I definitely wasn’t easy to live with—or near—during my late teenage years. I’d gotten it into my head that after high school I’d be a rock star, so, in an effort to prepare, I invested nearly all my cash from my grocery store gig into music gear. I had a bunch of guitars, effect pedals, and, my pièce de résistance, a real 1980s Marshall JCM800 half-stack. You know, the loud one that you’d see backlining Slash from Guns N’ Roses during an arena tour. In a small bedroom. In a New York City apartment.
One evening when I was about 16, I got in a fight with my parents over dinner. I don’t remember what the fight was about, but I was very offended by what had transpired. A teenager overreacting—imagine that. I stormed off to my room, grabbed my Eddie Van Halen tribute Kramer guitar, plugged it into the Marshall, dimed the knobs, and started wailing away as loud as possible. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. My overkill guitar rig served no real purpose, but man, did it make me feel good. Then, without warning, my room went dark and the amp fell quiet—my now unamplified guitar ringing quietly in my hands.
Two modern cars always make me think about that moment. They’re both excessively powerful, stupidly fast, wildly designed, super inefficient, and truly exist for no other reason than to be the loudest, brashest car on the block. They are the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye and the Lamborghini Urus.
I know, I know—the Dodge is a $91,914 (as-tested) rear-drive coupe, and the Lamborghini is a $255,803 (as-tested) all-wheel-drive super SUV. This is unfair! You can’t afford either on your salary (me neither, by the way)! This makes no sense! No one would ever cross-shop a Dodge and a Lamborghini! Hush, Karen, this isn’t the comparison for you. No one actually needs either of these cars. They exist purely to make you laugh, smile, drive fast, rev your engine at cyclists, and do stupid, juvenile burnouts and launches with four of your friends. The Urus and Challenger Redeye exist purely because they’re good old-fashioned stupid fun. And one’s got to be more fun than the other.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations for being young enough at heart to get it. These two cars are weirdly pretty evenly matched, even if they go about things in wildly different ways.
The Challenger is obviously the more old-school of the two—and not just because its chassis dates back to a 20-year-old Mercedes-Benz E-Class. It gets a big ol’ 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 making 797 hp and 707 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed through an eight-speed automatic out the back through wide 305-profile Pirelli P Zeros, thanks to the Redeye’s standard wide-body kit. Despite its porky 4,505-pound curb weight, it sports a healthy weight-to-power ratio of 5.7 pounds per horsepower.
Riding on a new platform developed by Audi and sporting an engine designed and built by Porsche, the Urus is definitely the more modern of the two. Its little—relatively speaking—4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 makes 641 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque, which it sends through an eight-speed automatic. The 156-horsepower gap between the Hellcat and the Lambo isn’t insignificant, but the Urus hits far above its 4,931-pound curb weight (that’s 7.7 pounds per horsepower) thanks to its active torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, which allows it to put all of its power down all of the time.
At the test track the numbers prove how well the underpowered Lamborghini deals with the Hellcat. Aided by all-wheel drive and the best launch control in the biz (you can thank Porsche for that), the Urus launches hard, taking 1.1 seconds to hit 30 mph (tying the Aventador SVJ) and 3.0 seconds to hit 60 mph, making it the quickest SUV we’ve tested.
Hellcats have never been easy to launch, and that remains the case with the Widebody Redeye. A second-gear start with the engine turning at about 1,700 rpm and smart throttle application is the key for a quick launch in the Dodge. Launch control only slows you down. “There’s no ‘pedaling’ this car,” road test editor Chris Walton said after he posted a respectable 3.8-second 0-60 run. “You either get it right or you don’t in the first 10 feet.”
The Dodge’s extra horsepower and lower curb weight start to make up time in the quarter mile. Although the Urus is ultimately quicker, running an 11.3-second quarter mile at 120.1 mph, the Challenger is faster, taking 11.8 seconds to run the quarter but doing so at 126.1 mph. We were curious to see, if given another quarter mile of space, if the Dodge could run the Lamborghini down. It came close: It blows through the half mile in 18.10 seconds at 155.2 mph, literally inches behind the Urus, which ran an 18.06-second half mile at 144.49 mph. The Urus wins the short game here, but the Dodge will undoubtedly win the long one.
