The range-topping Charger has a lot of good points and a few bad

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The current Dodge Charger has been on the market since 2011 and, while it is getting a little long in the tooth, Dodge has continuously found ways to keep it interesting. It didn’t go so far as to make a Charger Demon to match the widely loved Challenger Demon, but it certainly came close with the car you see here – the Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye – a 797-horsepower monster of a car that’s capable of standing down some of the world’s finest sports cars with nothing but some good old fashioned American muscle. Being such a powerful sedan, we’ve been curious about just what it can offer and whether or not near-800 horsepower puts it out family car segment altogether. We got to spend a week with it, and this is what we’ve learned.

  • 2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    797
  • Torque @ RPM:
    707
  • Displacement:
    6.2 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.5 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    203 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Powertrain and Performance

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Interior
- image 966032

Ahead of those four doors and sitting below that muscular hood is a purebred, supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that is considered one of the best modern V-8 engines ever made in America. Paid with an eight-speed automatic transmission, every drop of power (aside from parasitic loss, of course) is channeled exclusively to the rear wheels. The Charger Hellcat Redeye might be heave at 4,610 pounds, but it’s still fast enough to keep up with an Audi RS7 and the BMW M5 won’t be too far ahead in the short runs.

How Much Power Does the Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Have?

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Drivetrain
- image 966030

Unfortunately, the 6.2-liter V-8 doesn’t deliver the 808 horsepower of the Dodge Demon, but it does come pretty close, pumping out 797 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque. In comparison, the 4.0-liter V-8 in the Audi RS7 is good for just 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque while the BMW M5 nets you a cool 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. So, in this case – at least as far as power output is concerned – one could argue that both cheaper and American-made are better. How’s that for a twist?

How Fast Is the Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Exterior
- image 966053

The Charger Hellcat Redeye might not be quite as fast as a Dodge Demon, but it’s not far off. The Charger Hellcat Redeye can sprint to 60 mph in as little as 3.5 seconds, and it can top out at a very impressive 203 mph. To put this into perspective, the V-8 Audi RS7 runs even up to 60 mph but tops out at just 190 mph. The BMW M5 will get you to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, but it tops out at 163 mph. So, in the long run, the Charger Hellcat Redeye will outrun both of these competitors, and it’ll do it with a vengeance.

Is The Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Heavy?

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Exterior
- image 966004

Despite being relatively fast for a car its size, the Charger Hellcat Redeye is pretty heavy at 4,610 pounds, making it nearly 300 pounds heavier than the BMW M5 but a little more than 300 pounds lighter than the Audi RS7 at 4,355 and 4,938 pounds, respectively

Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Fuel Economy

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Exterior
- image 965927

With nearly 800 horsepower on tap, the Charger Hellcat Redeye is far from fuel efficient, managing to pull 12 mpg in the city, 21 mph on the highway, and 15 mpg combined. That makes it the most inefficient of all the cars we’re discussing here today. In contrast, the Audi RS7 manages to do 18 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. The BMW M5 doesn’t do quite so well, but it still beats out the Charger with 15 mpg in the city, 21 mpg on the highway, and 17 mpg combined. Obviously, the RS7 is the way to go if you prefer efficiency, but in terms of performance the M5 beats out the Redeye while maintaining a higher level of efficiency.

Does The Charger Hellcat Redeye Have a Manual Transmission?

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Interior
- image 966035

As is the trend these days, the high-performance Charger Hellcat Redeye isn’t available with a manual transmission, so you’ll have to live with an eight-speed automatic. The same thing goes for both the Audi RS7 and the BMW M5, so there’s no real trade-off or advantage in going for one model over the other when it comes to transmission choice.

Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Interior Design

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Interior
- image 965958

The Charger Hellcat Redeye might offer up impressive performance, and Dodge has gone out of its way to spruce up the interior, but you’ll still find that unwavering sense of old age inside the cabin. The leather seats, steering wheel, door cards, armrest, and dash are all a nice touch, but the design, in general definitely portrays this car’s roots to the early 2010s. The small infotainment display, for example, or the analog gauges in the instrument cluster all emphasize this fact. The bulky analog climate control doesn’t help shed the dated feel, either. It’s not to say that the Charger Redeye’s interior is bad, because it’s not, but both the Audi RS7 and BMW M5 are quite literally a decade ahead in terms of design.

How Much Interior Space Does the Dodge Charger Have?

