Staying true to the uncompromisingly-powerful and truly retro nature of the Challenger line, the 2023 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye Jailbreak is the dictionary definition of going out with a bang. The last hurrah of what is arguably the last true “American muscle car” is an incontestable powerhouse and instant gasoline-powered classic.
So, why the long faces and sad goodbyes? In the era of efficient, small-displacement turbocharged engines, hybridization and a growing number of competitive EV offerings from almost every automotive brand, a howling-and-growling monster pushrod V8 is somewhat of a dinosaur. That, plus the ever-tightening emissions and Hybrid/EV production and sales regulations by California and the European Union, two of the world’s top automotive markets, means the dinosaur must go the way of the dinosaur and be relegated to history.
But that is in the future. For 2023, this bad boy is alive and well, rolling off the showroom floor and celebrating every minute of its gas-guzzling, ridiculous existence! Let’s start with the name: a title of a vehicle that includes “hell,” “challenge,” “red eyes” and “breaking out of jail” all in the same name belongs on an 8-year-old boy’s crayon drawing; the fact that this is a serious title of a production-ready “adult” car is, yes, ridiculous, and also ultimately endearing, and just plain awesome! Regardless of how you feel about the name, this monster is worthy of every bit of its ridiculousness, earning its classification as part of the Dodge Jailbreak family both for its fully customizable package, and for its cheeky fist bump to its soon-to-be outlaw status.
The main reason for this 2023 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye Jailbreak’s “my fists are lethal weapons” persona is what it’s hiding under the hood. The big car and the long hood barely fit the absolutely massive 6.2-Liter HEMI V8 and its 2.7-Liter Supercharger, combining for a, yes, ridiculous, 8.9 liters of power! Eight truly is a lucky number here, because all that engine cranks out a whopping 807 horsepower, funneled through a TorqueFlite ® 8-speed Automatic transmission, while six-piston Brembo® brakes attempt to corral all those ponies.
All that power is not just for bragging rights. Rolling off the showroom floor, this Jailbreak can do 0-60 in 2.6 seconds, and blow the doors off most production cars with a quarter mile run in 10.6 seconds topping out at 129 mph. Longer drag strip? This Jailbreak’s got you covered with a 203-mph top speed – yes, that means outrunning and outgunning most Ferraris, with all that ear-to-ear grin fun starting at under $90k.
The 2023 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye Jailbreak comes standard with the bulging widebody arch extensions and wider wheels/tires; a setup that improves handling due to the wider stance and bigger contact patch, while creating a more aggressive and athletic appearance when compared to the narrow-body Challenger.
Playing with the “build and spec” configurator on Dodge’s website is an excellent first glimpse at the sheer ridiculousness of the Jailbreak. The interactive options menu is full of crazy colors, stripes, mix-and-match options for steering wheels, interior leather, seat belt colors, floor mats, and much more; plenty to bring out the wide-eyed kid in even the most adult-and-serious potential buyer. Some options do call for a bit of good-natured eye-rolling: Having the factory paint your entire Challenger any number of special and iconic Mopar® colors such as Triple Nickel, Smoke Show, F8 Green or Frostbite will set you back $95 – yes, we didn’t miss any zeroes on that. However, painting your brake calipers to match costs six times as much. Want to delete the rear seats to make room for a roll cage or simply to save weight for the drag strip? Be prepared to pay Dodge one dollar… that’s a serious option, and the actual price: we are not kidding. While the interior and exterior design feel very familiar as the Challenger has been around for more than a decade, owners will appreciate improved interior components including more leather, various interior trim options including Carbon Fiber, and an Alcantara® steering wheel and headliner, which enhances the motorsports feel of this instant classic.
The sheer ridiculousness of the 2023 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye Jailbreak is what makes it such a compelling option. There are no rational, levelheaded, sensible reasons to purchase an 807-horsepower, gas-guzzling supercharged V8 monster; especially in 2023. Perhaps in this lack of sensibility that this Challenger truly shines: when there are no logical reasons, we are left with emotions and feelings, and it is out of sheer desire for something outrageous, for something gratuitous, and something that will likely never be again, do we love, recommend and want this ridiculous car so much.