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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 1974
    Detroit, MI
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    Which Blown Challenger for You: Hellcat or Redeye?

    Which Blown Challenger for You: Hellcat or Redeye?

    By Patrick Rall, LXForums Editorial Staff

    The 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye comes with a 797-horsepower version of the supercharged Hemi in the 2018 Demon and recently, I had a chance to drive the Redeye for a few hours on the open road and on the hilly, curvy road course of Club Motorsports and Tamworth, New Hampshire.
    Frankly, the Redeye is nothing short of remarkable, combining with power of the Demon with the road-handling prowess of the Hellcat. The Redeye comes with Torque Reserve, the intercooler chiller, line lock, high-stall torque convertor and the high-strength driveline bits from the Demon, but it maintains the suspension, brakes, wheels, tires and interior of the Hellcat. Basically, the Redeye is a Hellcat with the majority of the drivetrain components and features of the Demon – sans the TransBrake.

    After spending the day piloting the Redeye, many people ask me the same general question. They either ask if I’m sorry that I didn’t wait for the Redeye or if I plan to trade my Hellcat on the Redeye.

    To answer those questions frankly, no, I am not sorry that I didn’t wait for the Redeye and no, I do not plan to trade in my Hellcat on the stronger Redeye.

    The next most common question comes from Hellcat owners who wanted to know if they should trade their current car on a Redeye. While that decision needs to be made by the owner, here is some insight for those folks considering trading their 2015-2018 Hellcat on a Redeye – or those shoppers who are considering the 797hp Redeye against the 717hp Hellcat for 2019.

    The Redeye Differences
    When you compare the 2019 Hellcat to the Redeye, there are two key differences – the drivetrain and the price. As mentioned above, the Redeye has the Demon drivetrain with 797 horsepower, a stronger transmission and a stronger drive line assembly, but it costs $11,000 more than the 2019 Hellcat. More importantly, with an MSRP starting right around $70,000, the Redeye is roughly $25,000 more than most Hellcat owners can expect to get on trade.

    With this in mind, the decision on which to buy – or whether to trade a 15-18 Hellcat on a Redeye – comes down to how much that extra power is worth to you. In terms of normal driving, the Hellcat and Redeye perform identically and while the Redeye does accelerate harder at every point in the powerband, you have to really be hard into the throttle to get the most out of the added power of the Redeye.

    If you don’t regularly use the top end of the powerband in your current Hellcat or other Mopar muscle car, the odds are good that you aren’t going to use the top end power in the Redeye. If you aren’t using the big power and you aren’t racing – thus you aren’t using the advantages that come with the Redeye – you are better off saving that $11,000 and buying a Hellcat or simply sticking with the car that you already have.

    On the other hand, if you race a great deal or you find that your Hellcat just doesn’t pull hard enough for you anymore, the Redeye is a pretty impressive offering. It truly offers the same handling, ride quality and braking feel as the Hellcat, except it packs nearly 800 horsepower. That added power makes the Redeye noticeably quicker than the Hellcat from a stop, through the mid-range and on the top end, but if you aren’t going to use the power, there is no reason to buy the Redeye.

    Of course, if you are simply one of those buyers who wants to have the hot new car, even though you don’t race or drive them hard, the Redeye is an awesome driver. It handles the turns well, it stops on a dime and it is surprisingly smooth on rough, public roads, but when you hammer down on a straightaway, the Redeye pulls harder than any stock car I’ve driven on public roads with the exception of the Demon running on race fuel.
    While I drive my Hellcat hard, spending lots of time in the peak powerband and loving every second of it, I don’t race enough to “need” the extra power or the track-friendly gadgets. It would be nice to have an extra 90 horsepower, but for $11,000, I will happily keep and continue loving my 2017 Hellcat with “only” 707 horsepower.

    If you are a Hellcat owner who is chasing tenths in the quarter mile, or who is looking to lay down record-setting dyno numbers, the Redeye is a smart move, as it is a better basis for a race car than a Hellcat thanks to the extra power, extra gadgets and high-strength components. For $11,000, the unique components and features of the Redeye are ideal for someone who is really going to use the car to its fullest potential, but if you are shopping for a daily driver that will beat just about everything on the street, the Hellcat is a great bargain, with the 2019 MSRP starting under $60,000.

    In the end, you have to ask yourself if the extra 80 horsepower (compared to a 2019 Hellcat), the stronger drivetrain components and the extra technology is worth $11,000 to you. The Redeye is faster, stronger and a bit more fun to drive, but none of that matters if you aren’t going to use those features. Anyone who is simply looking for a fast daily driver more than a weekend race car can save themselves $11,000 by opting for the “normal” Hellcat while speed junkies and hardcore racers are better off spending the extra money for the more powerful, more track-ready Redeye.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    San Diego, Occupied California
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    If you insist in giving me one, the Hellcat please.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Central Ohio
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    Nice write up.... I will stick with my Charger Hellcat.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Northern California
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    I'm working toward a new Hellcat Challenger and it's my goal to make it a Red Eye. Although the Demon is actually street-able, to me it is pretty much a race car. The Red Eye however, has most of the mechanicals of the Demon, but it's definitely street-able. My dealer says he'll order me a regular or RE Hellcat and sell at MWP, so I need to get in there and configure both cars the way I would want them equipped (very minimal actually, I'm not into sun roofs, etc) so I'll know my final goal and price. I'm at an older age where this will be my last, new performance car and I would love to just get exactly what I want. At the same time, I want to be reasonable and realistic about my fiscal means. Hopefully, those last two statements will be compatible. hahahaha
    'Cuda SRT8

    My Mopars:
    '69 'Cuda fastback with 6.2 MP Hellcrate, a TKO600 5 speed and a Dana 60
    '15 Jeep Grand Chickeree in Maximum Steel
    '05 Dodge Ram Daytona in GoManGo(5.7/automatic)
    '19 Challenger Hellcat
    RED EYE in Indigo Blue
    "Three Hemis; no waiting"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Great write up, as a life long Manual enthusiast there is not choice for me. Hellcat, it’s the only offering with 3 pedals and for my money I need to have that option.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    13 Durango R/T
    13 M6 Challenger R/T
    02 M5 Dakota QC Sport
    91 TKO 600 Dakota CC
    63 Dart 3 on da Tree

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    After driving the Hellcat Redeye widebody and the Scat Pack widebody, I want them both. On the road course and back road twisties, the Scat Pack seemed better balanced, but get that Redeye on the open highway and look out! Doesn't take much throttle work to leave black streaks down the highway when you're already doing 70mph.
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