You have to feel for the rear tyres of Dodge’s Charger Hellcat. 275mm is a normally decent width for rear boots, but in a 697bhp car, that size is going to cause a few traction issues. Great for rubber-shredding tomfoolery, not so great for good quarter-mile times. And tyre bills.
There is now a solution, however: the Dodge Charger Widebody. Following on from a wider version of the Challenger launched a couple of years ago, it follows a similar theme: fatter wheels and tyres sitting under aggressively flared arches.
It’s 90mm wider than a regular Charger, allowing for the fitting of new 20-inch wheels front and rear wearing 305/35 tyres. Behind them, you’ll find six-piston brake calipers at the front, with four-pot stoppers bringing up the rear.
Bilstein three-stage adaptive dampers are fitted as standard, and there’s a new electronic power steering system. Spring rates have been increased by 32 per cent at the front, and the anti-roll bars are a bit wider than before.
It’ll hit 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds, completing a standing-quarter mile run in 10.96-seconds and - given enough room - topping out at 196mph. The bigger tyre contact patches and the chassis modifications mean the Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody will lap a 2.1-mile road course 2.1 seconds faster, which is “equal to 13 car lengths per lap,” Dodge points out.
It’s not all old-school mechanical stuff going on under the skin - the Widebody also has a load of clever electronic features. There’s Race Cooldown, which runs the intercooler pump and radiator fan after the engine is shut off to reduce the temperature of the supercharger, and a Line Lock function for easy-peasy burnouts. You’ll probably know what Launch Control does, but there’s also Launch Assist which helps reduce wheel hop.
For anyone who doesn’t want quite as much as 697bhp, there’s also the Scat Pack Widebody, using a 6.4-litre naturally-aspirated V8 in place of the Hellcat’s supercharged 6.2. The Scat (a name which doesn’t translate awfully well for British ears, admittedly) still packs plenty of punch, with 485bhp allowing for a 0-60mph time of 4.3 seconds.
It has the same suite of clever electronics as the Hellcat Widebody, along with a similar set of chassis tweaks and the same flared arch/305mm tyres combination.
Order books for both will open this Autumn. Which one will it be for you?