By Patrick Rall, LXForums Editorial Staff

The Widebody Hellcat Challenger comes at the Perfect Time

Earlier this week, FCA introduced the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody to those journalists in attendance for an event at their Chelsea, Michigah Proving Grounds. While there continues to be critics of the flared widebody look and other people who don’t like the look of the new Demon being offered on a Hellcat, this package comes at the perfect time for the Dodge brand.

First, let’s get the negativity out of the way. There are plenty of people who have been very vocal about the fact that they do not like the look of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon widebody package. Not surprisingly, these folks have been just as vocal about their distaste for the widebody design on the 2018 Hellcat and we get it. You don’t like the look and you aren’t going to buy one. We have all heard you, now move onto complaining about something else while the rest of us enjoy talking about some of the quickest muscle cars to ever hit the street. Ultimately, this is an option, so you can still buy a Hellcat without the widebody package.

That aside, the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody package comes at the perfect time, feeding off of the limited nature of the new Demon and the demand for a Hellcat car that will grip a little better in stock form – serving as a more track capable supercharged Mopar muscle car which costs a bit less (and which is far more readily available) than the Demon.

Didn’t Get a Demon?
The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is an amazing machine, with the ability to run 9.80s in fully stock form and 9.60s with the option Demon crate performance parts. The downside is that the Demon is limited to just 3,000 units in the US and 300 in Canada, while carrying an MSRP up around $90,000 before any dealership markup. Because of the high price, the limited nature and the heavy demand for the Demon, some hopeful buyers have found themselves unable to buy the quickest American muscle car ever.

The 2018 Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody doesn’t pack the monster power or the many package-specific upgrades of the Challenger Demon, but it is the first American muscle car to get an official quarter mile time in the 10-second range with the stock street tires. To be exact, the Widebody Hellcat with the factor 305mm-wide Pirelli tires can run the quarter mile in 10.9 seconds – making it 3 tenths of a second quicker than the original Hellcat Challenger.

Want Better Grip from a Hellcat?
The mention of those wider tires brings us to the biggest complaint with the 2015+ Hellcat Challenger. Due to internal and federal standards, the widest tire that Dodge could run on the Hellcat Challenger from the factory is a 275. Many owners have found that tires as wide as 315s will comfortably fit inside of the body edge, but anything wider than the 275s don’t meet FCA and federal fitment requirements. Still, many Hellcat Challenger owners have pointed out how much the car benefits from a wider tire, so the company made it happen by using the fenders and quarter panels from the new Demon to create the Hellcat Widebody.

In introducing the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody right now, the high performance brand addresses the needs of those folks who missed out on a Demon or who cannot afford a Demon while also addressing a key complaint from current Hellcat owners. The “normal” Hellcat Challenger is still available for those prospective buyers who do not like the flared body design, but for those folks who want a factory 10-second car which is far less expensive than the new Demon (and easier to get), the Widebody Hellcat is the perfect solution.

Finally, in addition to the composite wheel flares and the unique sheet metal under those flares, the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody package includes a specially tuned electronic power steering system, which is adjustable via the Drive Mode system. When coupled with the wider tires and wheels, the electronic steering system makes the Widebody Hellcat 2 seconds quicker than a traditional Hellcat Challenger on a 1.7-mile road course.
The order banks for the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody should open later this month and the first units should reach dealerships by October.