2020 Dodge Charger Widebody Badass Family Sedan Review by Larry Nutson
Driving THE Badass Family Sedan!
By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
LEARN MORE: Dodge Charger Content Archive (1993-Present)
The Dodge Charger is the most powerful and fastest mass-produced family sedan in the world.
Sedans are not dead. People are buying family sedans of various sizes from various brands. Matt Huber, the Dodge//SRT brand manager, says that Dodge is a three-percent brand. They’re not looking to sell to 97% of the market but looking to satisfy and resonate with performance enthusiasts. The Dodge Charger 4-door muscle car has sold more than 80,000 units the last seven consecutive years.
Chris Piscitelli is the manager of Dodge//SRT exterior design. He and his team set out to make the 2020 Dodge Charger Widebody badass. They wanted to make it bold, aggressive and even offensive. They wanted kids to want to hang a poster of the Dodge Charger Widebody on the wall in their bedroom.
On the invite of Dodge a cadre of auto writers got to be the first to drive the new Charger Widebody around the twisty roads near Napa, California and then to pilot this beast around the 2-mile race course at Sonoma Raceway.
This is not our first Charger Hellcat drive but the first with the new Widebody setup. Now the wider and fat-tired Hellcat will be something new to experience.
The Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody still uses the 707-HP supercharged 6.2-L Hemi V8. New front and rear fascias with integrated fender flares adds 3.5 inches of width. The “mail slot” in the grille feeds air to the Hemi. There’s new 20-inch by 11-inch forged wheels mounted with 305/35 Pirelli P Zero PZ4 summer tires. Now you can really put the power down. New competition suspension tuning, Bilstein three-mode adaptive dampers, and new sway bars all work to make this beast fly around a race track. Aero work has resulted in more rear downforce and reduced front end lift. And yet at the same time the Hellcat can be as docile as its sibling V6 Charger on the open road.
The performance from the Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody is not for the faint of heart With a top speed of 198 mph, a 0 to 60 mph dash in 3.6 seconds, and a trip down the quarter mile drag trip in 10.96 seconds, hold on. Yes, you can drive it off the showroom floor and do this.
We also drove the new Charger Scat Pack Widebody with its 485-HP naturally aspirated 392-cubic inch Hemi V8. The Scat Pack also gets the same huge wheels and tires as the Hellcat. Springs, shocks and sway bars have been modified. Front spring rates are 27-percent stiffer; the rear sway bar is up-sized from 19mm to 22mm.
The Scat Pack Widebody will knock out the quarter mile in 12.4 seconds at 111 mph. Zero tp 60 mph is in 4.3 seconds and it’ll pull 0.98 g’s on the skid pad.
For the first time ever we saw the new Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition of the Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody. Paying tribute to the winged Charger Daytona from 1969, the supercharged 6.2-L Hemi Hellcat V8 is tuned a bit more to an output of 717-HP. Only 501 units of the Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition will be produced. This because back in 1969 only 501 units of the original Dodge Charger Daytona were built for homologation in NASCAR racing. A sequentially numbered plaque will be mounted on the dash of each. A “Daytona” decklid and rear-quarter decal with matching spoiler add uniqueness. If you want a Charger finished in Dodge’s B5 Blue, you only can get it on this model for 2020.
The 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody has an MSRP of $69,645. The 717-HP limited production Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition will run you $74,140. And, the Charger Scat Pack Widebody starts at $45,995.
Around the winding roads of Sonoma, whether it be driving the Hellcat or Scat Pack, these two sedans are as docile as can be. They are comfortable and refined on the inside. They are quiet, unless of course you happen to step a bit deep into the throttle. On-street driving over various road surface DOES NOT remind you that you are in a high performance track-capable car. My wife would NOT be prompted to say to me “why is this thing so bumpy?”
And on the track at Sonoma Raceway! Wow. Be ready and look far ahead! Accelerate, lift, brake hard, wait, turn in, wait, wait, unwind the wheel, step into the throttle…more, more. Repeat! Under the hood the Hellcat’s supercharger whines, balanced by the exhaust note coming from the active exhaust cutouts in the rear. The Scat Pack is a bit easier to manage for the occasional race track driver that I am. But still, it scoots very fast. The Brembo brakes can pull you down fast, repeatedly. The wide track, wide wheels with 305 tires carry you through the turns without any squealing outcry.
What’s not to like. You need to try it yourself. Go get yourself a track-ready sedan. Check out www.dodge.com and see the full lineup of Chargers from the $30K SXT on up to the Hellcat. Dealers are taking orders for Widebody models for delivery early in 2020. You too can be badass.
Here’s a factoid. Since Dodge brought the Charger and it’s cousin the Challenger back to market, Dodge has put 485 million horsepower into the hands of loyal enthusiasts.
This report comes from an invitation-only Dodge launch event that allowed special access to the vehicle and executives. Dodge provided my overnight accommodations, meals, and transportation.
© 2019 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy