Only read this if you like hearing giggles from the back seat.
And, from the front seat.
A few years ago Dodge introduced the ultimate family sports sedan, the Dodge Charger Hellcat, a 707 horsepower family sedan designed for track driving. With a well appointed cabin and plenty of room in the back seat, the Charger was the car that could go from the driveway to the straightaway seamlessly, delivering a thrilling drive experience when you want and put your babies to sleep on the way home when you need.
Fast forward a few years and while there have been iterations inspired by Hellcat power, like the Demon and the Hellcat Redeye. But theHellcat in a Charger body, as well as its siblings, including the Scat Pack and the R/T, remain a go-to for drivers who want a true muscle car with all the perks of a sedan.
Enter the Widebody: Much More Flattering Than Its Name Might Suggest
OK, so calling attention to anyone’s wide body might seem a slight or outright, insult. No woman wants to think anything she is seen in is anything other than toned and sleek, right?
But in the Charger Widebody, the magic is all in the hips: The wheel wells are popped out 3” to accommodate extra wide 20″ tires, 11” of vs the standard 7″ to be exact, for additional grip and power on the road (or on the track).
Expect this car to be the one that power-hungry gas engine-loving drivers will lust after. And, expect to learn to love looking at that wide body. It’s more sinewy than its name suggests. Yes, it’s wide at the wheel wells, but its hourglass figure (or a Coca Cola bottle, designer Chris Piscitelli told us) is sculpted at the sides and along the lower rocker panels flaring slightly at either end where they join the fenders. The result is a very elegant and muscular wide body.
What It’s Like to Drive
We took the Charger Widebody Hellcat for drive through the Sonoma Valley and out to Point Reyes on Tomales Bay, and found it to be completely, delightfully masterful on every curve and hill. The Hellcat accelerates with all the throaty goodness that you expect of a V8 track car and in the blink of an eye you’re up to speed and sailing along (be careful out there!). We mostly drove in default street mode, but we could (and, did) pop it into Sport mode for reduced traction control and adjustments in the steering, shock absorbers and suspension that make it a bit more responsive. In track mode it dials back all the controls to let the driver truly open up the power. You can also customize the settings, and it comes with Launch mode, which lets you set up a true launch for drag racing (note: please only try this in a controlled environment. There are drag strips everywhere and they would LOVE to have you bring your Charger Widebody for a test run).
On the track the Charger Widebody is more than capable. We took several laps on Sonoma Raceway and not only does it stick in every turn—it’s the wide body design and 11” wheels at work—but it gives you instant power on the straightaway. My top speed was 97 MPH, but David, the pro driver I was able to ride along with, hit 115. I had to try not to faint.
Among the updates to the Charger Widebody include new seats with more bolstering to keep you solidly planted in your seat, carbon fiber details (an option), a suede ceiling headliner and suede covered steering wheel (also an option). Also updated is the price: the Charger Scat Pack MSRP is $45,995 and the SRT Hellcat Widebody is $69,645, about a $4,000 increase from the 2019 Hellcat.
Overall, the Dodge Charger Widebody feels more “Charger” than ever, more muscular than ever and more “WOOO-HOOO” than you can imagine. Even the 485 HP Scat Pack offers plenty of power for any place you might drive it. A bonus in the Scat Pack is that it may offer a with slight reduction in temptation to floor it and get up to speed in mere seconds. Maybe.
Disclosure: I was Dodge’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but the opinions and giggles are all my own.