That is, so long as there aren’t too many curves involved. Although the Challenger will out-brake the Urus (102 feet in 60-0 tests compared to the Lambo’s 107 feet), the Lamborghini still has the advantage in corners. The Hellcat’s figure-eight time of 24.7 seconds at 0.80 average g is completely respectable, but the Urus’ 23.5 seconds at 0.87 g is next-level. So, too, is its lap time at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Piloted by Randy Pobst during this year’s Best Driver’s Car competition, the Urus lapped the track in 1:40.90, an SUV record. The Challenger, meanwhile, ran a 1:42.70—largely because of heavy brake fade and a general inability to use all 797 of its horsepower in anger.
There’s certainly some daylight between the Challenger Hellcat Redeye muscle car and Urus super SUV on and off the track, but in the real world, some of the differences fade.
The Challenger is obviously the more (charmingly) unhinged of the two. I’ll never forget my first experience in the standard 707-hp Challenger Hellcat when it first burst on the scene four years ago. I was playing around with the car’s different drive modes at a red light and stumbled into Eco mode. I was distracted, and when the light turned green, I deservedly got honked at by the car behind me. Out of pure instinct I quickly jabbed the throttle, only to completely light up and roast the rear tires (and the car that honked at me). In Eco mode. With traction control on.
So, no—the Hellcat didn’t need more power. Yet I’ll take that extra 90 horsepower any day of the week. The amount of power you have under your right foot deserves the reverence an ICBM launch key gets, but its instant response, its dual V-8 baritone/air raid siren supercharger soundtrack, and the pure violence as it attempts to throw you into the trunk is addicting. The Challenger’s eight-speed auto deserves some credit, too—especially when in Track mode. The transmission bangs off shifts quick enough and smart enough that most drivers will never feel the need to shift manually.
Once you’re on the move, the Hellcat’s real-world grip is impressive, too. The Redeye’s wide-body kit doesn’t cure all ills, but it sure helps; the Challenger is now quicker on its nose than it’s ever been while also offering significantly more midcorner grip—so long as you maintain a healthy respect for that throttle pedal.
Although the Redeye is undoubtably the best iteration of the Hellcat yet, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. The additional grip—combined with the extra power—will inevitably push you, the driver, to start to really hustle the Challenger on your favorite two-lane road. But things start to fall apart as you crest an eight-tenths pace. For starters, as we saw at Laguna Seca, the Redeye is under-braked. With nearly 800 horsepower on tap, all it takes is one full-out run in the Redeye to completely toast the brakes. There are those who argue that going into a corner at 110 mph and feeling the brake pedal go to the floor is part of the Hellcat’s charm, but I’m not buying it.
And then there’s the issue of the Redeye’s body control.
“At something approaching full speed, the Hellcat’s charm descends into a lurching, messy battle of survival,” Head 2 Head host Jethro Bovingdon said. “The body floats over crests and crashes into dips, the rear tires are literally ripped apart by the abundant torque, and what felt like harmless fun suddenly seems like a game with high stakes and a lot of momentum. Try to actually boss the Hellcat, and you’re in for the fight of your life.”
Compared to all the work you’re doing in the Challenger, the Urus couldn’t be less dramatic. Like the best all-wheel-drive sports cars—Porsche 911 Turbo S, Nissan GT-R, or Subaru WRX STI, take your pick—the Urus just grips and goes. Nothing this big, this heavy, and this, frankly, ridiculous, should be able to go around a bend the way this Lamborghini can. Aided by massive carbon-ceramic brakes, four-wheel steering, torque-vectoring, air suspension, and active chassis control, an Urus driver can brake late into a corner, stay bang-on the line, and, once midcorner, stomp on the throttle and let the Lambo’s electronics help claw it free down the next straightway. “Utterly astounding body control,” Walton said. “It defies the laws of nature.”
The Urus is wonderful in a straight line, too. Although its twin-turbo V-8 is naturally a touch laggy and peaky when compared to the Hellcat’s supercharged engine, it’s responsive, and its transmission’s tuning is spot-on. If anything, after getting out of the Redeye and into the Urus, the Lamborghini feels slow—630 horsepower may be a lot for an SUV, but the Lambo is so well balanced and composed that it can handle 100 more.
