The 2020 Charger Hellcat Widebody Proves That Sedans Aren't Dead
https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/f ... ve-review/
I would have to agree; the Charger is one of the very few sedans still worth driving.Loud, proud, and more aggressive than ever, the fender-flared Charger is the most exciting argument in favor of a four-door.
Dodge just introduced its most extreme Charger variant yet: The Hellcat Widebody. The name, like everything else on the car, doesn’t mince words. This is a wider, meaner, more capable version of the current Charger Hellcat, sporting a retuned suspension, more tire, and 707 supercharged horsepower. Meet America's four-door supercar.
Dodge knows what its customers want. During the design presentation at Sonoma Raceway, the SRT team threw the words “offensive” and “badass” around liberally. There’s nothing subtle about this car. The front gives off a snarling glare, exaggerated by those fender flares, which add a full 3.5 inches to the overall width. They also help hide massive 305 section-width tires on 20-inch wheels at all four corners. The car looks menacing from every angle.
On the road, the Charger Hellcat Widebody isn't too different from the narrow-body car. You have to pay a bit more attention to where you place the wheels, but thanks to a new electric power steering system—a first for the Charger Hellcat—low-speed maneuvers are easy. I asked Darryl Smith, the director of SRT Performance, why the team decided now was the time to abandon the old hydraulic setup.
“The right time to bring in [electric power steering] was with the big tires,” Smith said. “Keeping low-speed effort under control was one of the things we really liked about it, so that’s why we timed it with that update.”
Going quickly in the Charger Hellcat Widebody is an exercise in patience. There’s so much power that opportunities to go flat-out don't present themselves often. But despite the car’s size, it gobbles up tighter sections of road with ease. There's surprisingly good feedback from the wheel and endless low-end torque. Grip from those Pirellis is unflappable, and on straighter, open sections of pavement, bravery and the law are the only things limiting your speed. And aerodynamics. Thanks to the drag from those wide fenders, top speed is down from 204 mph to 196.
Rather than risk the temptation to reach for that number, Dodge turned us loose on Sonoma's 2.3-mile motorcycle circuit with a chicane at Turn 9. That meant we didn’t have the long run on the back straight before the final corner. On track, the Charger Hellcat Widebody demands mindful throttle inputs, leaving you to tip-toe through turns so as not to excite the rear on exit. That said, the added tire is exactly what the Hellcat needed, producing serious grip and lots of confidence through Turns 6 and 8, the fastest parts of the track. And when you do get the nose pointed straight, the thing is, unsurprisingly, a rocketship. That supercharged 6.2 continues to be one of the best new engines on sale. I could listen to it all day.
The transmission is a Dodge-tuned version of ZF’s venerable eight-speed torque converter automatic, which works well enough. I was never denied a shift, but the split-second delay in downshifts got tiresome. The big Brembo brakes do their job, too, but I suspect Dodge only granted us one true hot lap between driver changes because the pads and rotors wouldn’t last a full 30-minute session. Bringing such a heavy car down from triple-digit speeds will do that. But the type of person who buys a Charger Hellcat for track days every weekend likely knows this, and will turn to the aftermarket for solutions.
Regardless of its minor flaws, the thing to understand about the Charger Hellcat Widebody is that it doesn’t screw around. Whether it’s the brash looks, the slightly-louder-than-your-HOA-would-like exhaust, or the fact that you can lay down elevens at a stop light with the traction control fully on, Dodge is committed to delivering a smile machine that will fit the whole family. The company is one of few manufacturers that understands one thing: Cars like these sell on emotion, and the Charger Hellcat Widebody is a vehicle that's dipped in our most red-blooded urges. America's four-door supercar at its finest.
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