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A grey 2019 Challenger Hellcat is parked in an empty parking lot with a blue sky.

What’s all the Fuss about the Challenger Hellcat?

If you are interested in a Dodge Challenger but you’ve heard people raving about the Hellcat, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. After all, isn’t the 2019 Challenger Hellcat just another trim level – the same as you can find on so many other vehicles? Does it really make a difference if it’s called a “Hellcat” or a “GT” or a “Boogie-machine?” (I made one of those up, try to guess which one).

The answer is, yes. Yes, it very much does make a difference. Ultimately, the Hellcat is a whole lot more machine than the standard Challenger. That’s not to say your “basic” Dodge Challenger is designed for little old ladies or anything (though, if you see a little old lady driving a Challenger, Do. Not. Mess. With. Her. She’s probably seen some stuff and she’s clearly far more awesome than you or I. Ask her what her secret is and hope she leaves you in peace). Anyway, what was I saying?

Oh yes, the Hellcat. The 2019 Challenger Hellcat might seem like just any other trim at first, with decals and available options inside and out. But the performance… the performance is what sets it apart, and it comes from the engine. Oh, and if somehow the Hellcat is not powerful enough for you, there’s a Redeye edition that, well, you’ll see…

It’s All About the Engine

So, what is it about the 2019 Challenger Hellcat that makes it so special, and justifies the hefty price jump from the standard SXT? There are lots of little and not-so-little differences between the standard Challenger and the Hellcat, but it’s really all about the engine. Even if there were no other differences or you didn’t care about anything else (you nihilist, you), the engine is what really sets the Hellcat apart and makes it a beast like no other.

Let’s start with the standard 2019 Dodge Challenger and what you get in terms of engine and power. There are three basic trims available before you get to the Hellcat (there are more if you get into the available Scat Pack models, but I’m going to ignore them – this is my article and I can do that), so let’s start with each of them and see what you get. The starter Challenger is called the SXT and it comes with a 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine that provides up to 305hp and 268 lb.-ft. of torque. So far, so good

A flat black Hellcat logo is on a blue 2019 Dodge Challenger.

Next up is the GT, which actually has the same engine and pretty comparable performance (it’s really all about styling). If you go up to the R/T, however, you get a 5.7L HEMI V8 engine that provides up to 375 hp and 410 lb-ft. of torque. That’s a pretty significant jump in power and torque – and the R/T is a great model if you want something that owns the road without going too far past the starting MSRP.

But then there’s the Hellcat. You might want to make sure you’re sitting down for this one. The 2019 Challenger Hellcat comes with (yes, comes with – this is the standard engine in this beast) a 6.2L Supercharged HEMI V8 engine that provides up to 717 hp and 650 lb-ft. of torque. That’s well over double the horsepower and torque of the standard Challenger engine, and nearly double the power of the impressive R/T V8 engine. Did I mention it is a BEAST?

Other Details and Features

You might be wondering, “Is that it?” (Although if you just thought “is that it?” about 717 hp in a Dodge Challenger, then perhaps you need to rethink your priorities). Well, no, those are not the only differences between the standard Challenger and the 2019 Challenger Hellcat. The Hellcat has active exhaust and severe duty engine cooling to help with the massive engine roaring beneath its hood, which you do not get in the SXT.

The SXT comes with an automatic transmission with no option for a manual transmission. The 2019 Challenger Hellcat, on the other hand, comes with a 6-speed TREMEC manual transmission standard, and you have the option of choosing a TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic instead. Honestly, most people will get better performance with the automatic due to just how smooth and responsive it is and how fast it can switch gears; but having the manual for those who want it is a great option.

The standard SXT comes with anti-lock brakes, while the Hellcat has Brembo 6-piston front brakes to help you stay in control of all that power. The 2019 Challenger Hellcat also features adaptive damping suspension that makes it a joy to drive and it feels simply amazing on the road.

Aesthetic Touches

Of course, there are some options and details less aimed at performance and more about how the 2019 Challenger Hellcat appears different from the SXT and other models. For example, unique Hellcat logos and branding are included and available inside and out, so everyone can see you’re not driving the standard Challenger. Other options include available black/demonic red seats in the Hellcat, which you won’t find in the SXT, and red details throughout, including the seatbelts and even the brake calipers.

The front red leather interior of a 2019 Challenger Hellcat is shown with an infotainment system and drivers display.

The standard Challenger comes with a 160 mpg speedometer like it’s some kind of station wagon, while the 2019 Challenger Hellcat features a 200 mpg speedometer. Other Hellcat features you won’t find in the SXT include bright pedals, a heated steering wheel, available Wi-Fi hot spot functionality, and unique ambient lighting. While some of these options are available on trims between the SXT and the Hellcat, many of them come standard on the more advanced model.

Need More Power? Behold, the Redeye

Just in case the standard 2019 Challenger Hellcat is not powerful enough for you (in which case I assume you suffered a head injury and lack the ability to feel either joy or fear), then there is the Hellcat Redeye. What makes the Redeye so different and special? I’m glad you asked.
The Hellcat Redeye has a High Output version of the 6.2L Supercharged HEMI V8 engine that you’ll find in the Hellcat. What does this do? It pumps the numbers up to 797 hp and up to 707 lb-ft. of torque available. Yes, those numbers are insane. Yes, that power is ridiculous. And yes, you’re probably drooling right now – that’s okay, we’re all in this together

The 2019 Challenger Hellcat Redeye actually comes with the TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission standard and does not have a manual option available, so keep that in mind. But that should tell you just how impressive that automatic transmission is and how well it works in this car. And just in case a 200 mph speedometer seemed a tad pedestrian to you, the Redeye comes with a 220 mph speedometer to showcase how really, incredibly powerful it is

It goes without saying, of course, that the Redeye is not meant for just tooling around town – it’s the kind of car you’ll definitely want to show off at the track and take a chance to let loose every now and again. Ultimately, though, it comes down to options and knowing there is a Challenger out there that will meet your every need. Whether you want the standard (but quite impressive) Challenger or something like the Hellcat, now’s the time to head to your local Dodge dealer and see what they have in store.

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