When Dodge introduced the Challenger SRT Hellcat back in mid-2014, there were several numbers which stood out to the performance car world. 707 horsepower, 650lb-ft of torque, an official top speed of 199 miles per hour, an official quarter mile time of 11.2 with the stock Pirelli tires and an official quarter mile time of 10.8 with drag radial tires. Those official quarter mile times, both of which were verified by the NHRA, are quicker than any muscle car to come before the Challenger, but it didn’t take owners very long to realize that a wider tire makes a big difference.
The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat comes from the factory with a 275mm-wide tire and some owners have managed to run better times than those official NHRA numbers with the stock tires, but many owners swapped to wider tires – whether they were buying normal street tires or drag radials. Many of those owners insisted that the Hellcat Challenger should have come from the factory with a 305 or 315-wide tire, as those tires technically fit on their own vehicles.
So why does Dodge need the widebody package?
Approved Wheel Fitment
The problem for Dodge is that when designing a car, it has to worry about the distance from the edge of the body to the face of the tire, so while a 305 or 315 tire might technically fit inside of the body of a privately owned Hellcat Challenger, the company can’t just say “well, it doesn’t extend past the fender edge, so it is good enough." The company has its own requirements for wheel fitment, as does the federal government, so at the automaker level – those wider tires do not meet the requirements for proper fitment. Because of that, Dodge could not offer a tire wider than the 275 Pirellis on the 2018 Challenger SRT Hellcat.
However, after developing the wide-body package for the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon - which includes uniquely flared sheet metal under the composite flares - the company had a solution for prospective Hellcat buyers who want a wider tire from the factory. Those flares hide unique sheet metal which allow more space for the wider tires, but more importantly, the widebody package allows for a much wider tire at all four corners while still meeting the internal and external wheel fitment standards.
While not everyone loves the look, the widebody package allows Dodge to include 305mm-wide tires on the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and as a result, the world’s quickest stock muscle car gets even quicker.
The 2015-2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is the quickest stock muscle car in the world, with official, NHRA-verified quarter mile times in the 11.20 range. That number is completely unrivaled by the competition, but since Hellcat owners and prospective owners want to go even quicker, Dodge has put together the Hellcat Widebody package for the 2018 model year. This includes the flared fenders and quarter panels of the new Demon along with unique 20x11 lightweight wheels wrapped in Pirelli tires measuring 305mm wide. This package gives the menacing-looking Hellcat Challenger an even more aggressive stance, but it also improves the grip by a significant amount. Speaking of improvements, see my previous story disusing the 3 ways Dodge could improve the Hellcat Challenger and Charger for 2018.
To be exact, the 2018 Challenger Hellcat Widebody is a tenth of a second quicker from a stop, getting to 60mph in 3.4 seconds while the non-widebody Hellcat takes 3.5 seconds. In addition to getting to 60 more quickly, those wider tires allow the Hellcat Challenger to get down the quarter mile 3 tenths of a second quicker than the original Hellcat Challenger – allowing the 2018 Widebody Hellcat to run the quarter mile in just 10.9 seconds with the stock Pirelli tires. In other words, a Widebody Hellcat Challenger with the factory tires is only a tenth of a second slower than the original Hellcat Challenger with drag radials.
Although unique aesthetics are a key result of the new widebody package, those wider wheels and tires help make the 2018 Hellcat Challenger a factory-built 10-second quarter mile car.
For those who like the look or who want a factory 10-second muscle car, the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody is expected to go on sale sometime in July with deliveries beginning sometime in the third quarter of 2017.