We have all had, or have, a friend that insists the two of you have another drink even though you are already two and a half sheets to the wind. They will insist the fun continue. And no matter how hard you may try to explain that it’s nearing midnight on a Tuesday and a full day’s work lay ahead of you, they hear none of it and continue to egg you on until you’ve complied.
He is the friend that ensures you will be in for a good time. The one that consistently puts a big grin on your face.
And if he were a car, he would be the Dodge Charger Scat Pack Widebody.
This 485-horsepower brut is great for, if nothing else, just having a good time. And you needn’t even look any further than the dashboard to see that.
The button to turn on launch control is just as prominent as inputs for audio and the climate system. The digital screen in the center of the gauge cluster dedicates several pages to show your top speed, 0-60, quarter-mile, eighth-of-a-mile and lap times. An always-present “button” on the touchscreen takes you to a menu where you can turn on line-lock and adjust launch control settings.
Even the Charger’s computers want you to have a good time. Most current traction control systems will prevent any kind of driver-induced skidding or sliding. Not in the Dodge. Even with the system fully on, you can spin the rear tires a bit and swing the rear out to grin-inducing levels before it decides to rein you in. Turn it off, and there’s even more fun to be had.
If the Scat Pack is your buddy ensuring you have a good time, the Hellcat version is the similar, except without any shred of prudency.
No, the Hellcat would not be content with you merely pouring drinks down your throat. He’s going to lead you to decisions you will sorely regret in the morning, even beyond the hangover. The same morning you wake up half naked on your front lawn with some genitalia drawn on your face.
The personality difference between the Scat Pack Widebody and its Hellcat cousin starts at the heart — under the hood in this case.
The Scat Pack gets a 6.4-liter (and because this is likely important for Charger buyers, 392-cubic inch) HEMI V8 which dishes up 485 horses and 475 lb.-ft. of torque to a 6,400-rpm redline.
But for those who find those figures to be a little reserved, the Hellcat gets a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that offers a staggering 707 horsepower and 650 torques. And what a noise the supercharger makes. It is the kind of piercing whine that will surely be used in some animal-type-suddenly-starts-killing-humans horror film.
The Widebody and Hellcat both come with a TorqueFlight 8-speed automatic that is tuned for speedy runs and provides swift gear changes.
The Scat Pack will scamper to 60 in 4.3 seconds and hit the quarter-mile mark in 12.4. The Hellcat and its extra 222 horsepower drops the 0-60 time to 3.8 seconds and just a hair under 11 seconds on the quarter mile.
In other words, both are seriously quick, and not just in a straight line. Both the Scat Pack Widebody and Hellcat are 3.5-inches wider to fit the massive 20-inch by 11-inch Pirelli tires, and include Brembo six-piston front calipers and three-mode adaptive dampening.
Even with their bulk, both Chargers come to a stop without drama and hold their own through corners. But of course, Dodge wasn’t over sensible when it came to the Charger’s cornering prowess. Giving the throttle a little poke through the bends will result in tire-smoking oversteer, yes, even with the traction control on.
Both models are fast, but again, the Hellcat just turns it up a notch. Even edging 500 horses, the Scat Pack is reserved around town. The Hellcat, on the other hand, will spin its tires through slow roundabouts or if there is a slight stab to the accelerator.
Forget that you have over 700 horsepower at your disposal and you might end up with blue and red lights flashing in your rearview mirror. Or, you may have to come up with an excuse while explaining to your insurance agent how the Charger ended up in a ditch without delving into the fact it mostly has to do with you not being able to handle that much power. Then again, it takes serious skill, certainly more than I have, to effectively put the Hellcat’s power down from a stop without lighting up the rear tires and ruining any chances of reaching that sub 4-second dash to 60 mph.
So, a good time, or really good time that can end poorly or in an embarrassing way. It’s time to choose friends and the night out you’d prefer. One that results in a hangover, or one that results in a hangover and a citation for public indecency.
The lure of 700 horsepower will be too tempting for some to pass up, but opting for the Hellcat does require shelling out a significant amount more dough.
That’s not to say either Charger isn’t incredible value for money in terms of their power outputs.
The Charger Scat Pack starts at $40,495, but the extra $6,000 for the Widebody package is, subjectively, absolutely well worth the larger tires, better brakes and more aggressive looks.
To get the extra 222 horses of the Hellcat — along with some other amenities — prices start at $72,095. That’s a staggering $25,600 jump from the Scat Pack Widebody. A price jump that severe certainly brings into question whether it is shrewd to spend $115 per additional horsepower.
But is there anything really sensible about a family sedan with a growling V8 offering either 485 or 707 horsepower? No, the Scat Pack Widebody and Hellcat were not meant as the sober, vigilant choice. They are unapologetic American muscle designed to get the heart racing and for putting a wide smile of those who get behind the wheel. And they do just that.
Those who live and die by the quarter mile will surely be drawn to the Hellcat. And they are likely the same drivers who can efficiently put its massive gobs of torque and power to the pavement.
But for everyday use, I’d have to go with the Scat Pack Widebody. It has the same spacious cabin, Uconnect 4C infotainment system with an 8.4-inch display, 7-inch digital gauge cluster and firm but comfortable ride of the Hellcat, but it is far more user-friendly in the power department. And after all, 485 horsepower is not insignificant.
The $25,600 savings of the Widebody also leaves some funds for a tire budget. You will smoke and spin the rear rubber into oblivion — often. And those big Pirellis aren’t exactly cheap at about $400 a pop.
But when you light them up during a powerslide or create a smokescreen via burnout, it’ll feel like $800 well spent.
The Scat Pack Widebody and Hellcat are exemplary muscle cars. They are stupendously powerful, provide incredible value for money in the horsepower department, they look and sound great, they are exciting and fun to drive, and to boot, they are practical.
They are like those friends that get you to drink more than you should. You can’t help but love them.