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Interior
- image 965954

The Dodge Charger might be a large vehicle, but it falls pretty short in the headroom department, being beat out by both the Audi RS7 and BMW M5 in the front and rear, with just 38.6 and 36.6 inches, respectively. It does offer up more legroom front and rear and more shoulder room, though, so it’s technically more spacious. You can check out the full dimensions of the Charger, the RS7, and the M5 in table below:

Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye vs competitors - interior dimensions
Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Audi RS7 BMW M5
1st Row Headroom 38.6 37 40.7
1st Row Leg Room 41.8 41.3 41.4
1st Row Shoulder Room 59.5 57.2 58.7
1st Row Hip Room 56.2 NA NA
2nd Row Headroom 36.6 37.1 38.5
2nd Row Leg Room 40.1 37 36.5
2nd Row Shoulder Room 57.9 55.9 55.9
2nd Row Hip Room 56.1 NA NA

How Much Cargo Room Does the Dodge Charger Have?

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Interior
- image 965951

The Dodge charger offers up a total of 16.5 cubic-feet of cargo room behind the rear seats, which seems a little low for a car this size. It does beat out the M5 and its 14 cubic-feet of cargo room, though. The Audi RS7, on the other hand, trumps both, coming in at 24.9 cubic-feet!

Does The Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Have a Good Infotainment System?

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Interior
- image 965964

The Dodge Charger has the Uconnect infotainment system. It was once a somewhat problematic system, but it’s evolved quite dramatically over the years and is now one of the best in the business. The system responds quickly to input and if you’re someone that likes to bring your music with you, the system can catalog your mp3s with a quickness. Voice controls work better than you might expect and the navigation system seems to be absolutely flawless. If you’re willing to pony up for the optional 19-speaker system, you’ll be in love with it, but it’s definitely not necessary.

Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Exterior Design

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Exterior
- image 965928

There’s no denying that the Charger, in general, is starting to look a little dated, a feature that goes with the dated chassis underneath. The Hellcat Redeye is a little muscular, and that makes it a bit more up-to-date, but only to a certain extent. Highlights of the Redeye include the wider fender flares, muscular hood, and the revised bumpers that are just a bit more aggressive than the non-Hellcat models. Overall, it’s a fairly attractive sedan for something designed pre-2010 and introduced in the early 2010s.

How Big Is the Dodge Charger?

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Exterior
- image 965931

The Dodge Charger is considered to be a full size sedan, but it kind of tickles that area between large midsize and small fullsize. That said, it’s just a bit longer and wider than both the Audi RS7 and BMW M5. It also rides on a larger wheelbase, but in terms of overall height and track widths, the Charger generally fits in well with its peers. You can see the full comparison of exterior dimensions in the table below.

In terms of garaging, don’t expect the Charger in any trim to fit in a single car garage. A lager 1.5-car garage is doable if you’re lucky, but you definitely want a two-car garage. You should pay special attention the difference between garage length and depth, however, as this will be the main trouble area you might run into.

Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye vs competitors - exterior dimensions
Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Audi RS7 BMW M5
Length 201 197.2 196.4
Width 78.3 76.8 74.9
Height 57.6 56.1 58
Wheelbase 120 115.3 117.4
Front Track 65.6 65.7 64
Rear Track 65.3 65 62.8

Dodge Charger Hellcat Redye Pricing

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Exterior
- image 966009

The Dodge Charger lineup covers a wide range of entry points that start out as low as $29,999 for the base SXT trime level. The SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody that you’ve seen here is the range-topping model and starts out nearly $50,000 higher at $78,595. If you fully option the Hellcat Redeye Widebody, the MSRP increases to $88,435 before taxes, dealer markup, and other fees. As a comparative point, a fully optioned Hellcat Redeye is still cheaper than the Audi RS7 at $114,000 and the BMW M5 at $103,500.

Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Competition

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Exterior
- image 965926

While you could consider the Dodge Charger, at least in its more powerful forms, a muscle car, it’s also a four-door sedan at its core, which means we can’t compare it to traditional American muscle like the Ford Mustang or Chevy Camaro. Instead we have to think outside of the box and look directly toward Germany – the land of go-fast, sporty sedans. To be more specific, we’re looking to the Audi RS7 and the BMW M5, two brutal competitors that share the four-door layout and an appetite for speed.

Is the Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Better Than The Audi RS7?

