated to classic cars that have an especially high collector value. But, browsing through Volkswagen’s, Audi’s, BMW’s, and Dodge’s showcases, I was not struck by anything in particular; nothing seem to stand out and ‘wow’ me. Until I see the ‘blue beauty’ showing it’s curves while completing its latest rotation on the turntable. This car is Dodge’s newest expansion of the high-performance SRT line in Challengers, the all-new Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye. The announcer who was singing praises for the sleek and powerful car claimed that this is now the top-of-the-line model of Challenger. Now those of you who have the same passion for automobiles as I do and have a particular interest in newer Challengers may find yourselves more than a little confused at that statement, it certainly made me re-think what I knew. So far, the top model of Challenger was the SRT Demon, which was just showcased at last year’s show as the 840 horsepower street-legal monster. What I was not aware of was the fact that the Demon has now ended it’s production run at 3,300 produced (just as I had almost enough money saved up to purchase one). Therefore, Dodge needed to keep up appearances and create a new top-of-the-line Challenger, which the Hellcat Redeye now is.
But what differentiates this model from the normal SRT Hellcat and the SRT Demon? Essentially, the Hellcat Redeye is a ‘demonized’ version of the run-of-the-mill Hellcat, featuring the 6.2 litre engine transplanted straight from the Demon and with a Demon trim package featuring a front skirt and the wide-body kit. Another new addition is the dual-snorkel hood which subtly hints at the power contained below. However, the Redeye makes only 797 horsepower compared to the 840 which the former top model produced. Most people would say ‘who cares?,’ but to real aficionados, that means the quarter mile time increases from 9.14 seconds to 10.8 for the Redeye.
The new top-of-the-line has, interestingly enough, the largest supercharger of any production car at 2.7 litres. While I’m not the biggest fan of supercharged or turboed cars, they undoubtedly add to regular maintenance cost, I would be willing to possibly look past that in order to purchase this machine. With that amount of horsepower, it’s no surprise that the Redeye is only available with an 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission and that no manual is available. Another thing I’d have to look past in considering buying this car, although I completely understand the logistics behind Dodge’s decision.
Which model would I prefer? Both the Demon and Redeye are beautiful vehicles I’d love to take out for a spin some day, but as a daily driver, the normal Hellcat still makes the most sense to me. Not to mention it comes with my personal preference, an optional 6-speed manual transmission. With its new upgrade from 707 to 717 horsepower, I’d definitely be behind the top tier models at an impromptu drag race, but it would still be a close enough call and give them a run for their money. Besides, I’ll always prefer driving stick and making those massive rear 305’s squeal delightfully as I shift from first to second.
Kati Kiilaspea, Toronto
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