With our drives and evaluations complete, if there’s anything we’ve learned from this exercise, it’s that it was all utterly pointless—and all the better for it. Both the Lamborghini Urus and Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye, for all their posturing and marketing, are kindred spirits. Both are hilariously overpowered, borderline offensive, and really exist for no practical purpose. They’re perfect. Even so, cost no object, the slim majority of our staff is driving off in the Lamborghini. The Challenger Hellcat Redeye is the maniac in the room—full of character, surprises, and laugh-out-loud fun—but we’d really like uprated brakes capable of stopping nearly 800 horsepower and a touch more body control. In other words, fewer surprises, please.
The Urus, on the other hand, is a whole different beast. It’s too delightfully immature and actually has the hardware and capabilities to back up the badge on its hood, no matter what you throw at it. For that, the Urus is our winner by a nose.
Oh, and about that blackout while blasting my Marshall all those years ago? My dad had turned off the power to my room. He later popped his head in and asked, “What, exactly, were you trying to accomplish?” I didn’t have an answer for him back then, but the Redeye and Urus have helped give me one years later: pointless, immature fun.
|2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye (Widebody)||2019 Lamborghini Urus|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD||Front-engine, AWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Supercharged 90-deg V-8, cast-iron block/alum heads||Twin-turbo 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads|
|VALVETRAIN||OHV, 2 valves/cyl||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||376.3 cu in/6,166cc||243.6 cu in/3,996cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||797 hp @ 6,300 rpm||641 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||707 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm||627 lb-ft @ 2,250 rpm|
|REDLINE||5,800 rpm||6,800 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||5.7 lb/hp||7.7 lb/hp|
|TRANSMISSION||8-speed automatic||8-speed automatic|
|AXLE/FINAL DRIVE RATIO||3.09:1/2.07:1||3.31:1 (front); 3.09:1 (rear)/2.21:1 (front); 2.06:1 (rear)|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Control arms, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar||Multilink, air springs, adj shocks, adj anti-roll bar; multilink, air springs, adj shocks, adj anti-roll bar|
|TURNS LOCK TO LOCK||2.3||2.3|
|BRAKES, F; R||15.4-in vented, grooved 2-pc disc; 13.8-in vented, grooved disc, ABS||17.3-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc; 14.6-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS|
|WHEELS, F; R||11.0 x 20-in forged aluminum||10.5 x 22-in; 11.5 x 22-in, forged aluminum|
|TIRES, F; R||305/35R20 107Y Pirelli P Zero||285/40R22 110Y; 325/35R22 114Y Pirelli P Zero Corsa L|
|WHEELBASE||116.2 in||118.2 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||197.5 x 78.3 x 57.5 in||201.3 x 79.4 x 64.5 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||38.7 ft||38.7 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||4,505 lb||4,931 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||57/43%||58/42%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||39.3/37.1 in||40.9/38.0 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||42.0/33.1 in||41.6/40.0 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||58.5/53.9 in||58.9/56.5 in|
|CARGO VOLUME||16.2 cu ft||56.4/21.6 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|0-30||1.9 sec||1.1 sec|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||1.4||1.5|
|QUARTER MILE||11.8 sec @ 126.1 mph||11.3 sec @ 120.1 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||102 ft||107 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.96 g (avg)||1.01 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||24.7 sec @ 0.80 g (avg)||23.5 sec @ 0.87 g (avg)|
|2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP||1:42.70 sec||1:40.90 sec|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,250 rpm||1,500 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$91,914||$255,803|
|AIRBAGS||6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain||6: Dual front, side/head, knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||3 years/36,000 miles||3 years/Unlimited miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||5 years/60,000 miles||3 years/Unlimited miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||5 years/60,000 miles||3 years/Unlimited miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||18.5 gal||19.8 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||13/22/16 mpg||12/17/14 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||259/153 kW-hr/100 miles||281/198 kW-hr/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.22 lb/mile||1.40 lb/mile|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium||Unleaded premium|