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The Audi RS7 might be some $35,000 more expensive than the Charger Hellcat Redye, but before you let that turn you off, there are a few things to take into consideration. First, the Charger is sitting on decade-old bones and the RS7 just went through a generational shift for 2020, which means it’s ahead of the Hellcat Redeye in terms of technology, powertrain tech, and underpinnings. The interior of the RS7 is glorified by a digital instrument cluster, large infotainment display, and a digital HAV controller – a big step forward from what the charger offers. Audi also pays a lot more attention to interior materials and overall design. To put it simply, the Audi RS7’s cabin comes off as much nicer and more modern than that of the Hellcat Redeye. A lot of this has to do with the fact that it’s practically brand new, but it’s a point to be made nonetheless.

In terms of performance, the RS7 doesn’t fall behind either, at least not in the grand scheme of things. The 4.0-liter V-8 under the hood is only good for 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque – a far cry from what the Hellcat Redeye offers – but it can get to 60 mph in the same 3.5 seconds. It’s not quite as fast in the long run, topping out at 190 mph vs. the Redeye’s 203 mph, but that’s negligible for 99-percent of the population. The other big benefit in going with the RS7 is fuel economy. Where the Redeye gets 12 mpg in the city, 21 on the highway, and 15 combined, the RS7 delivers 18, 28, and 22 respectively, making it very fuel efficient for a model this size with so much power. Of course, you’ll have to pay in at least $114,000 to get into the RS7, so you have to ask yourself if the extra luxury, fuel economy, and technology (and being newer overall) is worth paying such a premium.

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Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye vs BMW M5
Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye BMW M5
Engine Supercharged, 6.2-Liter V-8 Twin Turbo Premium Unleaded V-8
Fuel Premium Premium
Horsepower 797 bhp @ 6,300 rpm 600 @ 6000
Torque 707 lb.-ft @ 4,500 553 @ 1800
Transmission 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic
Drive RWD AWD
Fuel Economy 12/21/15 15/21/17
Curb Weight 4,610 4,345
Fuel Capacity 18.5 20.1
0-60 MPH 3.5 seconds 3.2 seconds
Top Speed 203 mph 163 mph

Read our full review on the Audi RS7

Is the Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye Better Than the BMW M5?

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Like the Audi RS7, the BMW M5 is a lot newer and features technology that’s literally a generation ahead of the Hellcat Redeye. And, like the RS7, it’s also a lot more expensive than the Redeye, but you might find the tradeoff well worth it. Outside of the high-end materials and awesome fit and finish, the M5 is also a performance car at its core. The twin-turbo V-8 under the hood is good for a cool 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. Of course, that’s significantly lower than what’s offered by the red eye, but thanks to a much-lower curb-weight and different transmission gearing, the M5 can get you to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds, 0.3-seconds faster than the Redete. Of course, it tops out at just 163 mph, so you won’t win any long sprints, but you’re probably never going to go that fast anyway.

In term of fuel economy, the M5 sits above the Hellcat Redeye but below the RS7, garnering 15 mpg in the city, 21 mpg on the highway, and 17 mpg combined. Pricing starts out at $103,500, so the gap between it and the Redeye isn’t as big as is the case with the RS7, but you can easily up that price with BMW’s customization options.

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Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye vs BMW M5
Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye BMW M5
Engine Supercharged, 6.2-Liter V-8 Twin Turbo Premium Unleaded V-8
Fuel Premium Premium
Horsepower 797 bhp @ 6,300 rpm 600 @ 6000
Torque 707 lb.-ft @ 4,500 553 @ 1800
Transmission 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic
Drive RWD AWD
Fuel Economy 12/21/15 15/21/17
Curb Weight 4,610 4,345
Fuel Capacity 18.5 20.1
0-60 MPH 3.5 seconds 3.2 seconds
Top Speed 203 mph 163 mph

Read our full review on the BMW M5

Final Thoughts

2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat Redeye - Driven Exterior
- image 965936

At the end of the day, The Hellcat Redye doesn’t bring a whole lot of value compared to the standard Hellcat. Sure, it’s more powerful and has a few more goodies, but these higher trim levels of the Charger are more about looking the part and being a status symbol. Few people use them to their full potential. That’s not to say it’s not a nice car or fun to drive, because it definitely is, but it’s time for Dodge to put this baby to rest and introduce a new model with a modern chassis and modern tech. There’s too much last-decade ambiance inside, and it’s a constant reminder that you’re really driving a car that’s more than a decade old.

Philippe Daix
Philippe Daix
Obsessive and Compulsive Automotive Expert - phil@topspeed.com
Always on the lookout for the latest automotive news, Philippe Daix is our most senior editor and founder of TopSpeed.com. He likes to see himself as a consumer advocate with a mission to educate motorheads of all ages.  Read full bio
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